by Meredith (City Dogs Rescue Communications Director)
Earlier this year, I started volunteering for City Dogs Rescue as Communications Director. CDR Director Darren emailed me about a need for help with Facebook for 5-8 hours a week. I was eager to get involved and agreed to help out with this fantastic organization. I have enjoyed this rewarding experience that has taught me so much about the sad state of animal shelters in our nation. By my own volition, I have helped out as many hours a week as I'm able from anything from volunteer organization to the website and more recently to rescuing my first dog.
Recently, Laura, a volunteer and donor, reached out to me in regards to some dogs scheduled to be euthanized in Logan County, West Virginia. She offered to foster the dogs until adoption despite already having two of her own. At this time, we had three adoptions and had some space to take on more dogs (a rarity for any rescue in the summer). After talking to Savannah a volunteer in Logan County, we learned the urgent dogs had found rescue. However, Savannah was worried about several other dogs that were at risk of death just hours after we spoke. After seeing a picture of three redtick coonhound puppies that were dropped at the shelter and scheduled to be put down, I was devastated.
Andy "Pup Pup" at Rita's house
We put out an urgent message to our volunteers, fosters, and supporters on Facebook to request a foster for the three puppies at risk. After an overwhelming response and many generous donations, we decided at midnight to commit to the puppies.
Savannah worked with Rita, a local foster, to get the puppies out of the shelter as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, we were too late in many respects. After speaking to Savannah (who lives an hour away from the Logan County Dog Pound and fosters approximately a dozen kittens at a time), I learned that two of the pups did not make it. We initially believed they had succomb the tragic parvo virus.
Andy on a potty break en route from WV to DC
Rita showed our survivor Andy who she called “Pup Pup” a life of love far away from a dog pound. We were grateful to Kristi who contacted Stephanie and Tracy about transporting our surviving dog to Washington, DC. These amazing women were coming to DC for the No Kill Conference and graciously agreed to bring Andy from Rita’s to Washington. Despite a long car ride, Andy was well behaved and didn’t even go to the bathroom in his crate.
Upon arrival to DC, Andy was all smiles when he met me and my best friend Elyse. It was clear that he really was a fighter and that he had a heart of pure gold. He immediately showered us with kisses and cuddles.
Andy was pretty tired after the long ride!
After arriving to DC, we noticed Andy was scratching at his fur and something seemed off. With the help of Animal Care Coordinator Lyn, I was off to CityPaws with Andy in tow. He behaved perfectly in the taxi cab and patiently waited for his appointment when he arrived. I feared he had mange so despite his best intentions, Andy wasn’t allowed to play with the other pups at the vet.
Andy was very patient at the vet.
The vets and staff at CityPaws were immensely helpful and eager to treat our charming puppy. We found out Andy had Hookworm, which is a deadly virus especially for young puppies. After hearing this news, I couldn’t help but feel even more saddened we weren’t able to save his siblings in time.
After the vet, I took Andy to City Dogs Daycare to get feedback from our directors Dave and Darren. Since his white blood cell count was very low and he was very thin, we decided he needed additional treatment. With the help of Alissa, we took him to South Paws in Fairfax where we spent the rest of our night. The dewormer from CityPaws had already begun to take affect and the vets were amazed by his energy. They gave him additional medications but we were grateful to hear that a blood transfusion wouldn’t be necessary.
Andy and I had a wonderful night playing with his toy pig from Alissa and snuggling. He likes to sleep so close that he wants your face to touch his, which is great way to keep warm. I knew I couldn’t keep him, but if the circumstances were right, I would have never let him out of my arms.
I knew Andy would find a good home in no time because he has a way of stealing your heart instantly. Susan and Rob were a great family to foster him during his recovery because they have three other dogs and an excellent track record of fostering. The minute Susan met Andy, he leapt into her arms and pretty much stayed there. He did, however, enjoy his foster sister Lola quite a bit!
Andy and Lucy together forever
Not soon after, Andy was ready to meet his forever furpal Lucy and his new parents Dan and Dan. Everyone knew they’d fall in love instantly and they did. Now, Andy has a loving family and a new name: Ricky. While this experience had its ups and downs, I don’t regret one minute of it. I connected with amazing people (Savannah, Rita, Stephanie, Tracy, Susan, Rob, Dan and Dan) and an amazing dog whose life was saved through the help of City Dogs Rescue. I couldn’t be prouder of this organization and I can’t wait to watch Ricky grow up to be a big, healthy dog.
Most of us make New Year’s resolutions and by January 3 have forgotten all about them. That is not the case with City Dogs Rescue volunteer, Leslie Forte.
“One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to spend more time volunteering. I used to volunteer with other rescues years and years (and three children) ago. I am so blessed with a wonderful family and life that I wanted to give back. A friend had liked CDR on Facebook and so I clicked on their page and checked it out. They had posted a call for someone to do animal transport so I responded,” Leslie said.
Her first volunteer transport was in April 2012 where she brought dogs from Fredericksburg to City Dogs Daycare. Leslie credits the support of her family and especially her husband for helping with the dogs.
Having rescued a black Lab, whose mother died of cancer this past Christmas, Leslie noticed that he had been pretty lonely so she decided to foster some dogs.
“Having another dog in the house isn’t really that much more work.”
Leslie explained that fostering is pretty easy as it basically means treating the dog like it is one of your own: loving and caring for them and taking them under your wing.
“If you already have a dog, it’s a piece of cake. You’re feeding and walking one dog, why not another? Many of these dogs have never been indoor dogs and don’t even know how to go up and down stairs. It is so fun to see how they adjust to living in a warm cozy house with a huge wrap-around sofa (where all dogs are welcome).”
As luck would have it, her own dog, Fatty, was a foster she took in ten years ago.
“My sister and I answered an urgent request on one of our mailing lists about a new mamma dog who was neglected with her six small pups. We agreed to foster them, having zero clues about puppies or dogs,” she said. “Fatty was the largest of the pups and would push the other dogs out of the way for food. We nicknamed him that assuming we would eventually adopt him out and his new family would give him a real name. But by the time we realized we were in love with him and wanted to keep him, the name stuck.”
Daisy and Buttercup are looking for a home
She said Fatty probably thinks the family is a little crazy for having dogs show up for short periods of time and, initially he was a bit skittish, but since they’ve fostered seven dogs, he’s pretty used to having new dogs around. And her entire family is in on the efforts of providing a supportive environment for the dogs.
“I love meeting new dogs and seeing all their different personalities. And I love how excited my kids get when we have a new foster dog. They always ‘test’ the dogs to see if they will play catch.”
Leslie’s extended family have benefitted from her efforts as well. Her father, sister and brother all had dogs who were once fostered by her. Once of her recent fosters, Chloe, was adopted by a good friend. She’s really happy to see pictures and hear stories of how much joy Chloe has brought to her friend’s family and how content Chloe is being in her forever home.
And her commitment to helping dogs extends beyond the border of Washington. She traveled to New Orleans to help an animal rescue group after Hurricane Katrina. Although it was a sad time, Leslie said it was also very inspirational.
Pepper one of Leslie's fosters
“One elderly man, who had lost absolutely everything, including family members, brought his dog to our makeshift animal shelter since the human shelter where he was in would not take animals. He was so sad to leave that dog but knew he could not keep her in the short term. We promised him we could take good care of the dog until he was on his feet and expected we’d see him again in a few weeks,” she said. “As it turned out, he showed up twice a day, walking miles from the shelter to come see his dog. He’d bring her fried chicken or some biscuits and just sit and sing to her for hours. His dog and her love were the only thing that helped him survive a horrible tragedy. I always cry (and smile) when I think about that old man, singing silly nursery rhymes to a scraggly little white dog. Dogs really are a man’s best friend!”
For those who are thinking they might want to foster a dog, Leslie can’t say enough about CDR.
“City Dogs Rescue is the most organized, well-run rescue I have ever seen. I am impressed every day with the group and how much good they are doing. They do a fantastic job of communicating and they are really supportive of their foster families, helping with medical issues, behavior issues, etc. They make fostering easy.”
And while fostering might appear to be a long-term commitment, Leslie noted that City Dogs Rescue is also in need of short term foster care.
“This is a great way to get your feet wet and see if fostering is for you. CDR also has a ton of other ways that you can contribute as well – fundraising, dog walking, adoption events, and more!”
At the end of the day, it’s fostering a dog that keeps Leslie true to her New Year’s resolution.
“I love watching the dogs blossom and come out of their shells,” she said. “But most of all, I love knowing that one life was spared because I agreed to be a foster.”
Think you’re ready to provide a loving environment for a dog while they wait for their forever family? Visit the fostering page to find out more or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For all other volunteer opportunities, click here.
"We want you to know that Morgan has brought joy to our household, and it was all because you rescued her for us."
Here is Morgan Before her mange was cured. See how coarse her fur is by her mouth.
We rescued Morgan from South Carolina and brought her to DC as our 3rd dog to be adopted. When she arrived she had terrible mange. Mange is a skin disease commonly found in shelter dogs that are neglected. She had very spotty patches of fur and a coarse coat when she arrived.
Today, she looks like a whole new girl! See below!
We are pleased to announce Lyn has joined our team as Animal Care Coordinator. She will assist Alissa as Foster Coordinator and Brian as Alumni Liaison with questions about our dogs. She will be in our in-house animal expert! Thank you, Lyn!
I was born and raised in Oxon Hill, Maryland, settled in Waldorf, Maryland and raised one daughter with my husband. I work for the Federal Government, Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington, DC. My office disseminates data on all of the fatal crashes which occur on our nations roadways, so be safe out there while you are driving!
I still reside in Waldorf, MD, and have 4 Chihuahuas, and I am fostering one Chihuahua from our local Humane Society. We are now enrolled in obedience class with one of my own and my foster, in hopes that with manners, he will be adopted more easily after completing the class, and he is doing remarkably well!
I started volunteering at the Charles County Humane Society Rabies Clinic and the Spay and Neuter Clinic and decided that I wanted to know more about the care and wellbeing of animals. I decided it was time to act on my heart and learn something about the creatures I have so much admiration for.
I found that my local community college provided a career starter course in Veterinarian Assistant and I jumped at the chance to learn. I completed, and passed the training some of which is noted below:
History taking and exam room procedures, physical exams, animal restraint and handling, anatomy and physiology, animal diseases and vaccinations, parasitology, basic laboratory procedures, pharmacology, patient care and radiology, nursing care-therapeutic techniques, fluid therapy, introduction to radiology, surgical equipment and preparation of surgical team and patient, patient recovery, emergency medicine, triage, and common emergencies.
I have just enrolled in another class titled "Understanding Diseases in Animals" starting in September.
When I heard about City Dogs Rescue at the Kristin Chenoweth concert in June, from Miss Kristin Chenoweth herself, I just kept thinking, maybe I could help in some small way. After meeting with Dave, Darren and Alissa, I am hoping that I can help with questions or concerns the foster parents might have with the health and wellbeing of the dogs you foster (or adopt!).
If you are able to assist during the week to drive any of our foster dogs to the vet, please email Lyn to be added to our daytime vet transport list or click here to sign up for daytime volunteering.
We just heard from Destiny (nickname Dee)! She was our 15th Dog Adopted and she came from A Shelter Friend in November 2011 and then stayed with wonderful foster Lee Granados. Her forever family had this to say, "The delightful Dee came to us over the holidays in 2012 and the love in our home exploded a la The Grinch. Just like his heart, ours grew exponentially! A flat coat, Dee is special. A mix of black lab and golden retriever, her fur takes on a purplish tinge in the morning light: A beauty to behold. A mother between 3-5 years of age, Dee was an excellent match for our family of two growing boys and a kitten who had just adopted us. She has an easy going temperament and aims to please. This older dog was quite ready to learn new tricks. And I guess I am, too. I often think that it's Dee who walks me in the morning! She came with heart worm disease, but with the treatment she's recovering nicely. I can't imagine a life without our Dee. Thank you, CDR for all the solid work you do." Thank you Shannen and Peter for saving this beautiful girl! Her hair shines beautifully and her days of neglect are long behind her!
I am very playful. I like chasing the ball and I even bring it back to you. I love to cuddle with you - in the morning, during the day, in the evening, at night and all time in between. I even stay a few hours alone at home patiently waiting for you bringing me my food. I think I could be also a good companion if you want to go for a run. I learn pretty fast. I already know "Sit" and "Down". I am learning right now about "giving the paw". When my foster mom says to me, "Betsy box" I know to go in the crate. I am pretty clever, right?
I even know what to do if there are fireworks or thunderstorms: I am hiding under foster mommy's bed.
I really like my foster mom, but she cannot keep me forever, so I am looking for a lovely forever home. I am pretty sure, I will like you too. My foster mommy says that I am a people dog. I love people!
At first, I was nervous and critical about almost every other dog, but my foster mom told me that some are really nice. Even a few days ago I played with 6 month old Koda, my new friend. My foster mom is pretty sure I will get along with my colleagues better and better, she sees progress already.
Well, I am a smart dog. If you are smart too and if you would like to have a new cuddle partner, give me a call, well, call City Dogs Rescue, okay?!