Why did you decide to rescue?
I have always wanted animals in my life and it was my husband that turned me onto rescuing. The idea of adopting animals was foreign to me since I didn't realize people actually abandoned animals. Luckily we have a pretty big rescue organization near us called Eleventh Hour Rescue. We did some research, filled out an application, went to the adoption center, and never turned back. The more we learned about the world of rescuing, the more we wanted to be apart of it. There are so many animals that are abandoned and need homes. We unfortunately can't save them all but it's definitely worthwhile to watch the ones we were lucky enough to bring into our lives and watch them blossom. Our favorite quote is “saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”
What has been especially amazing for us throughout this journey are the people we've met and have had the pleasure of working with. The rescue community is strong and full of incredible individuals.
Please tell us your story with rescuing.
It started a few years ago when we were looking for a dog to bring home. We looked into rescue organizations and decided to adopt from our local rescue. We went to the adoption center, but didn't make it past the kitten cage that was by the door. That day, we went home with a black scraggly kitten that we named Chi. She was found with her sister under a deck and with no mother. The volunteers had to bottle feed her and her sister back to health. We would have adopted both her and her sister, but her sister already went home with her forever family. Chi has grown into a beautiful long hair black cat and is the queen of the house. She is extremely affectionate and when she wants to be petted, she will nudge your hand until she gets what she wants.
A few weeks after we adopted Chi, we realized we still wanted a dog so we went on Petfinder and found an odd looking dog named Baja from Perfect Pet's Rescue. She had a long body and short legs. We were approved and went to meet her right away and brought her home that weekend and named her Mocha. She was an owner surrender from GA and the reason for the surrender was that she had too much energy. We didn't see any of that, in fact, her favorite activities include lounging and sleeping. We don't know her actual age but we think she's pushing 7 years old now with her white muzzle. She might be short but she's strong as an ox.
A few months later and after doing a lot of reading about how cats do best in pairs, we decided to get Chi a buddy. We went back to Eleventh Hour Rescue and asked to meet with an orange cat named Avery, who was around Chi's age. We brought "her" home a few days later and realized that she was a boy. We named him Miso. Chi was less than enthusiastic about our decision. We were scared that we had to bring Miso back and that was the last thing we wanted to do. Miraculously by the third day, the hissing stopped and the cats were cuddling and napping together. Chi started to groom Miso and he loved her in return. He's the baby of the family and is very playful.
Since Chi has her protégé, we decided to adopt a brother for Mocha to play with as well. We were toying with the idea when we went to North Shore Animal League's annual PetAdoptathon but were not actually planning to adopt that day. We walked around the different kennels and stopped when we saw this sad scared looking puppy in the corner. When our eyes met, he wagged his tail and came right over. It was like a love at first sight moment straight out of a movie. His name was Nathaniel and he was a stray from TN. He became our Chai and our oops baby. Because we weren't planning to adopt that day, we were really scared that Mocha would not like him. It ended up working out since Chai had to be quarantined a few weeks due to kennel cough. When he was well enough to interact with other dogs, he and Mocha were already familiar with one another. He fell in line to her command and has been apart of our family since. He loves people more than dogs, so he's that one dog at the dog park jumping on everyone. We take him to do agility and he's great at it. He's a corgi/beagle mix. We did a DNA test for him which said he's an Australian Shepherd x Lab mix and would be 60+ pounds when fully grown. He's 22 pounds.
A year and half ago, we began looking for another rescue dog. We have always wanted a corgi. We eventually got in contact with corgi rescues in the midwest, specifically Corgis and Critters NET Rescue and Celtic Corgi Rescue. We were very interested in Carly, a cardigan welsh corgi at Corgis and Critters NET Rescue and after a few months of back and forth communication with the rescue, we were given the all clear to come and pickup her up. We flew down to TX and picked her up on Valentine's Day. We named her Toffee. We were told that she was originally a breed pup that returned three times for being stubborn, out of control, and would be our problem child. She was fresh with us in the beginning but we worked with her and she quickly understood her boundaries. She is our most well behaved dog and is now a certified therapy dog through Creature Comfort Pet Therapy. She loves having kids read to her in the library and de-stress travelers at Newark Airport through the United Paws program. In her spare time, Toffee is sassy and full of attitude.
We then adopted Peppermint who was formerly called Astrid from Celtic Corgi Rescue based on out of Oklahoma. She was a stray picked up by a good Samaritan and brought into the rescue. She's a husky/corgi mix. We were already talking to the rescue group when she came in. They shared a video of her playing with her foster brother and we knew she would be great in our family. A group of volunteers in a transport group helped transport Pepper across the country to us. We met her in Maryland and drover her home. She has the husky temperament and characteristics but on short legs. She was afraid of everything at first but since she's been with us, she's opened up a lot and gained some confidence back. She has a special bond with Toffee and is the most relaxed laying with us on the couch.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, we were contacted by the same transport group that helped transport Pepper about a pembroke welsh corgi that needed help to get to his rescue, Our Best Friends Rescue. The corgi named Drew was an Amish puppy mill survivor from Lancaster PA and didn't have the best start in life. We were told that he started out very nervous at the beginning of his journey. By the time we picked him up for our leg of the journey, he was very relaxed and his whole body wiggled in excitement. He was very happy and friendly. We dropped him off but couldn't forget him. So we got in touch with the rescue and luckily was approved to adopt him. He's great with our other pups and loves to play with Toffee and Pepper. We're so excited to do more with him but first comes first, we're taking him to basic obedience class. So far, his temperament has been amazing so we're thinking of taking him for a therapy evaluation also.
What was your biggest fear with rescuing and how did this fear play out once all was said and done?
The biggest has always been around the well being the animals. Are we a good fit? Are they going to be happy with us? Can we provide what they need? Are they going to get along with our existing animals? If for some reason they don't get along with our current animals, what can we do to re-mediate the problem?
We have been incredibly lucky with the rescue animals that we've adopted over the years. We have been able to work with them on the things that they're not comfortable with and overcome obstacles as a family. They may still not be 100% but at the end of the day, they're dogs and we spoil them. We just want everyone to be safe and happy, and would never give up on them.
Would you rescue again?
Yes, absolutely! The journey has been extremely rewarding. We would not hesitate to rescue and adopt again.
What would you say the most positive part of rescuing is?
It's extremely rewarding watching these confused/scared animals open up and learn to trust again. Not to mention, for every rescue animal adopted, two lives are saved - the one that came home with you and the one the organizations was able to rescue in his/her place.
It's wonderful to watch them try new things. The way their faces light up is heartwarming.
What would you like everyone to know about this topic?
There are so many great rescue organizations out there and some specialize in certain breeds. If there a specific breed that you're looking for, please check your local breed specific rescue organizations first. There are many wonderful purebred and mixed breed dogs that would love to be a part of a family.
Sometimes we get caught up in the excitement of bringing an adopted furry friend home. Please keep in mind that the animal probably very confused, went through a lot and need some time to get comfortable to regain his/her confidence. It can take 2-3 months for them to fully open up and show you how amazing they can be. It's worth the wait!
Fostering is an important part of the rescue process. If you cannot adopt, please consider opening up your home to a foster animal.