Rainbow Animal Rescue Director Edna Crouch has seen the community responding to her group’s mission more frequently lately.
The group, this year’s Herald Angel, was given $2,656 Wednesday as the campaign concluded. It’s an amount Crouch said will help the group tremendously.
“We really need the funds,” Crouch said. “We’ve got 18 heartworm positive dogs in various stages of treatment. We can’t adopt them out right now because they are heartworm positive, so this will help get those dogs treated and out so we can help more dogs.”
She also cautioned people to use preventive measures against heartworm, describing what happens to dogs who aren’t treated for it as “horrifying.”
“The heartworms will literally keep multiplying in the heart until the heart explodes,” Crouch said. “It’s a horrible death.”
Crouch said Rainbow Animal Rescue saw 814 dogs come through the facility in 2017, dogs that have all been adopted out, put in foster homes, moved to other rescue groups or remain in the facility. Expenses include dog beds, runs, kenneling, food, blankets and veterinary care.
While the need is great, Crouch said in recent months she has seen an uptick in donations and in people wanting to step forward and volunteer. She is also thrilled by partnerships, such as The Herald Angel campaign, helping to raise money.
Another big event benefiting the rescue will be coming up March 10, when Collier Harley-Davidson will host “Dogs and Hogs” at the dealership. Money raised during that event will help the Rescue fulfill its mission.
“I think this shows there’s increased awareness of what’s going on,” Crouch said. “When they see the sheer volume of dogs, I think they get a better idea of what we’re facing.”
Crouch said one reason she’s seeing an increase in dogs coming through the rescue has to do with attitude changes. Older people, she said, saw dogs as part of their family and forever pets, whereas a lot of people seem to be looking at dogs as disposable possessions. Crouch said she’s seen owners bring in pets because they were sick or pregnant, and they didn’t want the expense of veterinary care or puppies. The group has seen many unwanted litters of puppies brought in, so they’ve partnered with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to hold low-cost or no-cost spay and neuter clinics. Those with any public assistance qualify for no-charge spaying or neutering. The cost for others is $10.
Crouch said she’d like to see people not only see their pets as family members, but also to take more pride in their care.
“Dogs aren’t yard ornaments,” Crouch said. “You don’t get them, put them in a pen or tether them in your yard and then bring them food. If you don’t interact with them, they don’t learn manners or get any training, and when we get them, we can’t place them.”
Currently the organization has 44 dogs plus those they’ve put in foster homes. The need for volunteers is great. Volunteers are needed for simple tasks such as walking dogs, and bigger tasks such as driving transport vans to take dogs to other rescue groups in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware or to veterinary appointments. Volunteers are also needed to help maintain and clean the building, located at 54 Dog Pound Road in Halifax.
Crouch warns volunteering at the rescue is not for everyone, however.
“It’s a very hard and trying thing,” Crouch said. “Sometimes people will come in for a few days but they can’t cope. They see the sad faces, the broken faces, and they can’t take it.”
Crouch is hoping events such as Dogs and Hogs and campaigns like The Herald Angel bolsters her group’s profile and leads to more help for the animals.
“I can’t tell people how much I really appreciate the support,” Crouch said. “The fact that people care enough to help means a lot to us.”