Monday, April 28, 2014

Hangin' With Underdog Rescue!

Underdog Rescue, MN  is a wonderful non-profit rescue group that depends solely on volunteers and fosters to temporarily care for animals in need.  Their goal is to rehabilitate and rehome homeless dogs and cats of any age and breed; many of their adoptable dogs right now are senior dogs who have been rescued from puppy mills.  Underdog Rescue's adoption process is designed to find only the best, most loving homes for their animals.  The organization has been running strongly since 2000, and since then, they have adopted out over 2100 pets!  Since they don't have a building in which to house their homeless animals, they must depend on the kindness and generosity of volunteers, who foster the dogs or cats in their homes until the right home has been found.

The organization is mostly dedicated to "underdogs" - the pups who might be passed by or overlooked if they were in a regular shelter.  These include:  black dogs (and cats!), special needs animals, pit bull breeds, and puppy mill survivors, who, due to the trauma they have likely experienced, require some special love and care.  The fosters who temporarily care for these animals come to every adoption event, ready and willing to share stories about the dog's rescue, personality, and any special needs the animal might have.  Without these dedicated fosters, these homeless animals would likely be put into a city shelter, which tend to be pretty crowded in a metropolis.

Over the weekend, Jared and I made our way to Minneapolis, where Underdog Rescue was holding an adoption event in a pet supply store.  We weren't sure what to expect - we didn't think there would be too many people there, but we were wrong!  The place was packed, with one corner of the store fenced off and filled with cushy floor tiles and people and dogs everywhere!  Pekingese, Japanese chins, Yorkies, Shih tzus, Poms, and dachshunds all romping together happily in the play area.  (There were a couple of larger breed dogs - beagles, boxer, and lab mix - but there were many more small breeds.)  I was impressed at the friendliness of all the dogs...I didn't see one ounce of aggression, and the dogs all seemed to get along very well.

Jared snuggling with a sweetheart named Gavin!

A close-up of Gavin's little black bear face!  Gavin is a 5-year-old Pomeranian who spent his entire life in a puppy mill.  He is still a bit timid, but he loved being cradled like a baby by all the event's volunteers!  Check out Gavin and Underdog Rescue's other adoptable dogs here.

People seemed especially fond of Bauer the Boxer puppy, and Arnold the long-haired Doxie (who was wearing a very dapper tie!) kind of stole my heart.  Jared was partial to a Lhasa mix by the name of Crouton, while a dapple doxie (named Roxie!) adored him and kept curling up in his lap and refusing to move.  

Kiara caught my eye, since she was huddled under a folding chair in the corner.  While most of the dogs frolicked with the others and got attention from people, this poor girl was all alone.  I got closer to pet her, then scooped her up and held her on my lap for almost the entire event.  

Kiara is a 7-year-old Japanese Chin, and she is blind.  Another puppy mill rescue, she is still a bit timid but was such a sweetheart - she snuggled on my lap the whole time and rested her tiny chin on me.  Kiara seemed overwhelmed by all the chaos going on at the event, which isn't surprising - more sensory stuff going on than she was able to take in!

I have a soft spot in my heart for animals with special needs, and Kiara is definitely a heartbreaker.  Her foster came up to me toward the end of the event, asking, "Has Kiki been on your lap this whole time?!  Well, you have probably made her morning...she loves to snuggle, and this is all probably a little much for her."  Unfortunately, Underdog Rescue only adopts to people in the Minneapolis area...otherwise, I might have had to take Kiara home with me!

There was a skittish chihuahua or two, a gorgeous shih tzu who was fresh out of the puppy mill and still very wary of humans, and some senior poodles who were overwhelmed by all the hubbub, but overall I was so amazed by how well these dogs did.  Some of the puppy mill rescues had never been exposed to human affection before, so it was very impressive that they were able to not only allow a bunch of strangers handling them, but even enjoy it!  

While Jared and I took Crouton on a short walk, I asked her foster about the experience she had had fostering for Underdog.  "I love it," she responded.  "Underdog does a great job at finding the perfect home for these animals, so I don't have to worry.  And in the meantime, Crouton's kinda got the run of the household.  She gets lots of treats, even sleeps on my bed!  She really is an awesome dog."  

Arnold the Dachshund's foster rolled her eyes and smiled fondly as Arnold barked to get her attention (again!).  "He's only my second foster.  He's only been at my house for a few days, and he is already so attached to me!  He's a sweet guy, though," she said, scratching him behind the ears.

The foster of one of the senior poodles was a longtime veteran of the fostering scene.  "I've had seven other fosters," she told me as the poodle shivered on her lap.  "She has come so far since we first got her; she used to run and hide all the time, but now I can at least pet her."  I asked her if it was hard to see them go, and she replied, "No.  You know, you love them, but you learn not to get too attached.  They always end up in amazing homes."  It's volunteers like these that help Underdog Rescue to exist!  Without fosters, this organization simply would not work.

If you want to learn more about Underdogs Rescue, MN or send them a donation, you can visit their website here.  And as always, thanks for reading.


1 comment:

  1. Great post. It is great to hear about the foster homes that Underdog uses. Life in that rescue sounds pretty good.