Pet Causes

Four local nonprofits are making major differences in countless animals’ lives and now, they’re showing us how we (and you!) can be the change.

 

The past few years have been ruff for everyone,with a global pandemic, social distancing, and quarantines. Our furry friends, however, reaped the benefit of stay-at-home orders; shelters and rescues emptied as adoption rates soared to record highs. Every pet had a furever home and it seemed as though every home had a pet. Until now.

As life settles into the new normal and mandatory remote work comes to an end, dogs and cats are being returned en masse to the shelters from which they were adopted—or even worse, abandoned altogether.

Local nonprofits are scrambling to meet the need, rapidly expanding to ensure that this influx of animals is being cared for head-to-paw. Here are four pawsitively awesome local nonprofits that need our support more than ever.

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Cause 4 Paws

ourcause4pawsrescue.org

4 Paws Animal Rescue functions as a foster-care rescue. Since 2021, it has been working locally to build a network of fellow animal lovers willing to open their homes to incoming rescues.

Without a location, and with 12 pets currently available for adoption, Cause 4 Paws stresses the importance of having foster homes to depend on. Not only does this benefit the group, but it also offers an entry point to those who are uncertain about whether they want a dog of their own.

Brittany Wilson, an avid volunteer with the group offers some insight: “We get a lot of people who are unsure whether they’re ready for a dog or not. Fostering is a great way to test that out, because there’s no real commitment. You can take them in, see if they work with your schedule, see if the type of dog works for you, and then at the end they go to another home—and you’re saving a life. It’s a win-win situation.”

And, for those who end up falling in love with the pet (can you blame them?), there is always the option to keep the pet. Brittany admits that this has happened more than once in her own household. “Naturally, the environment is much better in the foster homes than it would be in a kennel.”

Cause 4 Paws certainly uses its local resources, and strives to be ever-present within the community. “We do events with the Crooked Can Brewery on the second Sunday of every month. We set up out front, and we bring whatever dogs we have at the time,” says Brittany. With a lively setup and hands-on time with the animals, these meet-and-greets act as a great way for the rescues to be adopted. “I just love what we do; even though we’re small, we still get many animals adopted, and the volunteers are just willing to take on anything.

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Second Chance Animal Rescue

secondchanceanimalrescueandsanctuary.org

Founded in 2019 by Nick and Ali Yocca, Second Chance Animal Rescue doubles as an animal sanctuary, which is no small feat. Functioning from a sweeping property hidden on a lake, Second Chance extends a helping hand to every animal that comes its way, rehabilitating the ones that are healthy enough to be put up for adoption and serving as a a permanent residence for the ones that aren’t. “Some of the animals that come in either have too severe of medical conditions or anxiety or trauma that they can’t overcome, and they wouldn’t feel safe in another environment,” says Nick. “With the sanctuary, they can stay with us for the rest of their lives.”

With about 20 dogs and 20 cats at a time, Second Chance usually needs five to 10 volunteers per day to care for each one adequately. They average about two. Nick and Ali have their work laid out not-so-neatly for them, and they could always use more help. “It takes a different kind of person to own an animal rescue, because it is 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The animals are always here, needing us,” says Ali.

According to Nick, surrender rates have been swiftly increasing throughout the year, and the need is quickly outgrowing their ability. “Last year, we averaged about five calls a week. Presently, we’re averaging eight—it’s overwhelming how many surrenders are coming in. On top of that, the adoption rate is down.”

More animals means more expenses, but with donations—money, time, and supplies—dwindling to an all-time low, Second Chance is having to scale back some of its vital operations. “The amount we get from donations and adoption fees covers about 27% of the budget. The rest is out of pocket. We know the animals will keep coming, no matter what. Which is why we try to focus more on volunteers, donations, and adoptions. If we could get more of that stuff, we could take in more animals,” says Nick. “We know we aren’t capable of saving them all, but we take pride in knowing that we have saved some, and will continue to save as many as we can.”

Southern Cross Service Dogs

southerncrossservicedogs.org

Founded in 2019 by Nick and Ali Yocca, Second Chance Animal Rescue doubles as an animal sanctuary, which is no small feat. Functioning from a sweeping property hidden on a lake, Second Chance extends a helping hand to every animal that comes its way, rehabilitating the ones that are healthy enough to be put up for adoption and serving as a a permanent residence for the ones that aren’t. “Some of the animals that come in either have too severe of medical conditions or anxiety or trauma that they can’t overcome, and they wouldn’t feel safe in another environment,” says Nick. “With the sanctuary, they can stay with us for the rest of their lives.”

With about 20 dogs and 20 cats at a time, Second Chance usually needs five to 10 volunteers per day to care for each one adequately. They average about two. Nick and Ali have their work laid out not-so-neatly for them, and they could always use more help. “It takes a different kind of person to own an animal rescue, because it is 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The animals are always here, needing us,” says Ali.

According to Nick, surrender rates have been swiftly increasing throughout the year, and the need is quickly outgrowing their ability. “Last year, we averaged about five calls a week. Presently, we’re averaging eight—it’s overwhelming how many surrenders are coming in. On top of that, the adoption rate is down.”

More animals means more expenses, but with donations—money, time, and supplies—dwindling to an all-time low, Second Chance is having to scale back some of its vital operations. “The amount we get from donations and adoption fees covers about 27% of the budget. The rest is out of pocket. We know the animals will keep coming, no matter what. Which is why we try to focus more on volunteers, donations, and adoptions. If we could get more of that stuff, we could take in more animals,” says Nick. “We know we aren’t capable of saving them all, but we take pride in knowing that we have saved some, and will continue to save as many as we can.”

Polka-Dogz

polkadogs.org

Resilient and determined, Polka Dogz Animal Rescue has been saving animals around the Garden since 2015. Founded by Heidi Hardman and Aaron Stein, Polka Dogz has placed more than 1400 rescues— many of them with special needs—in forever homes. “The dogs we take in just need more help, whether it be medical or emotional,” says Heidi. “Some of them are so shut-down, traumatized and untrusting. And if you have a hundred dogs, you can’t work with them individually.”

Heidi and Aaron’s heart for special needs animals comes from personal experience: Maverick, Polka Dogz’s famous mascot, was found on the side of the road, his spinal cord severed after being hit by two cars. Vets told Heidi that Maverick’s back legs were paralyzed and he would need to be euthanized; she refused. “We got him therapy, and we’ve done acupuncture and exercises with him,” she says. “He has even started to wag his tail again! He runs in his wheelchair and jumps over curbs; it’s really incredible to see the change in him.”

Still, it’s easy to imagine the burden this rescue carries. But for Polka Dogz, it’s all worthwhile.“Nothing beats being with the dogs,” says Heidi. “The best part is taking a dog that has been so injured or neglected—and in some cases, so feral that you can’t go near it—taking those dogs, and watching them become normal dogs. That’s the best feeling; seeing them become the happiest dog ever. It’s incredibly fulfilling.

“The best part is taking a dog that has been so injured or neglected and seeing them become normal dogs.”

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