Student Workshop | Program | Ruff Rescues, Wendy Kujawa, Airdate 3/4/2018


(soft chiming music) Meet Oscar. At three months
old he made his way to Wisconsin from
Georgia with the help of the Wisconsin Humane Society. Every year more than
6.5 million animals are put in shelters and
put up for adoption, 3.3 being dogs. Oscar is one of
those 3.3 million. Today we’ll see another
successful adoption story and we’ll also learn how
other dogs make their way to Wisconsin from the
south, so stay tuned. (soft upbeat music) Hello, and thank you for
tuning in to Ruff Rescues, I’m your host Keith Smith. Most people couldn’t
imagine living in a home without their four
legged friend. In fact, nearly half
of all households across the US own
a pet companion. Even with so many homes
caring for animals, there are still millions
of homeless pets that find their
way into shelters. Some are strays, some are
surrendered by their owners, and others are obtained
from cruelty situations. Of these shelter
animals, each year approximately 1 1/2
million are euthanized. Adopting, fostering and rescuing prevents these animals
from being killed. Here to discuss her
small part in saving a few animals’ lives
is Rebecca Larson. Thanks for joining
us today, Rebecca. – Thanks for having me. – Can you tell me what made
you choose to adopt and rescue? – I actually have
a dog and two cats, and it was my choice to adopt, just because I knew that
I would be saving a life. And I did my research and, there wasn’t a specific
breed that I wanted, but I knew I wanted a companion. And so now we have
our lovely animals that greet us every day. We love them. – Great. Why do you think it’s
important to adopt? – I think it’s important
just for several reasons. I think that there’s so
many animals out there that need a good home and they
have so much love to give. And there’s also, you know, you don’t necessarily
want to give your money to breeders.
– Right. – We’ve all seen those
terrible commercials where dogs are abused. And you know that
when you’re going to an adoption place
that you’re getting a pet that’s been screened and is
healthy and ready to be loved. – How does it feel
know you’ve helped save these animals lives? – It feels so good. And I know that they, in turn, are happy to be
part of our lives. – Why do you enjoy
having the pets? – You know, when
you have a bad day or you just need
somebody that has no, you know, you just want
somebody to cuddle with. – That unconditional love.
– Exactly, exactly. Or you’re, you know, right
now it’s winter months, somebody to warm my lap or–
– Right. (laughs) – Or just kind of be
a good distraction, and my dog is great
for exercise too. – [Keith] Really quick. Do you think you’ll adopt
again in the future? – Definitely. – Ah, wonderful. (laughs) One local rescue that is
making efforts to save animals is Lucky Mutts Rescue. Having seen so many
animals in need, some local women
started a small shelter here in Milwaukee. Little did they know,
that their efforts would turn into something much
bigger than they anticipated. (lively upbeat music) – I started Lucky Mutts
Rescue in April of 2015 with two other friends
and my daughter, with the intent on
saving some dogs. Nothing large-scale,
just, you know, if we could save a few
hundred dogs a year or a hundred dogs, that
was what we were after. We just wanted to
make a difference. And down south there’s
such a need for it that we thought we could help. We never set out to save
X amount of animals. We started small. We thought we’d
stay small and it’s gotten so much bigger. (upbeat music) Any dog can come with baggage. Rescue dogs deserve a chance. Without people out here
like us, like our rescue and other people,
giving them a chance, they’d be euthanized. Some of ’em take a couple days
to come out of their shells. They can come in so
scared the first day. By day three, they’re
happy-go-lucky and great; they just need a chance. You know, we’ve seen some really
terrible, terrible things. And to see a dog come in that, you just completely shut down, and to see it go to a
forever home is just, it’s amazing. People can help by
volunteering their time, their talents at a
local animal shelter, for a rescue, transporting. There’s all kinds of
ways you can help. We couldn’t do it
without the volunteers. They’re amazing. They make Lucky Mutts. And in the future, we just
wanna continue to save dogs. It’s not about the numbers,
it’s about the dogs. – Here to tell us more
about homeless animals and how people just like you
and me can make a difference in an animals life
is Laurie Eastman, one of the leading volunteers
at Lucky Mutts Rescue. Thanks for joining
us today, Laurie. – Thanks for having me, Keith. – So, my first
question for you is why do you even pull
dogs from out of state? Aren’t there enough in
Wisconsin that need homes? – We’re really
fortunate in Wisconsin. Things that happen down
south don’t happen here. We are constantly
bombarded with emails, requests through Facebook,
phone calls begging us for help. I am not aware of a single
shelter in Wisconsin that is euthanizing
pregnant dogs or litters of healthy puppies because they don’t have
space or resources. And unfortunately, down south
it happens every single day. – [Keith] So you’re
really blessed? – Yes, we’re very fortunate here and that’s part of the
reason why we’re also trying to spread the word about
what happens down south, because we have the ability to
make a difference down there because we are more
fortunate here. – Can you explain a little more on where the shelter
dogs come from? – They end up in the shelters
a bunch of different ways. Some are owner surrenders. I got a dog, I don’t
want him anymore, they’re costing
me too much money, I don’t have time for them,
they have too much energy; so they turn ’em
into the shelter. Unfortunately, a tiny shelter
that’s already over capacity, someone walks in and signs
owner surrender paperwork, there’s a good
chance they’re headed straight for euthanasia.
– Oh, God. – A lot of dogs are
brought in as strays, whether it be they were
picked up by the police or the animal control
officers in the area, or people who don’t wanna
pay the surrender fees will bring in their own dogs
and claim they’re strays. Then there’s also
dogs that are seized, either from criminal
cases, cruelty cases, hoarding cases as well. So there’s lots
of different ways that dogs can end up in the
shelters, unfortunately. – What is some
advice you can give for someone who’s
looking for a dog? – Don’t base your
decision on looks. You need to find a companion who’s going to mesh
with your lifestyle. So that would be
energy level, needs. So if you’re looking
for a running partner, you don’t want a
couch potato dog. But on the other hand,
if you want somebody who, okay, I just got home
from a long day at work, I wanna sit on the couch, I
want somebody to cuddle with that I can pet or brush
and just hang out, you don’t want a Border Collie, because you’re not
gonna get along, you’re gonna be miserable
and so is the dog. And unfortunately, I
think that’s where a lot of the owner surrenders
come from is, oh my god, that
dog is beautiful. And it’s the lifestyle
and the true match isn’t– – [Keith] Right, not
knowing the breed. – And we work really hard to
try and make those matches more based on personality,
energy level, things like that, versus oh, I just really
like the look of that dog. – What can you say
to people who say pet store puppies
need a home too? (sighs) – When you get a puppy
from a pet store, you’re encouraging bad behavior. The dogs that are in pet
stores come from breeders who profits over the
welfare of the dogs. Welfare of the
dogs is secondary, if it’s even a priority at all. They’re there to turn a profit. Reputable breeders who
actually care about their dogs will never let their
puppies go to a pet store. In rescue, we are
all volunteers. None of us makes a dime. We give our time, our energy,
and our hearts to this. Everything we do is about
the welfare of the dogs. – And, when you get a
dog from a pet store, how is that different
from adopting? Because pet stores can
offer vaccines too, like a rescue can. What do people not
know about that? – They’ll tell you
that they’re vaccinated and they’re healthy, but
just do some googling. You will hear all
kinds of horror stories about people who spent
thousands of dollars on a purebred puppy
from a pet store, and they’ll have all
kinds of medical issues. And people have had puppies
die two weeks later, things like that.
– That’s horrible. – Ya. Our dogs, they come with all their
age-appropriate vaccinations, based on the age that they are
at the time they’re adopted. Spayed or neutered,
microchipped. If they’re too young to
be spayed or neutered, we actually give our
adopters a certificate where they can go to
one of our partner vets and get that taken
care of when they reach the appropriate age.
– Awesome. – So, if you get a
dog from a pet store, you’re gonna pay for that
yourself; it’s not included. – All right, we’ve
gotta move on. The process of rescuing
dogs is no easy feat. There are hundreds of hours
and countless volunteers dedicated to saving these
canines across the country. This past January, Lucky
Mutts brought in 30 dogs on one cold, wintry
Saturday morning. Let’s take a look into the
process of an intake day, and how some dogs
from down south get a second chance
here in Wisconsin. (lively upbeat music) (moves into slow soft music) (dogs yelping) – Lucky Mutts Rescue has been
pulling from Oklahoma for, I think almost since the
beginning, for a few years now. We pull dogs from what we
would call a high-kill shelter. There are various shelters
that we pull from. Some range from
about four spaces. If you can envision
a giant kennel, no building, no
heat, no electricity, nothing to keep ’em warm, nothing to keep
’em cool in summer. Some of the shelters, a dog has
on average three to 21 days. After the three to five days, if they haven’t found a rescue, a lot of times they
don’t have a chance. And that’s where Lucky
Mutts Rescue steps in and we will pull
dogs that would not have had a chance otherwise. An average intake at Lucky Mutts is the dogs arrive. We have volunteers that
unload and walk them and then bring
them to the crates where they have food and water and blankets all
set up for them. If the dogs need to,
they then get baths. And each dog gets its
turn in the vetting room where we look them
all over once again and we give them any
vaccines and their microchip. Rescuing these dogs
is important to me because a lot of times
they don’t have a voice, they don’t have a choice of the situation
they’ve been put into, and for a lot of the ones in
those tiny, small shelters, rescue is the only option. (puppy whimpering) Volunteering is important, even if it’s an
hour to fostering. Fostering a dog and taking
a dog into your home, and some of these dogs
have not known love before. It makes a huge
difference to them and it can make a huge
difference to yourself. One of my hardest to say
goodbye to as a foster and that has made
a huge difference was a cattle dog. He had some medical issues. And I didn’t know at the time that I would be giving him the home for the
rest of his life. He wound up getting cancer and I was so very thankful
that I was able to, between me and my dogs,
who were his buddies, give him a home for
the rest of his life and he was happy. Whether it was for a
year with our rescue or whether it was
the last few months, he was a happy guy who
was loved and knew that. And rescuing shows dogs who’ve
maybe not seen love before, be loved and be
happy in a warm home. – It’s really tough to imagine
what these dogs experience and go through
outside of Wisconsin. I’m sure they are
very thankful rescues and passionate volunteers
are there to help save them. So, can you tell me, Laurie, how often do you
guys do an intake? – We have a regular Oklahoma
intake once a month. And then when we’re asked
for additional help, we have on occasion done
them more frequently. After Hurricane Harvey, we
brought up a load of dogs from Texas, we have taken dogs
from Puerto Rico repeatedly, and we also have pulled some
dogs from the Everglades in Florida as well.
– Very cool. And what’s the
transportation like? How do they get here? – When we do our own
transports to Oklahoma, we have our transport van, and
the plastic airport crates, they’re loaded into the van. They’re all secured
into the van. So we go down, we
load up the dogs. Sometimes there’s a
couple different stops, places where we pick them up, and then on the way back,
we actually drive overnight because then the dogs
sleep most of the time. It’s less stressful for them, more stressful for us. (laughs) And then partway through
the night we stop. They all get walked. They get a little something
to eat and some water, things like that to
keep them hydrated. And then when we arrive
the next morning, we have volunteers
waiting to walk them, bathe them, feed
them, everything else
they need that day before they go off
to the next place. – Very cool. And what kind of situations
are these dogs coming from? Like what kind of shelters? (sighs) – Here in Wisconsin, we hear
shelter we think of MADACC or the Humane Society, and nothing like that
exists down there. One of the shelters
we pull from, if you can really
call it a shelter, it’s basically a
cobbled together shed. It’s not well-protected
from the elements, it’s a concrete slab
where they kind of built a building around it
with scrap materials. Another shelter we
went to is literally a cinder block building
that has wire crates in it. And there’s one worker there, and if he can’t make it
to the shelter that day, nobody gets out,
nobody gets fed. – That’s horrible. And what kind of
things have you seen in these dogs that you rescue? What kind of ailments
do they have? – Um, we’ve been
really fortunate. I mean, most of the dogs we
bring up are relatively healthy. You’ll have things
like kennel cough, fleas, ticks, things like that. As you saw with the
segment with Jen, Domino unfortunately had cancer and that was really
hard on all of us. We’ve got one puppy right
now who has entropion. So that’s where her eyelashes
are growing kind of funny and they irritate her eyes, but she’s getting
that fixed on Friday. We’ve got one dog who’s got, he’s actually in congestive
heart failure right now but he’s in a hospice home. – Now, speaking
of Jen and Domino, she mentioned being a foster. Can you tell me
what that entails? – Basically, it’s opening up
your home to a dog in need. So, you take them home. You give them love and
security and safety. Lucky Mutts, we
provide all our fosters with food, a crate if they
need it, any other supplies. You’re basically just giving
the dog a place to crash until they find
their forever home. – So you really are saving
these animals lives. Coming up, we’ll be joined
by a special studio guest. But first, we learn about
how saving one particular dog has saved a veteran, and
how she has changed his life by helping him cope with PTSD. (upbeat music) (moves into lighthearted
upbeat music) – A friend of mine
had brought Hippo to the dry hootch over
by the VA hospital. And I said, “Man, I sure
would like to get that dog. “It’s a nice dog.” He said, “Well, you know,
if she’s still around, “you could get her.” Well, it had been three months; I figured somebody had got her. Well, when I didn’t find a
dog at the Humane Society, I immediately called
my friend, Stephanie. I said, “Is Hippo
still available?” She said, “Yeah.” I said, “Okay, well
I want to see her.” And when she brought her
this particular time, she came right up
to me and licked me and then went on
about her business. So I said, “Well,
that’s the one I want.” (Hippo barks) And that’s how I
ended up with her. (lively upbeat music) She came from down south. She’s four years old. And for two, almost three years,
she was in a shelter. And when a dog is like that, they have security issues. They want to make sure that, okay, are you gonna keep me. So we had to go through that. She’s just really now realizing that I’m not going nowhere. (Hippo growling)
(toy squeaking) Well, she does a few
things kind of surprise me since I got her. I’m also a diabetic. So, times when my sugar gets
low, she won’t leave me; she’ll stay by me, that’s
how I know it’s low, ’cause she just won’t leave. Then when it’s high
she just licks me, licks my arm, licks my arm. So that’s how I know that. And she just started
doing that on her own which is a blessing. But, her major duty is to
get me out of the house and move around so I
just won’t stay in. Because, I mean,
sometimes, you know, I just get into that little funk
because I have the condition that, you know, I don’t care. But she makes it happen. (toy squeaking) Sometimes when I’m
really gettin’ depressed and it’s really comin’ on, she’ll get her toy
and come bump me. You know, it’s time to play. You need to get up, you
need to move around. If I’m laying in the bed
too long in the mornings, she’s like hey, it’s
time you take me out. And as soon as I take
her outside, boom. (toy squeaking) It just changes. Now I’m ready to face the day. I was just looking for a animal. Okay? I wasn’t looking for a rescue
dog but I’m glad I got one, and I try to turn
everybody else on to it because these dogs, they don’t
deserve what they gettin’. They don’t deserve
the life they have. And all you need to do is
love ’em and they’ll love you because you savin’ their lives. And I wouldn’t go any other way. – Stories like Hippo’s prove just how remarkable
rescue dogs can be. Her incredible journey from
bouncing between shelters for three years, to
finally ending up here and meeting her owner
completely by chance, what happy ending
for her and Ray. And that’s what
rescuing is all about. Another little lady that
has had a tough life before coming here is Rose. So tell me a little
something about Rose, Laurie. – That shelter that
I mentioned earlier that is really just cobbled
together on a concrete slab, that’s where we found Rose. She has skin allergies and
her skin was so inflamed she then got yeast
issues on top of it, and where she was at, she never had any chance
of getting better. She wasn’t protected
from the elements, the rain, the cold,
anything like that. And, unfortunately, as rough
as she was when we got her, a lot of rescues wouldn’t
take a chance on her ’cause they don’t
know what’s involved with getting her healthy. And we took that chance and
we brought her to Wisconsin. And she’s a wonderful dog
and when she is ready to go and be adopted, she’s gonna
make somebody a great companion. – And how does Lucky
Mutts help other rescues or shelters and their dogs? – Our partner
shelters in Oklahoma, we do everything we
can to help them. We’ve helped fundraise for them. When we get generous
donations of food or supplies, we’ve shared, when we have extra
blankets, towels, toys, collars and leashes,
we do take things down there for them as well because
they’ struggling. – And what sort of benefits
are there to adopting? – You get a best
friend for life, and you save a life. I don’t really know what
else you need. (laughs) – Right? Recently in California there
was a new law put into place where pet stores can only
sell dogs from shelters. Do you think a ban like that
could happen in Wisconsin? – I would love to see it happen. I would hope it would happen. Right now, I don’t know if
that’s the path we’re headed on. Unfortunately, in Wisconsin
we still have puppy mills that are legal. I think that’s gotta be
the battle we fight first, is getting rid of
the puppy mills. – And other than that,
what steps can we take to make that happen
here in Wisconsin? – Let your legislators
know that that’s not okay. Profits should not
come before the life of a living creature,
no matter what it is. They feel, they
love, they care, and (laughs) we need to remember that and
we need to take care of them. – And when people come
to adopt from you, how do you go about
screening those people to make sure that
they’re taking the dog in for a good purpose? – On our website we
have an application that they fill out first. That gets reviewed and then
we actually do a home visit with every potential adopter. And the home visit
is just a chance to have more of a
one-on-one conversation. What is your lifestyle like? What are you looking for? What are your
expectations for a dog? That helps us understand
what kind of dog is gonna be a good fit
for your lifestyle. Because that’s the
most important thing, is making that great match. Not just, we’re gonna
find a dog a home, we’re gonna find a
dog the right home. – Now, earlier you mentioned
that we’re very blessed in Wisconsin that
the Humane Society and shelter aren’t
that different here. But how is that different if
someone were to adopt a dog coming to you versus
going to MADACC? – Giving a dog a home
is giving a dog a home. You save a life from MADACC,
you’re still saving a life. All those dogs that
need somewhere to go are gonna end up somewhere. So as long as we
keep moving them and adopting them out
through the system, we’re all working
for the same goal. – Now tell me a little
bit more about Rose here. How has she been
growing into her own since you’ve taken her in? – Well, she’s a little nervous with all the lights and
everything. (laughs) But when we got
her, she was missing over 75% of her fur. So, she’s still
patchy, she’s not 100%, but we had no idea she
was actually gonna be kind of a fluffy, long-haired
dog when she arrived. So when that started growing in we were all very
pleasantly surprised. And she’s actually
kind of brindle too, which we didn’t know either.
– Ya. – She has gotten a little less
shy, a little more confident, but we’re still working on it. I think because she is still pretty itchy, so
she can’t always be aware of her surroundings so she
gets distracted by that. So sometimes she almost
startles herself, (laughs) but we’re working on it. Her foster’s great about
trying to get her exposure and introduce her to
people and situations. – And what kind of
personality is she taking on? Is she gonna be that active dog for someone who
wants to go running? Or is she gonna be the
I’m gonna jump on your lap at the end of long day? – A little bit of both. She likes to rough and
tumble play a little bit with her foster siblings, but she also loves to cuddle
(Rose growls) and just hang out. Uh-oh. (Rose barks) (Keith and Laurie laughing) The camera moves. (laughs)
– The cameras move. It’s okay, Rose.
– You’re okay. (Rose barks) Oh, are you protecting
me from the camera? You’re okay. Good girl.
(Keith laughs) Come here.
(Rose barks) (Laurie whistles) There ya go, good girl. – [Keith] And what kind
of play do the dogs get when they’re at your shelters? – We’re actually foster based. So dogs pretty much as a rule don’t stay at our
adoption center. They’re all in foster homes. Well, somebody may crash
for a couple of nights between, you know, their
foster’s out of town or they’re hitching
a ride to a vet. But, no, our dogs stay in homes. – Very cool. Well, that’s all the time
we have on this episode of Ruff Rescues, I’d
like to thank our guests, Rebecca and Laurie, and Rose, for joining us today, and to
you, our viewers for tuning in. Saving dogs is something
that all of us here are very passionate about. If you would like to help
out and save animals lives, please, reach out to
your local shelters and offer your time or talents. Anyone can make a difference
in a homeless animal’s life. (steady upbeat music)

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