Dogs belong with families. And families should have dogs. If you believe these two things like Best Bully Sticks does, then you love hearing about organizations like Providing for Paws. Starting as an outlet for low-income families to help pay for vet bills and necessities for dogs, this Metro Detroit-based assistance organization is also rescues and rehomes animals in need. Read more about this amazing organization below.
When & Why did you start?
Providing for Paws was started in March of 2011, with the intention of helping with food assistance, altering and vaccinating for low-income families. That has since turned into rescuing animals as well as providing assistance to families in need. I got involved with rescue after my son had asked me if we could take in a dog that he felt one of his friends was neglecting and abusing. He stated the dog was a puppy that was living in a crate in her own waste, not getting food or water and the owner was taking her out and getting her drunk during parties he was having. Our family had just suffered a loss of our Lab of 13 years, and I was not ready for another animal. I told my son that I would help him get the puppy to a shelter, but could not handle the loss of another pet. About a week later my son could not take the neglect any longer and paid the kid $200.00 in order to get the dog out of the situation she was in.
In he came with a nasty crate filled with waste and a 5 month old Pit Bull puppy. I was ignorant of the breed at that time, despite watching shows like The Dog Whisper and believed the hype from the media. Although I did not fear this absolutely adorable puppy, I told my son we could not keep her because of our Grandchildren coming and going. I feared she may become vicious with them when she got older. I also was aware that the shelters killed Pit Bull type breeds all the time and knew if I took her to a shelter, she would have been put down. She seemed so sweet and loving the second she came into my home. Jumping on my lap and kissing my face within minutes, I didn't have the heart to take her to the shelter where I knew her chances of making it out alive was slim. I told my son he had two weeks to find her a new home!
The following day I took the puppy to the vet to see why she had a lot of hair missing around her ears, concerned she may have an ear infection. Turned out she had mange from her stressful living conditions. While at the vet, I told the vet my concerns as to this pup’s breed. The vet told me, that if I properly socialized her as we did our lab, she would be no different acting then our lab was—that the breed gets into the wrong hands and to do my homework and research the breed, before I was so quick to give her up. When I got back home from the vets, I did my research and found out a ton of information about the breed. It broke my heart to see how mistreated the breed was and felt I had to do something to help. I began finding rescue groups and causes that supported the breed, then networking the animals on Facebook—getting involved in trying to stop the high kill rate of our own Animal Control in Detroit.
When Detroit's Animal Control Warden refused to allow us to rescue the breed from their shelter, I felt it necessary to help stop the over reproduction of the breed, as well as preventing these animals to end up in shelters like Detroit Animal Control. This is why Providing for Paws was started, to feed animals in low-income areas, such as Detroit's financially strapped citizens. We require that people who receive food assistance to spay and neuter their animals to stop reproduction and selling of the breed to profit from them. While working in the neighborhoods that strays are often seen at every street corner, is how we began to rescue as well as community outreach.
What's different about your rescue?
Most rescues will assist with an owned pet now and then. However, we do both—rescue and help with owned animals everyday. We are also different because many of our animals that we take on or help are animals that are often sickly, injured badly, or would be hard to place—such as our Minnie who we took on for an owner, because she could not care for her or afford her medical cost. Minnie has congestive heart failure when we got her at 8 months old. Or Deuce who was found with cancer of the mouth and nasal cavity. Many other rescues would not want to take on Minnie do to all the factors of cost for her medication and specialist, difficulty in finding a foster home that would want to take on a dog that may die and need long term fostering, and the lack of people who may want to adopt her. The same goes with Deuce and his care and chance of finding a foster or furever home. I believe that is what makes us different then most rescue groups, we take on the challenging cases. Many of our volunteers have worked with other rescue groups, all have said we treat our volunteers and animals with much more regard then most they have worked with. Here are a few reviews on our Facebook from others who know us well, which kind of says it all:
“What do I like about Providing for Paws? They help the true underdogs!”
“Every dog, every time, no exceptions, no excuses. This rescue is amazing saving so many dogs and it never matters their condition, if they have any room or out of money....they figure it out.”
“Angels . . . PURE angels sent from Heaven above. Thank you, Providing for Paws! <3”
What is the greatest success story or "win" that your rescue has had?
I think that would be one of our recent rescues we did this last September, and is the entry that won us 3rd place in your contest. Her name is Patty and she was found in Southwest Detroit. She had been skinned alive by human hands. Although she was the most horrific abuse case we have ever had, she is also one of our best success story of happy endings. Providing for Patty is her Facebook page. She has almost 7000 followers that have followed her from the moment we got her, to present. Here is a video of Patty's story. (Warning: Some images may be graphic)
What's the most rewarding thing about working at your rescue?
Saving lives and finding these beautiful creatures wonderful new loving families. Working with owned pets can get very frustrating. No matter how much we try to educate, some simply do not ever want to learn or treat their animals properly. Hands being tied with legal aspects, not being able to give them the lives they deserve, makes my heart break. When you are able to help save an animal, there is no better feeling in the world. Knowing that an animal will be loved forever gives us the strength to carry on to help those who are owned and not cared for properly. To keep fighting the fight of educating and making another life better then they have now.
What can people do to help your rescue?
There are never enough foster families and volunteers to help the many neglected and suffering animals. The need far outweighs the fosters and volunteers needed to help them. If more people would step up and help animal rescues, by opening their heart and homes or volunteer a few hours a week, would make all the difference in the world. Business offering to help with funding and building space is another way for those to help. Without funding, fosters and volunteers, we would not be able to do the work we do.