Pet overpopulation is a huge problem in the southern United States, and many rural shelters struggle to care for the vast numbers of pets coming in each day. Operation Paws for Homes, recognizing this problem, has been rescuing dogs from overpopulated shelters in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia since 2010.
OPH operates a foster network of more than 200 volunteers to help more than 1,000 dogs find homes each year. These fosters are able to help dogs transition from the high-stress shelter environment into a home environment. The foster care program also helps OPH get to know each dog’s personality and needs, which allows the rescue to better match pets and adopters.
The rescued dogs are fostered and adopted out into homes in Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
Partnering with rescues such as OPH is often the most effective way for a rural, overpopulated shelter to help local pets. One OPH partner, the Humane Society of Greenwood located in S.C., raised its adoption rate of dogs from 29% to 53% in one year thanks to such partnerships. This particular shelter has few resources to care for homeless pets and has as many as 30 dogs a day come into the shelter, due to low spay and neuter rates in the region. The shelter also does not have the resources to treat any illnesses or injuries.
Lisette is one example of a dog OPH rescued from a shelter that did not have the resources to care for her. She was the third-place winner of our 2016 Change a Pet’s Life Contest.
Lisette was rescued with a torn ACL, a ligament located in the knee. She was in a great deal of pain and had trouble walking, playing and even laying down. OPH doesn’t know how long she lived with the pain from her injury before rescue.
Thankfully, Lisette had the surgery in late January and has recovered fully. She has since been adopted into a loving home and is doing great.
To learn more about OPH or check out the dogs available for adoption, please visit the rescue’s website or Facebook page. You can also learn more about why OPH rescues pets from rural shelters by watching the video below, produced by OPH volunteers.