Perks of rescue animals

Perks of rescue animals

Dirty, scared, and flea-ridden. Wandering the streets, ducking into alleyways for refuge, and eating scraps out of trash cans. These are the conditions that some stray animals live in, out alone on the streets.

Some of these animals are grateful enough to be taken in by rescue shelters. These animal shelters have the sole purpose of finding animals, rescuing them from harsh or unstable conditions, and bringing them to a shelter. At these shelters, employees and volunteers take care of these animals, getting them ready to be adopted and go to a forever home. According to the ASPCA, (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) approximately 6.6 million animals are taken into rescue shelters each year, and out of this number, 3.5 million dogs and 3.3 million cats.

However, most people still get their animals from breeders, choosing to buy their pets instead of rescuing the many more that are at shelters.

BAARK Dog Rescue is a unique type of animal rescue. They don’t have an actual shelter for their dogs but instead are foster-based. This means that their dogs go stay at real homes, all of which are foster families hand-selected by Sandra Boston, the founder, and owner of BAARK. These foster homes need to fit specific criteria, and the foster owners are always screened and made sure they know the responsibilities, as well as being checked to make sure they are prepared to give a dog a safe, temporary home.

BAARK takes stray dogs in, specifically senior or special needs ones, from places like Chicago Animal Control, simply finding these dogs via FaceBook, or as Boston explained, “the last few years it’s like these animals have found me.”
When it comes to funding, BAARK Rescue Shelter is “100% funded by supporters, through fundraising events that we hold, including online fundraisers,” Boston said. “Generally speaking, our operating budget is estimated at $80,000. Of this amount, I’d say over $75,000 goes to the vet care of our animals.”

The main focus of this rescue is to tend to the care of special needs and senior citizen dogs. BAARK doesn’t cut corners when it comes to vet services, such as surgeries, for their dogs. They make sure to get their dogs all of the needed medical treatments and make sure that all potential owners know about the health conditions and true personality of their animals.

Being a foster-based rescue instead of having an actual shelter can actually be very beneficial and has its hidden perks.

“We get to know our dogs really well. We typically keep our dogs for at least a month, so that we get a better perspective on the animals’ personalities. And since they’re in a home rather than at a shelter, this helps us match them better when they’re being adopted,” Boston said.

This can be shown to be beneficial by BAARK’s intake and adoption numbers each year. BAARK takes in roughly 60-80 dogs per year, including the occasional litter of cats. Out of this number, their intake is slightly higher than the adoption number. “We hit at least 60 adoptions every year. We’re at 60 intakes right now and at 56 adoptions,” Boston said.

BAARK believes that rescuing dogs is important; and that everyone should rescue instead of buying.

“My thought always is, when someone is buying a dog from a breeder they are taking that home away from dogs in shelters,” Boston said.

But, on the other side of the spectrum, some people will only buy their pets from breeders.

“I have bought my dogs all from breeders,” Julie Hendrick, a French Bulldog owner said. She has had multiple of these dogs in the past, and these are the only type of dogs that she buys. Hendrick said that these have always been her favorite types of dogs because they’ve been in her family ever since she was a little girl. “Usually my family would buy them when they were puppies so that we could grow up alongside these dogs,” Hendrick said.

BAARK Dog Rescue prides itself on something different. “What makes our organization special,” Boston said, “is that we don’t take in a lot of puppies like other shelters do, for two reasons. One is because everyone else wants them, and two is that we specifically tend to focus on senior and special needs dogs only.”

Boston explained how BAARK pays for and takes care of all of the dog’s medical needs before sending them off to a permanent home. This helps make BAARK unique, since many shelters take in puppies, mainly because lots of people want them. Older dogs or ones with special needs can be just as great, if so more. Boston said how she has had amazing experiences with older rescue dogs and find them to be more loving because they want to settle down in a happy home. Opposite of Hendrick, when talking with rescue pet owners, they seem to have many different responses than the people who only buy their animals.

“I have always rescued my animals, both dogs, and cats. Most of them have been in shelters for so long and deserve to go to a forever home,” said Darleen Chaltry, an eighty-two-year-old woman who lives with her rescue cat. “Growing up my family would take in cats that we found in the woods, simply because we wanted to give them a home.”

BAARK Dog Rescue encourages people to adopt their pets from breeders instead of buying. BAARK explains how it can be risky buying an animal from a breeder because sometimes breeders seem to be safe but are actually breeding their dogs in unsafe conditions, and can actually be puppy mills in disguise.

According to the Humane Society, “A puppy mill is an inhumane high-volume dog-breeding facility that churns out puppies for profit, ignoring the needs of the pups and their mothers.”

As Boston said, she thinks that when someone is buying an animal from a breeder instead of adopting one, they are simply taking away another home that could have been for a shelter animal. And with the risk of not knowing if a breeder is actually safe, or is treating their animals badly behind the scenes, Boston suggests rescues are the better option.

“Go out and rescue a dog,” Boston said. “When you do, you are giving this animal a home that they will be forever grateful for.”