Furever We Love Dog Rescue

How my wife and I started a rescue devoted to rehoming dogs who’ve lost their families to debility or death.
By Mike & Robin Clark, December 2019

My wife and I are what people commonly refer to as “crazy dog people.” But I guess it kinda goes with the territory. After all, we have six, no, wait … one, two, yeah, six of our own. So it’s only natural that a dog-loving couple who both are either extremely big-hearted or just downright nuts would take their passion for canines to the next level. Surely you can see this coming from a mile away, right? Yep, we started our own dog rescue.

Furever We Love Dog Rescue is now in its first year of operation. Our mission is to find new and loving homes for pups whose owners have moved into assisted living, are seriously ill, are in hospice care or who have passed away.

This is not an easy thing. When we began the rescue, we obviously hoped that every single move we made and every single dog we res- cued, from whatever unfortunate situation they found themselves in, would work out perfectly.

Of course, that’s not possible. Things sometimes just don’t go as planned. But saving dogs is and always will be what drives us. Some owners do not have any family, and others have family who are unwilling or unable to take their dog. Many people see shelters as their only option. It’s a sad fact that a large number of dogs who are surrendered will die in some of those shelters. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to prevent.

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But there are beautiful endings in our rescue, the stuff that makes you cry happy tears, not tears of pain or agony. Since incorporating as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) on January 13, 2019, we have had 62 amazing dogs relinquished to us. We found new, loving homes for 59, and three are currently in wonderful foster care.

Some of our pups were adopted as “foster fails,” while others were adopted by families who fell in love with our mission and our pups. The foster families who support us are some of the most amazing people we’ve ever met. Angels on earth, actually.

Opening up your home and heart to a dog who you know will eventually be adopted by someone else requires a special kind of per- son. Many of our foster families are unable to adopt due to work constraints or other issues. When the day comes to say goodbye to a pup they have loved and cared for—well, it can be heartbreaking. But they put the dogs first and support them all the way.

What has evolved organically through our rescue is the consistent updates we get from all adopters. We post them daily to keep people informed about the dogs’ status, their health and, most importantly, their happiness as they transition into their new forever families. If they’re able, former owners can follow their dogs and rest easier knowing how happy and safe they are. Some have befriended the new owners and receive personal up- dates. Foster parents can also see how happy their former charges are, and know that they contributed to the successful adoptions of these fantastic dogs. To see a dog who came into the rescue frightened and in need of medical care now hanging out on the couch watching TV, playing frisbee in the backyard or sleeping with their new family is absolutely joyous.

By the way, when I say “we” did these things, what I really mean is my wife Robin did these things. For the most part, I’ve pretty much just been along for the ride. Oh, I’ve helped out a little bit by taking a dog to the vet for shots or occa- sionally accompanying her when she does a home visit for a potential adopter. But, believe me, my contri- bution is microscopic compared to the work she puts into this.

Hours upon hours of receiving and answering emails about a dog (or dogs) whose owner can no longer take care of them. Phone calls at all hours in an attempt to gather as much information as possible about that dog. Setting up a day, time and place to meet with the owner or someone from the owner’s family to receive the dog. And, oh, the other details. Typically, Robin takes care of the necessary paperwork that goes along with acquiring a dog who’s being relinquished. She makes sure all of the questions on the forms have been answered and the forms are correctly filled out. She schedules the vet check to ensure that the dog has been neutered or spayed, heartworm tested, and received (or is scheduled to receive) anything else needed to be fully healthy and adoptable.

But that’s really just the beginning of the adventure. Once we have the dog, she usually takes about 300 photos (you know, you have to get the dog’s good side, have the lighting right and all), posts many of them on social media, and gives readers a full report on the new kid—what’s his story, how’s his temperament, how old, yada yada yada.

One of the things I personally find amazing is the response. Not only are there often multiple inquiries within a day or two, but, more often than not, we end up with more than one potential adopter asking for an application.

But oh no, we’re not done yet. When she receives an adoption application, Robin (who else?) will most likely have already done due diligence on that person, checking references, contacting their vet and, finally, doing a home visit to make absolutely certain this dog is going to the home he or she deserves.

Because for all that these dogs go through, a loving home is absolutely deserved. And that, in a nutshell, is what this whole thing is all about. Dogs. And people who love them.

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 99: Fall 2019

Mike & Robin Clark live in Indianapolis; when not rescuing and rehoming dogs, Robin teaches and Mike works in the family business.