BOARDMAN — Every Dog Matters Rescue is 5 years old and thriving in its shelter that opened three years ago.
The nonprofit rescue group started as a foster-only organization for its first two years.
“We ended up paying to house six dogs in boarding facilities at a price of $25 per day, per dog. At that point, we realized having a facility of our own was cheaper,” said spokesperson Amanda Hamilton.
The organization obtained part of a building at 6329 Market St. and has since been working hard to place dogs in forever homes while continuing a foster program. Hamilton said the pandemic actually helped the rescue with adoptions, as more individuals and families opted to add a four-legged friend to their family.
“COVID was a blessing for our shelter,” Hamilton said. “We were able to adopt some dogs we had for close to a year, and they stuck.”
She said the people who adopted from Every Dog Matters Rescue during the pandemic were very happy with their new friend, and none wanted to give them back.
The Boardman shelter also was very active during the pandemic. It received donations to buy dog and cat food and purchased some through monetary donations. That food was given to pet owners who were struggling to feed their pets.
“Blackwood from Lisbon donated four pallets of food to pass out, and people were dropping food donations,” Hamilton said. “We didn’t ask names or for information, we just gave each person a bag of food, no questions asked.”
She said when the word went out, cars lined up from Southern Boulevard to Market Street.
While the shelter made it through the pandemic and kept strong, it now faces a different challenge.
“Under the present economy, no one is adopting dogs,” Hamilton said. “Every shelter is full, and there are more coming in every day.”
She said many realize the cost involved with a dog can be high. For those who want a dog and feel they can’t afford it, Every Dog Matters has a program that is a perfect fit.
“Our foster program is a great way to own a dog,” Hamilton said. “We pay for all the dog’s medical expenses, and we provide the food. All a person has to do is provide a loving home and companionship.”
She said a person can literally have a dog with no additional expenses. For those who want to adopt a dog, the shelter has some good deals as well.
One dog that Every Dog Matters has up for adoption is a senior dog pulled from the Mahoning County dog pound, which the shelter works with on a regular basis. The dog’s name is Ronan, and when he came to the shelter two years ago, he was dealing with heartworm and a full body yeast infection. Those problems were eventually resolved through treatment. One further problem for Ronan was the fact he had to undergo a $7,000 operation to remove an abcess around his prostate.
Just when things started looking up for Ronan, the playful fellow decided to chew and eat an entire toy. That gave him another trip to an Akron vet center for a $6,000 operation to remove the toy.
“All in all, we have $15,000 invested into Ronan,” Hamilton said. “Since he is a senior dog, his adoption fee is only $150. That is a small amount for such an expensive dog.”
To stay financially sound, Every Dog Matters Rescue depends on donations and on numerous fundraisers.
“We do bake sales, dances, garage sales and collect shoes as ways to bring in funds,” said spokesperson Renee Hibbard. “We’ve sold popcorn, and we will soon be starting yoga classes.”
She said a recent adoption was by a local yoga instructor. After adopting the dog, the person felt the need to give back to help the other dogs waiting on a home. That person decided to hold yoga classes at 10 am on the second Tuesday of each month at Salon Mystic on Raccoon Road in Austintown. The fee for the classes is $12 per month with all the proceeds going to Every Dog Matters Rescue.
The organization will also set up at the Austintown Farmers Market on June 29 at Austintown Township Park on Kirk Road.
One other scheduled event this year will be Aug. 25 when Birdfish Brewery, 140 East Park Ave. in Columbiana, will host “Dog Daze” as a benefit fundraiser. The event will feature live music and will have raffles, 50-50 and the sale of dog bandanas.
“We will split the proceeds from the bandanas with Columbiana dog park,” Hibbard said.
While funds are needed for the shelter operation and services, Hamilton said there is also a huge need for volunteers, even if for just one two-hour shift per week. She said the shelter times are broken down into three two-hour sessions per day to feed, walk and play with the dogs.
People are also needed to help with the fundraisers and various events. Anyone interested in volunteering or in additional information can visit www.everydogmattersrescue.com
“We won’t turn any offer of help away,” Hamilton said.
For the future, Hamilton and Hibbard agree, the problem of overpopulation is not going away. Hamilton said she still gets an average of three calls per week from people wanting to give up their dogs.
A 2- year-old rescue named Jameson was dumped off at the shelter and left in a wire cage outside all night. Hamilton said people were calling the Boardman police saying the shelter was housing animals outside, but Hamilton said none of the dogs shelter are ever left outside.
She said the cage had a note attached that said the dog’s name is Jameson, and he is healthy. No other information was provided. The dog was taken in and found to be well cared for and in good health.
Today Jameson is up for adoption and to prevent that kind of drop off from happening again, the shelter installed a camera system.