If you’re a dog looking for a forever home Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary (MAC) is one of the best places you can land. The rescue organization spares the lives of hundreds of dogs each year and helps those who are able find a permanent family. Their adoption process is detailed to ensure the best possible match is made.
Peace at a No-Kill Shelter
Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary is home to up to 142 dogs at any given time. The non-profit organization works with shelters and humane societies to take in dogs which are high risk for euthanasia, giving them a chance to find a forever home. They do not take owner surrender or found stray dogs but offer some advice on rehoming a dog, dealing with behavioral issues, reporting neglect/abuse, and more.
If a dog is not able to be rehomed he or she will stay at MAC. Dogs needing some assistance in socialization, walking nicely on a leash, or some other area are worked with by staff and volunteers. Each dog spends time learning the “sit”, “down”, and “stay” commands. Trainers use verbal encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Although dogs are in a kennel environment they still get walked and fed each day. They have raised bed to sleep on and toys are switched out on a regular basis to provide them with different stimuli. Those who do well with other dogs have the opportunity to play with other dogs in one of 12 fenced in areas in addition to their own personal run.
A newly introduced program has trainers working with dogs in groups. Activities and learning together gives a group the opportunity to interact with each other. More and more homes, especially with rescued dogs have two or more canines in them. According to Tommie Foote, Adoption Coordinator, a foster program is being considered. This will allow dogs to live in a home environment prior to being adopted, making the transition to a permanent home even easier.
A medical staff is on site twice a week to perform surgeries such as spay or neuter, assess any concerns, etc. any of the dogs under the care of MAS may need. All work is done in a dedicated medical building. Six apartments are located on the grounds as well. Some of them are occupied by staff so someone is always nearby if a dog needs immediate attention.
In addition to meeting other dogs at the facility, staff and volunteers also work with adoptable dogs on introductions to kids and cats. These steps are important when it comes to placing an animal in a new home. And in most cases MAS requires a fenced in yard when adopting. Those adopting a pittbull or pittbull mix should have prior experience with the breed.
The Adoption Process
MAS takes pride in a less than 10% return rate for animals they’ve placed in forever homes. Their adoption process is thorough and could take time to find the right match. The organization will work with homes up to 150 miles away from their facility. Those interested in adopting start by filling out an online application. There are no open hours for visitors to just come and browse.
Once an application is completed it will be reviewed by a staff member. The applicant will be contacted to further discuss what dog(s) could be a good fit. The next step is for the entire family with which a dog will be living with to come for a visit. This is the first time an individual or family will be able to meet a potential new member of the family.
If the first visit goes well and there’s still interest in adopting, a second visit is planned. If there’s an existing dog in the home he or she is brought for the second visit. The two dogs meet to see how they interact with each other. The final step is a representative from MAS taking a dog being adopted to his or her new home. This is done to ensure the dog feels comfortable in a new setting. While it may seem like numerous steps to go through in order to adopt this attention to detail will help make the best match possible. With multiple interactions a dog and potential adopter can ask questions and has the opportunity to say it’s not going to work out and try another dog if there’s a good match. Staff and volunteers work with the dogs on site so much they are familiar with personalities and any potential issues. They are advocates for the dogs they work with and want to find the best forever home available.
Support is also offered to those who adopt. MAS provides education on body language of a dog so a new family can have a better idea how a new dog in the home is feeling. Kids are shown how to interact with a dog for the first time or when he or she is new in the home.
The adoption fee for a puppy is $250. An adult’s adoption fee is $200. And a senior’s adoption fee is $150.
As with any non-profit organization, MAS has needs. Monetary donations are always appreciated and can be given online. It takes approximately $3,000 a year to care for one dog. Medical costs are main expense when it comes to rescuing a dog.
Volunteers for various tasks are also needed. Walking dogs is a popular volunteer job. The organization will work with volunteers so they’re paired with dogs they’re comfortable with. Some may like working with dogs who need help walking on a leash, are mouthy, or have some other characteristic which needs some work. Volunteers must be at least 8 years of age to volunteer with a parent. Kid volunteers are often, if they’re interested and once they’re comfortable, used to test dogs meeting kids.
MAS has more than 300 volunteers but more are always welcome. New volunteers will go through orientation and receive specific training in areas where they’ll be working. And those looking to donate items such as toys or treats can contact Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary to determine a time to drop them off.
Finding Your Next Family Member
Those looking to add a dog to the family can view the list of available dogs online. If a dog pulls at your heartstrings an online survey/application can be filled out to start the adoption process.
If you’d like to visit Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary to see what they’re about, sign up to volunteer, or bring a donation they will be having an open house on Saturday, October 14 from 11am-2pm.