This guest post written by Phyllis Sollars, Public Protection coordinator, Emergency Preparedness and Response for DTE Energy
Today is Thursday, transport day. This means that when I get home from the office, I will feed my dogs (three of them now) and make myself dinner. I will then gather the supplies needed for tonight’s transport: three purebred bulldogs coming from a breeder, two older dogs being moved out of a high-kill shelter and a pregnant mama whose puppies would have been at risk for life-threatening diseases if born in a shelter. Myself and other volunteers will be waiting for the dogs with medication, microchips and hugs.
I am a volunteer and foster for Last Day Dog Rescue, a no-kill rescue on a mission of saving animals. After losing my beautiful, 4-year-old dog, Lexie, to Lymphoma five years ago, I wasn’t ready to adopt but I did feel the need to somehow help. That is when I found myself among other amazing volunteers, providing a happier ending for dogs in hard situations.
Last Day Dog Rescue has amazing volunteer opportunities, from transport day every Thursday to adoption events to fundraising and marketing. Adoption events are held year-round across all of metro-Detroit. Some of the more popular ones are “Meet your Best Friend at the Zoo” and a personal favorite, “Pets for Veterans,” which will be held for the second time March 25. It can be hard to find sponsors to cover the adoption fees for “Pets for Veterans” and it takes a lot of work to set up and promote, but the stories of how veterans’ lives were changed makes it all worthwhile.
Our dogs typically come from owner surrenders, Detroit Animal Control Care, high-kill shelters across the nation, and other local shelters that are at capacity. We get dogs who have been left abandoned in basements or garages. We have had puppies left on porches. Some of our dogs have been thrown out of cars, which unfortunately, happens a lot. We get a mix of purebreds, bait dogs, mixes, old, young, three-legged, pregnant, sick and healthy. We even get cats and kittens when fosters are available to take them in. We don’t discriminate.
Last Day Dog Rescue is also part of Paws in the D, a coalition of rescue groups coming together to improve the lives of all animals in Detroit by providing support to the animals and their families. Paws in the D distributes resources through its organizational partnership, and when funding is available, supplies owners with dog houses, food, spay/neuter clinics, vaccination clinics and dog licensing. Each group also sets up communications with the residents by establishing block captains and teaching families the importance of quality food and socialization and how to make an outdoor dog a house dog.
Paws in the D brings national data to the Detroit-area, works to change laws around animal welfare and is being monitored on a national-level to determine if this type of coalition can be successful.
In addition to the coalition of Paws in the D, we also work a lot with other organizations who share our passion for animals. We partner with C.H.A.I.N.E.D. Inc., who aims to educate owners of chained-dogs – advocating for owner-retention, the removal of chains and providing families with the supplies and training needed to move the dogs inside.
The first dog we received from C.H.A.I.N.E.D., La Vaca, was on a three-foot chain. He lived on a cement slab with no grass, no shelter and minimal interaction with the family that lived in the house. Through thunderstorms, snow storms and other harsh weather elements, he was chained on a three-foot lead.
When all efforts are exhausted, C.H.A.I.N.E.D. will ask the owner to surrender the dog and Last Day Dog Rescue will take the animal in.
There are so many great organizations in Michigan who are focused on providing quality of life for our animals and I’m happy to be a part of it.
Like many of these other rescue groups, Last Day Dog Rescue is in need of fosters to help save more dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. Sometimes, I feel that animals have become “throw-away” items, tossed to the side when an owner moves, gets divorced, has a baby, or the old dog doesn’t get along with the new puppy. However, the animal still needs a new home – and that’s where we step in.
If you have ever thought about fostering, you should try it. I guarantee you will shed some tears, but you will also feel the joy of teaching, loving and caring for the animal so they are truly ready for their forever homes. Being involved with Last Day Dog Rescue gives me a great feeling of pride because I know, to that one dog, I made a difference.