Did you know that approximately 70 million cats and dogs are homeless annually? This heartbreaking statistic highlights the significance of pet rescue across the nation. While thousands of organizations in the United States help rescue animals, the one near and dear to Dan Ventura and his team at Fairway Independent Mortgage is Sweet Paws Rescue. Check out their incredible work, including how they have saved the lives of 18,000 dogs and cats since 2011!

About Sweet Paws Rescue

Sweet Paws Rescue is a non-profit animal rescue based in Groveland, Massachusetts. They are a “grassroots, boots-on-the-ground, shelterless, foster-based, and volunteer-powered” organization. While many of their cats and dogs come from two of the poorest counties in Alabama and Mississippi, they also rescue abandoned, abused, and displaced animals in New England.

This rescue is different from many others. Their efforts usually begin in the southern states, where their team saves injured, sick, and abandoned pets, often barely surviving on the streets or in rural areas. SPR accepts full financial responsibility for caring for each cat, dog, puppy, or kitten from “ground zero” through adoption. They also work to improve legislation and awareness of animal rescue in these three states.

Their mission statement says, in part: “We are a Northeast destination for dog and cat adoptions and human-animal bond programming by using our experience and team of talent to change the national landscape of animal welfare while continuing to advocate and rescue animals in under-resourced areas of the country.”

Poppy’s Story

Check out how Sweet Paws Rescue gave Poppy a new chance at life!

While no one can tell you precisely what Poppy went through in the first part of her life, she came to her new owners, Matt and Roz, hesitant and scared. She had never been on a leash, had no training, and was terrified of going outside.

Within a few days, Matt and Roz helped Poppy learn to trust the outdoors and walk on a leash. She began to learn new commands and go on fun neighborhood walks.

Poppy loves to play with other dogs in the field across from her home. She enjoys 2-mile runs with her mom and always jumps at the chance to frolic in the snow. Thanks to Sweet Paws Rescue, Poppy was given an opportunity to thrive with her new “furever” parents – a life she never would have experienced otherwise.

The Steps of Rescuing One Dog

Rescuing just one dog or cat requires countless hours of volunteer time and can become very costly. The process usually begins when SPR’s southern team rescues an animal. They immediately provide the love, food, and basic veterinary care the animal needs.

In the meantime, Massachusetts adopters are connected with adoption coordinators after filling out an online application. When the new “furever” parents are approved for adoption, they are connected to the southern foster family or rescuer, and transportation is planned.

When a dog or cat arrives in Massachusetts, it must quarantine for 48 hours. At the end of the quarantine period, the organization’s vet gives the pet a general wellness exam to ensure they are healthy. Then, the animal’s new family is given a date, time, and address for pickup.

The new owners are provided with an adoption folder, including veterinary paperwork. Additionally, pet parents are emailed adoption resources on training, transition, and best practices for wellness and safety. SPR’s adoption fees help to offset the costs the organization incurs.

Challenges That Rescue Organizations Often Face

Rescue organizations face countless challenges every day. Here are three challenges that rescues like Sweet Paws routinely face:

  1. Financial challenges – Taking care of a healthy pet can be expensive – Rescue organizations face a much more significant financial burden. SPR’s rescue process includes transport, food, medical attention, and quarantine care. It can also involve heartworm treatment, life-sustaining surgery, and other emergency care, which becomes costly.
  2. Lack of Volunteers – Rescue organizations rely heavily on volunteers. The process becomes much more challenging if there aren’t enough volunteers to care for the rescued pets. SPR volunteers coordinate most aspects of the operation, from caring for animals at their isolation facility to managing social media.
  3. Lack of Education and Awareness – The inadequacy of animal advocacy can affect rescue organizations’ efforts. Sweet Paws Rescue fights that by providing a voice for the voiceless, educating people, and advocating for animal welfare improvement in Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Alabama.   

Thank You, Sweet Paws!

Three years ago, Dan Ventura, Co-Branch Manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage in Newburyport, MA, adopted his dog Neely through SPR. Neely and her littermates had been abandoned in a container on the side of a Mississippi roadway. Neely changed Dan’s life for the better by helping fill the void left by losing his parents.

Fairway Independent Mortgage is beyond grateful for Sweet Paws Rescue, their volunteers, and the countless hours they work to ensure animals are given a chance at life. Because SPR is so near to their hearts, Dan and his team donate to the rescue on behalf of each client after their mortgage closing, helping other dogs like Neely secure their “furever” homes.

Sweet Paws is always looking for more volunteers to help power the organization, and they gladly accept donations of any size. SPR depends on the public’s generosity… And the lives of thousands of cats and dogs depend on it also.