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How you can make a difference on National Rescue Dog Day

Posted by 
Steven Bonifazi
Steven Bonifazi
(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By Steven Bonifazi

(DENVER, Colo.) National Rescue Dog Day is Thursday to raise awareness for dogs who have not found families and homes yet.

The holiday was founded in 2009 by Lisa Wiehebrink of Trails That Tech, a non-profit organization that encourages young children to be kind to pets and people, in order to advance awareness of the high number of dogs sitting in animal shelters waiting to be adopted. The day also helps to promote humane education for youth and to encourage people to spay and neuter their dogs.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), about 3.3 million dogs enter animal shelters across the nation every year, with roughly 670,000 dogs being euthanized every year. They also state that approximately 1.6 million dogs are adopted from animal shelters each year.

In addition to National Rescue Dog Day, May is also National Pet Foster Care Month which calls attention to the importance of fostering pets to ensure their safety and well-being. Local organizations like Denver Animal Shelter and Animal Rescue of the Rockies depend on fosters to aid in saving lives.

"The most important thing anyone can do is to get their pet spayed or neutered to prevent more litters from being born. ARR adopted out over 2,500 homeless dogs and cats last year in 2020, as the COVID crisis caused many people to add a pet to their home," said Karen Martiny, president and executive director of Animal Rescue of the Rockies. "As a foster-home-based rescue organization, we rely solely on fosters to help us save lives.

Denver-based non-profit foster rescue, My Fairy Dawg Mother (MFDM), was founded 10 years ago by Nikki Gwin who had adopted a hound dog from a local rescue when she found out about a group of six hound dogs that had been abandoned in Kansas. After asking herself why no one was helping these dogs, she decided. to take matters into her own hands.

It was a Friday before Memorial Day, so I got in touch with other rescues and was turned away. A thousand phone calls later, I said I'm gonna get in my car, so Saturday morning I woke up and drove five hours to Kansas and picked up two hound dogs and got them both placed," said Gwin. "Before I knew it, I was like I might have a niche here and I thought I can do something significant and make my corner of the world a little bit better."

After feeling pressure from the rescue community to become a bonified registered non-profit, Gwin did just that. Today, MFDM specializes in hound dogs mainly as hound dogs are in the top three breeds that get euthanized nationwide among pit bulls and chihuahuas. However, the non-profit does not discriminate and will take any breed that needs help, such as Yorkshire Terriers and mastiffs.

MFDM is hosting pints for dogs on June 5 at 4 p.m. at SomePlace Else Brewery in Arvada with foster dogs and rescue alumni to raise awareness about the plight of rescue dogs while raising funds. Each pint of beer sold will go back to the rescue, with the brewery having created their own beer for the rescue, Dixie's Drool, based on a bloodhound rescue from MFDM.

There are many ways that dog lovers across the nation can get involved in the lives of rescue dogs and spread love.

Ways to make a difference on National Rescue Dog Day are as follows:

  • Adopt: Consider adopting and giving a dog a home if you are in a situation where you are able to do so.
  • Foster: Socializing an abandoned dog helps them to thrive in environments that are not the shelter, with some dogs needing medical care or rehabilitation within a home setting prior to being adopted.
  • Help a shelter: Shelters can be supported through financial donations and items from blankets and toys to treats and leashes. Funds for shelters can also be raised through hosted events such as bake sales, car washes or other events.
  • Volunteer: Simply taking dogs for walks, grooming and providing affection can serve as effective ways of volunteering as these small tasks can help to improve dog's socialization.
  • Spaying/Neuter: Spaying or neutering is a responsible way to ensure that overpopulation does not take place, as it is the leading cause of shelter's existence.
  • Educate: Teaching youth the importance of kindness, unconditional love and responsible care for animals can help make a huge difference.

"This holiday is an opportunity to give the people an idea of what the plight of a rescue animal is and that just because they have the label rescue or shelter behind them does not mean they don't matter," Gwin said. "I believe every day is national rescue dog day, this is my entire life and focus and until we can cut down on these euthanasia rates and omit the number of animals in shelters, rescues will have to keep going. "