Almost every day we are bombarded by news of the atrocities humans inflict on each other and animals. It’s easy to get upset about these horrors, talk about them at work or with friends, and share our views on social media. What’s hard is to actually move from that state of ineffective venting to effecting positive change.
Sometimes the problems seem so large and overwhelming, it’s difficult to believe we can do anything to help. But as many strong individuals have shown us, it is possible.
Fetch & Releash is a great example of people coming together to make a positive difference in the lives of homeless and abandoned dogs. Founded in April of 2016, this rescue organization has already taken in 50 dogs (35 from a high kill shelter in the United States) and found loving homes for over 40. All that in a little over four months!
It’s not a huge organization. It’s five amazingly devoted people who volunteer to help dogs in need. As Trish, one of the founders of Fetch & Releash said, “Sleep, food, time with loved ones all take a backseat while we work long and hard to support these dogs that need us so desperately.”
It’s definitely not easy. According to adoption manager, Kristen, “Some days we thought . . . how are we going to do this? But we pulled together and we did it.”
That’s the key, reaching out to other like minded people who are committed to the same cause you are. So on those days when giving up seems like the only option left, you have someone there to remind you why you got involved in the first place.
And there’s always the joy of seeing the good come out of all your hard work, to carry you through the tough days.
“On the days when we felt most exhausted and overwhelmed, the universe somehow conspired to pick us back up again. It was always THOSE days that we would receive a heartwarming message from an adopter thanking us for giving them the chance to save a life or a photo of a dog in their new home. And our energy was renewed for yet another day.”
And so far, all their adoptions have been successful. The key, according to Kristen is two-fold. First of all, they put in a lot of work up front to ensure they are matching the right dog to the right family.They make sure the potential adopter knows the realities of dog ownership and is prepared to make a life long commitment. And second, their support does not end once the dog has been adopted. The folks at Fetch & Releash are always willing to help with any issues that arise. According to Trish, one of the most common reasons someone surrenders their pet is due to behavioural issues. As such, Fetch & Releash has partnered with a dog trainer and offers six complimentary training sessions for their adopters.
One of Trish’s favourite success stories is Joey. He was recently adopted by a family who recognized his “gentle temperament and passion for spreading love”. They plan to enrol Joey in the St. Johns Ambulance program to become a therapy dog. Trish said that “knowing Joey will be giving love to people who truly need a reason to smile makes us SUPER PROUD.”
I asked them how they deal with the reality of not being able to save them all.
Kristen said it’s “especially hard” on their intake manager who “receives emails daily from shelters across North America begging for our help. There are usually photos of dogs looking sad and desperate.” But Kristen knows they can’t over commit beyond their capacity to find volunteers to foster the dogs until a permanent home can be found.
How can you help Fetch & Releash?
- Consider becoming a foster parent to a dog in need. Fetch & Releash can only rescue as many dogs as they have foster homes. They provide the foster with all the supplies and support they need. The foster provides the love and shelter for the dog.
- Spread the word about Fetch & Releash and their wonderful adoptable dogs.
- Fundraise for them
On a personal note, Fetch & Releash brought us our newest family member, Poppy. I was impressed by their extensive screening process. We completed a detailed questionnaire, they contacted two references and our veterinarian, AND they did a home visit to see for themselves that Poppy was loved and doing well. Also, they still make themselves available to answer any questions we have. This is invaluable. Adopting a dog can be stressful and having the support and experience of Fetch & Releash makes it a lot easier.
Seeing Poppy’s picture on their Facebook page with the caption “Poppy’s been adopted!” was beyond wonderful. Fetch & Releash has effected a positive change for our family and I will always be grateful for that.
For more information on this amazing organization and the adorable dogs waiting for a loving home, check out their website.