A Refuge From the Storm

I joke with people that I am learning Louisiana geography through animal rescue. It’s true. I have driven all over rural southern Louisiana to visit animal shelters and spring dogs from doggy jails. A few weeks ago I drove up to Folsom, Louisiana, which is about an hour north of New Orleans.  It was a lovely day for a drive across the lake. Fun fact: with a length of 24 miles, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the world’s longest bridge over water. I have driven it many times this year while taking Tres, my former tripod foster, to his specialized physical therapy sessions. (If you have ever driven it in driving rain with very low visibility, you will know why I strongly prefer these sunny, clear days.)

Why Folsom? Prior to Hurricane Harvey, all of the Take Paws Rescue animals were housed in volunteer foster homes like mine. Last August, Take Paws Rescue,  partnered with The Inner Pup of New Orleans (TIPNO), to convert a 5,000 square-foot workshop on a 17 acre residential homestead in Folsom, LA into a temporary home for dogs that have been rescued from the flooded shelters of Hurricane Harvey in St. Landry, Vermillion and Iberia Parishes of Louisiana, as well as flooded areas of Texas. Originally purchased as a refuge from city life for the Goldring family (the founders of TIPNO) and their personal dogs, the family generously offered the space for immediate rescue use after Harvey. The heartbreaking truth is that already over crowded shelters would have to euthanize animals in order to make room unless rescues and adopters stepped in to take the animals.  Sadly, in this region, there are always more animals in need than there are rescues and resources to save them. Rescue organizations outside of the immediate area also offered to host these displaced companions if they had space, but this was insufficient to meet the overwhelming and immediate demand.

 

Why are there so many dogs in need? Sadly, as many as eighty percent of dogs in rescue shelters in Louisiana are euthanized.  This kill rate is one of the highest in the United States and unfortunately represents the culture of how supposed companion animals are regarded in the U.S. South. In search of longer-term solutions to pet overpopulation, Take Paws Rescue is partnered with TIPNO, whose mission is to create a network of accessible, affordable resources, enlightened attitudes, and accountability so that families embrace pets, and to end the cycle of abuse, neglect and overpopulation through community education and prevention programs.

In the short–term, Take Paws moves animals into foster and forever homes as quickly as possible, but there are always more dogs in need than there are open foster homes. The TIPNO Takes Paws refuge allows us to save the lives of more animals by pulling them out of overcrowded and underfunded animal shelters, getting them all necessary veterinary care, spaying and neutering, and listing them for adoption with fully vetted applicants. The refuge is a wonderful facility with plenty of room for the dogs to run and play outside. It is a place to heal on the way to their forever homes!

Look who I met at Folsom, Buddy and Boss, our latest guests at The Cecchine Hotel for dogs. Since August of 2017, the TIPNO Takes Paws refuge has housed 175 dogs and going forward we expect to house as many as 30 to 40 dogs per month. We believe it is important to maintain a surge capacity so that we will be ready for the next natural disaster emergency that our region will inevitably face.

Our team has many volunteers, but the demand to provide the best care for these displaced pets is nearly overwhelming. As well as fostering, I am currently seeking grants and writing funding proposals for for the TIPNO Takes Paws Refuge.

To help as many pets as we can, we are in need of: 

-A bathing station for pets – and a bathroom for the people staff!

-A vehicle to safely move animals to and from veterinary care, which is vital to them being healthy enough to be adopted

-Medical supplies(including heartworm and flea and tick protection) and funding for veterinary care

-Pet food (We go through at least 20 bags of dog food every month), treats, and toys

-Cleaning supplies

-Bedding and blankets to keep the pets safe and comfortable, as well as heaters and fans

 

We always need more short-term fosters:  http://takepawsrescue.org/foster/

 

Want to DONATE to Take Paws Rescue (via Paypal)?

or you can send checks to:

The Inner Pup of New Orleans
 5208 magazine Street, Suite 357
 New Orleans, LA 70115

I will happily accept donated items and drive them to our pups in need in Folsom. 
Just get in touch with me at: daniellececchine@icloud.com 

BOTH GROUPS ARE 501C3 NONPROFITS AND YOUR DONATION IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE

 

Boss (black and white) and Buddy(brown and white) are both doing really well. Boss has found his forever home and Buddy (with his free hugs) has found his way into my heart. He will be tough to say farewell to.

Buddy is currently accepting applications for a lifetime of free hugs at: http://takepawsrescue.org/adopt/

 

ADOPT DON’T SHOP

Why I Foster – Meet Lila

Grand Opening of the Cecchine Hotel for Dogs

Finding our second dog, Ollie, opened the door to the world of rescue. I am a one to go down rabbit holes on the Internet, and this was no exception. I was fascinated to learn about the local rescue organizations and the work they are doing here in New Orleans. I first stumbled across NOLA Lab Rescue on Facebook last January. NOLA Labrador Retriever Rescue is a volunteer run, nonprofit organization dedicated to placing unwanted, abandoned and abused Labrador Retrievers and Lab mixes into approved, permanent, loving homes and promoting responsible pet ownership. I looked around and latched onto a single post seeking fosters for puppies. This particular tiny, needy puppy looked a lot like my yellow lab. Our first dog was a lab because my husband has a lot of experience with them. Labrador Retrievers are consistently among the most popular breeds in the US. They make wonderful pets. They love exercise, playing fetch, and swimming. Labs are loyal and kind, gentle and patient with kids, great with other dogs, and they are intelligent and easy to train. So, I’m looking at this picture of a lab puppy. I like puppies. OK, I love puppies. I could get one, like immediately. I impulsively volunteered, filled out a foster application, and impatiently waited to get my first foster puppy. I named her Lila.

Its just temporary, I told my husband. Many, many times I told him that. (I don’t think he believed me yet). Lila stayed with us from January through March 2017. She was transported to upstate New York for adoption and is now living happily ever after in her forever home. She was my training puppy, (as far as rescue work goes). I learned a lot through my rescue experiences with Lila. There are an amazing group of volunteers in place to get the word out about dogs in need, to pull dogs from high kill shelters and get them in foster homes, and to coordinate adoption (from phone interviews, to vet checks, to home checks). There are people volunteering to transport them across the country to get to forever homes. In Lila’s case, all the way from New Orleans to upstate New York. We sometimes have drivers going long distances and sometimes have 20 drivers each taking a short leg. It amazes me that people do this, and at the same time, it is such an easy and rewarding thing to do, it surprises me that more people don’t.

I’ll admit it. I started fostering for selfish reasons.  We can’t afford the vet bills for more dogs, but I want more dogs, so fostering is a good option. By becoming a foster parent, I am not only gaining a fluffy guest, I could be saving two dog’s lives. I am taking one dog out of a stressful, high-kill shelter, and I am also opening up a cage for another dog in need. NOLA Lab Rescue is a no-kill dog rescue where dogs never run out of time. NOLA labs live in caring foster homes for anywhere from a few days or a few months while waiting to find their forever homes. As a foster, I provide a safe home and food, and the rescue pays for all of the vet care and can supply crates and other necessary items as needed. Is it hard? Nope. (Like having kids, only the first one is hard.) Do I get attached? Absolutely. I love these dogs. So, how do I send them away then? It’s actually simple. I’m more happy for the dog that is finding the right forever home than I am sad for me. Also, one dog checking out of the Cecchine Hotel for Dogs means we have room for another guest, and we get to save another life. That is why I do this. It feels really, really good.

How can you help? Animal rescue runs on volunteers. If you can’t adopt, foster. If you can’t foster, you can volunteer at adoption events.  Rescue groups near you could use your help in the following areas: fosters, adoption screeners, animal transport volunteers, public outreach and fundraising, social media, dog training, and photography. No time at all? Rescue groups will very thankfully accept donations of dog food, crates, leashes, and tax deductible donations to pay the vet bills. Many rescues have an Amazon Wishlist. 

Why are we moving dogs from Louisiana to NY or VA or Maine? Why does the world need more rescue volunteers? Well the euthanasia statistics are depressing, I’ll get to that. I’m going to go cuddle a puppy now…

Lila - fostered 27 Jan - 10 March 2017 ; adopted in NY

Please spay and neuter your pets!