#NutrishPets A Passion for Volunteering Turns Into A Career! #Sponsored

Rachael Ray Nutrish has sponsored this post, but all opinions are my own.

April is National Volunteer Month,  and the true definition, (per Wikipedia is: This month is dedicated to honoring all of the volunteers in our communities as well as encouraging volunteerism throughout the month) and here at Dakota’s Den, we say ALL YEAR!

It is with great pride, that today I am featuring an individual who has a dedication to animals that I am blessed to witness first hand. How? The individual I am featuring is  Marla Weingarten, who is a Manager at Almost Home Animal Rescue League and Haven. She also happens to be one of my “bonus daughters”. (That means step daughter but I prefer the term “bonus daughter. Because I happen to be married to her Dad!)

Marla is not normally this glamorous working at a shelter! She knew I was coming :)

Marla is not normally this glamorous working at a shelter! She knew I was coming 🙂

I first met Marla in 2001,   ONE thing that was  evident from the beginning,  is that she has a LOVE, DEDICATION, AND PASSION for all animals.

Marla had volunteered hours and hours upon end both at shelters and on her own, helping to care for and promote animals that needed loving homes. I was beyond thrilled for her when she was offered the opportunity of a full-time job, doing what she has a true passion and a calling for. Marla would be caring for, helping, loving and spending time with animals whether she was being paid or not!!

It is my pleasure to present to you my interview with Marla Weingarten, of Almost Home Animal Rescue League and Haven:

WHEN DID YOU FIRST START LOVING ANIMALS? My love of animals began when I was a child. I was lucky enough to grow up with dogs, rabbits, cats, lizards, etc…animals were always my passion! I loved horse back riding, and going to the petting zoo. I always wanted a farm since I can remember, but working at an animal rescue is my dream job!

WHAT MADE YOU GET INVOLVED IN RESCUE? I have been involved with Almost Home Animal Haven since I was 15 years old and other rescues prior to that.    I was so fortunate when the position for manager at Almost Home became available, and I have been working here for the past 3 years.

Almost Home Logo

TELL US  ABOUT ALMOST HOMEAlmost Home is a non-profit (c) 3 no-kill organization dedicated to finding loving, forever homes for unwanted , homeless animals that was founded and is run by Gail Montgomery and her daughter, Lauren. We are strongly against the senseless act of euthanasia. We have a small group of dedicated volunteers who are passionate about keeping Almost Home operating. Almost Home believes every animal can be adoptable. It just takes time, patience and money. Almost Home believes that every animal is worth saving. They don’t deserve to be tossed aside, abused or worse. The haven is a place where animals can feel safe and be safe. Every animal in our care gets the very best love and attention we can give them. 

almost home lobby collage

Just some of the cuteness that exists in the waiting area at Almost Home.

WHAT IS AN AVERAGE DAY LIKE AT THE RESCUE? Every day is different. It is all about making sure the animals are safe, and healthy. We are constantly taking sick dogs from animal control and rushing them to the vet to get better so they can become available for adoption. There are days when we get multiple dogs from Animal control or owner surrenders and we have to make room. We get calls every day from people wanting to surrender their pets, and it’s quite difficult to turn people away, especially because we are such a small facility and we just don’t have the space to take in another dog. We noticed there are so many pit bulls that people want to surrender and it’s really sad that the majority that come in are not spayed or neutered. We wish more people would be responsible pet owners and not just buy a puppy for their kids,  because it is cute, then, once they are  older, they want to dispose of them. Every day is a constant struggle, as Almost Home does not receive government or city funding.  They rely on donations from the community, and the generosity of people on their Facebook page to help with the cost of medical issues, etc. Working at an animal shelter has opened my eyes to the sadness of animal abuse and neglect, but I do know there are good people out there too who foster dogs, and who care, by donating to our cause and other wonderful causes.

APPROX HOW MANY ANIMALS ARE ADOPTED EACH MONTH? I would say between 9-13, it depends. Unfortunately, the reality is the smaller dogs get adopted a lot quicker then the big dogs. Most of the big dogs we have at the shelter are Pit Bull mixes, and a lot of them  can take longer to be adopted due to breed stereotypes, etc.

Marla with the cutest dog EVER,(Luna,...see further down for info about her, she is available for adoption!! and me!!

Marla with the cutest dog EVER, (Luna…see further down for info about her, she is available for adoption!!) and me!!

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PETS AND HOW MANY ARE RESCUE PETS? I currently own 3 dogs and 3 cats. I adopted two of my pets from Almost Home.  One of them is “Chico”, a 14-year-old Chihuahua who I found while taking part in a rescue mission at a puppy mill.  He is a special needs dog, he was  blind in one eye at the time and recently has lost his vision in both eyes. He is such a special little man and is so happy to finally be spoiled!  I also adopted a Devon Rex, 8-year-old cat named “Muffins”. She was owner relinquished. The owner said that “she was too needy” and she didn’t have time for her because she was expecting a baby.   I immediately took Muffins home that day, she is still with me!

Rescue pets are so thankful for love. They are pure and trusting and never pass judgement towards humans. I only wish that people could follow in their paw prints, the world would be a much better place.

A huge thank you to Marla for taking the time to visit with me before her busy day began!! 

 Did you see sweet, ADOPTABLE, Luna, above?  She is one of the SWEETEST dogs I have ever met. She was brought in as a stray and would do best as the only dog. She is 48.6 pounds of SWEETNESS!!! Here she is!!!

almost home adopt luna

Almost Home can always use help to help subsidize the cost involved in caring for the animals. To donate you can visit them on GO FUND ME  and on the DONATE tab on their website.

Almost Home Business Card

Almost Home in the NEWS!!!! 


Another person who holds animal rescue close to her heart is  Rachael Ray. Rachael, like Marla,  doesn’t just “talk the talk”, she “walks the walk!!”



What is Rachael’s Rescue®?

Rachael’s Rescue was created for all of the forgotten pets — the ones that might not have someone who loves them as much as you love your pet.

Rachael’s personal proceeds go to Rachael’s Rescue®, which was created to help animals in need. To date, she has donated over $10MM. This money has gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for these unfortunate animals. All of the Rachael Ray Nutrish products are available where you shop for your family’s groceries, making specialty recipes accessible and convenient for every pet parent.

If you can volunteer or donate

to a shelter, please do!!

if you can adopt a shelter pet,

that’s even better!

it will make YOU and your pet

feel “REAL GOOD”!!!

How Can You Help The Shelters

During National Volunteer Month and EVERY DAY?

  • you could volunteer to play with and walk dogs
  • clean cages
  • share adoptable pets on social media
  • donate items such as newspapers, towels, cleaning supplies
  • Buy Rachael Ray Nutrish !!
  • do something to thank the Volunteers!! (Everyone LOVES FOOD!!)

That’s what Nutrish did! They mailed me coupons for food for the animals, to give to Almost Home!  Marla, on behalf of Almost Home, and myself,  would like to thank Nutrish for the coupons they donated to the animals!!


almost home collage coupons

About Rachael Ray Nutrish:

In 2007, with help from pet nutrition experts, Rachael Ray created Nutrish super-premium food and treats for dogs inspired by recipes from her own kitchen. In 2014, we were very excited to grow the brand into the world of cat food. Whether intended for dogs or cats, Nutrish recipes are made with simple, wholesome ingredients like real meat or fish, and do not contain poultry by-product meal or fillers. 

Follow Nutrish ! 


Facebook Nutrish

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  1. I wish Marla could live with Luna they make such a cute team :o) All the best for Marla and for Luna and for all pets of Almost Home :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog SUPER SATURDAYMy Profile

  2. Volunteering is so very important. I did an article for our local paper about volunteers the time and effort those kind souls put in. We should all be grateful for their help.

  3. Hurray for Marla! Amazing that she has dedicated her whole life to animals. I love that she started volunteering with Almost Home at 15 and now manages the shelter.

    P.S.: I’m still doing my series on special needs adoptions and so if Marla and Chico would ever like to be featured, let me know
    The Daily Pip recently posted…The Specials: Adopting a Blind DogMy Profile

  4. sara, oreo and chewy says:

    Well, Marla clearly has a huge heart!

    I hope Luna gets adopted soon.

  5. Cathy says:

    Thank you for your efforts to keep animals safe and happy, Marla and Caren. Best wishes to Luna in her search for a fur-ever home.

  6. I think this is my favorite thing you’ve ever posted. Love to see someone working at succeeding at such a worthy passion.

  7. This is such a wonderful post! There is nothing like the love of a rescue animal. I wish more people realized that. Thank you, Caren and Marla, for all that you do to nurture and support these beautiful animals!
    The Menagerie Mom recently posted…Mancat Monday and WhatnotMy Profile

  8. It’s so nice to meet your bonus daughter. That rocks. She does wonderful work too. I can so relate to wanting a wonderful forever home to all our precious babies.

    Have a woof woof day Dakota. My best to your wonderful mom. ♥♥♥
    Comedy Plus recently posted…Awww MondaysMy Profile

  9. Yay for Marla! Thank you for sharing this – it is excellent.

    And you know, I never thought about taking treats over to the shelter for the volunteers. I always end up with extra treats when I bake, as it is just Paul and me. The shelter in our town is just down the road. I could easily pop by and drop off something for them!
    Sarah Ferguson & Choppy recently posted…Here’s Choppy! Railroad EditionMy Profile

  10. Kismet says:

    Kaci and Kali were both in kill shelters and on the list at one point. We couldn’t do without them.
    Kismet recently posted…The Science is INMy Profile

  11. These are all great ideas to help with a rescue in our own community. Thank Marla for all of her hard work and dedication. ♥
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…A Special Pierre Birthday EditionMy Profile

  12. I love hearing about these programs. They are so needed, thanks for sharing. Paws crossed for Luna. You should be very proud of Marla!

  13. Toby says:

    What a great job Marla is doing. I’m sure it hard and rewarding – but also heartbreaking at times.

  14. God bless them for the good work they are doing!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley
    Murphy & Stanley recently posted…Candy Dates For Mayoral Election 2016!My Profile

  15. Marla sounds like she has a very big heart, especially for animals. The work she does is so very important and the fact she loves it makes it more special.
    Thanks for this post 🙂
    tylersat99 recently posted…Moving the treeMy Profile

  16. Marla says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words!!! Caren and had a blast getting photos with Luna, and conducting our interview. Everything I said comes from directly from my heart, and I appreciate all the wonderful comments and feedback! Almost Home is not Government or city funded there greatest gift is to take all the dogs from Southfield Animal Control and the police, and get this holding building. It is a tough job, and even tougher job for the founders. There annual vet bills exceed over $120.000 a year!!! imagine caring for over 60 dogs and cats! one alone is expensive for an owner. I have such enormous respect for Gail and Lauren and hope more people will donate to this incredible organization. Just $5.00-10.00 will help, that is one less Starbucks, remember every cent counts. If you like to do something for Almost Home, please make a contribution by going to this link at: http://almosthomeanimals.org/help-us/donate/ or to our Amazon Wish List at: http://almosthomeanimals.org/help-us/our-wish-list/ The animals will greatly appreciate it! Thank you so much Caren for featuring myself, Luna who is available for adoption, and picking Almost Home as your choice of shelter!

    • Dakota says:

      Thanks so much Marla for agreeing to be interviewed!! FYI: the links you just posted are in the blog post already (except for the wish list)………….

  17. Big Colorado congrats to Marla from me and Sam! No wonder you’re so proud of her. 😉 Folks like Marla renew my faith in people doing the right thing. ღ
    Monika & Sam recently posted…Primary TuesdayMy Profile

  18. What a wonderful interview. We need a whole lot of Marla’s across the land. Luna looks like such a sweetie. Thanks so much for sharing this I really enjoyed reading it. Hugs Mags
    Pooh and Her Pooch recently posted…Taking Care of BusinessMy Profile

  19. You have a wonderful ‘bonus daughter’!!

    And Luna looks like such a sweetheart! Hope she gets a great home of her own, really soon!

  20. That is such a wonderful story.
    2 Brown Dawgs recently posted…Tuning Up With Long SinglesMy Profile

  21. Noreen says:

    Hi, Marla sounds like the perfect daughter in love and a wonderful, loving, giving person working for the rescue. She also must be strong, because it could be heartbreaking to see so many pets in need. Great job!
    Thanks for sharing.

  22. Loved the interview with Marla. She sounds fabulous. I’d pack up my stuff and go visit her but she has enough animals staying with her so I’ll just stay put. She is an awesome type of daughter…step or otherwise. What a great name for a shelter too.


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