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!)
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.
TELL US ABOUT ALMOST HOME–Almost 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.
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.
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!!!
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!!
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 !