When caring for the homeless animals of Fort Worth, "It takes a village!" exclaims Saving Hope Animal Rescue Events Coordinator Katie Whittenburg. Since 2018, the rescue has been a foster-based non-profit, with a supply house in Benbrook for nursing moms and babies and more than 600 cats and 600 dogs in foster homes around the metroplex. Not a shelter itself but an organization that rescues animals from Fort Worth shelter code reds and euthanasia lists weekly. The sheer volume of animals the rescue deals with makes access to readily available foster homes and volunteers the key to its business model.
"Lauren Anton is our founder and Executive Director," says Whittenburg. "Laura Grice is the Director and Medical and Medical Coordinator. We also have a Benbrook House Manager, Aledo Property Manager, Foster Coordinating Team, Adoption Team, Events Team, Transportation Team, and other volunteers.”
Besides caring for the animals, the non-profit needs volunteers to sort through and organize the donated supplies that keep things running. "The house in Benbrook also holds our supplies needed for fosters," says Whittenburg. "Including crates, food, beds, blankets, toys, meds, etc."
And currently, Saving Hope is developing a Rescue Ranch and Sanctuary in Aledo, TX.
"It will house many of our animals, a full-time vet and staff, and an education center," elaborates Whittenburg. Needless to say, it's a busy time. But it's all worth it for people like Whittenburg, who continually search for more people to join their tribe.
"We are only able to rescue and save lives by having committed fosters to help us set our animals up for success and to be adopted," she says. "We cover all costs, but fosters provide the love and care these animals need while they assist us in getting them completely ready for their new home." And with the rising cost of caring for animals, fitting the bill for each foster family is becoming a burden for Saving Hope. "We spend over $100,000 in veterinary and medical bills monthly right now," says Whittenburg. "Our adoption 'fee' is more of a donation back to the rescue to continue to save animals, vaccinate, spay/neuter, and take on more severe medical cases.” So besides foster families and volunteer workers, Saving Hope relies heavily on donations from the community. And just as important as everything else is the non-profit's need for families to adopt their furry beneficiaries.
Throughout the years and her own adoption journey, Whittenburg knows well how adoption is also therapeutic for the family. "These animals provide unconditional love and happiness," says Whittenburg. "Rescues seem to be the most appreciative, fun, and loving animals that are so thankful for their humans. I personally began fostering in 2017. I am so thankful to be a small part of the amazing things Saving Hope is doing for animals in our community.”
Besides the physical work the rescue does, volunteers also educate the public on animal welfare in Texas, sharing the back story of their rescued animals, and encourage adoptions through events, media, and social media. "People do want to help," says Whittenburg. "And they want to be involved. We are here to be the voice for these animals and place them in the very best homes." Whittenburg suggests that the perfect person to adopt a rescue animal is a committed person or family looking to provide a lifetime of safety, love, and comfort. "We know our animals give that," she says. "And they just want it in return."
Get involved with Saving Hope at www.savinghoperescue.org
Facebook- Saving Hope Rescue