Andrea Sullivan, Kitsap Animal Rescue & Education – Marketing Coordinator

We’ve been posting a lot lately about the Kitsap Great Give, encouraging our friends and followers to donate, not just to Kitsap Animal Rescue & Education (KARE), but to any local non-profit they support, and I wanted to share a little bit about why I am giving to the Kitsap Great Give, and specifically to KARE.

Chewie aka MielOur organization serves all of Kitsap County, and although we are based out of and primarily serve Kitsap County, our educational and training services can extend well into Western Washington. We have, over the past 10 years, rescued and re-homed over 350+ pets (typically 1 animal per household, as of November 2015).

Personally, I find it interesting that we rescue animals, find them homes, and provide education services and resources to help animals stay in the homes that they have, and yet our organization is without a physical location, a home to call our own. As an all-volunteer-run, non-profit organization, our success is determined by the dedication and support of our volunteers and foster families, and the support of our community.

KARE Training Sign TonkerOur future plans are to procure and develop a facility to host educational workshops/seminars. Currently, we rent facilities or partner with other local organizations to host our classes. Additionally, we would love to have our own, private “doggy playground”, where dogs can learn to socialize appropriately, outside of the typical classroom setting, and their humans can receive some informal behavioral/training consultations while their dogs play.

We fundraise to support our rescue/foster program, to pay rent/fees associated with teaching classes, and then whatever is left over goes towards this future facility.

We continue to grow, which is very exciting and wonderful, but often times there is high-demand without the resources to support it. I, like most of our volunteers and fosters, have a full-time job outside of KARE.

My day typically consists of: working at my full-time job as an in-house graphic designer for a large organization, coming home to spend some time with my family, and then I may spend another 2-4 hours each day to coordinate marketing efforts and provide graphic design services for KARE. My thoughts being, I don’t have much to give in terms of money, but I can give [this].

We do what we do because pets are our passion.

I do what I do because I believe KARE is an organization that deserves my time and support, and I hope you agree.

I hope you choose to give.

So #WhyKARE?

Duke 10 weeksA couple of years ago, I was looking to volunteer again, and for a dog, but not necessarily together at the same time. In 2013, I found both when I stumbled upon KARE looking for volunteers with my particular skill-set at a local fair. There, I became a KAREVolunteer, working on small projects here and there for them.

After my husband and I finally found our dream home, we felt we were ready to become “doggy parents”. We knew we wanted to rescue, but that’s all we really knew. Neither of us had owned a dog on our own before. We weren’t entirely sure of ourselves, or of the commitment we understood was required. So, KARE suggested we become KARE Fosters, and we welcomed Braveheart to our home.IMG_4608

We were supposed to have Braveheart for just a few days to a couple of weeks. Braveheart and two of his siblings were having a little trouble finding the right home at the time, and they were getting too old to be living with each other in one household. So we took one of the pups, Braveheart, home until someone came to adopt him.

It sort of happened that way.

Duke FetchWe ended up adopting him.

We became Foster Failures, and he became Duke Sullivan.

Every question or concern I had over how we were raising Duke, I went to KARE with: How big is he going to get? What food or toys do you recommend? How do we go about house-training him? Which vet do you recommend? He is REALLY active, how do you recommend we keep him busy? He lost a tooth! Is that supposed to happen? and they answered each and every one of them (even the silly ones), until we became more confident with him.DUKE_01

I’ll admit, with having very little dog ownership experience, I was a bit unsure about their methods, but after watching KARE work with dogs the last couple of years, I have seen how well even the most “rowdy” of dogs respond to these techniques, without the need to inflict pain or force upon them. When it came time for puppy classes, we chose KARE because they have small classes and utilize
positive reinforcement training techniques, and because they’ve supported us from the start.

DUKE_02We are so lucky to have a dog like Duke. He is incredibly intelligent, loving, friendly, and handsome to boot! He loves the company of other dogs, and does well with children, which, for us, means our family can grow. From his previous Foster family, he came to us already knowing “sit”, and we’ve been able to build from that. He has a wide array in his Command vocabulary – he goes to his “bed” when he wants a “treat”; he’ll happily go to his “crate” or”pen” when we are away or it’s time for bed; he will “touch”/”paw” at the door when he wants to come in or out; he quickly learned “breakfast”/”lunch”/”dinner”; he’ll “find his ball/toy” when he wants to play, you can even have him “bring it” right to you if you ask; and he will “wait” in his bed (sometimes for 5 minutes or longer while we get his food ready) until we say “OK Go!”  – all done with the training tools/support provided by KARE! We are incredibly proud and impressed with him.

Check out his training video below and you’ll see why we love Duke, and why we love KARE:

I support KARE because they support us, and the other families with pets in our community. #WhyKARE #KitsapGreatGive