Offering a second chance
For eight years, Alex’s House Rescue has been working to save dogs, offering an all-volunteer, in-home, foster-based dog rescue.
The organization, founded by Vicki McKain and John Schafer, has three basic programs.
It got its start offering senior and hospice care for dogs.
“Although we don't want to see any dog without a home, it is especially sad when a dog has been a loyal and loving companion for a decade or more and then finds himself/herself without a home,” said McKain. “Although senior/hospice dogs are very difficult to adopt and often do spend their remaining months at the Alex's House senior/hospice home, it's still important that these dogs live their remaining time in comfort and with love rather than being put down confused and without their family.”
Another program they have added is Perfect Match Adoptions.
McKain said saving a dog takes three steps. This includes bringing the dog to the rescue, sometimes from animal control or from owners who are no longer able to care for or keep their dogs. Then they must provide the necessary healthcare for the dog, which includes not only the basics—vaccinations, heartworm test, neuter/spay, and microchopping—but also often times parvo treatment, heartworm treatment, additional surgeries—orthopedic, dental, etc. Alex's House also keeps its dogs on heartworm preventative during their stay at the rescue to ensure they do not contract heartworm from a mosquito flying by.
The third step of Perfect Match Adoptions is finding a forever home.
“The Alex's House adoption process includes a veterinarian reference and a home visit,” McKain said. “The goal is to be sure that the dog and his/her new family is a good match. For instance, if there are other dogs/cats/children in the home, we want to be sure everyone gets along. We know there are great families in this area/region and there's a perfect match for them.”
Their third program is T.H.A.T. Helps, which stands for Temporary Housing and Transport. Alex's House can provide a safe place and assistance with transportation to another rescue.
“We will get calls from out-of-state rescues that there is a dog somewhere in Kansas that they are wanting to take in, but are in need of on-ground logistical help,” McKain said.
One thing that has remained a constant for them is that there always is a need.
“There are always dogs who have no where to go, so it seems like rescue numbers go up,” McKain said.
She said much of that depends on the number of foster homes and financial support, as do the number of adoptions. The more foster homes a rescue has, the more dogs can be rescued and adopted.
Alex's House is always looking for dedicated foster homes. Their foster home goals include basic training of house breaking, walking on a leash, sitting and staying. They also assist with photo/video shoots, which help encourage adoptions.
Looking to this year, McKain said, “Alex's House expects there will still be dogs in need and we hope to continue to improve our numbers with the on-going support of the community.”
Alex's House is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, so all donations are tax deductible; however, Alex's House receives no funding from government sources and is not eligible for United Way funding, so all funds come from adoption fees, fundraisers and donations.
“We expect to have dogs in all shapes and sizes,” she said of 2017. “In 2016 we found fantastic homes for an 80-pound Great Dane mix, two bonded Shih Tzus and everything in between. We also expect some sleepless nights and heartbreak as we care for and say good-bye to hospice dogs.”
People can help in a number of ways, including providing foster homes; watching for articles in the Butler County Times-Gazette about events and attending those; offering their home and family/friends to be in the videos with the dogs so people can see the dog interacting with people; providing places to hold fundraisers; and following them on Facebook to learn about future needs and ways to get involved.
Those looking to provide a forever home are especially needed.
“The #1 reason for adopting a rescue animal is that you save a life,” McKain said. “There are so many dogs without forever homes, without foster home options—with no where to go. You provide that dog with a second chance for love. When you adopt from Alex's House, the dog will be up-to-date on vaccinations, heartworm tested and on preventative, microchipped and, most importantly, spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering reduces the problem of animal overpopulation and also provides benefits to the animal itself.
“And, we think, anyone who has ever had a rescue dog as part of your family knows this—no matter how bad your day has been, you come home to a wagging tail, a big smile, sometimes a slobbery kiss, and just in general someone who loves you no matter what.”
They currently have a variety of dog breeds looking for forever homes.
Some of those include: George and Copper are in need of energetic homes and folks who can take them for walks or runs. Sadie and Matilda are in need of homes that can be calm for the next few months (they are recovering from heartworm treatment) and then be energetic and take them for walks. Sarge is in need of a home with a big sofa, so he can roll over and you can pet his tummy. Bristol is in need of a home that wants personality.
“We have many more, so folks can call 316-321-1597 for more information, or go to www.alexshouse.org and click ‘Adoptable Dogs’,” McKain said. “Check back frequently as new dogs are added all the time."