As a part of our commitment to giving back to rescue groups, we select two organizations every month to be the recipient of our Buy One Give One (BOGO) program. Our BOGO program is based on online sales from our leash and collar collections For every collar/leash purchased, one is donated to a rescue group.
We are excited to announce that Louie’s Legacy, is our BOGO recipient from February 1-14th, 2017. Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue, Inc. is very unique in that they service two different areas: Cincinnati, Ohio and New York City. They aim to alleviate the suffering of abandoned shelter animals by rescuing, fostering, rehabilitating and rehoming them within their communities. As part of their commitment to the health and well-being of all of their animals and to reduce pet overpopulation, every pet is spayed or neutered prior to adoption. They are committed to ensuring the safety of their animals for their entire lifetimes so that they will never suffer abuse, neglect or abandonment again.
What is involved in keeping a multi-state rescue going? (How many adoptable dogs are in your program? Where do your dogs come from?)
Running a multistate rescue like ours, in the way that we like to, takes a lot of effort. We have one full-time employee and just a few part-time employees (who ultimately end up volunteering up to and exceeding full-time work!) There are also 300 or more volunteers of varied job descriptions and volunteer foster homes at any given time, six or more adoption events taking place every weekend, 20 – 30 or more adoptions every weekend, and 20 – 50 animals pulled from shelters each week.
Managing all of this requires thousands of hours of time from volunteer coordinators, in addition to our very small paid staff, in order to ensure the integrity of each adoption placement and the care of every animal while in foster care. We have many shelter partners which are vital to our cause, as they keep us informed about their needs and populations. We develop personal relationships with our shelter partners and view them as part of the same mission. We pull from our local shelters, especially pit bulls, cats and senior pets or pets with medical needs, but also reach out to rural shelters (often but not always within a 3 hr drive radius). We find those shelters may more desperately need our help, because with less space (sometimes only a few dog runs and no cat cages), and very few public adoptions, they are faced with euthanasia weekly, if not daily. In both NYC and Cincinnati, we are lucky to have local shelters who do a good job of keeping adoptions statistics exceptionally high.
What are some of the things your group is known for?
We hope that Louie’s is known for helping many of the “sick, old and miserable”, as one of our shelter partners put it. We budget and fundraise so that there is always room for one more– but that depends on help from our followers, of course! We also take pride in the care we take in selecting a proper home for each pet. While we are lucky to have a lot of adoptions, each pet usually gets many applications, and we are happy to hold any pet as long as it takes to find a high-quality home which can safely accommodate any special needs, from medical needs, to breed knowledge to training.
Describe some of the more challenging moments in rescue and how you/the other volunteers got through it.
There are so many challenging parts to rescue, and I have had personally challenging moments, from addressing staffing (volunteer and paid) issues, animal behavior issues, especially severe behavior issues, pets with devastating, long-term medical issues, etc. One of the hardest situations is trying to reconcile the number of needy pets with available foster homes. Recently we were the only rescue who immediately stepped up to assist a cruelty case involving 30 coonhounds in terrible conditions and 6 smaller dogs. This individual had a prior cruelty conviction and was not allowed to have animals for 5 years– after the 5 years was up, he promptly began hoarding and neglecting again.
Seeing our laws and our society fail the animals is devastating. What was even harder is only being able to help as many of those hounds as we could find fosters for– and fosters appropriate for undersocialized coonhounds are very hard to find. We were able to save many though, and the shelter is doing its best to house the remainder while we work to continue helping more. Finding balance between making appropriate placements and saving as many as possible is a constant struggle, but one our team has learned to tackle well.
What is the most rewarding part about fostering?
I think most foster parents would say the most rewarding part of fostering is knowing that once you’ve seen your foster go home with an amazing (well screened, hand-picked) family, you know that you can save another who otherwise would not have lived, in some cases, to see another day. You personally can literally save a life. there aren’t a lot of other volunteer experiences quite like that.
Let us know anything else you’d like to share with us.
We are so proud to have saved over 1,800 animal lives just in 2016, and over 8,500 since we started in 2009! Every single foster home we work with has the potential to add to this number. We do not have a shelter, so, with the exception of a few animals that stay at our office, each pet saved was saved because a foster family volunteered.