Denis Putt, Sarah Johns, Aimee Baldwin and Krys Beardman tell us about their charitable trust, We Love Dogs, started in early 2020.
Where is the trust located and what services does it offer?
We rehome dogs. Almost 100 per cent of our services are offered within Taranaki. However, we have had some dogs rehomed to areas outside of our region. We network, where possible with, other rescue organisations.
Our services include home checks, interviewing prospective adoptive families and ensuring our dogs are desexed, fully vaccinated, microchipped and registered. Many dogs are handed over to us without any of these critical needs in place.
We work with foster caregivers while dogs are advertised for adoption. Many dogs are in urgent need of moving out of their current situations so foster families are used primarily but kennel care is used on occasion if the dog is fully vaccinated and the need is urgent.
We ask for a small adoption fee to help cover the cost of ensuring all the dog’s needs have been met prior to adoption. We exist on goodwill through donations and volunteer time.
Why did you start the trust?
The trustees saw a need in the community to help dogs in need. We also wanted to help enhance public dog facilities, liaise with dog communities and authorities, along with other charities. Securing new homes and minimising euthanasia are key factors in the trust’s operations.
How many volunteers do you have and how did they become involved?
We work with a small group of dedicated volunteers, and our rehome team of 10 is based in various locations around Taranaki.
Many became involved through interaction or adopting from the trust. Some are foster fails, so they provided a forever home for a dog they were fostering and then offered to help in various ways.
How many dogs come through the trust each year?
Since the beginning of 2020, we have taken over 90 dogs. During lockdown in 2020, our operation was extremely limited, however, after lockdown, our workload increased dramatically as people’s lives had changed and their situation often led them to surrendering their dogs. We saw behavioural issues through lack of socialisation, living arrangements changing, tenancy lost, employment and family issues.
We initiated an online platform to gather information on applications for adoption, fostering, volunteers and surrenders.
What do you offer the dogs that come through your trust?
The trust offers all dogs the best options for a secure and safe future. All homes are checked to ensure they are suitable. Prospective adopters are met, and discussions take place regarding their dog handling experience and how the potential new family canine will be housed and cared for. Meet and greets take place with the dog and new adopter to ensure compatibility. Follow-ups are done regularly and if things do not go to plan then the trust is open to taking the dog back and starting the process again. This very rarely happens.
Is it easy finding homes for the dogs?
Finding new homes for a dog can take some time, especially to find the right fit. Puppies are generally rehomed quite quickly, but older, larger dogs can take a lot of effort and review of applications.
Fostering is critical in many cases due to the urgency of many of the surrendered dogs. We see threats of dumping and euthanasia.
The trust is constantly re-evaluating its procedures and documentation to ensure excellence and consistency is achieved in our operation. We catch up frequently to discuss current dog status and movements.
The trust initially never imagined there would be such a huge need to step in and advocate for canine wellbeing. The past two years have been a huge learning curve, but the outcomes have proven the need is there.
Do you have a special story about a particular dog you would like to share with us?
Dog’s name has been changed in the interest of privacy.
There was a doggo called Reece. Reece was a gorgeous giant GS/Husky cross who through no fault of his had been living in a dog pound for over 12 months. A foster was found and it turned out that Reece was adorable and quickly learned how to be a home dog, but he had a medical issue with his ears.
Reece was booked in for a desex, to be vaccinated, chipped, his ears sorted – be a different dog. A home was found for him to settle into with another gorgeous giant GS cross, Elton. They became best mates in a very short time.
One day they got a bit scared and jumped their fence, went walkabout, and got separated. Elton found his way home, but Reece got stuck in a bank alongside a river and wasn’t found for a couple of days.
Jumping the fence became a fun thing once the dogs were back home together, causing a few panic moments for their owners. They also learnt to open the gates, doors etc, and the owners have now upgraded the fencing to prevent their escape. Currently we all have our fingers crossed this is a forever match.
How can people help you?
Our biggest issue is funding. We would love to receive more donations from the wider community to help with our desex, vaccination, microchipping and registration programmes for all our dogs. This is a huge cost to the trust, and we are heavily reliant on goodwill from suppliers and supporters. The next big issue is fosters, who we rely on heavily to look after the dogs and prepare them for their forever home.
The trust set up a Barket, a dog friendly market, hosted every two months at Northpoint Field in New Plymouth. This is steadily gathering support. The purpose of Barket is to engage with the community and allow like minded people to bring their dogs along to experience the food stalls and dog related products. Barket is not limited to dog stuff; we encourage all market stalls to register.