A scruffy puppy named Freddie, with floppy ears and wistful eyes, once lived in an Arkansas shelter. His fur, the color of Caribbean beach sand, was badly matted and balding in spots around his snout and belly. Freddie waited to be claimed. But he had no owner. Freddie was just another stray, a down and out mutt without a home.
But that is not the end of Freddie’s story. Good Karma Animal Rescue of Minnesota, a non-profit based in Maple Grove, rescued Freddie along with over 100 other dogs since its inception in March, 2013. Lisa Booth of Maple Grove founded Good Karma. She saw a need for more pet rescue and foster opportunities with a focus on quality of care. The result is an ongoing development of a tight-knit community of volunteers and more than 30 dog fosters located throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Good Karma Animal Rescue has stringent standards about where it obtains dogs and for approving foster families. Once foster applications are approved, Good Karma provides all preventative medicines, dog food, toys, treats, leash, kennel, collar, blanket and bowls. Booth says, “There should be no expense to families willing to foster dogs. We are in the rescue business. Adoption is the ultimate goal. But our focus is on establishing more foster homes so we can rescue more dogs.”
Many dogs rescued by Good Karma are discovered online. That’s how Booth found Freddie. She has developed relationships with shelters across the country and says, “We rescue many dogs from Arkansas due to overcrowding there. But volunteers from all over relentlessly showcase shelter dogs online in hopes of saving them.” When Booth saw Freddie on Facebook, she felt sure she could find a home for him.
Freddie was transferred to an Arkansas foster family for the next three weeks. He visited a veterinarian for vaccinations and treatment of his mange. A groomer helped spiff him up then another volunteer transported Freddie to Minnesota. “Many people pull together to save dogs,” Booth says. “Sometimes up to 10 volunteers are involved in the rescue and adoption of a single dog.”
Booth met Freddie at a central facility in Minnesota to personally evaluate his health and introduce him to his Good Karma foster family, the Tighes. Allison Tighe has been fostering dogs for over a year. She has a 9-year-old Border collie, Australian Shepherd mix named Rodeo. So Tighe typically doesn’t foster puppies because they can be a nuisance to Rodeo. But she couldn’t resist something about Freddie’s sweet, scruffy face.
Rodeo apparently couldn’t resist either. Tighe had difficulty getting Freddie to climb or descend stairs. She tried luring him with treats. But he was hesitant until Rodeo took things into his own paws. Rodeo stood and trotted up the stairs. Freddie scrambled up behind. From then on, whenever Freddie stood nervously atop the stairway, Tighe called Rodeo who would come and show Freddie what to do. “Rodeo and Freddie had a sweet relationship,” says Tighe.
Good Karma keeps rescued dogs in foster care for at least seven days to determine health and temperament. Freddie would last in foster care only two weeks before receiving multiple adoption applications. Sandra Swami was among the applicants. She knew she’d found her dog once meeting Freddie during an arranged visit. “We got the call two days later,” says Swami. “He would be ours and he is the sweetest dog. Our entire family is in love with him. He loves to play catch and swim in the pond at the dog park.” Swami has been teaching Freddie to run with her. He happily holds the leash in his mouth as if he is running Swami.
It was difficult for Tighe to part with Freddie. But she realized something special by helping save him. “Never again will Freddie be without a home,” says Tighe. “He has his adoptive family and his Good Karma family. We are always here for our rescue dogs.”
For information about becoming a dog foster or adopting a pet, visit goodkarmamn.org.