A fairly young rescue group with a successful, unique approach to adoption caught our attention this month, and we thought you should get to know them a little better.
Based in Summit, NJ., Home For Good was founded in August of 2010. What sets this rescue apart is that they prefer not to kennel dogs, and instead make use of a caring network of volunteer foster homes to assess and acclimate dogs while they await adoption. While you may be aware of other rescues who follow this practice, there is something else remarkable about Home For Good: in their few short months of existence, they have found homes for 300 dogs.
That’s an astounding figure for a new rescue, and Home For Good celebrated the occasion recently. Summit.Patch.com reporter Natalie Davis caught up with them and has graciously allowed us to republish portions of her report here:
Tails wagged, hearts leaped, and applause filled the PetSmart pet supplies store branch in Millburn on March 12: Summit’s Home for Good Dog Rescue marked its 300th dog adoption since being founded in August of last year.
The non-profit group’s mission is to rescue, nurture, and find homes for dogs who might otherwise be killed. Home for Good is not a shelter–it is a network of volunteer foster owners who nurture dogs until they can find permanent homes. Vice President Ailie Sommers said the animals come from local shelters, pet rescue groups that save abandoned dogs, and “high-kill” shelters, where dogs who aren’t adopted are euthanized.
“A lot of our dogs come from Georgia, which has a very high kill rate,” she said. “Dogs are found in drainpipes, tied to trees, or worse.”
Sommers said all dogs are up-to-date with vaccinations as well as receiving medical care and socialization to ensure that they are healthy. Potential adopters have to meet certain criteria as well: They are screened carefully to make sure they are a good fit for the dog and are capable of being responsible pet owners. People who wish to adopt dogs have to submit an application and, if they do not have pets, they must provide two references. Those with pets must certify that their cats and/or dogs are healthy, have been spayed or neutered, and have had a flea-tick-heartworm preventative. Anyone who wishes to adopt a puppy has to have someone with the young dog for at least eight hours per day.
Once an adopter is pre-approved, they come to a Meet and Greet event (held either at a local pet center such as Summit’s Urban Paws or at PetSmart) to make sure that they are a good match with the dog.
“We scrutinize everyone,” said Home for Good president Toni Ann Turco. “I have no remorse. These dogs deserve good homes with responsible people.”
On March 12, about 20 dogs were on hand, along with a host of pre-approved families, foster owners, and volunteers. Also there was Pennie Rowe of Jetta’s Pet Rescue in Soperton, Ga., who transported 26 dogs to New Jersey. She said she and her husband have about 30 more dogs at home.
“Over 15 years, we’ve helped thousands of dogs,” she said, adding that in Georgia, there are “no repercussions” for animal mistreatment and no laws mandating that pets be spayed or neutered. This leads to a massive overpopulation problem. “The real problem, though, is the law itself, and the fact that shelters only have so much space, and once time is up, the dogs are put down. It’s heartbreaking.”
One story Rowe shared involves her rescue of four puppies who were found huddled close to their dead mother, who had been shot in the head. In another incident, a wealthy family gave up a former show dog they could not offer ample care for. She said that if people could see the reality of what dogs face in Georgia, they would understand the importance of the work that she and Home for Good do.
Rowe, a nursing student, said she spends up to 18 hours a day caring for the dogs she rescues. She receives no pay for her work and covers the cost of food, toys, treats, and medical expenses for the animals out of her own pocket. (“People have no idea what it costs,” she said, sighing.) Once the dogs are healthy–all receive vaccinations and whatever medical care they require–she advertises the dogs through her Facebook page. Other dogs are sent to groups such as Summit’s Home for Good.
“Home for Good does a great job in this area,” Rowe said. “We’re lucky to have them. They are a godsend.”
Turco has made the journey to Georgia and helps Rowe by sending food and supplies. Helping dogs has long been her passion: She and Ailee Sommers met while working with different rescue groups. Last summer, they decided that Summit would make a good base for a volunteer network, and Home for Good was born. In August, 2010, Turco saw firsthand the work that Rowe did and the horrors that abandoned dogs experienced. She brought back more than 20 dogs, and the effort has grown since then.
“We started with five volunteers and now we have about 40,” Turco said. “We can always use more junior and adult volunteers.”
People can assist in numerous ways: by serving as a “foster,” by helping to exercise, train, or groom the animals, by offering no- or low-cost transport or medical services, by assisting at the various Meet and Greet events, and by making donations to the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The 300th dog to be adopted through Home for Good was Huntlee, a sweet-natured and affectionate Labrador retriever/hound mix. Not long ago, the dog was found after being abandoned in a Georgia dumpster. Now, he has a permanent home on Long Island with Kimberly McEntee and her family. McEntee said she saw Huntlee on Petfinder, a website Home for Good uses to list photos of and information about available dogs, and could not resist him.
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Home for Good is a volunteer-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue. Their mission is to rescue, nurture and adopt dogs of all breeds into loving homes for good. Home for Good is a network of foster homes committed to the well-being of adoptable pets. Home for Good rescues dogs from local shelters as well as high-kill shelters. They strive to give the dogs another chance at life. To adopt an animal from Home for Good, an adoption application must be completed and approved.
If you are unable to adopt a pet, please consider becoming a Home for Good Pet Sponsor. Your tax-deductible weekly or monthly donations provide food, care and medical attention until a loving family comes along. Sponsors are kept apprised of the dog’s progress and notified when he/she is adopted into a permanent home. If you are able to help, please contact them at [email protected].