As a volunteer with K Kids Dachshund Rescue Inc., Goochland resident Andrew Clarke has successfully helped find safe, loving, permanent homes for dozens of dachshunds and dachshund mixes.
Now, thanks to a grant from the nonprofit Dr. Jane Foundation, the organization will be able to help many more.
Clarke said the $1,125 grant, which was awarded in July, will greatly help the organization as it works to rescue and rehome dachshunds wherever and whenever they find them.
K Kids was launched in July, 2018 and a year later has already rescued 44 of the dogs — often affectionately called “sausage dogs” or “wiener dogs” thanks to their typically long bodies and short legs — and adopted out the majority of them.
“We are thrilled with this grant and the opportunity it provides us to rescue more dachshunds and to ensure health services for the dachshunds already in our care,” said Krista Welder, founder of K Kids. “Many of our rescue dachshunds were surrendered or turned into shelters because they have health conditions that their humans could not afford to treat. We take on those dachshunds and commit to paying their veterinary medical bills but the cost is often high. It is only through donations and grants from organizations like the Dr. Jane Foundation that we are able to continue with our mission.”
After being surrendered to K Kids, a dachshund is placed in a foster home. Over the course of a few weeks or months, the dachshund receives love, training and medical care. The dachshund’s temperament and needs are also assessed so he or she can be matched with a new “forever family” already rigorously screened and pre-approved.
Most of the time the process goes smoothly, but Clarke admits he did “fail” once—because he simply couldn’t let go. In that case, the sweet little pup found her forever home right there with Clarke and his wife.
Just about every other time, of course, the couple has happily moved the pups they were fostering on to new homes, knowing that this is their mission.
Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye, Clarke said, “but we know that in order to save more we have to let them go.”
Clarke said he and his fellow volunteers pride themselves on finding the right home for the right dog, and also provide education for owners to prevent dachshunds from entering rescue or winding up in shelters in the first place, focusing on common dachshund health and behavior issues, financial counseling about veterinary expenses, and estate planning in case the dachshund outlives their humans.
While the grant will certainly help and donations are always welcome, Clarke said there are plenty of other ways for people to get involved.
“Everyone thinks it’s about money,” he explained, “but what we really need are people--it really does take a village.”
Some of the needs filled by K Kids volunteers include providing transportation assistance and fostering dogs as they wait to be paired with their new “forever families.”