Lee’s Summit animal lovers are providing sort of a hostel for at-risk dogs.
Renee Forbes is one of nearly 200 “fosters” who are part of Doghousing Inc., a non-profit Kansas City area organization that was founded by Lori Beam four years ago.
About twice a month, the Forbes family takes in a dog or puppies that are traveling through Kansas City on their way to stay with rescue groups in other states where the animal will wait on a permanent home.
She said it is an amazing feeling to pick up a stressed, scared dog that has been in a pet crate all day, taking the animal home to give it a bath, food and water and some love.
“You see and hear them relax, roll over for belly rubs or snuggling up in a ball in your lap and falling asleep,” she said. “My whole family is involved and loves it.”
Then the animal is delivered back to the other rescue group to continue its journey.
The group is holding the fundraiser Rover Rally noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5789, 329 S.E. Douglas St.
The group will serve hot dogs and chips for a $5 donation, with appearances by Missouri Search and Rescue K-9 and Lee’s Summit Police Department K-9 unit. The money will be used to provide food and other supplies for volunteer fosters.
Forbes said the members of Doghousing Inc. works with different rescue groups that reach out to them for help. Those groups are picking up animals from over-crowded shelters where animals are scheduled to be killed, or sometimes animals rescued from breeders who are mistreating them.
Forbes said the organizers take care to match the dogs with families so the overnight stay is not a hassle. They don’t ask people who have pets of their own to take a dog that doesn’t socialize well with pets.
Forbes said she’s always been a huge animal lover, having dogs, cats, guinea pigs and a raccoon growing up. Her husband, Mark Forbes, is also an animal lover. The couple started by making donations and taking treats to the local animal shelter. A friend put her in touch with Doghousing Inc.
She said they’ve taken in about 45 dogs over two years.
Long-term adoptions aren’t an option for Forbes because the family already has three dogs.
“If we try to keep all of them, we can’t help others,” Forbes said. “I don’t live on a farm, so they have to come in and go out.”
Forbes said some volunteers who can’t keep any pets full time find they can still enjoy an animal for a visit.
The group keeps in touch through its Facebook page that announces transport times and locations and nights of the week a dog needs fostering. Volunteers can take in dogs as their schedules allow.
In 2016, Doghousing Inc. gave 294 dogs an overnight home. A few have a longer stay if they’re recovering from an illness.
Patsy Cruse, of Greenwood, also volunteers for Doghousing Inc. She said she and her two daughters, Mady, 16, and Megan, 13, love having the guests.
Volunteers can take on as much as they like, Cruse said. She’s been involved about 18 months, and has taken care of about a dozen dogs, mostly during the summer. During their busy soccer season the family doesn’t take in animals. The dogs arrive different days of the week, stay the night, and leave.
“You don’t want the puppies to be alone and frightened in strange kennel,” Cruse said. “We get to play with them and cuddle them for a night on their way to their forever home. They take a little piece of your heart and I love it and my kids love it.”