One Dog at a Time

Warsaw Company Gives Aid to Pooches in Need

Writer / Julie Yates
Photography Provided

One Dog at a Time Rescue (ODTR) is dedicated to providing aid to dogs who are displaced from their homes and families. By placing dogs in temporary foster homes, their goal is to find these pets new homes to live in for the rest of their lives. The staff’s hope is that no dog spends time in a shelter.One Dog At A Time Rescue

“So many dogs that go into a shelter just shut down,” says President Suzanne Abel. “They watch their family leave and they don’t know what’s going on. We hope to move dogs from one home to another. At one time I was a volunteer in a shelter and I was always in tears when dogs were dropped off. It was a horrendous experience.”

At times the organization will try to help families keep their dogs. Sometimes the continued cost of maintaining the pet is a factor in why a family feels they must give their dog away. ODTR can help with veterinarian bills and the price of food. Other times assistance is provided to the relinquishing family until a foster or another permanent home can be found.

“The majority of these dogs haven’t seen a vet or had medical care in a long time, or even ever,” Abel says. “We do a heartworm check, microchipping, and get all vaccinations up to date. We donate 10,000 pounds of pet food yearly to the Combined Community Services food bank.”

The all-volunteer organization has a working board of directors. The majority are foster parents to dogs awaiting a new home. Dogs are assessed to make sure they are not aggressive and will fit in well with any existing pets and humans in the home. New foster homes are always needed, as are families who can give the dogs a forever home.

One Dog At A Time RescuePeople who would like to adopt must go through an application process so the staff can be sure the dogs will be placed in a good home. A home visit is conducted and references are needed. There is a $175 adoption fee, which is lower than all the veterinary expenses ODTR pays on behalf of each dog before it gets placed in a home.

“I get calls to pick up strays but we are not a shelter,” Abel says. “We don’t have a physical site. We try to keep dogs out of shelters. If it is evident that the dog is not one that just got loose and needs to be reunited with their family, then I have to tell people to call animal control.”

Although ODTR has some excellent supporters who have given generous donations for several years, funds are needed to keep up with medical and food expenses. Because of COVID-19, the organization has not been able to hold traditional fundraisers in recent years. In lieu of their annual Party Paws fundraiser they have been trying to raise money via Facebook. Monies raised have fallen substantially short compared to other years.

Photos of dogs up for adoption are featured on ODTR’s Facebook page, One Dog At A Time Rescue. Interested families can also visit the organization’s website to view available dogs. Applications for fostering and adoption can be accessed via the website, as well as volunteer opportunities and a list of loyal supporters.

If it’s your first time to adopt a dog, it is advisable to consult an expert to know the proper dog care.

“It’s never an easy thing to do if a family must give up a pet,” Abel says. “We help them keep their pets out of shelters. I have fostered over 80 dogs myself over the years. We really need more people willing to foster dogs until we can find them a home.”

Donations of pet food can be made at Combined Community Services, located at 1195 Mariners Drive in Warsaw.

Visit One Dog At A Time Rescue on Facebook and at their website, odtr.org. To make a donation, mail checks to One Dog At AOne Dog At A Time Rescue Time Rescue, P.O. Box 76, Warsaw, IN 46581, or donate through a PayPal link accessible on their website.

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