Call it the Best Holiday Ever for this pooch. Six month old Rottie pup, Cody, was given the ultimate gift, a ‘freedom ride’ courtesy of the Northwest Rescue Network Team (NWRNT) who facilitated his transfer to the waiting arms of Reach Rescue. What makes this rescue even more special is that with Cody’s save, NWRNT reached an impressive milestone of 500 dogs saved since their inception in April 2015.
Transfer teams, explained in detail here, provide a vital link in the shelter to rescue chain, and the Chicago-area Northwest Rescue Network Team is particularly important in this regard as they pull heavily from a facility that functions solely as a holding center for strays without an attached adoption center. This means that after the brief hold period (typically one week), any unclaimed dogs not pulled by rescue will be euthanized. The stakes could not be higher for these animals, some of whom may be beloved, but lost, family pets. The NWRNT works tirelessly to provide the only safety net these dogs have.
I asked NWRNT founders, Tracey and John Fenolio what reaching 500 dogs saved meant to them and what lessons they have learned along the way. This is what they had to say:
We’ve learned the plight of dogs needing rescue is never ending. We evaluate strays at the local holding facility twice a week. Sometimes we only have a few small fluffy dogs and other times we have 5 “pitbull type” dogs. We work so hard to get the dogs into rescue, but there are always more coming in behind them that need our help.
Rescues are limited by the number of available foster homes. We work with so many great organizations, but most are foster based rescues and if they don’t have an open spot when a dog is in need, they can’t help. Working with a wide network of rescues is critical to increasing the chance of throwing each dog a lifeline.
It takes the efforts of so many to save one dog….testing, networking, pledging, rescuing, transporting, fostering, adopting.
If more pets were microchipped, we could reunite more dogs with their owners. So many strays have no identification. We have been fortunate to have reunited a few dogs that we saw on lost dog sites, but trying to find every dog on every website or Facebook page could consume the short amount of time we have to get these dogs saved.
On the flip side, we’re faced with situations where people see their dogs as disposable. Dogs may be chipped, but the owner refuses to claim them when contacted. The lack of compassion for animals is heartbreaking.
What does 500 mean to us?
We know that the problem of homeless animals is huge and that many in open intake shelters still don’t make it, but we do what we can do to make an impact in our community. We are a small group and we keep our focus on the local strays where we can make a personal evaluation of each dog and pass as much information as possible to our rescue partners. We feel that this has helped us achieve a very high live outcome rate.
Placing our 500th dog reinforces that everyone can do something to help save a life.
The current need for fosters throughout the Chicago area is particularly high at this time, so please, if you have been considering becoming a foster, this would be a great time to get involved. Not sure you have what it takes? Read this letter from a foster who has been there.
To read more about fostering, see this article.
Thinking of adopting? Here is why you should consider adopting an animal in foster care.
Filed under: Better Know a Rescue