Chef Mike Lamppu

Dog rescue society is unleashing opportunities

Vancouver Island Dogs Rescue Society is hosting a fundraiser at River City Grill in Campbell River

Miss Daisy, a black lab and collie mix, looks up lovingly with puppy dog eyes as her foster mother strokes her dark fur coat.

Miss Daisy is calm, adjusted and smaller in size than your typical lab, and is just one of several dogs that have been dropped off at the Vancouver Island Dogs Rescue Society. She’s been staying with her foster mom, Shannon Briggs, for more than a month and Miss Daisy is ready to be adopted by a family from Victoria.

That’s typical for the Vancouver Island Dogs Rescue Society, which has adopted out more than 20 rescue dogs since it was officially incorporated in March of this year. Dogs are usually adopted out anywhere from between one to two weeks or up to four months after they go into the rescue society’s care.

The non-profit society has a working relationship with a pound in Chilliwack and another in Victoria, and if the shelters are unable to take the dog, they will rely on the rescue society, which takes dogs from all over the country, mostly from the Island and Alberta.

The society is made up of a five-member volunteer board. Briggs and a second board member live in Campbell River while one is from Nanaimo and two are based in Victoria.

The society also receives referrals through the shelters, as well as through word of mouth.

As a non-profit society, Vancouver Island Dogs Rescue relies on fundraising to keep the society afloat. One of its biggest fundraisers, a burger and beer night with a silent auction, will be held Nov. 13, 7 p.m. at River City Grill.

Though the society is committed to giving dogs a second chance in a new home, Briggs says the number one goal of the society is to try and work with pet owners to help them keep their dog. However, sometimes that’s not possible, whether it be due to a growing family and a lack of space, or a case of the owner not having the proper skills to deal with the dog. And that’s where the rescue society comes in.

Briggs says one particular breed, the Siberian husky, presents a classic case of an owner not knowing how to deal with their dog.

“We accept any breed but our focus is on Siberian huskies,” Briggs says. “Huskies are known for their loveable trait of destroying things. People get them because they’re beautiful but they don’t have the skills to work with them. They’re a working breed bred originally to pull sleds and run, so when they’re cooped up in a crate or a kennel, they go really crazy. They need to be ran.”

Briggs says often people, after buying a husky, quickly realize they aren’t able to handle their dog and will bring it to the rescue society.

From there, the dog will either go into a foster home or be adopted out. Briggs says foster homes are one of the most valuable aspects of the society, which exists to re-home and rehabilitate abandoned dogs.

“We’re always looking for foster homes. We can only bring in as many dogs as we have foster homes for,” Briggs says. “The fosters have the first option all the time of keeping the dog because most of the time people build bonds with them and they decide it’s their dog and they want to keep it.”

Foster parents, as well as adoptive parents, are matched up with a dog that will fit their family and lifestyle through a rigourous screening process that includes a questionnaire form, and a home visit.

Foster homes are typically the first stage, and, according to Briggs, many are dealing with dogs that have “some issues and need a lot of work.” Foster parents that don’t intend on keeping their dog release the canine for adoption and are then available to take in another dog in need of care.

Briggs says it’s truly the volunteers, like the foster parents, that make the organization go ‘round.

A group of ladies have been sewing dog beds and selling them through the society’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/VancouverIslandDogsRescueSociety with all proceeds going to the society, which needs funding on a regular basis for veterinarian care for the dogs, including vaccinations, spaying and neutering. The society is also selling First Aid kits through Facebook. Simply click on Photos, Albums, and Our Store to view the items up for sale. The burger and beer night at River City Grill will also go towards the society’s operating costs. Tickets are $25 per person and all proceeds go to the society. Anyone who would like to donate to the silent auction can contact Briggs at shannon@islanddogsrescue.com

Those interested in fostering or adopting a rescue dog can e-mail, info@islanddogsrescue.com

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