–Written by Erik Sargent
For many homes across the world, dogs and cats are more than just pets – they are meaningful members of a family, and are loved by everyone.
Unfortunately for many animals, this lifestyle isn’t always an option, as the rising number of animals in shelters continues to increase as the pet population continues to skyrocket, particularly in urban areas. The sad reality is the more animals entering these shelters, the higher number of animals being put down by euthanasia.
According to estimates from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters each year. Of this number, approximately 3.3 million are dogs, and 3.2 million of them are cats. Within these numbers, it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year because they did not get adopted.
Due to the sheer number of animals, the solution may never be resolved. However, thanks to wonderful people across the country, there are numerous animal shelters and rescues working tirelessly to ensure these loving animals are given a second chance and an opportunity to find a forever home.
A rescue that’s doing fantastic work is the Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a volunteer-powered nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals from certain euthanasia and finding them loving homes.
“Lucky Dog is what we call ‘volunteer-powered’,” said Mirah Horowitz, executive director for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. “We have a very small number of paid staff, and a vast majority of everything we do is done by volunteers. We have no facilities or shelter. The number of animals we can save is directly dependent on the number of volunteer foster homes we have, because obviously, the animals need a place to go until they are adopted.”
Horowitz and Lucky Dog are based on the east coast, and work primarily in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Puerto Rico. They partner with shelters or rescues that have very low adoption rates, and work to bring the animals to the Washington D.C. metro area.
Lucky Dog has volunteers who drive vans to shelters all over this region, and Horowitz and the Lucky Dog team have people they trust all over this area who are able to send them photos and descriptions of the animals they have so they know which ones will fit in their rescue. Last year, Lucky Dog rescued more than 1,725 animals.
“Our typical work is with ‘high-kill’ shelters, where the animals come in and their adoption rates are so low, that less than 10 percent of the animals leave alive,” Horowitz said. “Lucky Dog is able to take 40 to 50 percent of the animals that come in over the year and make a huge impact by saving their lives.”
There is no offseason for the Lucky Dog Animal rescue, either, as their work is non-stop, around the clock, all year long.
“It’s constant, it really is constant,” Horowitz said of their work load. “You see a little bit of a spike around the holiday season when people get rid of their dogs – especially older dogs – when they are trading them for younger dogs. There is a constant need for animals that need to be saved, it never really lets up.”
Movers making a difference
At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, we have a special place in our hearts for pets, and have formed our own initiatives to make a difference in the lives of animals all across the country.
Our Movers for Mutts campaign was developed to help local animal shelters support and foster stray animals in communities across the country. This program is hosted each fall, and the franchise locations that run this partner with local businesses, schools, and organizations to collect essential care items for pets to ensure they are taken care of while being housed in a shelter.
“We have many rescue organizations in our area that rely 100 percent on community support,” said Kirk Fishel, former marketing coordinator for the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh, Wis., locations. “If they do not receive support from the community, they must use their personal funds to help neglected, abused, and homeless animals. We felt this was an opportunity to help these animals and organizations by coordinating a Movers for Mutts campaign in our community.”
Movers for Mutts provides TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchise locations and their employees not only the chance to make a difference, but also to work with pets and provide a positive experience for them – something everyone can enjoy.
“We are a local company that cares about the community we work in,” said Patti Pula, sales team lead for the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Bay City, Midland, and Saginaw, Mich., location. “We try to give back to our community as often as possible. Most people know families that are in need, but don’t stop to think there might be pets in need, also.”
Shelters around the country vary in quality, and according to Horowitz, some of the bigger problems that shelters – particularly in rural areas – are facing include lack of resources, not enough high-quality food to give the animals, and not having the proper health protocols in place to ensure the safety of animals.
Most of all, the problem lies with low adoption rates, and as the rising number of pets increases, this will continue to be an issue.
As mentioned previously, a majority of the work done by Lucky Dog Animal Rescue stems from the help of unpaid volunteers, as it does with most major animal shelters and rescues. Horowitz encourages people who want to get involved to do so, reminding readers than any amount of help can go a long way in making a difference in the lives of animals.
“Lucky Dog always needs volunteers,” Horowitz said. “They don’t have to be physically located where we are, they can be remote. The other big way people can help out is with donations. We’re always in need of monetary donations, so if it’s not Lucky Dog, people should find another reputable shelter or rescue and commit their time or money. There’s never enough, there’s always a need for more.”
To learn more about the work that Lucky Dog Animal Rescue does, click here.
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