There is an overpopulation of stray dogs in Detroit, and many end up on the streets or in shelters, destined to be put down.
About 80% of dogs recovered in Detroit are euthanized.
Detroit Dog Rescue wants to change that.
Welcoming approximately 500 pets a year, Detroit Dog Rescue strives to match good dogs with suitable homes. This group of volunteers has also worked cooperatively with Detroit Animal Control and other city shelters to manage dogs that require expensive surgery or care, and “unadoptable” dogs that have been in long-term foster care.
Kristina Rinaldi has been the nonprofit’s executive director since June 2015. She says she “knows the name of every dog” at the shelter. And her commitment to dogs follows her home, as she houses end-of-life dogs.
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Rinaldi’s two senior dogs, Smokey and Chester, and his family take in sick dogs “so they know what it’s like to have a family.”
DDR volunteer Allison Manzo has seen many dogs come to the shelter and be adopted, including her very own Lucky Mama, a “Detroit Special” mixed breed dog with puppies. “I met Lucky when she arrived at DDR in terrible condition with heartworm and 11 puppies. It’s been a long journey for her,” Manzo says.
Now Lucky comes to the office with her when she volunteers. She says she is “the light of her life and she is in love with my cat”.
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“There’s nothing better than having your dog climb into your lap and just relax and know they’re safe,” Manzo says.
Manzo says she can barely recognize many dogs when they return to DDR after a month or two with a new family. “Their transformation is remarkable and after everything they’ve been through, they’re still confident,” she says.
In addition to adopting and caring for strays, DDR runs bi-monthly satellite adoption visits to pet stores and car dealerships, as well as the “Forever Foster” program, which provides care for dogs with cancer. .
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The Speak Up (Specialized Pet Education for Ages Kindergarten and Up) outreach program is another unique effort created by DDR. It offers tours of Detroit public schools. Harms Elementary School office secretary Jackie Saucillo admired how students are encouraged to donate dog food, leashes, collars and toys for DDR dogs. She says that “children learn to help”.
Children receive information on how to talk about dogs that may be abused or stray in neighborhoods and other concerns such as dog safety and bite prevention.
A second-grade student in teacher Deb Wechsler’s class was so enthusiastic about the DDR visit that he “wants to work for DDR when he gets older.” Wechsler says she “wants them to meet every sophomore class that comes through” because DDR inspires students and makes them more empathetic.
It costs at least $1,200 per dog to rehabilitate him and give him the necessary medical care. To adopt a dog, applicants must complete an application and pass an interview and home check to ensure proper placement. Dogs that are not working in their adoptive home may be returned to the shelter.
Adoption fees are $250 for an adult dog, $300 for puppies and $200 for senior dogs. During the month of November, Detroit Dog Rescue and 96.3 WDVD-FM present Forever in November, offering a reduced adoption fee of $9.63 for adult dogs over 30 pounds, while meeting their adoption requirements .
For more information on how to help DDR, foster or adopt, see detroitdogrescue.com. Read further for two DDR events:
Pet Expo, November 11-13: The Detroit Dog Rescue will be represented at the annual Novi Pet Expo at the Suburban Collection Showplace on November 11, 12 and 13. as the featured rescue band of 2016. Luigi “Shorty” Rossi “The Pit Boss” of Animal Planet will be a guest speaker with his band.
Deja Food, December 11: Detroit Free Press and Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, in cooperation with Chef James Rigato, present “Deja Food,” a delicious evening of culinary storytelling to benefit Detroit Dog Rescue, Dec. 11 from 6-9 p.m. at the Great Lakes Culinary Center, Southfield. The 5-course dinner will include dishes created by some of Metro Detroit’s top chefs: Mabel Gray’s Rigato, Luciano DelSignore of Bacco Ristorante, Selden Standard Executive Chef Andy Hollyday and Doug Hewitt, Executive Chef of the Free Press Restaurant of the Year Chartreuse 2016. Tickets are $200 and go on sale at noon Friday. Buy your tickets here: www.freep.com/dejafood.