Small dog inspires mighty rescue
Interview by Melanie Dziengo
In just two years, Ozzie to the Rescue Canada has been able to close down two puppy mills in South Carolina. For a small but mighty rescue, that is no easy feat. We spoke to Jennifer Cormier, the founder and owner of Ozzie to the Rescue Canada to find out more.
What inspired you to start your own rescue?
I had been volunteering with another rescue, but was unhappy with some of the stuff they were doing. So, I left them and started my own rescue.
How many dogs have you saved so far and where are they mainly from?
In the last three years we have saved almost 300 dogs. Most of the dogs are from South Carolina, while some are from Texas.
Where does the connection with South Carolina come from?
My partner in rescue lives in South Carolina. Her name is Doris Macomson, and I met her when I volunteered with another rescue. Doris was in their transport group that brought the dogs up to Canada.
What inspired you to name your rescue after Ozzie?
My partner in rescue had closed a puppy mill that had 87 dogs. So, she was heading to the vet’s with this 2 lbs Blue Chihuahua and Ozzy Osbourne’s Mama, I’m Coming Home came on the radio and she named him Ozzie. Then, named our rescue after the Chihuahua.
Where are most of the forever homes located?
Most of the dogs are located in the Niagara area.
Photo courtesy of Ozzie to the Rescue Canada
What do you look for in a potential adopter?
We look for excited and loving people. I think the hardest part of rescue is deciding who can adopt our dogs. We always start our application process with a phone interview with potential adopter. We ask them a list of questions, but as they are answering our questions we really listen to how they answer. Gut instinct is also used. After many many years of rescue you learn to listen closely to how people respond to your questions. We also believe the vet reference is one of the best reference as vets won’t lie, friends will.
What's your most heartwarming rescue story so far?
Two years ago, we closed down a puppy mill in South Carolina. They had a total of 118 Scroodles. None of these dogs had ever seen grass or sat on a lap, never had human touch. They spent most of their time in crates in a shed. We had to work a lot with socializing the dogs. All dogs have been adopted and are living a great life.
What's the biggest challenge facing your rescue?
The biggest challenge for our rescue is finding the money to rescue more dogs.
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting your own rescue?
Our biggest challenge starting our rescue was deciding which area of the USA we would pull our dogs from. When I say we had to decide on areas to help dogs is because there are so many places that need help with rescue. Every day I get hundreds of emails and Facebook messages asking us to help.
What would you like to tell people about rescuing animals and the rescue world?
Rescue takes an army of volunteers that work together to save the dogs. Some days, rescue is great. But, some days, it’s hard. There are nights I go to bed crying because we can’t save them all.
How many people are part of your team and what do they do?
There are 10 of us in total, including our fosters. I run the rescue, pull the dogs from the shelters, make vet appointments, and schedule the transports. Patricia Blomme is my head applications processor. Patricia will drive anywhere to pick up or deliver our dogs. Patricia is my right hand. Our fosters work with helping our dogs decompress, help them feel safe, and give them love. We have a foster in Texas (Teresa Kopacki Strizich) who fosters all our dogs there, but also works with other rescues. We sure wouldn't know what we would do without her.
Photo courtesy of Ozzie to the Rescue Canada
Do you need volunteers? And, if so, what are you looking for in good volunteers?
We are always in need of volunteers. They should be reliable, honest, and friendly. They also must be willing to give our dogs time to decompress, adjust to their new surroundings, and understand the special needs they require.
What advice would you give someone thinking about adopting a rescue animal?
Rescue dogs need a lot of understanding, patience, and they will show you unconditional love for the rest of their lives.
Finally, please check out Ozzie’s online store. The products are all handmade by Jennifer Cormier, and all the proceeds go towards rescuing more dogs in need.