To get Little Woof Small Dog Rescue started they sold home baked dog cookies at a local farmer’s market to raise the funds to pay for our 501c3 certificate and a thousand dollar vet bill for Finney, their first rescue dog. Every year since then they have increased the number of dogs they save. They have saved 53 dogs so far this year with a total of 246 dogs saved since they started in 2015. On June 9th they received an appreciation award for their continued support of Vermont Paws and Boots by donating dogs to their service dog program.
Welcome to the ARPA Animal Shelter of the week podcast where we introduce you to incredible organizations around the country that are focused on helping animals. We’re proud to be sponsored by Doobert.com. Doobert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters, and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Let’s meet this week’s featured animal shelter. Little Woof Small Dog Rescue is an all-volunteer organization whose goal is to rescue small dogs from overcrowded shelters across the country and find them new, loving forever homes in Vermont. Since their start in 2015 they have rescued 246 dogs and had their best quarter yet. Rescuing 35 dogs. They partner with organizations located in Texas, Mississippi and Kentucky. Hey, Bridget, welcome to the show. Hi, Rachel. Thank you for inviting us to visit with you this evening. Yeah, I’m really, really excited that you are with Little Wolf Small Dog Rescue, which is located in Vermont. And why don’t you start us off by giving us a little bit of a background on yourself and and how you got the rescue started okay. My personal background. I’ve always always loved animals, especially dogs. I owned my first dog when I was five years old. And there are other than there was a certain time in college when I didn’t own a dog. But other than that, I’ve pretty much own dogs most my life. I started a doggy take here in 2009 and then that led to the rescue. Uh, I had people in my doggy daycare who would lose their for babies. And then they were telling me that they were having a hard time finding a replacement. And at that time, I was fostering for another rescue. And I knew that there were thousands of dogs all over the country sitting in shelters needing new homes. So I thought I could help you with this problem. And that’s a little of small, aggressive get started. Yeah, very interesting. So you had it. Do you still have your doggie day care? We Do. You D’oh! Okay. And so that started in 2009. And when did the little wolf Small dog rescue actually start 2015. Okay. Wow. So yeah, you guys were in a really unique location right in that north week in that northeast area where I hear that there are always more adopters than than dogs. And you’ve proven that right? Just by what you said earlier. And so where do you get the small dogs from then to be adopted in Vermont? Do you work with other organisations somewhat locally, or do you go across the country and work with organizations? We work with organizations, primarily in Texas. Currently, I’m also do get some dogs from Kentucky and Louisiana Mississippi area taxes. We found that there were lots of small box and the one shelter that we worked with it. We get most of our small logs from They have a lot of of dogs that need homes in the community. They come into the shelter and they sit for weeks or months. This particular shelter happens to be fortunate and that I don’t have to use the night animals, but still, the animals are sitting there in that finding homes. So they were very excited when we actually connected with them and said, Hey, we’re the compressive small dogs and Betty’s like believe that lots of small bugs for you. How did you actually go about connecting with them? Was it a cold call? Did you have connections in the animal welfare industry? How did you find them? I started out looking online and how we get working with Texas. I found a group called Animal Advocates of Northern Texas, my southern on their Facebook page. They were working with other rescues. I contacted them directly, and we worked with them for the first group of dogs that we rescued from the skeet Texas. They have to spined fosters. And once we have that Rupert acted. It was actually that organization that connected with us. With Betty, who is the manager of the Hell County, Paul pales in Hillsboro, Texas, where most of our small lies currently come from. Yeah, it’s very It’s very interesting to me. And so you guys actually have quite a few partners in multiple states, which, you know, that’s always a big part of the rescue community, Right is making relationships and continuing to nurture them and grow them. What would you say has been the biggest challenge with working, You know, with organizations so far away from you, I think the biggest challenge frost is mostly just having the funds to save the dogs. I mean, the people we work with right now are great. I mean, they communicate very well. We did have a couple of groups when we first started working that we worked with that weren’t very good at communicating. And we chose, you know, to just not work with them. Um, Hillsborough County. I mean, they’re, you know, help. County Pop tells is awesome. They provide us with Foster’s Anytime we have any questions, you know, I just ask Betty, and she’s great about making sure the dogs are healthy before transport, you know, and obviously all those things contribute to, you know, I just wanted to continue our relationship with them. It’s their There’s so many things that go into it and having a person that communicates very well with you. One of these things is really important to make sure that you know the dog is ready for transport on time, that everyone’s healthy. Those things are really important that they sound like little things, but they’re really important. Walk us through what your community looks like, what that need is, um and how many dogs you guys are? You’re adopting. You know, I don’t Let’s say Pa per month. So far, we have placed 246 dogs since we started this year. We actually we had our busiest first quarter ever. We placed in the 1st 3 months, were placed 35 dogs. So you said in the first quarter, right? So yeah, from Syria person, that’s wow. Okay. And so what do you What do you think That, uh, what do you think contributed to that? The need is there. And we had the funds. We had a really good fund raising campaign during the holidays. So we use the funds that we got during the holidays to rusty. More dogs sober to talk to me a little bit about. So I know you said the need is there for the community, right? And they want to adopt they, you know, they want to save lives with you. Tell me what your processes like for when they come to you and they’re interested in adopting a dog. If it’s someone we know personally like it’s it’s someone our foster knows. Usually we do like a personal interview give, but someone we don’t know, they have to fill out an application which requires us checking personal references, that references. And then if the application is approved, which most of the time it is. And we’ve only had a few people that, you know, we didn’t approve their applications. Then they’re ready to it up. Doug. Well, that was just a matter of us contacting them sometimes, you know, they’re application is like, Okay, their application checks good. But we’re not click here what kind of dog we’re looking for. So we contact because there are some people who are very specific. They only want, like, a certain breed or a certain age. So we want to make sure that we know what they’re looking for so we can help them find a dog. So do you have dogs in foster homes that people can inquire about? Or do you talk to the applicants first and then do you match them up on the back end? Can It works both ways. So a lot of times will have a waiting list of people looking for a specific breed and at the same time, like we currently have three dogs that are in foster care, that these dogs and we rescued some organizations. Do you know they’re only going only rescue dog if they know they have someone ready to adapt it. We don’t necessarily work like that. We If we have the funds, we will rescue dogs because we know that some shelters, you know, have you list. And if we can save the dog after us, we will and then find at home later. But then sometimes we do. You know, if we know someone is looking for a specific breed and we find happen to find the shelter. Go on. Say it would pull the story because we know we already have a nap waiting for that dog. Yeah. I think what I like about that is you. You’re flexible, right? A lot of rescues have, ah have a process, and they follow that process to a T. And I think what I really like about what you just said is that your flexible both ways and that’s I think, one of the things right off the bat that really makes you guys a little bit different. And I’m assuming that comes from the needs of the community that you decided to be that flexible or did that just happen? You are correct. It’s from the needs and us hearing from people that, yes, they actually like. The fact that we’re flexible along with that flexible issue is we offer a foster to that program, which means, as opposed to traditional fostering, in which the person says, Okay, I can I can help this dog finds a forever home. We found that there was a need to let people try fostering the dog and, you know, with the intention of adapting the dog and on Lee, you know, for like, a week or so and then only returning the dog. Yeah, for some reason, it doesn’t work out. And how this occurred was in our first year. We had someone it after dog and he returned. The dog in the dog was returned because of having anxiety that we didn’t realize the dog had because in her foster home she was with other dogs. Will. Her foster family was at work, so she was fine. But when she went to a situation where she was and the dog in the home were gone all day, she bar felled and they live in an apartment. So it didn’t work Well, eso When she was returned, I was thinking, How can I make this better? And then I’m thinking like if I would have let them foster the first, they would realize this. They wouldn’t have been quite so what? Said it, returning her, and we could have found another doctor. So that’s how the Foster program got started. And I think that’s really cool, right? You’re you’re learning as each thing passes. I really like that you’re taking that knowledge and you’re turning it into something positive. So it doesn’t happen again. And it really sounds like you have the people in the community, you know, first on your list. And I really appreciate that. That’s not always an easy thing to d’oh. You know, when you’ve been doing this now for for almost four years, or maybe just over four years and so that that learning and evolving and adapting, I think is, is such key, especially in our inner rescue. So I think that’s a really cool program. Are there any other programs that you guys have that you’re really proud of, donating dogs to Vermont pause and boots? So tell me a little bit about Vermont, pause in boots and how that relationship came to be. And what exactly do they dio Fermat Pause in boots trained service dogs for that trends and first responders who need service dogs per various reasons, whether it be a physical disability or for PTSD. And one of my favorite stories is actually how we get started working with Vermont. Pause and Boots. Perfect. Uh, in the autumn of 2016 after hearing from the manager of the shelter that we worked with in Hillsboro, Texas, Buddy, tell me about all these wonderful large breed dogs that needed rescuing and having one foster home. Who said that they would rescue a large free Dr Rescue decided to arrest fear that redone. So the dog’s name was Emma and M arrived in November this very big, long legged, gorgeous yellow lab, and she went immediately from transport to her foster home. And so a few days later, Hamed add a bed appointment. And since Emma’s foster mother was working that day, Emma came over at our house for three hours before one of our volunteers took her to the when she was actually ready to go to the bat I walked her out to the car and the other volunteer, we were standing there talking, and it was his gorgeous, warm, sunny day. And the sun was lighting up and was gold in here. And the words service dog popped into my head. And I knew Emma was gonna be a service dog. That’s it’s that clearly a Yep. Bet that clear. All right. I like when it happens that black and white, right? Yeah. So idea. And am I headed off to do that? And I went into the house, and it just happened that the morning paper was still sitting on the kitchen table. I picked up the paper and I started reading it. On the front cover was a story about Vermont pause and boots. And the article mentioned the name of the person who ran Vermont pause and boots but didn’t give her contact information. So I’m thinking, like, Okay. And Lindy is gonna go to this group, but I gotta figure I’m gonna cap take this group. Oh, boy. So I noticed that the article they mentioned that the are local pet food store cut through the warehouse, had actually donated food to them so I thought, OK, I’ll Paul called Pepe grouse. So I called that food warehouse and they gave me the name of Wish L. Who’s the founder and the head K 99 trainer of Vermont. Positives. And so I actually contacted her, and I asked her if she would need it a dog. And she said she was looking for a dog to want to talk to me about Emma. So no, this is the funny part. I’m so excited about knowing that I was gonna be a service dog, but I don’t know Michelle. So I’m sitting there the day that I was gonna talk to her and I’m like, Awake it like, six in the morning. I’m thinking like I can call this woman. I don’t know. It’s six people. Now that I know Michelle, I can actually call her six in the morning Jack wanted. So Michelle met Emma, and he said that she was a good candidate for her current student, and I met her new dad a week later, at eight months later, both of them completed and graduated from over my paws into its training program. I love stories like that, right? It’s It’s not often, honestly, Bridget, that you could be like, Yep, this is where this dog belongs, right? Whether it’s with a specific person or an organization or a group like pausing Boots, I It’s amazing to me that sometimes we just get that feeling about a dog and and then when it works out that way, right, it just it gives you those warm, fuzzy feelings. Um, yeah, yeah, it’s pretty. It’s pretty incredible. And I love now that you can give her a call, you know, at 6 a.m. And you have that that relationship with her. So I am kind of curious because you traditionally work with small dogs. Do you work with the organization in Texas for very specific large breed dogs for this program, we d’oh Okay, if we don’t necessarily limit it, just thio that that organization because we have over the past few years now that we have been supplying dogs to Vermont, pause and boots sometimes, you know, because shelters don’t know what dogs are gonna receive, sometimes one Michelle says, Hey, I need a dog. I call buddy and I say, buddy, you have any and we go, we scroll through all the dogs and remembering that for a service dog, they have to be pre screened. We don’t just, like, pull them, like with any a dog. Okay, so we have the whole process that we use and that the people we work with, you know, we take also this whole checklist to check these dogs and sometimes, but he’s like, I’m sorry we don’t have one this time. In fact, that that actually happened this spring when Michelle was with the paradox or latest dog actually came from Kentucky. So sometimes if if we don’t find them in the usual places, then I just get out. I just go online and I just skirt, you know, looking at at all the shelters that were approved from If I don’t see any there, then I just go online and just start looking until I find one. Like what requirements? What are you looking for when you’re trying to find a dog for them? The most important thing that I’m looking for, What I’m looking at a service dog And what I tell people who are screening them for us to look at is their temperament. Okay, Sometimes the person the student will have a personal preference like they’re looking for a certain breed. But regardless of that, it’s always the temperament that the dog has to be excellent with. People estimate excellent with other dogs, at least sometimes. Um needs to be fine with cats if the person happens to have a cat in their home. So they have to be very, very relaxed. So I the dogs air, walked in public. Take them for walking public, See, How did they react with legal past strangers? You know, they they have to be, like, very calm. So that’s the main thing we’re looking for. I mean, you could you could teach them to do other things and the training program is intensive. It’s like a yearlong program so they can learn to sit. They can learn to do these other things, but they have to be, you know, Khong Lo little key. And yet he acted enough to be able to be a service dog and be great with people. Yeah, and obviously quiet. You don’t want a dog. That’s that’s gonna vocalize a lot. Yeah, it’s fascinating to me that you’ve kind of you’ve morphed a little bit right. You’ve evolved from just doing this small dog to a need, you know, based on Emma. And I just I love that That’s, ah, huge part of your organization and just that you’re a huge factor within the community on other organizations. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about, um, what the community is like, What’s the demographic like? And and do you see? I know that you don’t have a lot of stray animals up there in that kind of thing, but give us a little bit of the lay of the land about what your area looks like. Yes, it is true. We don’t have as many local animals needing help as like, the southern area does. So for us in our area, we have lots of shelters, lots of rest fuse. So we’re fortunate enough that we can help the local animals, and then, ah, lot of the shelters and rescues in the area we pull from the Southern states and help those animals in need. The one thing that you know that we do find in our community that we also participate in his people if they become ill meeting either a temporary place where their dog to stay. So we offer temporary fostering, in which case the person still owns the dog. But if they need to be hospitalized for extended period will take care of the dog until they’re released. Or we have had a few cases where the person then realized that you know, they’re going. This is going to become a long term situation for them and they need to be home, the animals so we actually help them. But they’re also involved in the process, as opposed to owner surrender, in which the rescue takes over and does the whole process. Yeah, I think it’s I think it’s very cool, Um, that you guys allow them to kind of help. I have heard of similar programs, but you guys are a little bit different in the way that that you run yours. And again, I just feel like you’re listening to the community and listening to the people, and you’re evolving with them. I’ve said it a couple times already, but I think that’s one of the things for me that really makes you guys unique, is that you’re a fairly new organization and your your ability to adapt and learn so quickly, Um, is fascinating to me. So when you started the rescue, I’m curious. What, if any challenges Did you actually encounter? Our biggest challenge when we started was actually having the funds for the five of one C three. So I actually made homemade dog eat cookies and sold them at the farmer’s market. And right before we applied for 516163 we actually get a first local owner. Surrender Dog. Finney and Finney actually had seizures, which we didn’t realize until we had him for three or four days. And we hadn’t established a relationship with a bet yet. So we ended up with $1000 bet. Bill. Oh, my. Yes. Welcome to Animal Rescue. Right. Wow. So that was the biggest challenge of we started. It was it was every dirty cookies. Isolde, the locals farmers market to raise money for the 501 C three and pay Phineas vent Bill. Yeah, well, I’m that it all worked out. I mean, without that right, these dogs want, you know, they wouldn’t have forever homes. And he saw, you know, I’m just glad you were able to stick with it and, you know, pay for that and come out of that. You had mentioned that you had a really good fundraising year this last holiday season. So talk to me a little bit about what you guys do for your fundraising events. During the holiday season, we did our first direct campaign fundraising, So we sent out a direct, um, direct letter showing Ah, little dogs get helped last year during the year and asking people, you know, to give funds out more. And this was to, you know, basically people who had adopted from us before who we knew were previous supporters. So yes, so that was that was, you know, huge campaign for us. Other things that we d’oh we used to do We have a couple years in a row. We did a plant sale. The couple who organized the plant sale didn’t do the plant sale this year, so they gave us a donation instead. Something new we’re going to try actually for July 6th and Seventh is we’re going to have our first garage sale. Is that anything? Is that a community focused one where you kind of asked for some help and then all donations go to you guys are How are you working that what we’re doing is we’re asking people to donate items for the garage sale, and we’ve already had multiple people who said that either going to donate things for the garage sale and we actually happen to have a grind. So that’s what we’re going to have it. And then we also have I already have one of our volunteers who said she can help me run it cause I usually because I do the doggy day care. That’s a busy weekend for me, so I’m usually going to be busy working. But I do have at least one volunteer who’s going to actually have run it while I’m working. You do when you’re in the animal welfare industry, right? Specifically rescues. You really have to kind of think outside the box, right. You have to do something that appeals to the community. You have to do something. Um, you know, that’s gonna bring in as much money as possible because without that right, you can’t pull dogs and you can’t save lives and for you guys because you’re having to pull them from such a distance. So How many fundraising events do you guys do a year, usually two or three? The one event that we do participating every year is Pet Food Warehouse, which is a local pet store in our area. They call that every year they have any event. It’s now. It started out being an event in their store in which they would have one day where all the customers that came in all their purchases, they would give a certain percentage to all rescues of it, signed up to be in the program. And we would usually get like three or $400 during that program. And now they’ve turned it into a huge festival at the fairgrounds. And it’s called the Festival Put Pets. So we participate in that every year. That’s in October, and then the garage sale might become, you know, if we do well it that this year that might become another annual event for us. I really hope that people in the community really step up and donate to you guys, and you can really make that. Ah, a successful event. Yeah. So, um, you shared one memorable story with us. Now you’ve been around animals your entire life, right? You have started your business in 2009 and then the rescue in 2015. Is there another story that, um, that impacts you just as much as the pause for Boots program? Or is Emma the story that we actually, we have lapses stories? Uh, I’m actually in the process of writing a book about the rescue. Speaking of ways to raise funds nice. And hopefully I’m planning on having it done by the end of the year. We already have a waiting list of people who said that they’re ready to buy. It was that I did that idea come from Ah, fundraising place or what was the reason behind that? That just came from me liking to right. And, you know, when I first started that the rescue I’d write, like little like notes have a notebook of, you know, like ideas and things that I wrote. Very cool. I like it for a fundraising perspective, but I’m assuming in that book, you’ll be kind of talking about your your past and you know how you got the rest? You up and running. And so the challenge is Can you give us a sneak peek about what that looks like. Well, I’ve told you the story, but Emma Emma, story will be in there. Another story that will be in there That’s also one of my favorite stories is about, you know, one of our rescue dogs. So it’s about rescue stories and your journey. Would you say yes? Yeah. The first section of the book is gonna be general information for people who don’t know much about the rescue world. Because I find people you know who adopt dogs from us, They in our area because we don’t have shelters that are overcrowded people. When I tell them that, you know, this dog was I Don’t you list that, you know if if you know you weren’t adopting this dog, if people hadn’t given us funds, this dog literally wouldn’t be here. And you know that really people that, you know, they really you know, they really have to think about that because it’s it’s so much different from where we’re at. Yeah, and so in. And people, you know, like hearing that So it’s like I want to the first part of the book as I want to you know, explain general things like that. Then the next section is specific stories about, like, the story of Emma. The story of, you know, and in the last section is going to be pictures of the dogs. And they’re forever home and with people, statements from people saying you know, like, how how this you know how adding this dog to the life has affected them because I’ve had some people tell me, Come back after they had the dog I had, like when it after the dog. They didn’t get to get the law August long as they thought they were going to, because she actually had a heart condition that we didn’t realize. Oh, until later. And so she only lived for a couple of years. But the woman wrote to me, you know, totally when when she had crossed over and said that she felt you know, she knew this this dog had made her a better person. Yeah, those are definitely the stories that impact you, aren’t they? Yeah, it’s It’s always nice to know that you saved a life, right? But when you hear from the person that that animal saved their life, those are the ones for me that that kind of touched my soul. And so I love that you’re going to make that in addition to the book. And is that something that people When when that time comes, is that something you’ll have on the website or if they’re interested? Where can they find out more about that? Yes, already, when the book is published, the information will be on the website and it will also be available either online. And I’m actually hoping to do book signings. D’oh, That’s awesome! Well, I’m really excited. We’ll have to make sure to follow you guys and kind of watch your progress on it when it comes out and we’ll do what we can thio to support that. It sounds like a great a great project for you. So we talked a little bit about your your path and where you started and kind of where you guys are at now. What does the future look like for you guys? I know you’re writing the book and you’ve got the relationships belt. Is there anything that you guys are working on or that you want to see in your future? Right now we’re just working on getting donations that the large group of dogs, the last part of a group of dogs that we pulled there were dogs in there that had a lot of special needs. Like a couple of dogs. I had a heartworm disease that needed to be treated for heart worms. We had one dog who was blind in an elder dog, so we actually ended up giving that dog away. But at the same time, she also had, like, a $400 that belt. So right now, that’s what we’re doing. The garage sales are our primary goal at the moment is raising funds so we can say more dogs? I definitely learned a lot about what you guys are doing and kind of what you believe in and what you stand for. Is there anything else that we may be missed that you wanted that you want to mention? I just wanted to mention that I’m very grateful that I get to Dio, but I love doing every day, and I’m thankful for everyone that supports us. Yeah, it’s It’s a big It’s a big part of animal welfare, right? Rescues him in particular are the community and the volunteers without those guys. You really don’t make much progress, do you? That’s correct. Yeah, we We were great in that. I mean, we in our garage right now. It’s filled with crates and blankets and dog food and harnesses and everything that the dogs need. Which is why the only thing really need to work on right now is funds. Because we have no such great support from everyone donating other things to us. That’s so amazing to hear the community is rallying around you and you have the supplies. Honestly, Bridget, I know that sometimes the money comes easier than the supplies for rescues. But for you guys, it’s It’s a little unique in that, its opposite of that right, because transporting is expensive. And so you need the kennels and leashes and all of that stuff. And yet that’s the one thing that you have an abundance off. Do you ask for that? Or is that just Is that just the community knowing that you pull from, you know from so far away and that without those supplies, you can’t bring dogs? What we actually the first, like when we first started, we would go to adapt in events. And I actually did have a list. And on our website, there’s a list of supplies that we need. So it it actually was people listening. Do what we say. Yeah, and now it’s amazing. E I like when that happens. Yes, way due to. So now you’re hoping that you’re you’re asking for funds? You’re hoping that they’ll come through on that end as well? Correct. Exactly. If they did it, you know, during a reality fundraising. So I’m sure we will. Yeah, it all takes time, right? I mean, nothing happens. Okay, So you just have to keep talking about it and and showing the transparency and what your objective is. And I feel like you guys are doing a wonderful job with that. Um, and I’m so excited to just have taken this time to get to know you and your organization and and what you guys are doing with little Wolf Small dog rescue. I think it’s incredible. Well, thinking so much, we’re excited that you invited us to talk with you, Ty. Yeah, I’m so excited as well. Bridget, we’ll definitely be following you for sure. And before we wrap this up. Why don’t you tell everybody where you can be found? What’s your website? And are you on any social media platforms? We do have a Facebook page, and our website is little A and that’s what W 00 f. Small dog rescue dot weebly dot com. E mailing is the best way to contact us if you have any questions, and our email address is little wolf v. E t at gmail dot com. And again, Brigett, thank you so much for joining me tonight and teaching me a little bit more. Yes, thank you. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, join the ARPA to take advantage of all of the resources we have to offer. 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