Maple Grove couple fosters 44 cats and dogs.
With hearts of gold and an endless love for cuddly creatures, Maple Grove residents Barb and Tim Swenson have dedicated their lives to caring for animals in need. Fostering 44 cats and dogs in the last 15 months through Redemption Road Rescue, a Minneapolis-based organization, the Swensons say this was their natural calling.
Founded as a way to provide safe homes for animals facing the risk of euthanasia, Redemption Road Rescue prides itself in being the next step to a better life (for both the animal and their future owners). “It’s the fact that many of these animals wouldn’t have had a chance if we didn’t foster them,” Barb says.
What started as a way to get involved with their community has since turned into a lifestyle. As empty nesters, the Swensons were in need of something to fill their free time. Beginning their journey nine years ago, Barb says they have volunteered in a variety of ways but have primarily focused on fostering and transporting of the animals, and, of course, adopting a few of their own along the way to which Barb refers to as “foster fails.”
“We had no intention of getting a dog, [but] they kind of put their paw print on your heart, and it’s over,” Barb says about one of their foster fails Daisy, a puppy who was sick with canine parvovirus, which they housed from transport and nursed back to health. “You connect with them on a whole different level, and you can’t imagine there being another home for them. You just know that they are yours.”
Though the Swensons go where the need is—from welcoming new animals into their home or meeting animal advocates to transport rescues from harmful environments and overflown shelters— Tim says the only restriction they have is how many dogs they have in their home at a time. Taking no more than two, he says this is because of the varying personalities of different breeds and the fact that they already have a cat and dog of their own.
Still, with open arms, the Swenson’s home is a space for animals in need until they find their forever homes. “We just want the animal to be happy and healthy and for the people [potential pet owners] to be happy and healthy,” she says.
As for the future of Redemption Road Rescue, director Carol Brekke hopes to continue providing secure homes for animals and urges others to get involved. “I would just encourage people to rescue animals and do what they can,” she says. “Animals are just so fulfilling; you’ll never be lonely with them, and you will always have a companion.”
To learn more about volunteering, visit redemptionroadrescue.rescuegroups.org.