Rescue work is challenging and requires us to wear
multiple hats to get the job done. It is vital that we know
what our purpose is and are realistic about our limitations.
Our role is not to be thought of as a permanent solution,
but rather a steppingstone in the dog’s journey to finding
their forever family. In order to save as many dogs as
possible, we need lots of helping hands and a dedicated
forever family for every single one we pull into the HKRT
As we finish 2019, we are looking at our current numbers
and setting goals for the next year. We are proud to say that
we have doubled our intake from last year! What that means
is that we have had enough funding, space, volunteers,
and adopters to say “Yes” to 28 dogs. While we will be
far surpassed by other groups who have a larger
support system, we are encouraged and motivated to keep pushing forward because our network is growing and always shows up when we need them. Also, our numbers
will likely always be a bit lower than others because we are taking in dogs who typically
come to us after being unnoticed by adopters visiting shelters or turned away by other
rescues due to breed or behavioral issues. Before becoming a Hard Knocker, our dogs
have been labeled, left for dead, or overlooked for reasons that are not their fault.
Because of the gap we aim to fill, we must approach things a bit differently than other
One thing that sets us apart is that we provide ongoing aftercare for our adopters. While
we firmly believe “Once a Hard Knocker, always a Hard Knocker”, our mission is to find
our dogs forever homes so we can continue saving and rehabilitating unadoptable dogs
until there are none left. To help keep our adopted dogs in their new homes, we are
always available to answer questions or troubleshoot. Each of our adopted dogs comes
with a gift of six weeks of group training classes to be completed with their new family,
as well. We know it can be overwhelming when you first bring a dog home, even under
the best of circumstances, and we believe having a support system can make that
transition easier and is crucial to limiting returns.
Another thing that we do a little differently is that we are transparent about the issues
our dogs have. The HKRT dogs live in homes with foster families so we learn their
habits and quirks. If they don’t like to be touched a certain way or prefer a special type
of toy, we will share that with you. We know how to manage their difficult behaviors and
will show you how to do it, too. Before our dogs are considered “adoptable” we have
addressed all their medical issues, gotten them used to a schedule, and taught them
some basic commands like “sit” and “watch me”.
We can raise funds. We can house, nurture, and train them; but, our mission to save as
many as possible grinds to a halt without adopters. What we need to keep our
momentum going is committed adopters. With the holiday season rapidly approaching,
we would love for every family considering adding a new dog to consider adopting
rather than buying from a breeder. When you adopt from a rescue, you are saving two
dogs because you open a space for us to say “Yes” to another intake. Because we are a smaller group, the impact an adoption has in our program is even more valuable
because space is so limited.
If you aren’t looking to adopt, maybe consider fostering (even short term). Also, we can
always use help with taking dogs on outings to get more practice with socialization. We
have many volunteer opportunities throughout the year to help with marketing and
fundraising, as well. Everyone can do something to help homeless animals. If you are
willing to try, the HKRT team will be there to support you every step of the way.
We hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with love and happy memories.
Lisa Maasen, Jennifer Marbrey, and Nikki Hinsdale are Partners in Hard Knocks Rescue & Training, Inc. They have years of experience within the rescue and training community, and a drive to see its teamwork bring positive changes to the dogs in most need.