Why did you decide to rescue?
As a child I was always in love with animals, and that never went away. So when I had to decide what I wanted to do for a career I knew it had to be with animals. When I was about 18 years old I got a job at a dog daycare and my love for dogs just got stronger. Through my job I met so many amazing rescue dogs who came for daycare, and it made me want to rescue my own dog. Before this, we had gotten our dogs from breeders (a Golden Retriever, Yorkie, and a Shetland Sheepdog). They were amazing dogs, but we realized we could get pretty much any breed we wanted through rescue. My family and I decided from that point on we would only get rescue dogs.
Please tell us your story with rescuing.
Once I decided that I wanted to rescue, I started looking on petfinder for a puppy. I knew I wanted a fluffy large breed dog, as we had lost our golden retriever a few years before this and I missed having a big fluffy cuddle bug. I started looking for golden retriever mixes, shepherd mixes, and other fluffy breeds. I searched for months, I knew once I saw the right dog I would know it. Petfinder was so useful, I was able to search by location, age, size, and breeds! I applied for a puppy I loved but they said someone had beat me to it. Adopting can be a long process, and you might not get the first dog you like, but you get the dog you are meant to have! I applied for the second puppy I had been interested in, and they quickly got back to me and told me they would love to interview me. This puppy was coming to the north from South Carolina. The owners of the mother dog didn't want her puppies, so at the age of 8 weeks old they threw her puppies into the woods to fend for themselves. Luckily, someone found them and got them into rescue. A few hours after my interview I got an email saying that they thought I would be a great home for the puppy and told me when and where I could pick him up. Getting that email was an amazing feeling, but the most amazing feeling of rescuing to me was meeting my puppy for the first time. All of the families that were adopting that day had to meet at a rest stop in CT to pick up our dogs. Finally being able to hold my pup after his long drive up from the south was the best feeling, and I immediately fell in love. Three years later the puppy, now named Bear, is a beautiful chow chow golden retriever mix and happens to be my best friend. He is a happy dog who enjoys life and is always making us laugh with his silliness.
In July of 2016 we decided to get another rescue puppy because our elderly Shetland Sheepdog had passed away. I used Petfinder again to search for adoptable puppies. I fell in love with a certain shepherd mix puppy and sent in my adoption application to be pre approved (he was only going to be available at an adoption event at a pet store). He and his siblings were rescued from a flood in West Virginia. The adoption event was first come first serve, so the night before the event my mother and I drove 2 hours to New York and got there around midnight. There were already 3 families lined up, so we spent the night camping out until the event started. One by one we went in and when we finally got to go in the puppy I had fallen in love with was still available. We immediately adopted him and got to leave with him that day. We decided to name him Koda. He is almost a year old now and him and our other rescue dog Bear are inseparable. Their bond is strong and it makes me happy that I helped them find each other. Koda is the most sweetest and kindest dog I have ever met. Koda does not have a mean bone in his body. He absolutely loves other people, dogs and especially kids. He is extremely smart and we are going to get him into training so he can be a Therapy Dog. I want him to bring joy to other people's lives like he does for our family. Rescuing these two pups definitely changed our life for the better and we are so happy to have them.
What was your biggest fear with rescuing and how did this fear play out once all was said and done?
With our first rescue I was nervous at the fact that we wouldn't be able to meet our puppy before adopting him, because he was coming up from the south. As soon as I met Bear that fear went away and I knew he would be perfect for our family. Not all rescues are like this, if they are already local you can meet them before deciding to adopt!
Would you rescue again?
There is no doubt in my mind that we will rescue again. We are looking to possibly rescue another pup this summer. We have our two big rescue dogs, and one Yorkie. Our Yorkie was best friends with our Sheltie who recently passed, so we would like to get her a new friend.
What would you say the most positive part of rescuing is?
Rescuing not only saves a dog (or pet) who needs a home, it also brings joy to your life by giving you a best friend. I often find myself smiling when I look at my dogs and see how happy they are, knowing that if they hadn't been rescued who knows what life they could have had. Instead of living a sad life as a stray or with an uncaring family, they are cuddled up in my bed sleeping without any worries.
What would you like everyone to know about this topic?
I often see people saying they want specific breeds so they aren't sure if they can rescue. After lots and lots of research while looking for my own adoptable pups, I can tell you that you can find pretty much every breed in rescue. Lots of breeds even have whole rescues dedicated to them. You can find pets of all sizes, ages, and breeds. So, why not help out and rescue your own pet!
Follow Bear and Koda on Instagram! @ bear.and.koda