We’re giving back to Stop The Suffering, from November 1-15th, through our Buy One Give One program. Stop the Suffering rescues and transports dogs and cats from high-kill shelters, located primarily in Ohio and some West Virginia and Kentucky, to pre-approved rescues in five states where they can be evaluated and matched with new families. They raise funds for critical and routine veterinary care, vaccinations, transportation and food for rescue animals in both foster care and rural shelters. What is your biggest challenge involved in keeping a foster-based rescue going?
All foster based rescues rely heavily on donations and community support. Without our followers and supporters, we could not make a difference in over 3,000 animals in a year. Additionally, Great leadership and a strong, dedicated volunteer base of like-minded peers with a passion for animals is the foundation of a great rescue.
We currently have over 50 dogs in our program. To date, we have adopted out close to 100 pups this year. Most all of our dogs come from rural shelters(most are kill shelters) located in southern Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.
STS has a Silver Paws program that is aimed at saving senior pups who end up in the shelter. We know every dog is deserving of a home but seniors are so commonly looked over that we feel compelled to dedicate time, effort and money to these deserving souls.
What are some of the things your group is known for?
STS is a unique foster based rescue as with multiple focuses. We have a trio of branches. First and foremost, STS is a TRANSPORT organization. Each and every Thursday, we load a transport van up with food and other items, including vaccines, for our rural home shelters. We drive to southern Ohio and drop these supplies off to the shelters and then we pick up the dogs headed to rescue for multiple rescue groups all over Ohio and beyond, some even heading all the way to Canada. Transport can have as few as 1 passenger and as many as 100+. Of course, sometimes people need to drive personal vehicles down to accommodate. On average we have at least 50 passengers each transport. To southern Ohio and back is about a 5 hour round trip. Then, we have a leg that transports north 2 about hours to the Toledo area. Some dogs end their journey there and some continue on--all the way to Canada. We have transported over 3,000 to date for this current year.
Second, STS has a SPONSORSHIP program. When push comes to shove, these rural shelters just run out of space and are forced to euthanize for space. Their volunteers and wardens have a unique relationship with STS, who provides sponsorship for many pups that have simply run out of time but are deserving of a second chance. STS will transport Sponsorship pups to Columbus and provide vetting and pay for boarding in an effort to buy the dog time. We continue to network our sponsorship pups to other local rescues so they can end up in a foster home and eventually their forever home. Of course, if we can bring a sponsored pup into our program, we most certainly will but we rely on foster homes to help!
Lastly, STS is a FOSTER based rescue with our own ADOPTION program. This component of our rescue is currently being expanded with an influx of new fosters and leaders for STS. Previously STS took mainly only a few seniors and medical cases into their adoption program with limited fosters and relied heavily on the sponsorship program to make a difference the lives of so many animals. Now, we have seniors, medical cases, even puppies and everything in between as we are growing this program and making a difference for so many more!
What are some of the more challenging moments in rescue and how did you get through them?
As a transport organization that works directly as the first point of contact with most of these rural shelters, we see first hand the conditions these pups are in when they enter the shelter. The emergency cases all come to us...hoarding cases, dogs hit by cars, dogs abandoned or shot. The shelters we work with do their best to provide a safe environment for the animals but most of them don’t even have a vet and can’t afford veterinary care. Leaving a deserving dog behind is heartbreaking and that is why we created the sponsorship program. We literally buy time to give dogs a chance that would otherwise be euthanized. We are well aware that we can't save them all, and I think that is the hardest part. We do have to leave some behind and hope that another rescue can step up, an adopter comes along, or that they are there next time and we can bring them with us.
As a foster parent, transition into the home is always hard. Many shelter dogs are scared and need a good amount of time to decompress. They may be sick with parasites, parvo, or other health issues that will take time to heal. They may need expensive surgery or heartworm treatment. Many people don't know what they are signing up for when they take in a former stray or abandoned the dog. It can be overwhelming at first, but when you finally see a shy dog open up, or a dog that just can't control themselves calm down and listen, or a dog discover toys, you know why you signed up for this. ESPECIALLY when you see them find their FUREVER home. We are a close group that provides support to one another throughout the whole foster experience. Teamwork plays such an important role in successful fostering.
What is the most rewarding part about fostering? What would you say to others who are considering fostering for a group like yours?
Fostering saves more lives than just one. By fostering, you open up a cage for another dog in a shelter. It's as simple as that. It's kind of like how you feel when you find a great BOGO deal at the store, right? But seriously, seeing a dog learn that human touch is a good thing, that they will be fed each and every day, and they will not be too cold or too hot again is an amazing experience. These dogs thrive with just the most simple basic necessities. Personally, I love when a foster dog shows interest in toys. Watching them learn and think and understand is so rewarding. Another personal favorite is when they discover soft items like beds and blankets. When you see the life come back into their eyes, when their ears are always happy and perky...with foster pups, I really believe they look at you and know you saved their life. The organization may provide support financially and emotionally but the foster home saved the dog's life. Without foster homes, rescues could not commit to the pups in the first place.
Foster. Try it! Yes, you will get attached. No, you may not want to let the dog go, but when you do and you can help save another, you will realize that you were one of the biggest parts of that dog's journey. When you see how happy that same dog can make a family, you will know it's going to be okay. Each dog will take a part of your heart, but sometimes we have to be like dogs and love unconditionally.
As a private non-profit, they rely on the generosity of their community to help animals in need. As a transport organization it is vital they have collars and leashes. Through partnerships such as Project Blue Collar BOGO program, they are able to get these much-needed supplies.
SUPPORT STS with the PBC BOGO PROGRAM!
Through November 15, STS will be the beneficiary of our Buy One, Give One program. Get an item from our BOGO collection and they will receive the same for their adoptable dogs. Or, you can “gift” your purchase to STS and they’ll get double! (Just let us know in the comments section at checkout).