“The CPR Family” by JENNI MARLOW

Companion Pet Rescue partners with rural animal shelters like the one I volunteer with to help us meet the needs of our community. We are a small organization made up primarily of volunteers and a few people who are really so poorly paid they are practically volunteers, and our entire operating budget comes from donations and fundraisers.  We are bombarded daily with animals that are a victim of circumstance. They happened to be born in the rural south where altering dogs or keeping them on heartworm prevention is not as common as it should be. Often people can’t afford to take themselves to see a doctor when they are sick much less for routine check-ups, so it is unsurprising that a disheartening number of animals here don’t receive regular vet care. None of this is because people are terrible or don’t love their dogs, and this is certainly not applicable to every pet owner in the south, but it is to a large degree a situation that is a product of economics and people just doing what everyone has always done.

Our humane society tries to rehome adult dogs, cats, and kittens, we offer low cost spay and neuter to the community, and we do our best to help our community do right for their pets. Volunteering can be very difficult and sometimes pretty heartbreaking. We get dogs that are dumped, emaciated, ill, injured, crawling with fleas, full of parasites, you name it. It can be really hard to deal with all of this on a regular basis. But, volunteering can also be the best. My favorite role as a volunteer is coordinating to send our dogs and puppies with CPR. We have partnered with CPR to send many of our fantastic, adoptable dogs to New England adopters along with all of our puppies to help reduce the number of excess companion animals in our area. Almost every Tuesday morning I drive an hour each way to take puppies and dogs to the vet clinic for their health certificates so they can start their trip to New England with CPR. We send hundreds of puppies and up to a hundred adult dogs annually with CPR.

Cutie pants Holland ended up at a local, open intake shelter and we pulled her to avoid her being euthanized….and now she is definitely living her best life with her incredible mom.

We are very fortunate that CPR takes many special needs dogs and puppies and places them as well. Lila and Lola are two hearing impaired puppies that are now living the good life up north.Lila’s adopters were so awesome they returned and adopted another dog who came from us and they are bff’s now.

And sweet, hearing impaired Clio, who also has light sensitivity, now has an amazing family of her own and takes better vacations than I do.

And Chance, another deaf dog, now lives on a campus with his mom and furry sister.

Beautiful Stella has gone from being abandoned when her people moved out to hiking with her mom on vacation.

Athena is a special needs dog. She and her litter mates were part of a cruelty case and she has lasting physical effects that will require care for the duration of her life. And still…she was adopted and is so loved.

Marley’s litter broke with parvo and somehow all survived. She was smaller than the rest and was a sweet little baby. Now she is beautiful and has a wonderful mom!

Kara was surrendered with her litter of pups after being dumped. She is now super spoiled!

Paris was unwanted in Tennessee and now works in a first grade classroom with her mom as a certified therapy dog.

Sweet, old Brody was surrendered when his owner became very ill and is now a much loved family member.

There are so many other great stories like these and I am thankful to be able to play a part in getting these dogs to their new families. This partnership is incredibly important to our little shelter but for me it is also personally the most rewarding thing about volunteering. I get to be a part of this network that has developed between us working down here in Tennessee, the incredible CPR fosters and volunteers in New England, and CPR adopters. CPR has created a huge, extended family and I am so happy that I am able to be a part of it. There is nothing better than seeing these dogs get the lives they deserve and having the pleasure of working with other people who are so passionate about improving the lives of these dogs.

So here is my shameless pitch…if you want to be a part of this and volunteer some free time doing something wonderful …..join our family. Foster, volunteer, adopt! I promise you will not regret it.