Reprinted from Delaware Pets in the News Journal
Lost and Found Dog Rescue has high standards
Shelter is very picky in choosing adoptive families for homeless 'wiggle-butt' dogs
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2007
Jim and Cindee Porter of Newark with dogs adopted two dogs Louee & Charlee from Lost and Found Dog Rescue: Louee, a Shih Tzu, Charlee, a Pomeranian; and Rylee, another Pomeranian.
Every day, another dog is left without a home. Some people do nothing, some walk into a shelter and adopt a mutt and some, like Marleen Oetzel, pour themselves into helping. Four years ago, Oetzel, 58, took a chunk of her retirement money and started Lost and Found Dog Rescue and Adoption Center in New Castle. Since its inception, the center has helped more than 300 dogs find new homes.
"These were dead dogs," Oetzel said. "Now, they're living in wonderful homes." While most adoption agencies will take any dog and have few ownership requirements, the Lost and Found Dog Rescue Adoption Center prides itself in taking only "wiggle-butt dogs," and being very picky in the adoption process.
"I temperament-test every dog ... we don't want anyone getting bit," said Oetzel. Once a dog is rescued, Oetzel, along with her small handful of volunteers, place the dog in a foster home. The foster family will evaluate the dog, often house training and domesticating it in preparation for adoption.
Through its Web site and open houses ("Mingle with the Mutts") the center attracts families interested in adopting. Then, the families must pass a series of tests -- veterinarian references, a house visit and a 16-page application. If the family passes the tests, there's one final step: approval of the foster family. "The foster family has 100 percent autonomy to where their dog goes," Oetzel said.
"I kind of laughed at first," said adoptee Cindee Porter of Newark when she saw all of the pages in the application. "My take was that this group is on the up-and-up and is in it for the long term. They are trying to place the dog so they don't end up back in the shelter."
Porter adopted two dogs -- Louee, a Shih Tzu, and Rylee, a Pomeranian -- from the rescue. They join the other dog she and her husband Jim have, another Pomeranian named Charlee.
Despite passing the 300-dog adoption mark, the center is still in its infancy. "I do this 18 hours a day and seven days a week. I am burned to a crisp -- you could have me for breakfast with your eggs," Oetzel said.
Since founding the organization she has used all of her $30,000 retirement fund, including spending more than $1,300 for one dog's blood transfusion. Oetzel believes the main reason there are so many homeless animals is because they were never spayed or neutered.
The center's latest effort, De-Sex in the City, targets that problem by contributing to help low- and fixed-income families get their pets spayed or neutered for as low as $45. De-Sex runs until September 26th and the center is willing to help anyone in need. To help pay for De-Sex in the City and other efforts, the center holds fundraisers such as PartyLite & Longaberger basket bingo and "Spay-getti" dinners.
Despite the ever-increasing expenses, the Lost and Found Dog Rescue and Adoption Center has no plans to cut back its efforts. "Once you start doing this you can't stop," Oetzel said. "I just want to stop the suffering of the dogs and cats."