Rolex was my first rescue. He was dropped off at my house when I wasn’t home by an old “friend” that I no longer spoke to, but who knew of my love for dogs. That was 8 years ago.
He’s an old man now and a constant source of amusement, as well as a great role model for the puppies and rescue dogs we bring in.
Our other “official” dog is Olive Oyl. We picked her up as a pup from a hunter who was told that the German Shorthair Pointer he rescued could no longer have puppies…. Oops.
She’s a German Shorthair/English Pointer mix, born July 4, 2010 and is a very high maintenance dog. She has anxiety issues, is not food motivated, and keeps me on my toes as a trainer. She loves her brother very much, and also LOVES to snuggle under the blankets and take a nap with her mom. Some of my favorite time spent with her is during a lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon.
In Michigan between 2002-2009, my time was primarily spent with dogs (as I prefer it!).
I volunteered at the local Humane Society, walking their dogs, doing laundry-anything I could to help.
I also worked at a local dog daycare, BarkTown USA, where the owner April Hargraves quickly became my mentor. I coordinated and managed dog playgroups, assisted with bathing when needed, and introduced a new “Play and Train” program.
Upon a recommendation from April, Linda Nichols, owner of Fido FUNdamentals Dog Training, took me under her wing and I began my studies of positive reinforcement dog training. I assisted Linda with everything from basic obedience to some home training visits and eventually began running the puppy training classes.
The dogs I worked with were like my own, and I became close with their ‘pet parents’ as well. When not working, training or volunteering, I could often be found pet sitting for many of the dogs while their owners were away.
In February of 2011 we moved to Florida and it broke my heart to leave. I miss all of those dogs every day!
After moving to FL I quickly realized there is a serious epidemic down here. There are hundreds of unwanted dogs, more than I ever experienced in Michigan. I have theories as to why this is, but that really doesn’t matter. The point is that there are dogs that need to be rescued, need to saved. Far too many.
It was at that point that my fiance and I began officially rescuing dogs. We didn’t work with any rescue groups, didn’t collect any money; when we discovered a dog that was desperately in need of help, be it online or at a shelter, we just took it in, got them healthy and trained, and fostered it until we could find them a good home.
Sinatra’s rescue was the first where I was forced to reach out to the community for help to cover his expensive heartworm treatments ($1,000+), and I was overwhelmed with the response and support. It is what first started this blog.
I am very happy to say that we got Sinatra healthy and after having him for nearly a year, I found him an amazing, loving home. And then I didn’t get any more dogs for over a year. My heart needed to heal from my time with Sinatra. I was very attached to him, as I end up being with all my dogs, but he was such a special case, he will always hold a place in my heart.
Now, here I am. If I thought the dog problem was bad in Clearwater… I was not prepared for what I found when we moved to the country. We bought a home December 2014 a couple hours inland, in a rural area close to my job.
Stray dogs everywhere. Puppies running loose. Backyard breeders that keep their dogs chained outside. They are literally coming to us.
We got back to rescuing. It’s amazing and overwhelming and inspirational and exhausting. As of September 2015, in the 9 months that we have lived here, we have rescued over 20 dogs (which includes the 7 puppies the pregnant stray we brought in had). And we currently have 5 available for adoption (if interested, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!)
We are now a registered non-profit and working on getting our 501(c)3. So I started up the blog again so everyone could follow our journey as we save and train these abandoned and unwanted dogs.
We do this work without donations or volunteers. Our adoption fees don’t cover the costs we spend on these rescues, especially since so many come to us with serious and very costly medical issues.
If you would like to help, we are always accepting towels, old blankets, unwanted food, toys, or treats, or anything else you can offer! Every little bit helps!