In honor of National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week, all this week we are interviewing different shelter and rescue groups in an effort to raise awareness and recognize the selfless work done by these shelters and rescues. Today, Melody tells us about Destiny for Dogs:
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Tell us a little bit about your organization:
Destiny for Dogs does not have a facility where we have animals in cages. All animals that we rescue are placed in foster homes so they can feel love and affection and to know what a loving family is like. We want to make sure the animals are placed with their perfect forever families. When they are in foster care it allows us to know what their personalities are and if they have any issues we need to let potential adopters know. We never want to have an animal returned for any issues so we want to be as honest as possible about an animal’s disposition (good and bad).
How did you become involved in helping to rescue animals?
If you go to our web site, Destiny for Dogs, you are able to read the story of why we are doing what we do. Over the many years that we have been doing rescue we have found that many animals in shelters don’t need to be there. Many owners turn in their animals to shelters because their animal may have some medical issues that are not life threatening but still need to be treated. The high cost of vet bills are getting out of control and people just simply cannot afford these bills, and most people cannot afford pet insurance either. Fixed income seniors and low income families make wonderful homes for animals but because of their financial status they are not able to afford their pets. We decided to start Destiny for Dogs to focus on the needs of these low income individuals by helping them with medical bills and preventative medicines. PetMeds has been a wonderful contributor to our cause and we are so grateful.
How do you feel your animal shelter differs from those in your area?
Our shelter is different from others because we shelter our animals in loving homes and not cages. If an animal comes to us and is sick or needs to be quarantined they are placed in boarding at a vets office until they get a clean bill of health and then we place them with a loving family until we are able to find them a forever home. Sometimes the foster home becomes the forever home as many people fall in love with their foster animal and just cannot let them go. If you go to our web site, Destiny for Dogs, and go to “Foster for Keeps” you can see some of the animals who now live forever with their Foster Families.
What does National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week mean to you and your organization?
We are so grateful to all Animal Shelters for what they do. There are so many animals out there wandering around with no homes, scared, sick and alone. If it was not for shelters there would be no hope for many of these animals. Many rescues work directly with the shelters to save the ones they can. The shelters are so overloaded with animals that it is never the best circumstance for the animals to be there. This is why Destiny for Dogs wants to focus on helping people with their animals so they don’t end up in the overcrowded shelters.
Do you have a favorite adoption story you would like to share?
We just recently rescued a blind dog that was surrendered due to its owner was severely injured and most likely would not be able to walk again. Because of all the therapy required the owner decided to surrender this blind dog to us. Not many people will adopt a blind dog which is silly because a blind dog is still playful, loving, happy and very comfortable in a home environment. We found a wonderful adopter for this dog in South Carolina and we personally escorted this dog on a plane with an under seat carrier and was able to hand deliver the dog to its new family. It was love at first sight for this family. We go the extra mile (literally) to help all animals and families in need. So, when you wonder why rescue organizations ask for donations and adoption fees you can clearly see that it is not cheap to rescue animals as they have so many needs when they come to us.
We know the work you do is selfless and many may even say underappreciated. What do you feel is the most frustrating part of your job?
The most frustrating part of rescue is that not all rescues are good and they give the good rescues a bad reputation. A lot of people in the rescue business have good intentions but they try and save too many animals and the poor angels end up sitting in boarding for months at a time and sometimes just get forgotten. Destiny for Dogs works every dog from the day we get the dog until they are placed in their forever home. No matter how difficult a dog may be to adopt we never give up and know there is a home for every animal out there in need. All the hard work we do can be overshadowed by one bad rescue organization. Our web site is updated weekly with stories about the animals in need of a home, new pictures, placed on Facebook, etc.
On the other hand, what do you feel is the most rewarding part of what you do?
When you first rescue a dog and their tail is between their legs, their ears are lowered, they shake because they are scared, their ribs are showing, they are dirty, sick, tired and just so sad to even look at. Then, in a few weeks they have adjusted, happy, tail wagging, playing, eating and just love to get a hug and a kiss. This is a happy time. But, when you get the first photos of them with their forever families and they are at the beach, boating, playing and sleeping in bed with the kids, this is the greatest reward.
Is there any advice you would like to give to pet owners, or potential pet owners?
Never give up on your animals. If you have any issues that you just feel you cannot overcome such as medical needs, food costs, temporary care while you are out of town, etc., just contact a rescue organization and ask for help. If you have no pet and think you are not able to afford a pet, contact a rescue and provide them with your situation and they will help you determine how you can get a pet and how you will be able to afford your pet. Many times the rescue will discuss breed types that would be best for you, size of animal, age of an animal, etc. There are many things to consider when you are looking to get a pet.
Lastly, what advice would you give to others wanting to become involved in animal rescue?
Volunteering for a rescue is a very rewarding experience. We would recommend becoming a foster first to experience the rescue process and if you are able to survive housing a pet and then letting them go when their forever home is found, you have taken the first step and survived. Go to Destiny for Dogs and go to the “Ways to Help” page and read about becoming a foster.
Melody, thanks for taking the time to tell us about Destiny or Dogs and for all you do for pets in need.
(Interview conducted via email)