Public responds to pet-rescue group’s efforts – Sun Gazette
The pandemic and society’s response in order to it wreaked havoc over the past few years, but there was at least one bright spot: A local pet-rescue group’s adoptions soared during the crisis.
“We never closed our doors, ” said Dawn Wallace, director of the Arlington-based nonprofit Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation. “We did more intakes in 2020 at the height of COVID than we have in our history. We adopted out more than 2, 500 pets that year. Our average is around 1, 800 to 2, 000 on most years. ”
Wallace spoke in the Greater Merrifield Business Association’s Jan. 18 luncheon, held in Lost Canine Café, which supports the particular foundation. The restaurant’s owners, Arlington residents Pam McAlwee and Ross Underwood, founded the pet-rescue group in 2001.
McAlwee began by visiting animal shelters with high euthanasia rates. The organization eventually bought 63 acres within Sumerduck, Va., and created a dog-kennel facility called The Lost Dog Ranch, which usually nine years later also accepted cats. The facility served as the foundation’s home base for 16 many years and sent vans full of animals in order to adoption events at PetSmart stores across Northern Virginia, Wallace said.
The particular largely volunteer-run organization has saved more than 45, 500 homeless cats and dogs in the intervening decades.
“It’s about compassion, caring and making a difference in the particular lives of animals, ” she stated.
Wallace, a retired 26-year U. S. Air Force veteran whose last posting was from the Pentagon, started walking dogs in 2017 with the rescue group.
“I was ready to do something else and kind of follow my passion and that’s with animals, ” mentioned Wallace, who became the group’s movie director in 2020.
“Candidly, I was done working with people. The animals have so much to give and the reward that all of us get out of that is so absolutely amazing. ”
Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation, like many pet-rescue groups, became inundated with animals after five hurricanes struck within 2017, Wallace said.
McAlwee was pressed for space and arranged to rent – plus later buy – an abandoned boarding kennel building in Falls Church near Seven Corners.
The particular 15, 000-square-foot facility, which the group calls its “Rescue Care Center, ” can house up to 120 dogs and between 25 and 30 pet cats.
“Our ability to rapidly respond and say ‘yes’ to the needs is at a whole different level for us, ” Wallace said.
Lost Canine mostly will be run by volunteers, yet has a few paid technicians.
Insurance stipulates that volunteers at its facilities be at least 18 years old, but youth ages 14 in order to 17 may serve as dog handlers with adoption occasions if a parent or guardian is present.
The Internet offers expanded the particular group’s reach to potential out-of-state adopters, provided they are willing to drive in order to Virginia plus undergo a good in-person interview and counseling session, Wallace said.
The particular foundation last year took in 64 of the more compared to 4, 1000 beagles rescued from a mass-breeding facility within Cumberland, Veterans administration., which was being investigated simply by the U. S. Department of Justice for allegedly having inhumane conditions.
“Those dogs had never been on grass. They experienced never already been off concrete. They had lived on grates. We had to teach those dogs how to do a lot of everything. ”
Through the partnership along with the Bissell Pet Basis, Lost Dog soon will try to adopt out 60 dogs becoming flown into Manassas from Louisiana.
Animal-welfare groups possess the ability to get pets adopted quickly and can use their social-media capacity to reduce overcrowding on animal shelters, Wallace said.
Dropped Dog’s pet-return rate is usually low; Wallace attributes that will to conversations staff members have got beforehand with prospective adopters. Lost Canine does, however, accept plenty of creatures given up by people who used from other organizations, she said.
The foundation offers pet adopters a two-week trial period for them to truly live along with their pets and decide whether their own decision has been sound.
“It’s not a pair of shoes or a purse that I wear and carry plus decide We don’t such as, ” the girl said. “But it is definitely a really big decision that a person makes when they choose to take a pet into their family… A lot of things that we all can or even can’t see in a kennel environment, which is an artificial environment, you’re going to see differently when that pet gets to your house. ”
If the fit does not really prove good – and adopters often quickly know this, yet often hang on towards the animal for years out associated with a sense of obligation – the group will take back the particular animals and try to find all of them homes that will would work better, Wallace stated.
The foundation makes every effort in order to find homes for the pets, but must do therefore safely. But if some animals prove too difficult, “tough decisions have to be made, ” the lady said.