If you ever daydreamed about how much better things would be if you ran them, you’re a lot like Terri Larson. “I’d worked with many animal rescue organizations,” she says, “and I’d think, wouldn’t it be great if there was a rescue that did this, or that?”
So she started one—Muddy Paws Second Chance Animal Rescue, which serves both Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska.
Offering Positive Reinforcement Training, Veterinary Assistance
Terri’s “rule the world” wish list wasn’t too crazy. For one thing, she wanted a rescue that would train dogs that might otherwise be surrendered due to behavioral issues.
“I get so many calls about dogs pulling too hard on the leash, or a toddler starts walking and the family dog gets nervous,” Terri says. “We do positive reinforcement training in the home, so the family doesn’t have to surrender the pet.”
Muddy Paws success rate speaks for itself: They worked with 60 dogs last year, and 80 percent of them were able to stay in their homes.
Another item on Terri’s wish list: helping pet owners who can’t afford surgery for their animals. “Some rescue organizations will get your pet the help it needs, but they ask that you surrender your pet,” Terri explains. Muddy Paws offers that veterinary assistance, and the family and pet stay together.
Funding Is Vital
Muddy Paws receives much-needed donations to assist with operational costs, and a recent PetSmart Charities grant will help pets get the medical care they need.
“We take a lot of animals other rescues won’t, because of medical issues,” says Terri. “That grant money allowed us to fully vet over 40 dogs. That’s huge.”
Muddy Paws was also able to drive a truck full of food and pet supplies to neighborhoods in Texas following Hurricane Harvey. “PetSmart posted about it online, made collections, and helped us fill a 28-foot truck with what we needed,” Terri says. “I can’t believe the support we get from PetSmart.”
Today, Terri’s daydream is a foster-based shelter operation that includes 250 volunteers, 80 people making rescue runs, about 100 dogs in loving foster homes, and even one re-homed duck to their credit.
“I just had the idea,” says Terri. “It’s not me. It’s the wonderful volunteers and the amazing support we get. Almost every day I see something happen that makes me say, ‘Someone’s watching over us.’ It truly is a miracle.”