Animal Rescue of the Week: Episode 37 – One Step Closer Animal Rescue (OSCAR)

One Step Closer Animal Rescue, Inc. in Sparta, New Jersey, is a non-profit rescue organization that saves dogs and cats from desperate situations. They rescue pets from overcrowded shelters where animals are euthanized due to lack of space. O.S.C.A.R. cares for these pets and gives them the loving care they deserve while ensuring that they receive the proper veterinary attention, vaccinations, and that the animals are spayed/neutered. In addition, O.S.C.A.R helps the local community with strays, re-homing animals, intake of NJSPCA abuse cases, and TNR (trap neuter release on feral cats).


Welcome to the ARPA Animal Rescue of the Week podcast, featuring outstanding organizations around the country that are helping animals & the people who rescue them. This podcast is proudly sponsored by Doobert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues & shelters, and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Let’s meet this week’s featured animal rescue.

One Step Closer Animal Rescue is a non-profit organization created through the desire to save the lives of innocent animals. The staff and volunteers have a strong passion to not only save animals but to ensure that they have a great future beyond their care. While caring for animals is a top priority, One Step Closer Animal Rescue also connects with the children and adults of their community through outreach programs to help educate them in animal welfare, as well as to help them enjoy their time spent with the animals.

Hey, Cassie, welcome to the show. Thank you. So you are the President at One Step Closer Animal Rescue in New Jersey. And why don’t you go ahead and just jump right in and tell us about your organization? So One Step Closer Animal Rescue, OSCAR for short, is a nonprofit organization created through the desires to save animal’s lives. The staff and volunteers have a strong passion to not only save animals, but to ensure that they have great futures beyond our care. While caring for the animals are top priority, OSCAR also connects with children and adults in the community through outreach programs to better educate on animal welfare and also enjoying the time with the animals. Awesome.

So when did you get started? And how did you get started with this organization? We started OSCAR in 2010. Actually, it was a bunch of us that were just volunteering at a local animal pound, and we really saw a need to do more within the community. And at the time, there was only one, the animal rescue within our whole county that did the dogs and cats. So we really saw a need within our county. So a bunch of us dog walkers got together and started OSCAR back in 2010 and kind of grown ever since, and we really just saw need. So now there’s two animal rescues that do dogs and cats with in Sussex County.

Can you describe what the community looks like in your area? Are there any particular challenges for the animals there? Yes. So, definitely. Sussex County is not highly populated compared to some of the other counties in New Jersey. Good and bad people have bigger pieces of property for animals that need to—dogs that need to run around. That comes with its challenges though, we don’t have as many adopters. So we typically will go up to about half an hour to 40 minute drive for our pet adoption events. We’re always trying to hit new locations. New animal pet stores and pet supply stores. Just try to just meet our new adopters and in addition to that, we also have issues in our county with there’s a lot of farmland. So because of that, unfortunately, there’s a lot of cats being dumped and a lot of ferals.

So we do—we have a TNR program that I’m sure we’ll talk about later, but we have a TNR program that we believe strongly in. We, unfortunately are not really able to rescue a lot of cats outside of Sussex County because there’s just so much work that needs to be done within our county. So in addition to taking owner surrenders and basically surrenders and animals from the local shelters, we also do TNR. And there’s a big problem with that because of all the farmland, so good and bad. So since there is so much from land, are you guys strictly cats and dogs, or do you do farm animals as well? For the time being, we’re strictly dogs and cats. In the future, we would love to maybe do bunnies or some other smaller animals, kind of branch out. For now, we’re dogs and cats.

And you mentioned that you have some programs for kids. Can you kind of talk about, you know what that looks like? Being in animal rescue and kind of starting out an animal rescue at a young age. I had a difficult time volunteering. A lot of animal shelters require you to be 18 or older, the volunteer. And we believe really strongly in getting kids involved in volunteer work as well as their families. And we feel strongly that when you get those kids involved, their whole families come. It’s a family activity and you’re helping develop them developing their knowledge of animals. Their love for animals. We have a lot of young volunteers, and their whole families come. And a lot of times, they say, “I want to grow up to be a vet or a groomer or trainer,” so we do not discourage younger volunteers. We kind of find volunteer activities for each age range. So if somebody’s coming to volunteer and they’re old enough to handle an animal, we’ll have them help out of our pet adoption event. If they’re younger, and they really can’t handle an animal at a pet adoption event, we’ll have them help with supply drive or something else. So we always—we never turn volunteers away based on age. We just find something that kind of works for them and what their abilities are.

In addition to that, we believe really strongly in educating children, so we go to schools pretty frequently and we’ll give talks to the kids, not just schools. There’s all different types of kid programs that we’ll go to, give talks to the kids, if the school or the group will allow, we’ll also bring a puppy or two. So what we’ll do is, we’ll kind of educate them on what an animal rescue does. Or see an impoundment facility. We’ll educate them on what we do, proper care, ways they can get involved. And then what we’ll do is whichever animal we’ll bring with us. Well, actually, tell them that animal story to kind of help bring it all back and help them relate to the animal that’s actually in front of them. And then at the very end, we can do like a little visit with the animal that we brought.

So we really try hard to engage children as much as possible. They are our future, so we want to make sure that they’re engaged, that they’re learning the proper ways to take care of animals that hopefully were inspiring them. A lot of the talks that we do, we do have kids, come back and want to volunteer with their families, and we try to do as much outreach as possible. All the local townships have their township days, and we try really hard to do all of those days to try to engage the community as much as possible and kind of remind everybody about animal rescue, about what we do, about adoptions, about volunteering. It’s where those things that sometimes people put in the back of their minds and they forget about. So we try really hard to constantly be out in the public. We have events, multiple events almost every weekend, and we try really hard to kind of push that rescue message and get people engaged as much as possible.

Yeah, definitely. And we can talk more about the events, too. But I think it’s really important what you touched on about the age with a lot of kids, because there are, I think, so many people who want to get involved. But that age restriction does limit a lot of kids from volunteering and getting into the shelters and rescue. So I think that’s really cool that you guys do that. Yeah, we do have an age restriction at our physical shelter, but only for insurance purposes. But we do so many events and our event insurance does not have an age restriction. So we’re very lucky to be able to bring a lot of the children into a lot of our events that we have. And we have them every weekend.

Yeah, well, let’s get right into the events. What are some of them that you guys put on? So we try really hard to do adoption events every single weekend. So if somebody’s interested in one of our animals, maybe they saw them on Petfinder or one of those big websites or through our Facebook page or social media, or however we find that we meet a lot of great people through our pet adoption events. So we try to have at least one a week. They come with their challenges. We have a large kennel, and it has anywhere between 60 and 70 animals. And when we do a pet adoption event we typically can only bring about 15 to 20. That’s what we have space for, volunteers for, if you bring too many it becomes unmanageable. We’re pretty successful with them. We advertise them. We put out signs on the street. We typically do them in high traffic areas, so stores like PetSmart, Petco, PetValue so they’re pet friendly. So if our animals have a potty accident on the floor, it’s not a big deal. And typically people that are coming through there, already have pets, have pet experience and then if somebody does adopt, it makes it really easy. They can just grab the supplies that they need there.

We do a lot of pet adoption events. We do have a few larger events that we do every year, one of which is a 5K, which we have in May/June timeframe. We just moved it to, like the May of the June timeframe because of weather. It’s a little bit nicer in New Jersey. And then we also have a Tricky Tray every single September. Those are two really kind of like, larger events that we have, and then we do some smaller events, some smaller fundraisers. We have, like a garage sale every year. So we have, like the typical animal rescue smaller events but our two larger events are 5K and our Tricky Tray that we have every year.

I think I saw on your website you have something called Dog Walk of the Dead coming up. Yes, so we have Dog Walk of the Dead coming up. So in the past, that event was a more Halloween themed event, and with that, people would dress up and all of that. So this year we decided to kind of change it off for Thanksgiving. Our kind of tying in with like Thanksgiving, Christmas, decorating it with that theme. So we’re kind of tying in the holiday, still. And this year, we actually changed our location. And this location is tied to a bunch of shops, so people will probably be doing like that black Friday weekend shopping. Yeah. And we’re hoping that the event is gonna be busier. People can bring their animals. So for us, our fund raising event is not just trying to raise funds to support our shelter and support our animals.

We also try really hard to kind of make them community events and kind of bring people in, and remind them about our animal rescue, and remind them to hopefully support us and other animal rescues. So that event is geared to kind of fun and bring your family, bring your pets, or pet photos, children photos. They have, like, giveaways from businesses that donated. So we do a lot of advertising for that event, and we try to make it more of a community event. Yeah, I think the black Friday time, is probably a really good time to do that, because people are gonna be out shopping like you said, and you’re location’s gonna be at the store, so that should be a fun descent.

So why don’t you tell us a little bit about the programs that you guys offer? I know you mentioned the TNR. We believe really strongly and working with the community, working with educational programs. So we do TNR, we trapped and fix feral cats. We believe strongly in low cost spay and neuter and trying to reduce the pet population, reduce the amount of animals that are going to shelters because there are so many that need homes as it is. So previously New Jersey SPCA, they were more of like the animal police and in the last, like a year or so they took a different role where they’re still doing a lot of work with animals, but just in a different capacity. I think they lost some of their statues to kind of be like animal police. So we still will get information from their group previously working a little bit closer.

Now it’s we’re working a little more closely with some of the local police department. So what’ll happen is like a police officer will go into a home for whatever reason and see an animal in not so good shape, they’ll notify us, we’ll assist them. So our kind of responsibility, with a lot of these cases that we take on or just typically just taking the animal, whether it’s the ASPCA, New Jersey SPCA or whether it’s the police department, they kind of handle their side of it. And we will just be responsible for taking the animal, vetting the animal, we’re getting them the proper care they need.

In addition to that, we obviously take owner surrenders. We rescue a lot from high kill animal shelters and then obviously all the community outreach that we do for us. We believe really strongly and not just rescuing and vetting the animals and putting them up for adoption. That’s great. That impacts those animals, lives that you rescue. It impacts the lives of the families that adopt. But in addition to that, we believe strongly in kind of making change for the future. So whether it be fixing animals and hopefully less reproducing in the future and less animals entering shelters or whether it be educating children in the schools that we go to or a lot of the community outreach that we do. Hopefully, just bettering animals lives in the future. We don’t only want to an impact on the animals that we rescue. We want to make an impact on future animals as well, so that’s really important to us. And we’re constantly trying to do that anyway possible. Which is why we really do so many events.

And in addition to having a full animal shelter that we’re running, we do a lot events on the weekends, which typically when you have a larger animal shelter, you don’t do as many events. But we believe strongly just being out there being the community, reminding people of animal rescue, reminding them to adopt, kind of like putting it in everybody’s faces and shoving it down their throats, just reminding people. We’re really big into—if you adopt from us or you adopt from somebody else, we’re just happy you’re adopting. Happy that an animal’s finding a home and that it’s one less animal in the animal shelter. So just hearing that somebody adopts, I’m happy, we just want people to adopt.

So when we do a lot of our messaging, whether it be a speech or community event, we try to promote our animal rescue. We really do a lot of focus on volunteering in general, and animal rescue in general, and low cost spay and neuter in general. We put in everybody’s head and kind of remind them about it so that hopefully they will choose one of those options in the future. I think that’s important, you know, if you don’t put it down people’s throats. Sometimes they don’t get the message. So I think it’s really important that you guys are out there all the time and always reminding people to adopt.

So you mentioned volunteering. What is that process look like? If someone wants to become a volunteer and not what can they volunteer in? When we first started, we were a foster-based group, which—and then about three and a half years ago, we got an animal shelter. So when we were a foster-based group, our volunteer activities, looked a little different than they look now. So if you want a volunteer now, you just basically fill out of form on our website and it’ll ask you what you’re interested in. So somebody may be allergic to animals and if you are allergic to animals, but you love them. They’re still ways for you to help us. We have adoption kits that we have to put together for the animals. We have mailings that we do. We have fund raising events that typically don’t include animals. There’s a lot of different ways that you could still volunteer.

So when you actually fill out the volunteer form, it’ll ask you how you wanna volunteer. A lot of times you’ll see volunteers that want to get into the pet profession help with the hands on activity with the animals. Yeah. They want that experience. So once you filled a volunteer from you, kind of say what you’re interested in gets automatically sent to me and you will get an e-mail from me where I basically say, “hey, welcome as a volunteer. And here is the orientation information. Here is our main points of contact. The volunteer coordinator’s email. Our shelter manager’s email,” kind of give you like all the points of contact. Just so you have everybody’s information, and then we have orientation every first and third Saturday of every single month.

When we first started, we did not have an orientation, and we’ve really seen a big value in it. So with the orientation, we will have people come directly to our animal shelter. And that alone has been a big help. So previously people kind of nervous, like “how did I get involved in the shelter?” Like, “I don’t really know about it. I don’t know how they work.” We kind of started to have them come down, give them a tour, give them all our information, all the basic rules and then also give them a tour. We want them to feel comfortable, with what we’re doing and then also really feel engaged and want to help. So if people come down and they see how many amazing animals we have there, see how much we’re doing with how little we have, and with that, they then want to help us that much more.

So we really find that giving them that tour and really showing them what we’re doing and it makes them want help us that much more really engages them and makes them more passionate about what we’re doing. And once they kind of do the orientation, you’ll start getting emails from us based on what you signed up for. And we try really hard to not make anybody feel guilty if they can’t volunteer for every single event. So we send out the volunteers, and if you could help great sign up. And then if you get second email from us, it means we’re really desperate and nobody really signed up to help. So yeah, that’s kind of how we work. And that has been working really well for us.

And then, obviously we try really hard to constantly get volunteers. You always have your volunteer to stick with you, and I have volunteers that have been with us for the last nine years, almost 10 years. But life changes. Life sometimes gets in the way, so we’re constantly trying to recruit new volunteers, new fosters and trying to engage them and get them to help us. We’re also always looking for foster homes, though we have an animal shelter. There’s a lot of animals that come into our care that could really benefit from a foster home. Typically the younger animals. So the puppy and the kittens that we rescue really benefit from that one on one care and that hands on care. Also, a lot of the senior pets we rescue really benefit from being in a foster.

We try really hard, though it’s not possible. Always. We, unfortunately, do have a few cats at our shelter, but we try to get the cats in foster. We find that they don’t do great in our shelter. They thrive in the foster environment. We can’t always get foster homes. We try really hard. The adult dogs and younger dogs. They typically do a little better on the animal shelter. We have large kennels. Previously, our shelter was a boarding facility, so the kennels are larger. We also have a dog walking program at night where volunteers come at night. They walk dogs once they’re like, worn out, and they’ll bring them back. It’s amazing because the dog walking for starts they’re barking, they’re loud, they’re excited, they’re jumping at the kennels, they wanna get out. Yeah.

As soon as a dog walking ends, it’s like peace and quiet. All the dogs are like, settled down, they’re ready for bed. Right, cut their energy out. You do have to change the time frame of when we do the dog walking, obviously with the sun going down earlier now. We started a little bit earlier. These summer months we’re able to do a little bit later, which is really nice, and most kennels were set up that way. It’s a little bit better for the dogs, which is why we try to get the fosters for puppies, kittens, cats, senior dogs, we try to get the foster homes for.

So what would you say the biggest challenges in your organization today? Not only have I obviously started OSCAR and have been with OSCAR for the last nine and a half years, but with OSCAR with other groups that I volunteered for, one of the biggest challenges kind of always been that fundraising area. I mean, there’s so many animal rescues and so many the rescue organizations and animal organizations. So you’re kind of, I hate the word competing, but you kind of are when it comes to fund raising. But in addition to that typically, your fund raising activities are not as much fun because they’re animals aren’t there. So when you do, ah, Tricky Tray or like a fundraiser like that, you typically don’t have animals there at the fundraiser event, and whenever we do events with animals, you typically get a lot of volunteers signed up because they want to be with the animals, they want to be hands on, they want to spend time with the animals, so that fund raising area has always been a challenge for us. We don’t typically get a lot of volunteers at our fundraising events, which is hard because the more volunteers you have, the smoother these events run.

We were very blessed last, like a year, two years to get a Volunteer Coordinator who—she’s a volunteer herself, and she kind of helps sign up volunteers for our events. And with that, she has really helped us in the last year or year and a half, get volunteers for some of our fund raising event which has always been such a challenge for us. We’ve really seen that area’s improved. But just that fundraising areas just always a challenge. And with every not only just with OSCAR with every group I’ve ever volunteered for, that has just always been a challenge area because the more funds you have, the more you could do. You know, we have things in the shelter that needs repair work. We would love to do more TNR work that requires funds. We would love to rescue more animals, and it’s challenging. You can only do what you can, you know. We try really hard to be cheap with a lot of things, but sometimes there’s expenses you can’t avoid, but any expense we can we’re cheap with. We will choose whether it be ink for the printer or whatever. We are cheap. Yes.

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So if you’re a listener and you’re in the New Jersey area volunteer at their fundraising events, they need you. So do you have any memorable stories that you want to share with us? It could be about, you know, a particular animal, a certain staff member, a volunteer, just anything that you’re really proud of that you want to share with us. I actually have two stories. So there was a cat. We rescued when we first started. It’s crazy how everything kind of comes full circle.

We actually didn’t have an animal rescue the time. Just a few of us wanting to do more. We rescued a cat and the cat’s name was Oscar and now kind of being a rescue. It’s funny, you get so many emails every single day just pleading for help and all of that and just lack of being educated. I wasn’t aware of how many animals need to help. How many shelters need help? It just kind of how much need was out there. I just I got this email one day was cat in New York that was gonna be euthanized. The cat’s name was Oscar, and I just felt compelled to do something. Just basically seeing the picture and just knowing this poor animal’s going to euthanize. Nothing wrong with it, just due to space. It broke my heart long story, short, drove out, rescued the cat, got the cat vetted.

We didn’t really have a way to find it a home. We didn’t start Oscar just yet and we made flyers and put them up in the local grocery stores. You know, kind of word of mouth, email people just try to find it a home, which is challenging when you don’t have an animal rescue. You don’t have the website and you’re not on all the big websites. It’s very difficult to find the animal a home. 10-15 years ago, it wasn’t like that. So found the cat home. And about 6/7 months later, after rescuing a few other animals individually, I realized how much easier it would be having a rescue, having a website, having a way to find these animals home because that was the challenging part. I don’t mind fostering them, taking care of them, but finding them a home, which is the longer they sat with me and not finding a home, that many less animals, I could kind of help. Right.

So I started the process of starting animal rescue. Luckily, I’m in the finance field, so the paperwork side was a little bit easier for me, did all of that. But it came time to “okay, you have to pick and a rescue name,” and that’s when, “oh, gosh, what do I choose? There’s so many out there. There’s barks. There’s this. There’s just so many names and how do you choose? And it’s something that’s going to stick with you forever, and it needs to be something that’s memorable. And you want something that you can have an acronym so that you put on T-shirts.” And it felt like it was so much pressure at the time. So we’re kind of trying to think of names, and I was actually sitting with my family and my father was trying to write down different names and he said, “you know what, I have it. I have the name,” and handed up saying ‘One Step Closer Animal Rescue.’ And he said, “acronym O.S.C.A.R.”

That’s perfect. And I was like, “oh my God.” The first animal we ever rescued independently, ever took a chance on was named Oscar. So just not only did we have a great acronym, but you could put on T-shirts. We’re bringing animals one step closer to their happy ending, you know. We’re a stop along their journey, we’re a no-kill rescue. They’re with us until they find a home. But then also it has meaning. Our first animal we ever rescued independently was named Oscar, so just kind of painful circle. So that’s kind of how our name came about.

Did your father know that that was the first animal that you rescued? It was not just a coincidence? Actually. Yes. So my parents now are both retired today. So they both are full time volunteers. My mom is very involved with the adoptions and she is at the shelter almost everyday volunteering. They’re both very hands on. My father is also retired. I joke with them that they work harder now that they’re retired. Actually, we were working. Right. As you know, animal rescue is like a 24 hour job. Yes. And then my dad is he’s more behind the scenes. He does me a lot of driving to the vets for the animals, picking up supplies, dropping stuff off at fosters. He’s very behind the scenes, but he’s just as involved. They put in a lot of hours and I don’t know how I would do it without them. I’m very, very blessed. We have amazing volunteers that have been with us forever. We have volunteers that kind of do their different positions, and we’re very blessed. We have our little core. That kind of gets a lot done. But then we always need additional volunteers as well.

I think you said you had another story that you wanted to share as well? One story that really touched a lot of people within our animal rescue. And it was on the news and in a lot of the newspapers was a story of a dog named Dottie. She was part of a dogfighting situation in Paterson, New Jersey. She was basically a dog that was rescued from that, she came to us and choose a puppy. She was 7 to 8 months white, pit, beautiful, so sweet. She was ripped up. Her ears were literally hanging. One ear, they tried to put back on the skin, kept dying. She was a mess. She had massive holes that they couldn’t even completely stitch up that they just kept, like, draining because of infection. Oh, poor girl. So many antibiotics. She was just in really rough shape. She’s was at the vet’s office for a while. When she came back, she did a lot of aftercare. And we did a separate fund raiser just for her, because her costs and for us, though we try really hard to kind of work with a few different vet to kind of get as cheap as vetting as possible. We never want to not give an animal the care they need. You know, if an animal needs it we want to make sure we give it to him and give him the care they need.

So our vet who is amazing helped us tremendously. Our vet that we worked really closely with this. The animal clinic in Morris Plains in Morris Plains, New Jersey and they help us a lot. They’re constantly helping us. They took care of Dottie and she got all the vet care she needed. She healed. After all that we did have some challenges with kind of not being super friendly with other dogs. And in all of that because of where she came from. We got her training. We had to go two training courses, which was a lot of time, a lot of involvement. You know, we believe strongly in getting the animals what they need to make them a successful adoption out of them. We ended up doing all of that. We had a local restaurant that put a fund raiser on for Dottie and one of the sponsors. His name is Eric Nielson. He runs a bunch of local dealerships. Franklin Sussex Auto Mall, Dover Dodge. His brother actually adopted Dottie. So he heard about her at the fund raising event and adopted her.

She has an amazing home now. They spoil her rotten. That’s good. We always joked that the dogs that have been through the worst tend to get spoiled the best. So she went from having this horrible life, and came to us so skinny, ripped up in such bad shape with some training challenges too, because of what she went through. Got the vet care. She needed healed, got public support she needed through donations to get the vet care she needed, went through training, probably a good year that she was with us up for adoption where we were going through that whole process of vetting and all the vet care treatment and the training and all of that. Ans he, on Thursday met her, fell in love with her, adopted her and she has been with them now. Gosh, it has been a few years and every so often, they’ll send me pictures of her with huge stuffed animal they bought her or her swimming. She loves to swim. That was my favorite. That’s awesome. She loves to swim. They’ll send us videos of her swimming and she is living an amazing life now.

And it just kind of shows like, you know, no matter where the animal comes from, whether they have a lot of medical challenges or a lot of training challenges. There is a home out there for every single dog. And the more work and the more you put into every single animal, you will get a successful adoption. And we believe I mean, that’s why we believe so strongly in being a no-kill. There is a home out there for every single animal. We have a dog right now. His name is Flip, and he has some food and toy aggression, so a home without children is ideal for him, and we have been working with him on training wise, and we know that there was a home out there for him. It’s just finding that right home, and we, we worked really hard on promoting our long timers, the animals that have been in the shelter, the longest, and we do special events for them a week.

We try really hard to promote them, but we’re no-kill rescue because we believe that every single animal has a home out there, and it’s just whether it’s our responsibility to make sure we get them a lot of training or work with them on certain things that maybe makes them less desirable adoption wise. Or maybe it’s a vetting issue they have. I don’t know something wrong with them that they need to get some type of vetting care for. So whatever we have to do, we do it to get them into a home.

Yeah, I love that. You said you believe that every single animal deserves a home because that’s so true. And just like in Dottie’s case, she came from a horrible situation and now with your care and veterinarian care, was able to get into a loving home, and that’s what it’s all about. It was a year commitment and, you know, up until that you like, we didn’t know when she’s get placed, you know, they they’re with us as long as they need to be. So we have had—we have animals right now that have been with us for over a year, and we work really hard at trying to place them. If they’re with us for over a year, it’s made because they have some challenges. But it is not from a lack of trying. We do a lot of social media stuff. We put them in the papers. We do long time events. We bring them to adoption events. We refresh their pictures. We do videos. We try so hard to find our animals homes, but they’re with us long as they need, we’re no-kill.

So if they need to be with us for over a year. Dottie was with us for a year. She was a year commitment and we’re willing to do longer. However long it took, she was gonna find her forever home and we were lucky that she got an amazing home and they love her they spoil her and to be honest with you, when you see updates like that, you know, you have seen the animal go through so much and just seeing their updates, seeing how happy they are, like, really just makes it all worth it.

Yeah, I think I saw a section on your website, too. I think it’s called Happy Tails where people send you updates and pictures, and that’s really cool, you know, to see the animals that got adopted and see them in their loving homes and what they’re up to today. So that’s a really cool feature that you guys have. When you are an animal rescue, you have your challenges. There’s a lot of highs and a lot of lows. There’s a saying in animal rescue. I’m sure you’ve heard of it that people don’t get out of animal rescue because of the animals. They get out of it because the people and it’s challenging. You’re dealing with the public. Sometimes you get beat up a little bit by the public. It’s hard because you wish that they could just walk a mile in your shoes and you are literally doing the best that you can do.

A rescue has its highs and its lows, and it’s really challenging. And there’s definitely moments that you’re like, “oh my God, like I don’t know how much more I can take,” It’s hard. And then you have moments where maybe you get a happy tale and it brings everything full circle and remind you why you’re doing it. And the impact that you not only have on the animals’ lives that you’re rescuing but the families—the families that are adopting these animals are impacted. They love this animal more than anything. They are so happy you brought a family member to them and they are deeply impacted as well.

So you know, happy tails really help. If we have an event, we had a really successful pet adoption event, and it kind of just rejuvenates you, making you feel really good. Little successes like that really help. But rescue definitely has its highs and lows, though, in happy tails, and successful adoption events, and different things like that really kind of help boost morale. And, you know, it’s just it’s challenging. Anybody who gets into it, anybody who does animal rescue, they know the challenges. Oh yes, 100% and, like you said, I think just seeing those stories and the pictures, it just makes you—reminds you of why you do what you do, and it makes you feel good about doing it.

So what does the future look like for your organization? I know you talked about some upcoming events that you have, but do you have any other plans or programs that people should know about? We do have our events, and we’re really trying hard to kind of build on our 5K, which is June of every year, and then also are Tricky Tray. Those two events are big events we’re really trying to build on those events, and obviously the more successful we are, the more we could do for animals that we rescue and then obviously benefiting future animals. You know, for us we start off as a foster-based organization really small. Our big dream was: we really want to animal shelter. We know we could do so much more if we have an animal shelter and that was like our big goal in our dream. And I was really, really lucky.

We had two volunteers, Brian and Mark, who really, really believe in getting an animal shelter and they helped tremendously. Brian did most of the repair work. We bought a shelter that was sat vacant from the bank for years and just needed so much repair work. And he did a lot of it himself, strictly volunteer. Put a lot of hours in, and a lot of volunteers came down, too, and we were very blessed. We got that animal shelter because it was in disrepair and we could not put animals in it. And we were very blessed by the comedian coming out helping us. And then also one of our volunteers, Mark, who’s also a trustee. He believed really strongly in us getting an animal shelter. And he held big time, both fundraising and just kind of getting the message out there and kind of helping get our story out there and just get in the community around us to get to that point.

That was our goal in 2016. We actually April of 16. I remember it like it was yesterday, we purchased the animal shelter. Repaired it for about six months, it was the big project. There’s obviously always repair work that needs to have, especially if you have animals, and they are a little rough on the shelter. Yes. So we got the shelter. In the future, we obviously like to continue to build on our programs that we have. Like I said before, it’s not just about the animals we’re rescuing, but programs that benefit future animals, constantly rescuing and just kind of growing this organization.

The bigger our organization grows with volunteers and support, the more we could do so I would love to maybe partner with some pet stores and get some of our animals in some of them. So we could do even more adoptions. There’s just always more you can’t be doing in the animal rescue world. It’s one of those things where you just kind of got to think outside the box and just push yourself and just work as hard as you can. I’m really hoping that our organization continues to grow and the more we grow our possibilities that we have a really endless and we could just continue to benefit animals. Definitely.

What is the best way that people can get in touch if they want a volunteer? Or is it through your website or phone? We kind of always tell people that email and the website are the two best ways to kind of reach out to us. The reason we say that is we do have obviously a phone. You can call in. But the animal shelter when the dogs are barking, you can’t always hear the phone. That’s a good point. They’re always barking. Or if the volunteers are away from the phone and maybe they’re assisting somebody with adoption or assisting a volunteer it or maybe they were doing something about the animals. They’re not always right there by the phone.

You know, sometimes if there’s a little bit of a delay there, so we always say email is the best way to get a hold of us. And our email address is And if you email us, we get back to you pretty much the same day. Unless maybe we have, like, back to back events, and we’re just—we’re really busy and we can’t. We try to get back to you, like, really quickly and then obviously our website has all the information. So if you’re interested in adopting or volunteering or fostering or any of our events, sponsoring, there’s a lot of ways to sponsor animal shelter. Whether you want to buy a paver and get your name engraved in it, or a stone on our wall or a leaf. There’s so many ways to help, and if you do want to involved or help our organization in anyway, definitely visit our website, and our website is, and all that information is on there. And then, obviously we have all the information about low cost neuter. And if you lose a pet, how do you find a pet, and a lot of that sort of information because we don’t just want to promote our rescue. We want to give people resources to benefit them and help them when they need help.

Well, is there anything else that you would like to share before we wrap things up today? Just get involved. There’s a lot of people out there that just don’t really know how to get involved or where to start or what kind of volunteer activity they would like or what would be good for them. Or they don’t know how much time they really have to volunteer. Just take it day by day, you know, just get involved. Sign up to be a volunteer. Get on the email list. See how you could volunteer. Maybe you’ll get an email on. It’s a day you’re free and you can help. Even if you’re really a busy person that super busy with kids and work and all these obligations, you know just whether it’s one day, a month, one day every six months, whether it’s every weekend, whatever it is, just get involved. Everybody kind of coming together can move mountains. I’m sure you’ve heard that saying, If it was just me or just two or three of us were not that strong. We’re stronger as a bigger unit and with more people and not just our organization, there’s people.

I’m sure that I’m gonna listen to this that are not close to us, whether it be your local shelter, your local rescue just get involved. And there’s so many different ways, and it looks—there’s so many different ways that that looks, whether it be pet adoption and supply or Fundraising event walking dogs to the shelter, cuddling cats, whatever it may be, get involved. There’s a volunteer activity for you based on your time commitment and based on your restrictions, either age restriction or maybe physical restriction. Whatever it is, there is a way that you could get involved, and a way that you could help. And I just try to encourage people to get involved because not only are you benefiting animals and helping a rescue organization, but you’re also helping yourself. It feels good to volunteer. It feels good to accomplish something.

So I just try to encourage people to kind of get involved and help animals anyway they can, Yeah, I love that. You said that. It’s no matter what you can do how much time you have. There’s always something that you can do to help in your local area. Yeah. Well, thank you so much, Cassie, for taking the time to talk to me today. I, you know, I love this conversation, and I learned so much, so thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you so much for your time.

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