Most of our supporters are already well aware of our current campaign to raise the necessary funds for our first ever facility. However, we realize that many may not fully understand why this facility is so important to Central Florida.
First, this facility will save lives – which is obviously the primary objective. Yes, we already save lives using the foster based rescue model that we – and many other local area rescues – have been using for years. The foster model relies on local families opening their homes to foster dogs in need – but, these families aren’t experienced in training or dog rehabilitation. This means that the dogs we are able to save in foster homes, are generally already highly adoptable. Unfortunately, the majority of dogs euthanized in Central Florida have negative temperament notes and are in need of behavioral rehabilitation. In order to save these dogs – who need it the most – we need a safe place to house, train and rehabilitate them. This facility would be the first of it’s kind in Central Florida, the only rehabilitation center for shelter dogs in need of behavioral rehabilitation to make them adoptable.
Won’t it create more expense than it is worth? No. Actually, it will SAVE us money while increasing the number of dogs we are able to rehabilitate. Currently, in order to save dogs in need of behavioral rehabilitation, we have to place these dogs in privately owned training facilities. These for profit facilities owned by local trainers have done an AMAZING job at helping us save the lives of dogs we would not have been able to help otherwise – but, they come with a hefty price tag – an average cost of $2500 PER DOG. Using the funds we spend monthly helping these dogs, we could provide training and rehabilitation to far more dogs using our own facility than we can currently.
The facility will also provide stability to the rescue and the dogs we are responsible for, something that is desperately needed. With a foster network and no physical location – what happens to the dog if the volunteer foster home quits? Or if a dog that was adopted last year suddenly and unexpectedly needs to return? For almost every foster based rescue, including ours, these dogs wind up in boarding while we scramble to find somewhere for them to go. This is not only less than ideal for the dog, but it creates enough stress on the rescues that the burnout rate is very high – with so many new rescues not surviving their first year. It is so imperative that our rescue organization have a home – a place where the dogs are ALWAYS welcome.
Lastly, this facility will provide community support that is also lacking in Central Florida. Most owners who start to experience behavioral issues with their own dogs at home, do not really feel like they have anywhere to turn. Just choosing a trainer is challenging for someone with no experience – since training is not a licensed profession, and so many trainers may be excellent at teaching a dog to sit and heel but have no practical experience with more serious behavioral issues – it can be difficult for a dog owner to find a trainer that can actually help with the issues they struggle with. When they do find a great trainer – it also comes at a large cost – which many pet owners struggle to afford. The new rescue facility would provide low-cost training services – and FREE training and education workshops – to pet owners in Central Florida. We hope these services will have an impact in reducing the number of dogs that arrive in local shelters due to behavioral concerns, and help educate owners on the importance training and socialization.
We hope to be able to open our new facility in early 2018! We have currently raised over $30,000 of the start-up capital needed. If you are able to make a contribution, large or small, towards this milestone in Central Florida rescue – please visit our website http://www.HappyTrailsAnimalRescue.com and view the donate tab for more information on ways to contribute. Or click Contact Us if you are interested in making a large contribution or sponsorship to our facility – we would love to discuss ways you could commemorate your contribution with a plaque or dedication at our new location!