HKRT receives multiple intake requests each day, and more times than we want to
count, we have to say no. The biggest reasons for that are a lack of volunteer/foster
support and funding. The first question we ask ourselves is “Where will the dog go if we say yes?” We take into consideration size, age, sex, and the type of issues needing to be addressed. Surprisingly, funding is easier to find in emergency or urgent situations than foster homes are. But don’t let that fool you into thinking we have funds aplenty. Our number one job is fundraising because without money we cannot responsibly care for our dogs.
When assessing whether we have space for a new dog in the program, we must
consider the fosters we have willing and able to take them. As of now, we do not have a facility or sanctuary to house our dogs which limits who we can take. The handful of
foster families we have are wonderful but there is only so much time in the day and
space in their homes. We simply cannot keep up with the demand without more
dedicated foster homes. HKRT covers all expenses for our dogs while they are in the
program, so don’t let finances deter you from giving it a try. We even provide dog food! Because we focus on the ones with special socialization needs, a different management approach is often needed, which basically means more structured interactions and/or closer supervision. Sadly, our reactive dogs tend to spend more time in isolation or in a crate, but that does not mean they are bad dogs! Frequently, the issue is not aggression but rather a lack of confidence or an inability to communicate appropriately. With our guidance, they will learn, but catch on fastest when given more frequent opportunities to practice.
If you can’t foster, consider volunteering a couple hours each week to help with
socialization. We always need dependable, kind, and fun-loving folks to join our team!
Volunteers can give foster families a break while providing wonderful enrichment for the pups by just taking them for a hike or a sleepover. While our goal is quality over
quantity, the quicker a dog can work through their obstacles, the sooner they can find
their forever home, which opens space for another. We want to save as many as we
can, but a devoted team is needed to make that a reality.
Lastly, funding…UGH. Money goes out as quickly as it comes in. We are fortunate to
have an amazing sponsor in Pet Supplies Plus of Madison, who provides all the food,
treats, and toys our dogs need. That is a tremendous help and we are so thankful for
them! Vet bills are our number one expense. For us to grow into the program we dream to be, complete with a facility for training/boarding/rescue and sanctuary space for the truly unadoptable, we need funds. Monthly sponsors would go a long way towards helping us reach those goals. The donors who have helped us get this far into the journey have been incredibly generous, but we need more consistent and reliable monetary support for future growth. We are always on the lookout for fundraising opportunities so don’t be shy about reaching out if you have some ideas. Our Fundraising Coordinator will be happy to speak with you!
The next time you see a dog in need and go to tag your favorite rescue, consider also
offering to help in whatever way you can. Tag Hard Knocks (@hkrtinc), share the post
with your pledge of assistance, then challenge your friends to foster, volunteer, donate, and share as well. Let’s all do our part! Every little bit helps.
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.