The most noble of all geek holidays is, as you of course know, right around the corner. Star Wars day, May the Fourth be with you! Here at #MMK9 we’re embracing the fun as we celebrate yet another year of success, solidify plans for the future, and finish gearing up for a night of fun the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the Modal Nodes rocked The Mos Eisley Cantina…. Less the scum and villainy of course but plus a few cute furballs like Obi-wan Corgi here:
Now for a look back on 2016 and a little taste of what’s to come!
Rescue work and the overall goal of the industry to reach no kill is an ever changing landscape full of big personalities and big hearts. There’s no quick or easy answers and we have to make difficult decisions daily most of which are life and death. In 2015 Mission: Miracle K9 Rescue began to recognize a constant deficit apparent across the shelter and rescue world almost without exception: access to reliable modern behavior support. Given our background the answer was obvious and we started to double down on finding ways to fill the niche in a sustainable way that will ultimately lead to maximized accessibility to resources that are proven to save lives.
“It’s estimated that 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 44% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 35% have a cat. (Source: American Pet Products Association 2015-2016 (APPA))”
Data collected by the ASPCA’s National Rehoming Survey, indicates that the most likely reason for re-homing a pet is undersired behavior. The study went further to find out what, if any, services or alternative to rehoming might resolve the issue responsible for the decision; to which a third of all answers selected behavior support as a likely determinant.
“…service options[to avoid rehoming] were free or low cost training or behavior help (34%..” second only to affordable veterinary care.”
With that in mind the problem becomes more clear and our direction set, how do we help increase retention rates to reduce shelter surrender and rescue returns? Enter the Community Trainer’s Course overseen by Dr. Lorraine Martinez, Ph.D, KPA, CPDT-KA. Through the CTC, volunteers from all backgrounds and experience levels (even none at all) can learn modern, scientifically sound, and humane training methods while providing a community service and assisting with the free group classes offered to the public for common behavior issues.
We continue to work toward increasing retention rates and overall accessibility to training resources by providing support to the community at large with the group obedience classes and when resources allow even in home individual consultations. To fellow rescues through assessments, behavior support for dog’s in their care, and hosting play groups. Finally, we support area shelters through staff and volunteer training, developing enrichment programs for use in the kennels, and providing data driven risk assessments to aid decision making and help mitigate risk.
We are working hard to expand our public offerings as quickly as possible while maintaining the integrity, safety, and quality of each program and the mission as a whole.
In 2016 over 3000 volunteer hours were spent training staff and volunteers area rural shelters, providing the free group classes, and providing support to fellow rescues needing solid assessments or training for volunteers, fosters, and dogs in care. Additionally we were able to provide 53 dogs whose behavior was misunderstood but not likely to present a public danger paths to forever homes, where we maintain post adoption contact and offer support for their lifetime with the intent of maximizing retention in the home.
- 53 mislabeled dogs now with permanent placement
- 3000 support hours to partners and citizens
- 537 facilitated out of state adoptions
- 405 additional dogs transported for rural shelters to out of state partners, adopters, or fosters
In addition to the array of skilled support we provide to the community we also cultivate and maintain relationships with out of state rescue and shelter partners who share our ideals and vision while already maintaining no kill. We facilitate the transport of 40-80 dogs per month to these partners relieving some of the local pressure of overpopulation while providing great homes for Texas dogs in areas where demand is higher and companion animal welfare is a bit more progressive.
2016 saw 537 out of state adoptions of MMK9 dogs facilitated by these partners while also providing transport for 405 dogs originating with other local rescues and rural shelters to our shelter partners or adopters in the Pacific Northwest.
For 2017 we have already begun implementing new strategies and expanding partnerships to increase sustainability as well as outreach potential. One such expansion included strengthening the business relationship between Mission: Miracle K9 Rescue, Inc. and LOMA Behavior and Training, LLC. Robyn Slusky, CPDT-KA having already been employed with LOMA for some time is now joined by myself and Sara, CPDT-KA, CBCC, as staff trainers under the LOMA banner. The working partnership between our organizations means that additional levels of support and greater resources are available to the community while also laying the framework for us to solidify the sustainability of the associated programs; this of course means we can focus on continued growth.
The opportunities before us here in 2017 are innumerable and the excitement behind the scenes is palpable. Some of you have no doubt noticed an increase in communication from us via email and various other mediums. With the #BigGive2017 fundraising drive kicking off it was the perfect opportunity to implement our communication plans to start providing regular updates and status reports to our supporters and followers to maintain transparency and add an extra layer of accountability to the goal. If you haven’t already, please sign up for our email list so you can receive periodic updates and future plans. We will be including action items you can help with on and offline, upcoming events, success stories and progress reports, a word from our trainers, with more to come.
We do have the Giving Day event at Shenanygans on Thursday May 4th from 3pm to midnight with a bunch of cool stuff going down. That’s only 3 days so if it’s not already on your calendar mark it down! And if you can’t make it but want to donate you can do so anytime between now and midnight Thursday to have it count towards getting us prize money from the Big Give prize pool. You can donate now by following that link there.
Thank you all for continuing to support, in whatever form that takes for you, the life saving and more importantly the life changing mission we endeavor for. I hope to see you all out there on Thursday! May the ‘Fur’ce be with you!
~Until All the Cages Are Empty