Finding a reputable rescue before adopting a dog is an important step to finding your perfect pup. Asking your family and friends for reference is a great start. The next step is to ask a lot of questions to make sure its a rescue you feel comfortable getting your dog from. Each week I will be choosing one rescue and asking all the questions for you.
This week it’s my pleasure to introduce Tammy Turley. She is the Executive Director of Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue and Adoption, Inc.
I am so impressed with their rescue and the programs they have put in place to ensure successful adoptions. Mostly Mutts is a perfect example of a reputable rescue going above and beyond.
Mostly Mutts is located in Kennesaw, Georgia. They not only adopt dogs, but also cats and other animals.
Q: Are you a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization?
Q: Does your state have specific laws around dog adoptions that people should be aware of?
A: None in particular. Pets are considered property, however, so if anyone finds a dog/cat, they cannot legally rehome it without giving the rightful owner a chance to find and reunite with their dog.
Most counties have a mandatory “stray hold” at animal control, which helps owners find their lost animals.
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Q: What inspired you to start your rescue?
A: Mostly Mutts was founded by Paige O’Neill, a passionate animal lover, who turned operations over to me when she retired in 2013.
I began rescuing animals over 20 years ago. As a busy wife and mother of 3 children I still found time for my passion for animals. I have always been drawn to those with special needs.
Abandoned kittens and pups were my specialty early on. Working with several animal shelters and veterinarians, I quickly became the go-to person for abandoned litters that needed bottle feeding. I then began fostering older and special needs pets no one wanted.
In 2010, I came across an elderly poodle on the Mostly Mutts website. I contacted Mostly Mutts and became a foster home for the organization. After successfully finding a home for that first foster I continued to foster as well as volunteer for shelter shifts.
I recruited my entire family, all of which are still actively involved with Mostly Mutts. Even though I works 5-6 days per week at our rescue center, I continue to foster special needs animals.
Q: How many dogs have you saved to date?
A: Mostly Mutts has saved over 700 animals in 2018 and 2017, our best years so far. The numbers really took off when we moved into our new location in 2016 which is right in downtown Kennesaw with great visibility.
Since its inception, the number of animals saved is over 7,000. Animals saved include dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, lizards and one Shetland pony.
Q: What makes your rescue different than others?
A: We strive to match each animal with the adopter best suited for them. Even if that search takes a little longer, it is worth it to make sure the animal and new owner stay together. Some families come to us thinking they know exactly what type of pet they are looking for, but after considering their lifestyle and living situation, might understand that a different dog or cat will be a better fit.
We also created a training program for the adoptable dogs we call “Mostly Mutts University” that has been very successful. The dogs are trained in basic commands and also tested to see how they get along with kids, other dogs and cats.
We have a great team of volunteer trainers who are supervised by our professional trainer. The dogs enjoy three training sessions per week and are “more likely to succeed” knowing skills like sit, come, down, stay, leash walk, accept strangers, go in and out of doors nicely, and “place,” which is going to their defined location and staying there.
We go the extra mile to make sure the animals are well cared for, with enrichment toys, play groups, hikes and other outings. We have over 400 volunteers, and last year they logged an amazing 57,000 volunteer hours.
We do take a large number of special needs animals each year, those that require orthopedic surgeries, eye surgeries, cancer surgeries, heart worm treatment, those that need special medication for chronic illnesses such diabetes, senior dogs, dogs that are blind and/or deaf, dogs with behavioral challenges that require months of training. We also rescue many young kittens and puppies, some that require round-the clock bottle feeding.
Once a week we have a “read to dogs” program at our center where kids come and sit by the kennels and read out loud to the dogs. This program is very popular and has resulted in some dogs being adopted by the families that came to read to them. We also do bi-monthly visits to a nearby retirement home and bring dogs and cats for the residents to meet and hold.
Q: Where do your dogs come from?
A: Primarily, our dogs and cats come from Cobb and Paulding Animal Control, the two county facilities closest to our location. We also take some “owner turn-ins” depending on the situation and our capacity.
Q: Do you ever bring dogs in internationally?
Q: How much are your adoption fees?
A: Adoption fees for dogs are $299 and cats $175. The adoption fee includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip, any other necessary vetting such as dental work, an ID tag with the new owner’s contact information and a collar (dogs and cats) and leash (dogs only).
Q: What is your adoption process like?
A: We ask potential adopters to fill out an online application. We ask for references, including from their veterinarian if they have pets already.
Q: Do you have any specific requirements for adopters?
A: Adopters must a minimum age of 21.
Q: Where can they find the dogs you have for adoption?
A: Our available pets are available on our website, FB page and PetFinder among other adoption sites.
Q: Do you hold any special adoption events?
A: Our pet rescue and adoption center is open daily from 11am to 4pm except Sundays and holidays. On Saturdays, all the pets that are living in foster homes are also at the center for potential adopters to meet.
Q: Are the dogs fully vetted including all vaccinations and spayed/neutered before adoption?
Q: Do you offer a foster-to-adopt option for families?
A: No. We do have a 2 week return policy, so if the animal is not the right fit, you may return and get your adoption fee back.
Q: What is your biggest challenge when finding homes for your dogs?
A: Just like any other rescue, MONEY and fundraising is always at the top of the list. Spending so much time on fundraising and making sure we have the money to properly vet and support the animals we bring into the program.
Q: Do you offer any after-care support for families that adopt a dog from your rescue?
A: Yes, as of 2019 we are offering a complimentary training session to help with training/behavior issues. We have always been willing to help post-adoption but this is a new, more formal program.
Q: What happens if someone adopts one of your dogs and decides it is not a good fit for their family? Do you take the dog back?
A: Yes, we do.
Q: Is there anything else you feel people should know about your rescue and adoption process?
A: We have amazing volunteers that spend countless hours each day including holidays with our animals making sure they are happy and healthy and not just sitting in kennels all day. Every day there are volunteers that come to take some of the dogs to the local park for a nice long walk. We have 4 shifts a day starting at 7:30am thru 10pm every day that feeds, cleans, medicates (if needed) and walks every dog at the center. Our dogs get so much attention that by the last shift they really just want to go to sleep. We have two cat shifts per day also staffed by volunteers.
Q: If there is one piece of advice you could give every person that adopts a dog, what would it be?
A: Be patient and give the animal time to adjust to your home and life style. So often, people call saying it isn’t working for many different reasons and I talk them into giving the pet another week and they normally call me back saying they are in love and everything is great now.
Want to know more? Visit Mostly Mutts at: www.mostlymutts.org
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If you have a rescue you feel is worthy of recommending for our In the Spotlight series, please contact me today!
Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.