|SOS Group throws lifeline to pound puppies|
"Story by Sandy Barnosky courtesy of the Medina Gazette"
Before the group Save Ohio Strays (SOS) was even established as a 501c3 non- profit organization, an emergency arose and they rose to the occasion. A very pregnant shepherd mix dog had been dropped off at the shelter, and it was imperative to get her into a home and whelping box as soon as possible. Arrangements were made with SOS member, Judy Bleuter, but the babies didnít wait. Born overnight, they were picked up the very next day and transported to the home of veteran foster mom, Diane Lewin, where they grew and thrived.
About 5 million companion animals are euthanized in the United States each year, yet many of these animals would have made wonderful family pets. Save Ohio Strays fills a niche in Medinaís animal welfare community by working with animal shelters in Medina and surrounding areas to target and evaluate healthy adoptable animals that are destined for euthanasia. After being seen by a Vet and given appropriate health tests and immunizations, they are placed in a foster home, where they are worked with on obedience training and house manners if necessary. These wonderful second-hand pets, now available for adoption, are showcased on both the SOS web site, and at adoption day events where the pet can be met in person. Because these animals will have lived and been evaluated in a foster home, a good match can be made to the family inquiring about the pet.
Adoption applications, contracts and fees are required to ensure the new home will be a safe and loving indoor environment. Follow-up visits or calls make sure the pet and the families are adjusting well to each other.
"We see an opportunity to give immediate help to the strays in Medina County and surrounding areas, as there is currently no real safety net," said founder Sandy Caldwell. SOS will assist private owners or people who have founda healthy stray, but don't want to take it to a shelter, find suitable homes.
Animals relinquished to shelters are the sympton of a bigger, but often solvable, problem. Most dog owners have visions of a well-behaved dog, but if obedience training isn't followed through, they find they are faced with a dog that is out of control. The uneducated dog pays for its owner's mistakes by being taken to the pound, often to die alone in a cold, strange environment. Behavior issues often are the cause of so many of our companion animals' lives ending prematurely in shelters, but problems usually can be solved with proper training. SOS offers education regarding responsible pet care, including the importance of exercise, veterinary care, socialization, and especially, training. Not only does obedience training teach the dog proper behavior, but it forms a loving bond between owner and pet.
Most people will agree that euthanasia is the most reprehensible way to control the population of happy healthy cats and dogs, simply because there are not enough homes for them all. All animals foster by SOS will be spayed or neutered before being adopted. SOS promotes community awareness - the cycle of pet overpopulation, causing euthanasia of millions of animals in our shelters, is an easily solved problem simply by spaying / neutering.
Not only are all members of SOS dedicated to rescuing as many animals as they can from euthanasia, but also to educate the public to the causes of so many of our companion animals' lives ending prematurely in shelters. Unwanted animals relinquished to shelters are the symptom of a bigger, but often solvable, problem. Education is provided to pet owners regarding responsible pet care guidelines including the importance of training, veterinary care, exercise, socialization and companionship.
Save Ohio Strays will help to find new homes for healthy strays, and assisting private owners in finding suitable homes for pets they must relinquish, but do not want to take to the shelter. To assist owners in finding new homes for their pets, SOS will post the pet on their website and give the owners advice on screening potential adopters and to find the best home for their pet.
Founders and board members are knowledgeable in the issues of animal welfare and rescue. Personal backgrounds include advertising, business management, fund raising and being experienced foster homes. Together their talents build a strong foundation for SOS.
The life blood of the organization is the strong network of foster homes and volunteers, with no paid employees, enabling SOS to remain low-cost.
The ultimate goal of SOS, as a companion animal rescue group, is that some day there will be no unwanted animals and no need for animal shelters to euthanize healthy, adoptable animals. Their goal is to place 100 animals in loving permanent homes their first year, followed by 200 and 300 the second and third years.
"This is an attainable and measurable goal," said Caldwell. The group already has saved 18 lives in the past two months before officially opening for business.