Pets 101

Local Hero – Bringing Hope to Homeless Pets

It started with two puppies, and now one Minnesota woman has helped save the lives of nearly 15,000 dogs

By Kelsey Duckett

Nearly 15,000 dogs have been taken out of a dire situation, and removed from a euthanasia list because of the heroic efforts of one Minnesota woman.

Cheryl Adams, founder of Homeward Bound Dog Rescue, has been writing happy endings and changing the luck of abandoned and homeless dogs for over 20 years.

There isn’t a breed that Homeward Bound won’t rescue, and nearly 40 percent of their rescues are purebreds. While the ages of the dogs range, the majority have been rescued from euthanization regardless of their age.

On average, Adams and her staff of volunteers care for 60 dogs at any given time — and because they don’t have an actual shelter, most are cared for in Homeward Bound foster homes.

“We feel that the animals are innocent in these situations,” said Adams. “It wasn’t their choice to be abandoned, or to be born into unwanted litters. They need us to be in their corner. If we can step up and make a difference in their lives, we will.”

Adams is a huge advocate of spaying and neutering animals. She said there aren’t enough homes for all these dogs, and it is crucial that they be spayed and neutered to help in the fight against overpopulation.

That being said, Homeward Bound successfully adopts out roughly 20 dogs a week, and has had some successful months finding homes for over 150 dogs. The pairings are made every Saturday at adoption events at Petco stores throughout Minnesota.

Cheri Friedman, a volunteer at Homeward Bound Rescue, said Adams got her start when she went to adopt her own two puppies over 20 years ago.

“She went to the shelter to bring home two puppies from a closing pound,” she said. “Then she showed up at her home with 30 puppies — her explanation, ‘they were going to be euthanized.’”

At that point, Adams had the responsibility of 30 puppies, so she sought the advice of Pet Haven, a Twin Cities-based rescue group, and as the story goes, the rest is history.

In the first few years, Homeward Bound found homes for around 50 dogs. But Adams didn’t stop, and kept pursuing her goal and dream of saving the lives of abandoned, lost, and homeless dogs.

Freidman said the majority of the dogs taken in by Homeward Bound are transports from high-kill shelters.

“It is very heart wrenching to know that the only way to save this dogs life, and give him a second chance you just have to get him off the truck,” she said. “The dogs are transported from all over the United States, and as long as they can make it to us — we can give them the chance they deserve.”

Homeward Bound takes pride in its no-kill program, a policy that has been made possible by a dedicated team of volunteer foster care providers, Freidman said.

The animals go from being disposable to being cherished, Freidman said.

“We want to match as many hearts with paws as we can,” she said. “These are little animals that can’t help themselves, they need someone to look after them. It is our job and responsibility to care for an animal forever.”

To get involved or donate to Homeward Bound Dog Rescue visit: HomewardBoundRescue.com.

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