The clinical definition of rescue is to “save from a dangerous or distressing situation” but to those who rescue dogs, it is much more. It is a passion for animals that manifests in offering shelter and food, comforting a scared dog and showing that dog what love is, what it is to be a pet and not to be afraid of what their new life will bring. This is what Moonsong Malamute Rescue, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and its volunteers do. Moonsong has been helping rescue the Malamute breed for over 10 years with a small volunteer board and many loving foster homes and transport volunteers. Their mission is to identify and rescue Alaskan Malamutes that have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, or surrendered by their owners to Moonsong or a shelter, or brought to shelters as strays. Moonsong provides foster care and help with basic socialization and training to improve adoptability until the dogs find their forever homes. Moonsong funds these activities – veterinary costs, boarding fees, transportation costs – through donations.
In the past, Moonsong was involved in two large rescues in Montana and Colorado. In the Montana case, out of 200 dogs rescued, Moonsong took in 26, eventually placing them all in homes. The Colorado rescue involved 14 dogs, of which Moonsong took in eight. In October 2017, Moonsong stepped up to help with a situation in Wyoming, taking in all eight dogs, rescuing them from deplorable conditions. Some have medical problems such as seizures and broken bones. So far six have found forever homes. Moonsong volunteers go where they are needed, selfless and caring, doing what is required for the dogs. This Boise-based group covers a wide area of four states – Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nevada – plus now venturing into several other states when rescue there isn’t locally available. Moonsong does all this with a board of only six to seven volunteer members.
Currently Moonsong has taken on the extra challenge of caring for four two-month-old puppies from a California situation where over 90 dogs were confiscated. These puppies came to Moonsong on January 20th very ill with parvo. One puppy died in the lap of a volunteer transporting them, known only as Purple Collar because Moonsong never even had the chance to name him. Two of the puppies were sent to a veterinary ICU, fighting for their lives, but sadly one – Hank – didn’t survive, succumbing to parvo on January 25th. The fourth pup with pneumonia is being watched closely in a foster home. All of this care is expensive – estimated at $6000 – but to Moonsong, every life is precious and every dog deserves a chance to grow up and live in a loving home. Moonsong Malamute Rescue will make sure that happens for every dog they rescue.
Moonsong operates solely on funds raised through donations and adoption fees. Those reasonable adoption fees rarely cover the complete vetting that each dog receives when they arrive at Moonsong, let alone anything out of the ordinary. In addition to the very ill parvo puppies, Moonsong has also recently taken in a young male, Chilly, who could not walk properly because of a defect in his back legs. Moonsong paid for Chilly to have surgery to correct the deformed knee caps, and he will be undergoing extensive physical therapy so that he will be able to run and play like any other dog. The anticipated cost of surgery and physical therapy is $5,250. Another dog, Dante, recently came to Moonsong with medical issues in his back legs that will also require surgery costing $3,000, plus physical therapy expenses. Moonsong does not discriminate just because a dog has medical issues or because they are old. They believe, no matter what, each dog deserves a good life with a loving family. Yet each dog they rescue needing surgery or extensive veterinary care stresses Moonsong’s financial resources, and recently those expenses have increased to a nearly-overwhelming amount.
Without breed rescues like Moonsong – and there are rescues for just about every breed out there – our local animal shelters would be inundated. If dogs like Chilly and Dante ended up in municipal shelters it’s possible they would be euthanized because of the expense of their medical care, or their “unadoptabilty” because of their disabilities. Moonsong and other dog rescue organizations take a significant space-and-financial burden off of municipal shelters, often working closely with those shelters to pull dogs and place them in foster and forever homes. These volunteer-driven organizations like Moonsong face remarkable expenses when taking in dogs that are sick – like the parvo puppies – or need surgery to repair injuries or correct congenital deformities, as with Chilly and Dante.
You can help Moonsong deal with their recent tsunami of rescue-related medical expenses by making a tax-deductible donation directly to Moonsong. Visit their website or their Facebook page to learn more and make a donation.[Photos courtesy of Moonsong Malamute Rescue. Lead photo is of some of the Wyoming dogs rescued last October. Moonsong volunteers Gina Day-Price and Lorran Carlston contributed to this article.]