Story and photos by Madis Senner
Perhaps you are thinking of adopting a dog this holiday season, or donating to an animal rescue organization. Helping Hounds Dog Rescue (helpinghoundsdogrescue.org) in Dewitt should be at the top of your list. They rescue dogs from high kill shelters in Texas, Alabama and even New York and bring them to their shelter for adoption. I adopted my dog Jaeda Bear from them five years ago in 2013. She came from Irvington, Texas.
Helping Hounds began around Christmas time in 2008 when a group of animal lovers got together to rescue a momma beagle and her pups. Soon there was another dog and Helping Hounds were born. In January of 2009 they filed a 501c-3 and rented some space. A few years later they moved to their Dewitt location.
Helping Hounds rescues about 1,200 dogs annually of various breeds, not just hounds; from five-pound Chihuahuas to over one hundred pound Great Danes.
Dogs come from Texas every three weeks and once a month from Alabama. The adoption process takes one to three days. I strongly encourage you to fill out an application in advance and have your references checked. Before I adopted Jaeda Bear I saw a dog that I liked and asked a friend to take a look and give me her opinion. I was going to meet her, but was going to a job interview at Sears beforehand. Well, the interview took several hours and I was hired. My friend watched as another family adopted the pup that I wanted during my interview. To avoid losing out on a dog that appeals to you, I suggest that you can fill out an application online. helpinghoundsdogrescue.org/adoption-application
You can also -donate online to Helping Hounds, or volunteer. Helping Hounds is always in need of dog walkers. They hold training sessions three times a year; more information is available online. Over 300 volunteers provide 20,000 hours of service each year.
Dogs are wonderful companions that have significant therapeutic benefits, physically and mentally. If you are going to adopt make sure that you are committed to the responsibilities that go with pet ownership, such as care and feeding. Understand that dogs need long walks so that they are properly exercised and their excess energy is burned off. I walk my dogs daily and take hikes in the woods with them three to four times a week. Consider a smaller dog if you have trouble with long walks. A smaller dog like my Jack Russell, Pepper, gets more out of a shorter walk than my Labrador/collie/pit bull mix Jaeda Bear.
If you are going to adopt a dog you have to be committed. Don’t make the mistake many people do that adopt a dog over the holidays and dump them a few months later.
There are several dog rescue shelters besides Helping Hounds in the Finger Lakes. Many of them are run strictly by volunteers, with dogs housed in foster homes while they await adoption. Here are a few.
Joyful Rescues, Rochester
Fetch a Few Rescue, Seneca Falls
BlueMoon Meadows, Honeoye Falls
Brindle Posse Rescue, Rochester
There’s Hope Dog Rescue, Freeville
Duffy’s Friends, Rochester
Furever Friends, Rochester
Logan’s Rescue, Ontario
Hubbard’s Hounds, Homer
New2U Rescues, Rochester
Nuts for Mutts, Rochester
Rescued Treasured Pet Adoption, Rochester
Second Hand Dog Rescue, Rochester
People doing animal rescue are a passionate and dedicated breed. If you never met one I encourage you to stop by and visit a rescue operation. They along with their adoptees will warm your heart.
Please consider helping a hound this holiday.
Helping Hounds Dog Rescue
6606 Kinne Road
Dewitt, NY 13214
Madis Senner is an author who lives in Syracuse. You can read his musings at, motherearthprayers.blogspot.com His latest book is Sacred Sites in North Star Country: Places in Greater New York State (PA,OH,NJ,CT,MA,VT,ONT) That Changed the World is available on Amazon