Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Thelma and Louise

In rescue, some dogs have a piece of your heart before you even meet them. For five years, I've been blessed to be a dog advocate and rescuer. Because a small group of volunteers came together with a dream to save as many paws as possible; were able to fund an actual shelter and open it almost 6 years ago, I am a dog rescuer. These people who are now my rescue family, accepted my quirks, my over the top passion for dogs and my craziness. Still, I  love those words. I AM A DOG RESCUER!

My husband and I have fostered over 150 dogs.  Lots of tears have been shed as pieces of my heart get adopted into a forever home. Sometimes a sigh of relief follows the exit of a feisty foster, but always, a piece of my heart goes and piece of their heart stays. Always- my heart is magnified- and dogs rescue me, not the other way around.

Thelma and Louise are sisters. Small breed and transferred from another shelter. They had spent their lives together, and in rescue, we knew they would most likely end up in different locations. They had sisterly love and feistiness and they clung to each other as they entered yet another shelter because their previous owners didn't keep a forever promise.

I am partial to small dogs. I grew up with a toy poodle named Candy and I just prefer small dogs but i love them all. I gravitate towards the smaller ones first. I'm one of the first fosters called when a small furball needs a temporary place to crash.

When Thelma and Louise were processed and came into our ITV family, I was preparing for a vacation. I hadn't met the darling duo, but I quickly learned of the pair when Thelma decided she would make a mad dash toward freedom. It's amazing how fast four little legs can run when they are a mission to escape!

Word came across our Facebook message group. I didn't know Thelma, but she was a small dog who was out in this scary big world alone and I knew she needed to be found. A photo of her sister was sent to my phone, so I had an idea of who I was searching for.

I got in my car and set out on a search.  I honestly couldn't believe she had run across one of Evansville's busiest traveled streets and wasn't hit. There was a sighting of her near an apartment complex. My daughter lived in the area, and my church was in the neighborhood.  I knew this area, so I dropped everything to find Thelma. I had no luck, so I met up with the kennel manager and we searched together. Again, no luck, but at least the weather was unseasonably warm.

I don't care how stupid I look or sound, if there is a dog in peril, I'm going out and I'm going to do anything I can to bring that dog back to our rescue. We searched for a few hours without any luck.  I had an appointment to keep, and had to stop searching for the day. There are so many hiding places for small dogs. At least a larger dog is easier to see.

ITV sent out a social media bulletin and we had our great villagers looking out for our Thelma who had decided to take an adventure. (Would she also try to break out Louise and take an epic adventure across the East side of Evansville?)  A sighting came in the morning. Thelma was seen in an empty lot between two fast food restaurants. I had looked there the day before. I figured she'd get hungry and the smells would take her there. There was also a lot of traffic- and this scared me.

We all searched in our free time over the next two days. I left my business card at the drive thrus of most of the restaurants and staked out locations for a live trap should we need one.
I went in the rescue and talked with Louise. She was left behind and didn't know what the heck was going on. I truly feared Thelma wouldn't be found before I departed on my trip.  Or worse, she wouldn't make it back alive and I would never meet the cutie causing so much of a ruckus.

The day before my departure, I was attending my grandsons birthday party. It was at an inflatable factory and we were having a great time. There was just this dog named Thelma nagging in the back of my mind. I hadn't even met her, and she was an absentee guest at a great birthday party!  I really hated that there weren't any new sightings to confirm she was remaining in the same location.

As a moment came and I could take a break from the party, I just had to call in. I could go look for her after the party, but I'd really be cutting it close on my packing and arrangements before I was set to leave on vacation.

To my relief, Thelma was safe and sound back within the teal walls at ITV. Who was the hero who found and brought her in?  Well, as it turned out, Thelma's adventures werent as exciting as she thought they would be. Thelma was a bit "off" without her sidekick sister Louise. Thelma wasn't impressed with the outside world where she had to fend for herself.

Our Animal director, Tangila,  had been sitting at her desk that Saturday. People were still out searching for the squirt. Tangila swiveled her desk chair and caught a glimpse of something in the window. She thought the black cat looking IN the window was kind of big.  Well, the cat was a dog. And that dog was Thelma!  She had retraced her path, crossed a HEAVILY traveled street and returned to the place she had known for all of one day. She looked through the window and her eyes said " PLEASE let me back in, I had it good in there!"

So Thelma and Louise were reunited and I was able to go on vacation knowing the Boston Terrier/Pug Mixes would likely get adopted before I returned. Fast forward almost two weeks. Thelma and Louise were quite the pair at the rescue and still searching for an adopter when my vacation was over. The previous shelter surmised that the pair were bonded and would have to be adopted together. No one had come forward who wanted to accept two new furry family members, so they were still awaiting their happily ever after to start with any type of meet and greet.

Our executive director, Susan, decided we should see how the dynamic duo did separated. At the rescue, they barked and made a fuss as they were crated separately. Louise voiced her loud disapproval when Thelma was walked without her. Sill, being adopted together was highly unlikely and we didn't want the pair to be forever in our shelter.

Susan and I decided to take one of each the sisters to foster them in our homes and evaluate their behavior separated from the other sister. I took Thelma and headed in the house where she was greeted by my 4 littles and my 90 pound great Pyrenees Mix. Oh, she got along well with them all, and if she didn't want to be messed with, she just spoke her mind and sat solo. Louise also adapted quickly and we knew the pair could be separated without any true mental harm. Louise adopted first.

Thelma hung out on the back of my couch or curled next to me.  She found the sunspot and bathed when she could, but always kept an eye on me. I gave in and let her sleep in bed with me one night. Well, that was it. Thelma was bonded at the hip to me and she became my shadow. My PERMANENT pets know the drill. They don't particularly like it, but they know it and tolerate it. They know I'm their mom and that they've got it made!  When you take into consideration that two of them are foster fails, they just know to go with the flow. They know mommy loves them, and will ignore a new foster until I can place them in a perfect home.

Like I said, some fosters take a big piece of my heart and others I'm ready to send on their new adventure. Thelma loved car rides and leash walks and I took her to ITV each time I volunteered. Maybe her new family would find her that day. I made special arrangements to do a meet and greet with a family on a Sunday when the center is closed.  Rescue never takes a day off. If there's a chance my foster or any dog in the rescue will meet their forever family  on a Sunday, then I'm going to do my best to make it happen.

I took Thelma to I Phone Todd's where Todd was graciously throwing a benefit fundraiser for our ITV shelter. Thelma was getting  tons of attention and reveled in having me all to herself- away from my personal dogs and shelter dogs. When the time came, she hopped in the car and we drove to the rescue hoping to meet her new family and start her new chapter in life. The family was great and Thelma loved them. Unfortunately, their furry family member was a ball of fire and was just too much for Thelma to handle. They loaded back in their car. And Thelma immediately headed towards my vehicle.. .She knew she was with me and she was ready to go home.

That's a kink in the system sometime in fostering. I'm fostering Thelma, and as great as she was (and she was the easiest foster Ive ever loved to date) Thelma THOUGHT she was already home. I hated the thought of ripping her from me and having her start over. Would she survive it?  Would I survive it? Of course !!!! Silly me and my big heart. Thelma would survive And thrive . I took my insecurities and poured out my heart writing a bio about Thelma. It had been posted and all I could do was wait.

Rescue doesn't always have a happy ending. Fortunately, most of the time it does. Thelma DID find her perfect family. An 8 year old boy-- one of 4 children- searched the pet finder list  because his family was going to add a furr baby to their mix. He saw Louise's unique face in our photos taken by our great volunteer photographer. He read how good she was and Her great laid back personality. His parents and siblings all agreed they needed to meet Thelma and an application was submitted.

Thelma is now part of a big new family. She has four kids to fight over her and to decide which bed to sleep in. I said my goodbyes to her from home because I was ill. There would be no clinging to my foster and that ugly cry baby face I get when one of my fosters is starting their new journey in life. As I sat ill on the couch sad and feeling sorry for myself, a photo came across my phone. It was Thelma and her adoption photo. This Thelma- that so many thought could only adopt with her sister, was being loved on by 6 new people!  This Thelma who broke out for a wild adventure- possibly to find Brad Pitt  leaving Louise behind- was now (at last) part of her real family....forever.

No more shelters. No more fosters or meet and greets. Now, Thelma would figure out where the best sun of the day would be in her new home. She would never go hungry and would always have someone home to love on her. Thelma, the run-away rescue that I searched for before I had even met, had pressed her paw in my heart. I will always feel the love and thankfulness she gave me. Yes, I could give her up. There are more paws to rescue and more (many more) dog lives to save. I enjoy choosing my fosters.  Sometimes they pick me.  Or, perhaps, Karma chooses well before I even know they exist. I wonder who is coming into my heart next........

Lori Martin

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Surrendering "Great Dogs"

As an animal advocate and canine rescuer, there is very little more frustrating and heartbreaking than turning away a dog in need into our ITV Shelter. We live, breathe and dream rescue. Our goal when our feet hit the ground every morning is to rescue and find forever homes for any dog in need irrespective of breed, location or circumstance. There is practically nothing we aren't willing to endure to be able to save canine lives. Sadly, sometimes even adding our sheer willpower and last drop of energy just isn't enough. It's heartbreaking.

ITV Rescue has grown in the number of homeless dogs we've taken in. We get photos and pleas every single day from at least a dozen people who need to re-home their dog or a stray that can't be reunited with the previous owner.  We are a young shelter. We are still learning from our triumphs and from our mistakes. We share on social media the winners who find homes or a kind act from a volunteer. Unfortunately, we have been reduced to tears when we are over capacity and another stray or surrender comes through our doors and we can't accept him into our system.

As an individual who has given hundreds of volunteer hours to rescue dogs, I am usually upbeat and take on a positive attitude. Recently, it's become so overwhelming that worry finds me before I drift off to sleep, and stress builds as I know what bills are still unpaid. I am a volunteer, a rescuer, and a board member. If I fail, a part of our machine isn't working which may cause any number of dogs to miss a chance for a happily ever after. I take rescue as a huge responsibility. This comes from my parents who taught me to do things right or don't do it at all.

Here at ITV, our policy states that any adopter must return the dog if they can no longer care for him/her.  In my mind, if you are going to adopt a dog, then you are making a commitment to care and love this dog until he dies.  I tell this signed contractual agreement to each adopter when I am finalizing an adoption. I also tell the adopter to NOT use that as a safety net.In spite of that legally binding contract, we have found our dogs on craigs list, social sale sites, yard sales and dumped in animal controls in far off states. Every time, we track down and re-rescue our dog.

  It's so easy to adopt a dog and not have worry about true responsibility when its so easy to return the dog if it doesn't work out.  Adoption is a huge responsibility. A commitment. You are adopting a life. A life that is trusting you to home, love and keep him.  Any person who shows relief or excitement in this policy will not get an adoption approval from me.  Especially puppies. Puppies adopt the instant they are ready. Everyone wants puppies. Puppies are cute. Puppies are sweet. Puppies are so much fun. Puppies also grow up into full grown adult dogs. If you don't train and take seriously the time consuming responsibilities a puppy takes to become a well behaved adult, then you are going to have an adult dog who misbehaves and disrupts your life. At that point, the dog is very less desireable than when a cute fuzzy puppy.

Our adoption application is six pages long. It is a legally binding contract. Why?  Because each and every set of paws that we rescue needs to find a forever home that matches their needs. FOREVER. Not a home that satisfies a gift request. Not a home that loves that puppy stage but not training that puppy. Not a home that is ready to give up on a dog because it is slow to house-train or transition into the new environment.  We want our homeless dogs to never see the inside of a shelter or animal control ever again. Some of our rescues have been through horrid conditions, abuse and trauma from the ordeal of becoming homeless.  Most are resilient. Dogs are amazing in that way. They just want to be loved.

Like I said, we always take back our adopted dogs no matter the reason. For me there aren't many convincing reasons as I find the majority of our dogs to be amazing and great potential companions with some effort. Nothing good comes with little effort, sweat or responsibility. If we returned our children as easily as we return dogs, most of us would be childless. How many mothers have washed wet sheets and clothing from their child who had potty accidents?  How often do our children get corrected and taught a new lesson? How many times have we pulled out our hair trying to figure out how to help our child overcome an emotional or physical obstacle?  I can only speak for myself, but I can say : "MANY times."

Not once did I think of turning my children over because they were too much trouble.  Not once did I think of giving up my children when finances were tight. Not once would I EVER have given up my child for any reason. I have the same philosophy with dogs. Not everyone does, and everyone has the right to their opinion. However, MY opinion is this: if you are going to commit to a living canine to give him shelter, love, and all the responsibilities that come with him until he passes, then you need to step up and do it.  I realize there are life changing situations and honest reasons that a furry family member should be returned to the shelter. Sometimes, there is an acceptable reason.

A woman had a stroke and could no longer care for her very large breed dog. Of course we are going to take that dog and match him to a suitable home. Fortunately, we had a kennel space large enough to house the sweetie. This woman kept her small breed dog because she physically could keep him. I cried as she cried when she had to leave a member of her family behind. She had no choice. Months later, we also took the small breed after the woman had a second stroke and was being evicted from her home. My heart still breaks for this woman. But, a small consolation...we found good homes for her dogs. It was what we could do to help her help herself in this gut wrenching life changing circumstance. She had a good reason to give up her dogs.

There are acceptable reasons to return a dog. There are also reasons that are weak and pitiful and so annoying to rescuers.  When a previous adopter shows up without prior communication with a large size dog to walk away from him without a second glance, it puts great stress on us as individuals and the rescue as a whole.  99% of the time, we are at or over capacity and our fosters are all in use. Our core of regular volunteers, employees and board members double and triple on our fosters just to save another set of lives. We then have to  turn away amazing dogs who's only violation in life was having guardians who didn't step up to continue care.

With every call from those trying to surrender, EACH dog "is such a good dog, it's a great dog."  If the dog is so great, then why does he have to be surrendered? If you knew you were moving, why didn't you find a location that accepted your dog? When you adopted or bought your dog, you knew you wanted to have children. Now that you are blessed to bring a child into the world, your dog can be tossed aside? Summer passed and school started. A dog takes time and can fit into your schedule. For me, the worst reason to give up a dog is the oh so common...I just don't have time for him and he deserves better.

Well, that dog you walked in with without prior notice is now living in the crate he normally only slept in.  Until a larger kennel opens because a shelter dog is adopted or goes into foster, your dog will be living in that crate. I'm pretty sure you and the home your dog has grown comfortable in,  would be much better than in a shelter environment. And I'm going to give kudos to our staff and regular volunteers. Our dogs get many walks a day.  They get time in our outside play areas. We rotate dogs to spend time in our office. This gives them more human contact and us better quality time to get to know our rescues. We take them on  field trips to a park for fresh air and grass. We take them on overnights in our homes just so they can know they are loved and they are wanted.

As an animal advocate and rescuer I try my best to help find and work out a solution. ITV always goes to the ends of the earth to try to keep a dog in its home environment. If we need to donate food for a given time or help with behavior issues, we will do what is needed to keep that set of paws in his home. There is only so much we have control over, and for me, personally it can be so frustrating. There are a few easy solutions. Spay and neuter. Only adopt or buy if you are 100% dedicated to that life for the REST of his life. Think it through. Our animal controls and kill shelters are always running out of space. We are NO KILL. We MUST find space when an ITV adopted dog is returned. It is kind and polite when we are given notice and some working time to find a foster or space within our non-profit almost 24 hour operating shelter. That notice is so simple, yet so helpful and oh so needed.

ITV wants to save lives and help those dogs who were thrown out as if they weren't important. With the stress, also comes great reward. The rewards have to somewhat balance the stress. Burnout is inevitable in this higher quality type of rescue ITV strives to be. I don't want to burn out. I don't want us not to succeed. Our dogs are counting on us. Paxton waited 3 long years to find a home. We never gave up on Paxton. Others have been with us over a year- even two, and are still waiting for their happily ever after.

Isabella is beautiful and kind and has so much personality. I love her smile and that she comes close to the kennel door so I can give her a nice rub. She's a larger dog and sheds. I guarantee sweeping or vacuuming will be a small sacrifice for the payback Isabella will give as your loyal companion. Max doesn't get along with other dogs. Some UNKNOWN factor in his past now doesn't allow Max to mingle with other dogs.  But- Max LOVES people! A family with no other dogs will get a great new best friend in Max.  Bruce was surrendered and adopted into a great home. The neighbors raised chickens. Bruce LOVES chickens.  He loved them so much and kept finding a way to escape under the fence. Someone without chickens as neighbors will get a spunky brown Chi Mix who just wants to bond to his person. Bruce barks at me every time I enter through the rescue doors. I must greet him by name, and then he's perfectly content...now that is tenacious personality! Suzy Q is particular in what dogs she likes. She'd be great company and protection for a single person or anyone who only wants one dog. Bubba has high energy. He's gorgeous, extra large, and just needs that strong pack leader and an "only dog" home.  He loves leash walks and would thoroughly enjoy a backyard to run in.  We have dozens of rescues who've been with us way too long...whatever the reason. They all need a forever home or someone who can at the very least foster to help them through a few issues and become more desirable. These lives matter! They are definitely worth it.

Like I stated earlier, ITV is packed with homeless dogs again, which is our new normal. Adoptions continue to increase. Unfortunately, we still have to say "no" to many wanting to get rid of their "great" dog. Every person trying to "get rid of" their dog promises a great dog who will make another person very happy. ITV would love for you to come and learn about our foster program. We pay the bills...you provide the love and training.The dogs reward you with what is equal to a pot full of gold.

We always need donations. Monetary donations.  Items on our wish list.  Did I mention MONETARY donations? We don't have government funding or 60 years of operation, endowments and company backing.  We are at a growing point, but we need volunteers, donors and new supporters. We must succeed.  There is no other option. Not for me. Honey, Presley, Smokey and 100+ other ITV rescued dogs' lives depend on it.

Please think about supporting us with items from our wish list or a continuous tax deductible donation. A one time donation would also be greatly appreciated. Please try fostering.  Please sign up to volunteer.  Look for ITV Fosters and Volunteers on Facebook.  We are at events to raise money or adopt dogs all of the time. Walking dogs is not the only help we need.  Without you, we don't have a Village. Please check our website at ITVRescue.org. Follow us on Facebook.  Tell a friend about us. Please adopt if you are ready for a lifetime commitment and want the reward of a furry best friend. ITV needs you. I need you. I love these dogs with all my heart and soul. Come on in and see why. Come look in the eyes of our rescues and give them a plausible excuse why they aren't good enough to foster or adopt and see if you can walk away without a tear.   If enough of you make an effort, then maybe I can start sleeping at night instead of writing blogs,  worrying about our dogs or brainstorming new fundraising ideas.

ITV gives our dogs the best care possible. Our rescue dogs sometimes get more attention than our personal dogs.  That's because we are stretched thin and our rescue dogs are deserving. I'm personally asking you to help. However you can, please help.  I, we, the dogs, will greatly appreciate it. For those of you already involved.... Thank you!  I know that your heart feels the reward that hooked me over four years ago.  The moment I saw too many homeless but deserving dogs needing help. Those rescue dogs are still searching for a new forever home with the help of animal lovers---in the brightly painted teal building on Stockwell Road.  I can't wait to meet you!

Sincerely from the bottom of my heart,

Lori Martin

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Animalpalooza this weekend!!!

Looking for some fun 👪family and pet 🐶friendly fun this weekend? It Takes A Village Canine Rescue will have our canopy covering our booth Saturday and Sunday during Animalpalooza at Burdette Park. If you've never been, this is a must "TO DO"📝- so put it on your list now. Animalpalooza is an organization that fundraises, then donates profits to rescues like us.

Of course, we will have some of our great rescue 🐕dogs with us, so if you're looking to adopt a new furry friend, you are in luck!  We have some of the coolest and most sought after T-shirts and hoodies. They will be for sale.  Come early so you can buy every style you like.  We always have neat merchandise items including our bumper stickers, so you can help promote Evansville's only 🌈NO KILL non-profit rescue with an operating shelter. That's right, we NEVER kill for space, and that in itself takes more 💰money than you can imagine🔮!

We've also got an amazing raffle going on. One of the area's best 🔨carpenters has designed and constructed another amazing dog house and donated it to ITV. This is our last weekend to buy raffle tickets, so you could be the lucky winner of a doghouse that is fit for a 👑king!  Every dollar collected towards this raffle goes directly to the care of our rescues who live in our shelter at 📫1417 N. Stockwell Rd Evansville In or for the vetting needs of those lucky enough to be in a foster home. Someone will 🏁win- it might as well be you, but you've got to buy a 👍ticket!

Any special event isn't complete without food, and ITV won't let you go away hungry!  Andrea has been working hard on the menu 🍴and I hear those tasty cheesy barbecued nachos will likely sellout. No worries, though. She's got all types of smoked meats🍔, delicious sides and drinks to chill ⛄you from the heat☀.And of course, for those vegetarians, you won't walk away hungry either! We will be selling yummy food both days, and when you buy from us, WE totally keep the profits for our ITV Rescue dogs. Please look for our banners and signs so you know your hard earned money is going directly to ITV dogs!

We are anxious to share all the news goings on at our village when you stop by to see us.(Will we be frying 🐊GATOR🐊 in our Fall Festival Booth this October??.)   Any donation will be appreciated and will go directly to our ITV rescues. Write ✒us a check or use a credit 💳card and you can use it as a tax deduction next year!!!  Once you've browsed our booth and bought all you want, we hope you enjoy Dock Dogs and the 🎸live 🎶entertainment 🎤going on throughout both days. Although Animalpalooza is the host, it is taking a lot of preparation by us to get our areas ready. We are still needing volunteers to help sell our food, help in our booth, set up, transport and breakdown. If you can spare a few hours either or both days, please sign up at ITVRescue.org. Our events page will provide all of the details. Or, just stop in at our rescue during open hours and we will answer your questions!

ITV is excited to be a part of this annual event and appreciate all the hard 💪work coming from Lisa Ellsworth and her crew.  This event helps each rescue get out their mission and gain more followers. We all work for the common goal of saving stray and discarded animals. Since ITV has a 24 hour operating shelter, it's crucial that we raise as much money as possible. We strive to save as many canines as we can, but that takes money!  We are always fundraising, and this weekend you can have fun AND help support our furry family.

We are looking forward to a great turn out.  We always make it as 🎉fun🎉as possible. We would love💙to see you there!  If you can volunteer, that would even be better. If not, make certain to check out our upcoming events.  We always need good people to help us keep our shelter operating and get our rescues adopted into good forever🏡homes.  If you know someone who wants to donate 💰to a NO KILL rescue, please send them our way!

Make certain your dog is on a leash (retractable leashes are not allowed this year). Please come on out to Burdette Park to say hello to everyone helping our ITV dogs. All monetary donations to ITV will definitely go towards our operations, and we are very 😄grateful.  Without the support of our villagers and supporting busineses, we couldn't keep our shelter up and running. Come and enjoy the events, have some tasty ITV food and don't forget to choose a cool ITV shirt to show your support. We look forward to 👀seeing you and we won't stop 🐾UNTIL ALL PAWS HAVE A HOME!🐾

💰Lets make it a record breaking year!💰
🐾A lot of paws are counting on us all🐾
Lori Martin
Animal Advocate & ITV Supporter

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Our dreams are huge, our budget is not!

Recently, ITV had to post that we were at capacity with the number of rescued dogs in our care and were placing a "hold" on all new intakes. Anyone who even slightly knows those us who had to make that decision know how incredibly hard it was. Saving dogs are what we do.  It's our passion, our calling, and we take it very seriously.

Our hopes and dreams are huge. Unfortunately, there are factors that ultimately place limitations on our efforts.  Operating a rescue  is like a clock with many running parts. If one of those parts breaks, or the battery source is low, a clock can't tick. It's the same way at ITV.

In order to make rescue a success, of course, we need a sufficient cash flow. Unlike other agencies, ITV does not get any government funding, quarterly deposits or super high consistent donations that keep our bank balance high enough to do what we want when we want. Of course, we have loyal supporters who are kind enough to support our efforts.  They keep us ticking.  We are eternally grateful. Every person whose ever donated, we are so thankful...VERY THANKFUL!!

ITV has only had an operating shelter for 41/2 years, so in the rescue world, we are still the new kids on the block. Other rescue agencies have been running for decades and have had the time to build their donor list and supporters. They have endowments left to them.  We are constantly planning fundraisers here at ITV. There is never a moment when we are not in some phase of planning or execution of a fundraiser.  Raffles, Crafts Fairs, Carnivals, Poker Runs, Fall Festival food  booth, etc, etc are continually on our agenda.

Money is always a concern, and every dollar is stretched to the limit to allow our rescues the best possible chance at a great future. With extra donations, we would be able to expand our kennel area and provide the manpower needed to care for each dog in our care.  Each rescue is like a family member to every ITV provider. We want to give them more than the bare necessities. Most adoption fees rarely cover the cost incurred during a rescue's stay in our shelter or foster home.

Along with the money issues that curtail our space and efforts, our foster force is the determining factor for the number of canines we can rescue. In any given day, it is normal to turn away a dozen dogs needing rescued. We hate to say no.  But without the kennel or foster space, we are very limited.  We've doubled up in kennels, stacked crates and placed dogs in our bathroom just to take in and save an extra life. Recently, we had to reassess our situation, take consideration of our current rescues and those caring for them.

Our "hold" on intakes was a necessary evil. We get out of bed every morning to rescue a beating heart in a furry dog who is in need.  If we don't have a comfortable and acceptable sized space open in our center, we must say no. If there are no volunteers willing to foster a dog through the vetting protocol, we must say no. We hate to say no.

Fostering is such a rewarding experience. Don't get me wrong- we have a large group of dedicated fosters who give our rescues the care and training  needed until a dog is ready for adoption. Unfortunately, at this recent time, we can't  find new and willing volunteers to step up and help with our cause.  We know it's a big responsibility, but we urge anyone who isn't fostering for us to seriously consider hopping on board.

We cover all pre arranged vetting and provide support during the foster process.  Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a hopeless stray feel loved and return the favor with their unconditional loyalty. We ALWAYS need fosters. There is a never ending stream of unfortunate puppies and dogs needing to get a second chance in life, and ITV wants to be the rescue they can count on.

ITV's rescue advocates work almost 24/7 to keep the shelter operating and our fosters provided with what is needed to be adoption ready. We are non profit.  We are aren't rich. We struggle to make every dollar and to stretch every dollar we collect. A donation is tax deductible. Fostering costs your time and rewards with the heartwarming feeling that you've saved a poor soul who otherwise would have been euthanized. We want to save them all, but we can't. YOU can help us do more!

If you have never fostered, please go to ITVRescue.org and complete a foster application. Come into the center at 1417 N. Stockwell Rd, Evansville, IN during open hours and look in the eyes of our rescues who are currently living there. I'm certain one of them will steal your heart and love to ride home with you until we can find a the perfect forever home. That kennel space will open and we will be able to say yes to a phone call or email needing help.

If you don't have the housing, lifestyle or strength to let a foster go, please donate. Trust me, there is a bill, or two or ten needing paid right this moment.  Any amount is appreciated.  We would love for someone to come in with a huge donation check. We dream about a day when we can fall asleep easily because the  financial stress is lessened for us.  The dogs truly count on us and we will not let them down.

ITV is No- Kill...meaning we do not euthanize for space. We won't kill part of our animal family, one who isn't as desirable,  to make an opening for a new one in need. This gives us an obstacle  course that we are constantly running and trying to figure out. Any donation would be life saving to our ITV rescue dogs. Being in a foster home is a dream for all of our shelter dogs.  Please help keep all the parts at ITV working, and our energy source high.  You, or someone you know could be the blessing we are praying for!

UNTIL All Paws Have A Home,
L.Martin, Rescue Advocate and animal lover🐾

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fostering Saves Lives

Being an advocate for rescued canines is such a rewarding journey. Like anything in life, it has it's ups and downs, good and bad days, rewards and unbelievable frustrations. I've been doing this for four years now.  As I am sharing my experiences from the inner walls at ITV Rescue- Evansville's only non-profit NO KILL Shelter with a 24 hour operating center, my current foster snuggles beside me. The light from my IPad is a bit distracting to my husband and partner in rescue, as he is trying to sleep. I should be sleeping also, but I'm hyped up and the words must come out

My cute  new  furry buddy is stretched out and making certain he is touching me. He's my current foster. My goal is to match him with his perfect person to spend his forever years with.   Problem is- tonight, it hit me like a ton of bricks that SPARKY isn't his real name. He doesn't always respond to Sparky, but does respond to our voices when we call to him. As I lay here tonight, my mind wonders and I am imagining this sweet guy's journey before ITV rescued him. He's ten years old. For ten years he was called by another name, the name he was given by the same people who have now caused his upheaval.  I'm pretty sure he spent a decade being loyal and loving to someone. That someone has now failed him.   It's just beyond infuriating to me. No matter the circumstance, there is rarely a good reason for a dog to end up a stray and unable to be reunited with his/her owners. There could have been a viable solution that would have been easier on this innocent furry life.  Microchipping is a required part of our protocol to get a dog ready for adoption. A registered and updated microchip....or even an information tag on a collar, could have reunited "Sparky" with his owners. Perhaps he was dumped. No one came for him. He was listed in Evansville's lost pets and with Animal Control. He's only 10 pounds but heavy on the loving gene,  and I'm teary as I imagine him curled in a strange place and scared to death.

Someone had been careless with Sparky. Fortunately, we had room to rescue him and eventually I had space in my home. Here, he started settling into another strange setting. My husband and I have lost count of the number of fosters we've welcomed into our home. It's well over 100, and I wish I had been better organized and kept a  record of the rescues we've loved over the last four years. Some stayed only a few days, some several months. Some were the only foster.  Others came with the company of other fosters.  Regardless, each foster takes a piece of my heart with them when they finally adopt. I can only hope that I can provide a stable and loving home that each foster needs.   During my foster's transition period, my goal is to give them training and love.  I will do whatever they need to be desirable and then adopt to a forever family.

I keep updated on several of my fosters through Facebook via their amazing new people. We also follow up on our adopted rescues via several calls checking on the dog.  Nothing makes me smile bigger than to get a post or photo  from a newer Facebook friend who is now my past foster's forever person. I've seen a half hairless "Journey" go from sick and "ugly" to beautiful again. She regained her black and shiny coat of hair while we got her flea allergies under control. Once an unwanted and discarded living animal, Journey  is now a loved and important part of a forever family.

Two separate fosters are now brothers.  I get to see that Tucker- aka PeeWee,  finally feels comfortable enough to pack on some extra pounds to his once skinny frame. Gus-Gus is still the entertainer he was when fostered here in our house.  Now, he's gained  two brothers  and a partner in crime with a newly wed couple who love their adopted furry boys. Gidget, (MissP), the once hoarded and sickly Dapple Daschund,  who is also blind ( but don't tell her- she was born blind and doesn't know any different) now has several Daschund siblings and visits me often.

Not all of my fosters had happy endings. Its rare, but it happens. It's heartbreaking to help an adoptor blast Facebook to find the sweet dog that got spooked and ran off.  Lola passed from a sudden natural death,  but she spent her final year with an amazing family. Matty was just too ill, and we had to humanely euthenize her. My heart broke for each of these fosters and they are embedded in my memory.

All of us at ITV work tirelessly for our rescued family. There's never enough time in the day to finish all the work that needs to be done. Most of all, and our biggest hurdle- there's NEVER  enough money to pay the bills and take care of everything on our lists. We need a bigger facility.  It would be a huge relief and less stress to be able to say yes to phone call after phone call from people seeking shelter for a dog they can no longer keep.

The big picture is overwhelming...in a good way. The goals we have are huge and will make a transformation in rescue here in Evansville. ITV Volunteers dream big. Dream big or go home....the dogs deserve only the best. A larger facility with ample kennels and areas for all operations. Enough staff and volunteers to make it all run smoothly and provide every dog with individual care and one on one loving time. A mobile medical unit so we can provide vaccinations, spay and neuter and medical care to all areas in need.  Oh- we'd love to easily transport our rescues to other cities and states where there's not an overflowing problem of too many strays and euthenizing shelter dogs. I would love to drive into a city with a van full of our rescue family and watch one by one as they all get adopted.

Those goals are in the back of our minds everyday. SOMEDAY it will happen. We have huge hearts and determination. We put personal issues aside and work tirelessly together to find every paw a home. We know we can do it.  But we know it has to happen one set of paws at a time. It will happen with new and continuous donations from our supporters.  Local and huge businesses must become willing to financially help us fight for our cause. It's unbelievable how expensive it is to keep a rescue operating.  Many times, our adoption fee doesn't even cover the expenses paid out for the vetting and care the dog received after rescue.

"Sparky" is softly sawing logs next to me. I guess it's time to put my weary head down and get some much needed sleep. Tomorrow, Sparky still needs to find his forever home.  So do the other 100+ ITV Rescues currently in our Center at 1417 N Stockwell Road or in a foster home. It's a lot of responsibility. I take it very seriously. I can't fail these dogs. I am their voice and one of their chances to find a new loving home. My fellow ITV rescuers are just as determined if not more determined than I.  We all have different talents, ideas, and work ethics.  Combined,  we shall conquer and enjoy the fruits of our labors.

I hate that I don't know my foster's real name.  I am blessed that I can provide him the shelter, food, love and companionship he so desperately needs until his forever home sends in an adoption application to ITVRescue.org.  It's so sad we don't know his true name or his exact circumstances from his past to help him transition. What's worse...Sparky isn't an exception. In rescue, his abandonment and disregard for his loyal service is pretty well the rule.

I, my husband, and my ITV advocates  will keep taking it one day at a time....one set of paws at a time...and go above and beyond to show these rescues that their lives matter. Sparky, you will make a new person unbelievable happy soon. I'm so sorry for your plight.  But I promise you, I will do everything in my power to make certain this will be your last transition. And then I will move to the next set of paws.  I pray that someday people wise up. Spay and neuter. Treat animals as a lifetime responsibility and hold true to your promise when a new pet joins your family. Until then, my mission will continue.  Might heart is big enough to let a piece go with every new foster and every rescue ITV takes in. Each rescue and foster allows my heart to grow.  It's what I was born to do. I am blessed.

Lori Martin
Rescue Advocate

So, it's a few weeks after writing the above blog. It's with complete joy that I can report that Sparky is now living his happily ever after!  After much contemplation, I now realize his original name is a minuscule worry. We rescued this senior guy and now he is with his person. The past is gone. The only thing that matters is the present and future.

Right now, I know Sparky...or whatever name the new owner gives this handsome guy...is in a loving home. He has a canine, feline and PIG sibling!  I hear he is roaming his new home and curious of the surroundings, especially the pig. He is settling in and becoming an important member of his forever family.

The past only matters when trying to help a rescue through abuse and medical issues. The present and future is now what's important to my most recent foster. If only more of you would jump on board and foster.  Your heart will grow and you will helping a good cause.

Enjoy your new life, Sparky. You have a piece of my heart and l have so much of your love that still lingers. You are a wonderful guy. It was a honor to serve you. I salute your resilience and admire your spirit.  Until all paws have a home, this home will bring in more "Sparkies".  We will continue to love and train them until they match with their forever home. Fostering. What a gift that keeps giving!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Don't miss Canine Carnival!!

It Takes A Village Canine Rescue (ITV) began six years ago. A small number of dog lovers came together and started pulling dogs from Evansville Animal Control. They gave love to an unwanted or stray dog.  They gave much needed vetting.  This included spay or neuter.  They socialized and started some basic training to these "thrown away" dogs. They put their heart and souls into their foster until they matched an adopter with their foster. A dog that was previously tossed into the system...and possibly euthanized...was now starting a happy new chapter in life.

Six years ago, some passionate dog rescuers fostered one dog at a time from their own homes.  Today, ITV is still fostering from homes.  It is also Evansville's only non profit No Kill rescue with a 24 hour operating shelter.  We have 50+ dogs temporarily residing within the teal blue walls on Stockwell Road. It's taken more money and more volunteer time than anyone could have imagined. In the past 4 years , ITV's adoption rates have increased dramatically over the years.

This type of success doesn't come easily. There is never enough money.  There are never enough volunteers. There is never enough time. The one thing that we are never lacking, however, is heart.   Rescue isn't easy. It's not all puppy kisses and rainbows. But, those of us who advocate for dog rescue have huge hearts.

Money can't buy everything, but in rescue, it is the one thing we are always searching for. Not a day goes by that we aren't planning ways to raise money to cover expenses that will allow us to continue saving furry lives.  Whether its selling a candy bar, dine in for dogs, designing a t-shirt, selling food at booth 107A at The Fall Festival or finding sponsors for our main fundraiser of the year, I guarantee there are always multiple fundraisers in some stage of planning.

Approaching quickly is ITV's Canine Carnival/Mardis Paws.  Normally, we plan and set up in our parking lot. Bands play, food is prepared, kids play games, silent auction items are bid on as well as numerous other family friendly fun things. This year, we've taken a leap of faith. Our main core of volunteers have a dream that ITV will grow bigger. Grow and be able to save many more furry friends.  We've rented Historic Bosse Field for and are in the final frenzy of preparations.

With the extra space, location and opportunity, we are dreaming big.  We hope to bring Evansville a Canine Carnival that will be so much fun and so successful, residents will look forward every year to the festivities. No matter who you are, what age you are or your political views, Canine Carnival will have something for you!

Two stages will be set up this year for your entertaining purposes. One stage will have talented bands playing from 11:30 until 9. The other stage will start off the festivities with an opening ceremony and National anthem.  You can participate in the pet parade and be in contention for a trophy in one of many categories.  You could win Holiday World tickets when your pet competes in "Silly Pet Tricks" and wins first place. If you don't have a pet who does a silly trick, then you will enjoy the entertainment from performances on the stage.

Mid day, Collin Clarke and Glenn Ubelhor, the two men who are Collination, will astound you with their tear jerking motivating story that is now viral and reaching millions of people internationally. They will also entertain you with their award winning pose routines.  You will be humbled and amazed with Collin's story and want to get your photo taken with the duo.

Grainger has stepped up and is the top dog sponsor presenting this annual event. 30+ vendors and crafters all with different talents will display their items for sale around the field. Some of our best Mardi Gras food featured from our fall festival menu will be spreading a delicious aroma that will get your taste buds watering. More basic types of food, snacks and drinks will also be available if you aren't one who likes to try something different. We will also have an area where you can grab a beer, glass of wine or margarita while your eardrums listen to the tunes from the rotating band schedule.

Kids will be squealing with delight when they see the inflatables, dogs and multiple games where they can snag a great prize. A professional photographer will be taking photos of your pet in front of a festive backdrop. If you're wanting a keepsake of your dog's paw print that will decorate your home or office, we will have an artistic booth set up for this too!  And who can resist the fun photo booth?  Take your friends in and create a crazy photo memory. Better yet, take in your furry best friend and pose together for a strip of photos that you will always treasure.

ITV's Canine Carnival will have such an array of fun things to do. We even encourage you to just sit back, relax and enjoy all going on around you. We know there will be something interesting for every person who walks through the gates.

ITV is anxious to step it up, grow and help more dogs this year than we ever have. We can't do it without you, though!  A fundraiser of this magnitude requires a large number of volunteers. Please go to our website, ITVRescue.org and look for the volunteer sign up log. With so much going on, we need talent and brawn of all shape and sizes. If you can't volunteer, please consider a donation. We are accepting canned sodas, bottled water and silent auction items. If you can't do this, please mark June 11 on your calendar and tell all your friends about our event.

Our dogs are depending on us. We won't let them down. But we need YOUR help. It truly DOES take a village to rescue dogs. We can't do it with just a handful of volunteers. We want the Tri-state buzzing with excited about our upcoming event. Be on the lookout for our TV commercial, radio spots and billboard advertisements around the city. Our core volunteers at ITV Rescue are determined to plan a very successful day to raise enough funds to help more dogs. There are always too many dogs and not enough kennel spaces or foster homes. With your support of Canine Carnival/Mardi Paws, you can start helping...UNTIL ALL PAWS HAVE A HOME!

I look forward to seeing you. I will be the short  brunette haired gal helping run the activities. My name is Lori Martin and I'm a dog advocate and ITV Volunteer. Please come and say hello on at Bosse Field. I guarantee a fun filled day!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Get Them Fixed!!

A new month is upon us, but we take a minute to look back at the busy February we had.  February is a month known for Valentines Day,  a possible leap day and the age of Aquarius.  Dog advocates revel in this month as it records World Spay Day.  Even the greenest dog advocate knows that surgically altering pets is the easiest and most effective way to control the pet population.  February was very much like every month for ITV - spaying or neutering every dog who passes through our doors. It Takes A Village Canine Rescue only adopts canines who have been spayed or neutered.

World Spay Day is highlighted on the last Tuesday of each February to bring awareness to our growing pet population.  World Spay Day is also a day to bring attention to the needs of affordable vet altering services.  To highlight the importance of spaying or neutering, consider the following statistics from the ASPCA:

  • Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.
  • Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).
  • The average number of litters a fertile dog produces is one a year; the average number of puppies is four to six.
  • Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered, while 83% of pet dogs and 91% of pet cats are spayed or neutered.
  • The cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for a year.  https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics
If you've been following ITV on our Facebook profile page, you've noticed that we have been rescuing a large number of puppies.  Starting well before Christmas 2015,  our phones have rung off of the hooks with pleas for help.  Sadly, many momma dogs have given birth to their litter outside in the frigid cold or places not suitable for birthing healthy pups.

Of course, puppies are cute. They have that sweet puppy breath, cute wagging tails and pure innocence. They make us feel warm and fuzzy inside!  We always do everything in our power to accommodate a momma and her new litter. It's amazing how many fosters will step up and volunteer to foster puppies.  We appreciate everyone who fosters for ITV.  Many of our recent litters were at such a young age that they could not be separated from their nursing momma. Removing young puppies from their lactating momma is not only cruel, its also careless.Fostering a momma and her litter is very admirable. Until the puppies are weaned and can eat soft or hard food on their own, the momma mainly takes care of her litter. Still, our fosters must be certain momma is getting proper nutrition, potty breaks and time away from her ever nursing litter.

Once puppies are weaned, the responsibility shifts more to the foster than the momma.  Yes, puppies are super cute, but lets be honest. Anyone who has any experience with young puppies knows that puppies basically eat, poop, pee, sleep, repeat over and over. Yes, again, they are cute. But, is "cuteness" really worth it?

 A momma should be monitored and be in good health during the 2 month pregnancy.  If there are complications, the momma and her litter could be at risk during the birthing process. If the pregnancy was not properly monitored, genetic issues can arise in any puppy.  Medical issues  can pop up if sufficient care isn't given to the momma.  Veterinary bills and food costs can quickly add up while a litter is growing old enough and going through the vetting protocol to find a home. It's pretty obvious that the cost of a spay is a small price to pay compared to ensuring a healthy momma and taking responsibility for the complete welfare of each puppy.

Another apparent fact that comes to mind: puppies grow into adult dogs!  We find that puppies are very easy to adopt. We have a very extensive adoption application. We take the application process very seriously. A pup taken into a rescue should never be homeless ever again.  Unfortunately, we have found-through experience- that in some instances, once a puppy grows and isn't that super cute puppy anymore, the adopter's interest in the dog lags. ITV always takes back any rescue that has been adopted. It's in our contract. We do our best to scour the application, but sometimes it just doesn't matter.  The perfect looking application and adopter can return later renege on their responsibilities and surrender that once sweet puppy that is now an adult.

A female dog will go into heat every six months. Many of the dogs coming into ITV with a litter of puppies are unfortunately young pups.  How sad that a dog under one year old has to go through the painful process of pregnancy, birth, nursing and then torn away from her beloved litter. She should be in a loving home where her biggest worry is which flavor her rawhide will be when she gets a treat.

It's seems so very simple. The easiest way to start controlling the pet population is to SPAY YOUR DOG!  Like I said before, puppies normally adopt quickly.  Sadly, most of the momma's will be sitting in a kennel well after her litter was taken away and adopted to a loving family. Sophia is our most recent example of that - her puppies have been adopted, but she waits for her home.  ITV does NOT leave mom behind - ever.  If we rescue the puppies, we will rescue the mom also.  

The pet overpopulation can be corrected. It's simple. Be a responsible pet owner.  Please have your pet spayed or neutered. Don't risk an unwanted litter. A male dog WILL find a way to get to a female in heat. It's nature.   Humane societies offer low cost spay and neuter clinics. It's up to us to care for our dogs and protect them.  Educate yourself about all the responsibilities of a pet owner and consult your vet for the ideal time to spay or neuter your fur baby.  Overpopulation continues to add up one litter at a time.  Every spay and neuter WILL make a difference.

World Spay Day has recently passed.  However, the message and information is relevant for every single day of the year. ITV will always rescue litters if fosters continue to step up or if there is space in our shelter. A shelter is really no place for a puppy or a nursing momma, so in a perfect world, we would love to never see another unplanned litter of puppies. We agree with Bob Barker and Betty White.  "Control the pet population.  Have you're pet spayed or neutered."  What a wonderful place this world could be if puppies weren't born out in the elements without medical care and human interaction.   ITV Canine Rescue will continue working hard and smart. We are dedicated to place our rescues into the best matched home.  "Until All Paws Have A Home", this animal advocate will volunteer blood sweat and tears.  I will stand next to my fellow volunteers and our Villagers until every kennel is empty. We will never give up.

Lori Martin