Local dog rescue struggles to find homes for misunderstood breed

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Recently, Talking Waters Brewing Company hosted a fundraising event as part of its Community Pint Night to raise funds for Gemini Rottweiler and Pitbull Rescue. The rescue resides between Montevideo and Madison and has been around for twenty-one years.

Gemini Rottweiler and Founder / Director of Pitbull Rescue, and originally from Montevideo, Jen Wøld says she always had a love for animals, but never dreamed that she would one day lead an animal rescue. “I didn’t even know much about what the rescue was and what the rescue groups were doing,” says Wøld. When her beloved Rottweiler died in 1998, Wøld and her husband started looking for another dog and discovered rescue groups. “I knew there were animal shelters there, but rescue groups were an unknown thing at the time. I thought – there are so many dogs in need. That’s what I want to do, ”she says. Wøld made the decision to explore the idea of ​​launching an animal rescue, contacting existing organizations for mentorship. “I didn’t want to go into this because I wanted to know the ins and outs of rescue. I wanted to learn what works and what doesn’t, ”she says. “The rescue groups were really good at guiding me and helping me build a good knowledge base to get started. “

Wøld would quickly realize that there was a real need for animal rescue in the area. “It snowballed and I was a little unprepared for how quickly it took off,” she said. “At that time I was working with pretty much one breed, the Rottweilers. In 2001, I adopted my first Pitbull into my own family, and she was amazing. Petey came from a rescue in Maryland. It was then that I saw the great need for the rescue of Pitbull and bullies breeds. I saw how mistreated and misunderstood they were. Pit bulls have become the primary breed with which the rescue works. “I think people tend to see what the media describes them, and that is really the furthest from the truth,” says Wøld. “This breed is really people-oriented, silly and loving. The majority of the dogs that we have placed, we have placed them in families with children and other pets. There are exceptions where dogs just want to be single dogs and aren’t great around other animals, but they have individual personalities just like people do, so we’re really trying to make this match between a family and a pet. company. We have a very good success rate with very few dogs coming back for any reason.

While leading a rescue, Wøld saw many dogs enter his organization as a result of bad situations. “This breed is the most abused dog, yet the most adaptable and tolerant. I have had a lot of different races. We’ve had labs and little dogs come out of terrible situations, and I’ve found intimidating breeds to be the most forgiving, ”she says. “They can be so abused and yet so resilient. As for being a very friendly family dog, it’s funny because my husband always mentions that when we get a new dog that comes from a bad situation, he is immediately sympathetic and wags his tail. This is what I see from most Pitbulls and this is exactly what is endearing to me about this breed. Over the years we have had approximately 14 adopted dogs that have become certified therapy dogs. I think it’s a wonderful testament to their personality.

In 2007, Gemini Rottweiler and Pitbull Rescue were granted their 501c3 nonprofit status. Before that, Wøld worked on the rescue almost entirely out of his pocket. “Rescue is quite expensive. You have the cost of food, the cost of the vet, and transportation for medical care. Even just gas coming and going to transport the dogs. I do thousands of kilometers every year. We supported each other and finally, when we obtained our status as a non-profit organization, it helped because we could solicit donations and they were tax deductible for the donors, ”she said. declared.

Gemini Rottweiler and Pitbull Rescue is a foster home rescue and works with a handful of people, mostly in the metro area, to secure foster homes for their rescues while waiting to be adopted. “If we could open the floodgates it would be endless because there are so many dogs in need, but we have a limit to what we can accommodate,” says Wøld. Dogs with more medical needs stay at Wøld’s Hobby Farm so she can easily transport them for veterinary care. The program supports twenty to thirty-five dogs at a time. “Many of the dogs we welcome are elderly and some end up living their lives with me, experiencing love in their golden years,” says Wøld. Over the past 21 years, the rescue has placed nearly 3,000 dogs. “For a little rescue, we’re kind of proud of what we’ve done and how we can help people in the community and save the dogs.”

The hardest part of managing the rescue over the years has been having a continuous and constant flow of donations to support the dogs. “I’ve had my days where I just have to break down and cry because it’s so emotionally draining, it’s financially draining. The hardest thing for me is asking people for money, but when you run a nonprofit you have to have the mindset that people have to donate and that’s how we stay afloat », Explains Wøld. “We all have volunteers and everyone’s time is given, so every penny and dollar goes to the dogs. As a nonprofit, Gemini Rottweiler and Pitbull Rescue work with several fundraising platforms, including Give MN with their biggest online fundraiser that takes place every November. The Rescue also has a Donate Now button on their website.

Besides the stress of the financial costs of handling a rescue, Wøld says that dealing with some of the situations in which dogs come to the rescue is also heartbreaking at times. “The most emotionally difficult thing is seeing where these animals are coming from and then promising them that they will have a better future,” she says. The most rewarding thing is the lifelong relationships she has built through the rescue. “I get Christmas cards and updates. We have a private Facebook group for our adoptive and foster families, so they have a support network. I call them extended family because I have all these families that I keep in touch with, even after all these years, ”she says.

Wøld works with every family or person interested in adopting to match the right dog for the right family situation. Dogs are adopted through the rescue website with an application process that includes referrals and home visits. As rescue groups tend to be well networked, Wøld works with a network of carriers, including a pilot friend to help transport the dogs. “We have placed dogs all over Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa. We have placed dogs in Colorado and Canada, and we even placed a dog in Germany several years ago, ”she says. Rescue is also always on the lookout for more volunteers who can assist with transportation and assist with rescues. “Especially here I feel like I lack support in foster care,” says Wøld. “We have foster families in the subway and in northern Minnesota, but that also makes it a bit difficult because I’m so involved with all of the adoptions. What I want most is to have more host families locally. When people host for us, we provide it all. We provide the food, the vet care, so basically all you provide is love, structure, and training until the dog is adopted.

Wøld also provides rescue for horses and other animals. “Our farm is a kind of animal sanctuary. While we work primarily with dogs, we have been rescuing horses since 2010. We have welcomed a number of horses who have just found their retirement on the farm. Our rescue currently supports nine horses. We had a few pot-bellied pigs, a few goats. We’re a small hobby farm and we can accommodate a few, but we refuse a lot of animals, which I hate to do, but we have to have a limit, ”she says. Keeping animals limited helps Wøld stay as active as possible with adoptions, which she says is the most important part in ensuring that a rescue is permanently placed with a new family. “There are a lot of big rescues out there with hundreds of volunteers and we are really small but mighty. I think we’ve done a lot of good things and I love what I do. It’s very enriching, ”she says.

You can find more information about Gemini Rottweiler and Pitbull Rescue on their Facebook page or website: http://www.gemini.petfinder.com/.


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