We are a small not-for-profit no-kill shelter in Northeast Kansas. We have 10 dog kennels, with 5 overflow kennels. Since early 2021, we've been over capacity, normally caring for 25-28 dogs IN HOUSE at a time, most in wire crates in our garage. We do have some in foster, and some in a program at the US Penitentiary - Leavenworth, but our in-house volume is through the roof. That's just talking about dogs. Cats were okay for a long time, but of course summer comes and the cat population explodes. We hear lots and lots about transfers, but have yet to find out who is actually taking pets from our area. A few months ago, one of our partners transferred in 2, and a rescue network accepted one (who was adopted from them 5 days later!) but other larger shelters in our area are telling us they can't take the dogs we have. Most are large, untrained, big blocky headed muscular short haired dogs who aren't that great with many other dogs or cats. Who's actually willing to take these? Some of the dogs we have came in more than 600 days ago. It's exhausting, unsustainable and is putting us financially at risk. We just need leads on who will actually accept some of these dogs and get them to homes. We are pretty liberal and conversation-based with adoptions, so I don't think that's our problem. We go out of our way to help potential adopters get to "yes" despite some very disappointing adopters here and there. We have accessible hours. We just desperately need some relief. While advice is nice, we really just need to find someone to take some dogs/cats off our hands sooner rather than later, or we're going to be forced to shut down. Thank you.
Good Morning CrystalI am in Middle Georgia. Here in the south just about everything is a pit mix. While many are great dogs, they do hold that stereotype that some can't seem to get past. I'm assuming by your description your population comes from the guard dog class.My suggestion would be to put out a plea in your local area for dog trainers that are willing to come in and work with some of your long term dogs. Many will do it as a tax write off but trainers should have a love for dogs and if you explain the circumstances, living situations, etc, you should be able to get at least a couple. Even better would be if you could get them to come in and do a "class" where the volunteers are handling the dogs and they teach y'all how to train the dogs.I find that even the more difficult dogs are more appealing if you can say they are leash trained and know basic commands. Also, try to get your volunteers to do weekend field trips with some of the long term dogs. What that means is they take the dog home for the weekend so it can decompress from the rescue life, learn some basic house manners, and the volunteer will likely get to see a totally different dog. We have a dog that spent almost a year at animal control, was pulled by a local rescue, sat in a crate there for almost a year until an incident happened, was then sent back to animal control where he spent another year, and our rescue pulled him on the day they wanted to euthanize him. He's been with us for 8 months. Our rescue is based in a house that was converted to commercial and the dogs get to live in bedrooms that have half doors. So this boy has a whole room. But he went on a field trip to a volunteers house this weekend and he did amazing. To the best of our knowledge, this was his first time every being in a family home. This dog is a boxer, sharpei, pit mix. Built like a tank and strong as one. He is also dog selective. As with people, no logic to it. I guess some dogs just smell funny or something LOL. BUT - the point of that story is that he is a completely different dog in a home that NONE of us would have known about had this volunteer not taken the chance.We also let our trusted volunteers take them on day trips. The dog above has gone to the water park a couple times. They've gone to Starbucks, to local rivers/lakes, events like Barks n Beers at local brewery's or local festivals. We have "Adopt Me" bandanas and vests for the dogs to wear when they go out in public. Anything to get the animals out into the publics eye, give the dogs some socialization with people (obviously not dogs if they aren't dog friendly), and spread the word about our rescue. Also, getting creative with the bio on the animal helps. Make it funny, cutesy, or witty. We have placed several dogs into "1 dog only" homes. See if you can find a local business to partner with. They sponsor a pet each month. Maybe they cover part of the adoption fee, but the big part is they advertise that dog on their social media for the month (so have a great photo and short bio ready that will bring inquiries). Even if someone decides that dog isn't for them, you might be able to suggest a diff one thats a better fit.
I know this doesn't help you with the transfer part. We would love to find a transfer partner as well that we could pull and send the dogs out to areas that maybe don't get a lot of that particular breed, size, age, etc. But have not thus far. But I just wanted to offer some suggestions on getting some of your animals adopted even though they may be more difficult cases. May consider lowering the adoption fee on some.
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