Interested in making a pup’s life happier this holiday season? Gwen Leong, who is the foster coordinator for Niagara Dog Rescue (NDR), has just returned with her crew of three volunteers from Indigenous reserves in northern Manitoba, located about eight hours north of Winnipeg, with 30 rescued dogs than need new homes. Most are puppies or young dogs, but they have also brought back five pregnant dogs who desperately need a foster home for approximately ten weeks.
Niagara Dog Rescue (NDR) was founded in 2015 as a registered non-profit, volunteer-based charitable organization, dedicated to helping homeless and unwanted dogs. Since its inception, NDR has re-homed 6300 dogs, including 375 thus far in 2022.
NDR covers the costs for all dogs in foster care, which are fully vetted before they are placed.
“Fostering is a wonderful opportunity for those who cannot make a long-term commitment,” said Leong. “But adoption is clearly the preferred option, if it is workable for families. I personally took in an amazing Shepherd mix, knowing nothing about him, but time has shown that I adopted the best companion ever.”
Although winter weather will prevent NDR from driving back to Manitoba, there are plans to return by air if details and funding can be arranged. Many dogs were left behind that will starve or freeze to death over the winter if not rescued.
The rescued dogs now in Niagara are currently with NDR’s boarding partners, but none have yet been adopted.
“We’re letting them settle in a little bit, and then we’ll put them up for adoption,” said Leong. “There are many ways people can help. Adopt a dog. Foster a dog. Donate. Volunteer your time. NDR is 100 percent staffed by volunteers, eager to help dogs that are at risk for being euthanized.”
Working in partnership with the Manitoba Animal Alliance, NDR was given permission by native chiefs on the reserves to set up vaccination clinics for dogs, and also take in dogs that local people wanted to surrender. The drive, which took well over 30 hours, was made in NDR’s own dog crate-equipped truck. The volunteers paid for trip expenses out-of-pocket, but also had some help.
There was an outpouring of support just before the trip, with people donating money and gas gift cards, which helped out a lot
“There was an outpouring of support just before the trip, with people donating money and gas gift cards, which helped out a lot, since we burned through about $3000 in fuel over the course of the trip,” said Leong.
The rescued dogs have been spayed, neutered, and vaccinated in preparation for their new homes. Foster applications are available online, and follow-up includes a telephone interview, reference check, home visit, and finally a meeting with the dog identified for the family. Free dog-training sessions are available post-adoption.
“We look at the submitted profiles of those who want to foster or adopt, and try to match them with the appropriate dog,” said Leong.
Niagara Dog Rescue has also teamed up with global dog rescuers TransformAStreetDog.org to help provide for suffering dogs in the Ukraine, that have been displaced due to war. Mass evacuations of dogs to other countries is in progress, with some dogs destined for Canada. It is expensive and often dangerous work, say organizers.
For more information on adopting, fostering, and supporting NDR, see www.niagaradogrescue.com