Gone to the dogs, German Shepherd dogs to be exact. Canine Pet Rescue (CPR) is a 501c3 non-profit animal rescue focused on saving German Shepherds from high kill shelters in the South. This 100 percent volunteer organization saves more than 125 dogs each year by finding them a perfect fur-ever home.
It takes a pack of volunteers to run CPR successfully, as well as a strong visionary leader of the pack. Overseeing a successful nonprofit takes both vision and guidance, and Carla Brown, the founder of CPR has both. After years of doing rescue for other groups, she founded CPR in 2009 and decided to focus on German Shepherds. Of course, other large and sometimes small breeds also find their way into the kennel and to their fur-ever homes.
Understanding how to work with both humans and dogs is what leads CPR to success. As a Gwinnett State Court Judge, Carla has a wide range of skill sets including decisive action and excellent communication skills. These skills, along with her amazing ability to lead and build a team contribute to the success of CPR.
The volunteer team at CPR handles everything for the dogs. CPR does not have any paid staff, so coordinating activities falls to a special group of highly devoted (much like the GSDs they love) individuals. There are literally too many volunteers to name all of them, but a core group focuses on the day to day tasks needed for the organization to run smoothly.
First, there is the kennel. A dedicated volunteer coordinates the schedule for the kennel making sure all a.m., p.m. and lights out shifts are covered (that’s 21 shifts a week), and that volunteers are trained on the kennel routine, as well as the specific needs of each dog in the kennel. A crew of about 20 volunteers manages shifts and cares for the dogs including feeding the dogs, medicating the dogs, and cleaning the kennel.
All of the dogs need medical care. Carla coordinates all the veterinary appointments and keeps up with medical histories and needs for each dog. However, a herd of dedicated volunteers helps with transportation. Sometimes they can fit the dog or dogs in their vehicle, and other times they borrow a larger vehicle from Carla to transport them. Most of the dogs really love the chance to get out and take a car ride.
Foster families are a key to CPRs happy and well-adjusted GSDs. Due to their intelligent and sensitive nature, most GSDs adjust better in a home with a family than they do at the kennel. CPR has a fantastic group of 10 or more families who serve as foster homes for dogs. This dedicated group feeds, medicates and teaches obedience skills, but most of all they provide much needed love to all the dogs. Many families always foster a dog . . . or two. And this is typically in addition to the dogs who are already furever family members. This dedicated crew lets CPR dogs into their homes and hearts, and spends necessary time getting to know each dog’s personality so that it can be matched with its perfect owner and adopted.
Dogs need transportation from shelters to CPR. Sometimes these dogs are within the 26-county metro Atlanta area, and other times they are states away. Dogs have even come to CPR from oversees! Leading the charge for transport is yet another group of dedicated volunteers who have picked up and dropped off numerous dogs for CPR over the years.
Some tasks can be done from anywhere. Managing the “office” includes managing and keeping up with all the adoption forms. Much of this work is done behind the scenes. There is a lot of “heavy lifting” involved to coordinate all of the adoption forms. One of the groups most faithful volunteers does not even live in Georgia, and she has been helping with all of this paperwork forever.
Adoptions require manpower too, from coordinating in-home visits, to letting the dogs meet their potential adopters. Making the perfect fit for each dog takes a lot of time.
Other volunteers give of their talents to CPR in other ways. Recently during the COVID-19 outbreak, a dedicated volunteer put her sewing skills to task making masks to sell. Each purchaser donated to CPR to receive a mask.
The owners of Trendz Shirt company donate frequently to CPR. They are adopters, and also donate their time and dog behavioral training skills. Trendz Shirt Company has created an online shopping site for CPR supporters to buy shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and other logoed apparel. A percentage of each sale goes to CPR. This has helped to close a little bit of the gap from events that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All CPR volunteers have one thing in common, they love German Shepherd Dogs. Known for its courage, loyalty and guarding instincts, the GSD has created a lasting bond with this loyal group of volunteers. Most volunteers have adopted a dog, or two, or three from CPR as well!
Written by Carol Morgan, loyal GSD lover and manager of the CPR Facebook page and other marketing initiatives.