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Midwest Animal Rescue & Services

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: Our mission: Dedicated to providing unsurpassed standards for quality care, client education and training of companion animals, to promote responsible pet ownership while uniting fellow rescuers in the pursuit of ending animal homelessness.

Results: We have saved and adopted out over 10,000 companion animals since our inception.

Target demographics: at risk companion animals

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2500 dogs & cats

Geographic areas served: the midwest and beyond

Programs: rescue, rehabilitation, veterinary care, training & other assistance

Community Stories

44 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I can't say enough to praise this rescue. Always responsive, always doing the right thing for the animals. Going above & beyond to help the community with vaccination clinics & very affordable training classes. Offering affordable veterinary care through the pet clinic further proving MARS is leader in the rescue community.
Remy, my foster puppy, came in with a badly broken leg. MARS didn't hesitate for one second giving Remy the medical care & surgery that he needed, FAST! All roads really do lead home for MARS animals
I'm grateful beyond measure for everything these folks do.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I foster with MARS and have adopted dogs from them. It's an organization of hardworking people with a true love and compassion for animals. My foster reps are extremely responsive and work diligently to get fosters healthy and into good homes. The affiliated vet services has an amazing vet and caring staff.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer for MARS, adopted a dog from MARS, and I foster dogs for MARS.

I'm proud to be involved with them, because these folks will always do what's best for the animals. That's the same reason you'll see angry reviews in some places. These are cases where the rescue chose what was best for the animal, and not what the person wanted.

They're a great organization, that does the best they can with the resources they have. It gets messy at times, but that's what happens when you try to do everything.

Review from Guidestar

Samantha B.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love being a volunteer with MARS and helping all of these wonderful animals.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have adopted 2 rescues from MARS. One German Shepherd mix puppy and one black lab mix adult dog. The process was simple and went very smoothly. I appreciate the fact that they checked my vet records and reference from other dogs I had in the past. They also ran a background check and visited my home to be sure the pup was placed in a safe loving environment. Not all rescues care as much to do so. The process took about a week which I found very acceptable. MARS has been nothing but professional and courteous when helping me pick out the perfect dog.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

I would not donate one cent.to these criminals. It's only a matter of time until they are shut down and possibly thrown in Federal prison for money laundering or fraud This is not a charity. More like a cash cow. DO YOUR RESEARCH. The director and CEO are millionaires disguising themselves as charity. They cook the books. They mistreat the dogs. It's hideous

Comments ( 1 )

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midwestanimalrescue 11/01/2019

This review was written by a former foster home who kept his foster dog from the rescue while avoiding all forms of contact regarding the completion of a legal adoption/transfer of ownership. This foster home was arrested several years later and the dog was impounded and the rescue received a call from the impound facility as the dog's microchip was listed under MARS due to no legal transfer of ownership. A lawsuit attempt by the former foster was dismissed by the judge. In regards to the allegations of any improper financial practices, Midwest Animal Rescue & Services is audited yearly by an independent CPA auditor which means that this non-profit is closely monitored and practices open transparency and proper accounting practices leaving no possibility of money laundering or fraud or personal gain. Guidestar.org shows this organization's financial transparency including financial statements, 990's and our audit report.

Review from Guidestar

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I agree with the last person that said if he could give 0 stars he would. I only gave one because 0 was not an option as well. This organization NEEDS to be closely monitored and audited for many reasons.
First, as stated in the last review, the executive director claims a net salary of $12,000. That says that funds that are donated to the organization do not go to the care of the animals they claim to help but to the write-offs that the director uses to get to a net salary down to $12,000.
Secondly, there is severe nepotism within this organization. The executive director's daughter is in a high-level position and the director's mother is on the board. The other high-level positions are filled with the best friends (and their children) of the executive director. She has surrounded herself with family and "yes" women who will not disagree with her.
Thirdly and most importantly is that the executive director uses the rescues attorney (who is also a very close friend) for her own personal legal battles. This means that donations made to this organization are not only used to make sure the director has enough deductions to basically claim poverty but to also pay for her own personal legal fees. She and her lawyer concede to NOTHING and fight to the nth degree so the legal fees have to be outrageous and there's no way those legal fees could be paid on a $12000 salary. This should be investigated. I have NO DOUBT that the rescue is paying for these legal fees.
This is an animal rescue second and first and foremost a disguise for the director and company to misappropriate funds to their gain.

Comments ( 1 )

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midwestanimalrescue 09/26/2019

Midwest Animal Rescue & Services is audited yearly by an independent CPA auditor so this non-profit is closely monitored and any inappropriate use of organizational funds would be reported to the MN Attorney General, including the use of organizational funds for any personal purposes. The Executive Director does not earn the salary you quote of $12,000. The Executive Director's salary, and spending, are reviewed yearly by both the auditor and board of directors with the BOD approving the ED's salary yearly. "Write off's" are not permitted in non-profit accounting. The board of directors contains 7 members, 2 are accountants who closely review company books and have 24/7 access to the accounting files for constant oversight. The Executive Director is reviewed yearly by the board of directors for appropriate job performance which would include inappropriate staff hires or any staff not adequately performing their job duties. No attorney is retained or employed.

3

Client Served

Rating: 1

I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND A CLOSER LOOK PRIOR TO DONATING

I Would give them ZERO STARS if it were an option. MARS is a horribly unorganized and unprofessional organization. Non profit??? I highly doubt that. How can the DIRECTOR work 40+ hours every week and claim a salary of only $12K A YEAR FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS?? Something sketchy is going on there to say the least. They claim anyone questioning them about ther unethical practices to be harassment. I will not get into the details but they often adopt and readopt the same dogs several times in effort to charge the $400 adoption fees each time. The adoption fees cover neutering etc which is done by their clinic and is usually performed prior to adoption therefor only can be done ONCE unless these are dogs need to be neutered twice or more? Also, I find it interesting how the vet clinic is Directed by the CEO's daughter. A conflict of interest in my opinion. The Attorney who represents them will only threaten and bully anyone who has any question or problem with MARS. I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND A CLOSER LOOK PRIOR TO DONATING

Comments ( 1 )

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midwestanimalrescue 09/26/2019

This review was written by a former foster home who kept his foster dog from the rescue while avoiding all forms of contact regarding the completion of a legal adoption/transfer of ownership. This foster home was arrested several years later and the dog was impounded thus the rescue receiving a call from the impound facility as the dog's microchip was listed under MARS due to no legal transfer of ownership. A lawsuit attempt by the former foster was dismissed by the judge. In regards to the allegations of improper financial practices, Midwest Animal Rescue & Services is audited yearly by an independent CPA auditor so this non-profit is closely monitored. Guidestar.org shows this organization's financial transparency. Other purported facts this former foster states in his review are either incorrect or blatantly false.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 1

We were set to foster to adopt a 7 month male Great Pyrenees/ Aussie mix. Upon pick up we received a female border collie mix. She was and is very ill, she was full of tape worms and flees and grossly underweight. We were told to get over the counter Meds for her from their in house vet as they were closing up for the night and couldn't see us for a week. We have spent several hundred dollars trying to make this dog well. They are not returning phone calls or emails. This rescue is horrific. Will be filing a complaint with aspca, humane society and BBB.

2

Donor

Rating: 1

This charity has three reviews on BBB, all are one star/negative. The leadership is short-sighted and exploits donors by selling off their personal information. There are other, more transparent organizations, you can work with to save an animal or donate to their cause. I regret making a donation to MARS.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

midwestanimalrescue 09/26/2019

Midwest Animal Rescue & Services has a strict policy of never sharing or selling any donor or client data and is held in strict privacy. This organization strives for the highest level of transparency, for which the non-profit has received Guidestar.org's highest seal of transparency, an honor held by only .5% of non-profits. If a timely request for the return of your donation had been made, it would have been quickly honored.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My son and I have volunteered with MARS for several years. The people are extraordinarily knowledgeable and dedicated to the cause of animal rescue. Along with placing around 1600 animals a year (many coming from abusive situations), the organization works with younger people in raising their awareness of the importance of community service. Their approach to adoptions is centered around creating long-term situations that fit both the pet and the family. I have volunteered with a number of charities over the years and none have done so much with such limited resources. This is an organization worth supporting.

Review from Guidestar

4

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I fostered many dogs with this organization, despite the vet who spayed them saying both of the dogs i fostered needing denials and tooth extractions due to infection and dead teeth, Mars said all they needed was a good teeth brushing

14

Volunteer

Rating: 1

Does no one else notice all their glowing reviews were posted Nov 11 of 2013? all on the same day? come 'on people, figure it out! those are all shill reviews, one poster pretending to be many. Not a good group.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been fostering for MARS for just under 3 years now. I will never forget the first foster we had--Pookie--she came to us on a transport from Indiana. She was a 9 month old Pomeranian mix. We had her for two weeks and adopted her--they call it "foster fail"--but it is a good thing to fail when they get you to adopt them. Now we paid for Pookie on Sunday. On Monday, I came home and there were cotton balls all over my living room. It looked like it had snowed. Pookie had broken out of her kennel, got a hold of a bag of cotton balls and tossed them all over... this on the day AFTER we paid for her. well, that was 3 years ago and we still have her and still love her--we just do not leave anything out that she can destroy. She is sweet. Now, since then, I cannot tell you how many times we have been asked to take other fosters and sometimes there are special needs dogs that need a little TLC. I have one now that is a skeleton with fur--she is a Pomeranian that was malnourished and also has diabetes. without MARS--where would this cute little girl go? She would have gotten put down for sure. but she has the sweetest personality. Once we get her to put some weight on and get her diabetes under control, she will get adopted by a special person that will love her. MARS makes sure that the right people get the right dog. This place is SPECIAL!! both for dogs and for the people that foster and also adopt. I will continue to foster for this organization because they truly care and do their best for all involved.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a great experience with MARS. We contacted them when we were searching for a dog. We told them the breed we were looking at, as well as a couple dogs on their website that we liked. After they performed a home visit, they let us know they had a dog that we might be interested in. We went to their office, and that's when we met Deuce! We instantly knew that he was a perfect fit for us, and shortly after we took him home! He has been a great dog and we couldn't be happier. We highly recommend MARS, their awesome staff,and volunteers!

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

In February 2012 my family adopted out lab mix, named Mack, from MARS. In July of 2011 we had to have our black lab, Dexter, put down because of many health issues related to his old age. In February we finally felt like we were ready to open our hearts to a new dog. After doing some research we found MARS, and we decided to adopt through them. They are located right in our neighborhood, and we love supporting local establishments. After our adoption application went through, we were invited to attend an open house with dogs that MARS felt might be suited to what we were looking for. We said that we were just going to look that day, but when I walked into the room where all of the dogs were being held I locked eyes with Mack and knew that I wasn't leaving without him. Mack was under weight, had many scars on his body, and had open sores on his back from constant chewing. He was found as a stray in a suburb of Atlanta, and MARS went and rescued him. The day that we found him he seemed very relaxed, and he didn't mind that there were other dogs in the room with him. That afternoon we brought him home. Just two months before adopting Mack, I had lost my dream job and was extremely depressed. Since I wasn't working, I was the one who spent the most time with Mack in his first few months of his new life. Mack was very confused when we brought him home, and it became clear very quickly that he didn't trust humans (we suspect that he was abused). I worked with Mack daily for months, and he has turned into the most social, loving dog that I have ever seen. He loves his human family as well as his furry kitty sister. He loves meeting new people and dogs, and, more than anything, wants to just sit in your lap getting hugs. Mack is truly a wonderful dog who, I feel, saved me as much as I saved him. We are so grateful to MARS for saving our boys life, and we truly appreciate the work that they do! Adopting a rescue dog can come with many challenges, but as long as you're willing to put the time in to nurturing your rescue it's all going to be worth it in the end.

Review from Guidestar

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Earlier this year I needed to euthanize my 13 year old chocolate lab, leaving myself and my 2 year old lab alone. I believe both of us were missing another dog around the house to love and play with so I decided that I wanted to help out fostering rescue dogs. I had all intentions of just fostering and wanted to foster senior Labradors! As I looked at the lists of dogs that needed a foster I came upon a very pretty 1 year old Rottweiler/Shepherd mix named Kassidy; could not get any further from a senior lab, which I decided to foster. Kassidy came to me on a very hot Sunday afternoon in August after a very long transport to Minnesota. When Kassidy arrived at MARS she needed to be seen by GVS as it seemed there was something going on with her fresh spay wound. During the first week she was at my house we had to make a couple trips back to GVS to have her wound drained and then finally surgery to take care of the issue. Throughout all of this she was the most cooperative sweet girl; I just fell in love but kept telling myself “you are not going to be a foster failure”. Well about a month later she was adopted and I was heartbroken, until 3 days later I received a call asking if I could take her back as a foster. Needless to say as of October she is now a permanent part of my family and I’m officially a foster failure! I would like to give kudos to MARS staff for making sure that dogs like Kassidy receive the medical care they need and finding homes for dogs and cats in need.

1 elizabethlamae

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Almost two years ago I had a dog that passed away and it left me devastated. I had created this super dog friendly environment and I was not certain how to fill the space left by her loss. I ended up joining the MARS team as a foster, volunteering with event and helping welcome new animals into the rescue.

Through MARS I have learned many things and helped many animals. I also ended up adopting my new pup who loves having new fosters in the house. I am currently on foster #19 and will continue to work with MARS so long as they will have me.

My experiences have given me so much and I owe that to the team at Midwest Animal Rescue & Services. Thanks for an incredibly fulfilling opportunity :)

Review from Guidestar

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of adopting a dog from MARS. He was special needs, and although the process was cumbersome when it was explained it made sense and I am so thankful to have advocates like this available for these wonderful animals. MARS Volunteers and staff were so very supportive. I cannot thank them enough for allowing this little guy to change my life.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with this organization for over 3 years, and have also fostered dogs. One of the fosters was a perfect fit for my home and we ended up adopting her. We have continued to foster animals that are waiting to be matched with that perfect home.

I think this organization is doing a great service for the community by finding homes for dogs and cats from the local and out of state areas.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I found online a dog that I was very interested in adopting I called the adoption center # and the person gave me as much information as they could on that particular dog (and also what the adoption fee includes). They also told me to fill out the application that is right at the bottom of the dogs page if I was interested and someone would get back to me after they review my application. MARS I know then contacted my vet and my references and also had a volunteer come out to my house to do a Home Visit and the volunteer answered any questions that I had. Once that process was done (this is all done for the safety of the pet) I was able to meet with the dog I was interested in adopting. One look at him and I adopted him on the spot. I have seen him go from a shy/scared 1 year old dog grow into a happy, outgoing, loving dog who I love more than I could have ever imagined. I am so happy that MARS pulled this guy from possibly a high kill shelter and gave him a second chance of life. Without these rescue groups, these animals may not make it out alive.

Vicki

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

We had a wonderful experience with MARS as we adopted our sweet boy, Oki. Our application was handled quickly and we received an email within a day or two after sending the app. We spoke on the phone within the week and set up a home visit. The woman who did our home visit was wonderful and we felt very encouraged after her visit. Boom...we were in and Oki was on his way to being ours. We set up a meeting time and we went to collect our new family member. Danielle, Oki's foster mom, went out of her way to get him to us and met us half way so we could avoid many hours in the car. We needed extra time to introduce our Akita female to Oki who is a white German Shepard. Danielle was great...she knew exactly what to do to help the meeting of the two dogs go smoothly. They were instant friends. Danielle went above and beyond what was necessary to assure Oki would be safe and loved...she even gave us one of her shirts so he could sleep with it if he was missing her. We have stayed in touch via Facebook and this past summer Dannielle and her two children came to visit us at our home. Oki remembered them all instantly and the reunion was delightful! It speaks so highly to the care and love he was given while in Danielle's care. We found MARS to be very thourough and careful as to where Oki would be placed. I have great respect for the work they do and our experience very rewarding, especially since we got our boy and love him so very much. MARS is run by a complete staff of volunteers and these people give selflessly of their time and talent, not to mention their finances when needed. We offered to help in any way possible but unfortunately we live 3 hours north of the Twin Cities so are unable to do much. We did do a home visit for MARS for a couple who wanted to adopt a GSD pup. This also went smoothly and was done in a very timely manner. These people were great, their home was perfect for this pup and within a week they had their sweet boy at home where he was meant to be. We will always be grateful to MARS for helping Oki get home to us and we will always be willing to volunteer our time to this great organization. When the time comes, and we are looking for another addition to our family, we won't hesitate to work with MARS again!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted our foster dog, we are considered a foster
Failure. Then when his brother came back to Mars
After being abused we adopted him also.
We love our Dogs. There is never a dull moment at our house.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My fiancé and I were looking to expand our family and add another furry baby to our home. We were not 100% sure that we wanted to take on the extra responsibility so decided that becoming a foster would be a great way to start, test the waters. So we contacted MARS after a family member told us about their wonderful experience. We filled out the paperwork and were contacted a few days later and started the process of becoming a foster family. When it was time to take a pup home we felt very supported by everyone at MARS. The email and phone calls were returned promptly and any questions we had were answered.
In the end we decided that Princess (now Samwiches or Sammy for short) was the right fit and made it official and turned in the adoption papers. After we are married in April our home search will start. My fiancé jokes that the only reason I want to buy a home is to become foster parents again.
MARS is a wonderful organization and if you can, please save a life; become a foster parent.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Well we started fostering for MARS a few years ago...our first foster was a little pup who ended up staying with us much longer than expected but guessing he was just waiting for the right person to step up for him. We went through alot with that little guy-he was 6-8 weeks when we got him-he was exposed to parvo and ended up contracting. But thanks to our watchful eye and the quick medical care he survived and grew up strong. We had him for 8 months but it was 8 months I wouldn't trade! We took on another foster (this time a little girl) and again it seemed like no one wanted her...which was fine...we loved her a little too much and she's ours now :) We just took on another foster last weekend...we're keeping him too! I can't say that the goal is to keep all the dogs but it's great to know that there is a huge network out there that's helping keep the pets out of the wrong hands!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I started looking for a dog in the spring of 2012 after purchasing our house. We came across MARS through Petfinder, and found the sweetest little face we'd ever seen. I filled out an application, and had a response back within 2 days.

The adoption process felt like forever, but was really only about 2 weeks. As someone who had never worked with an animal rescue, I didn't really understand the process, but figured they must do things for a reason. The placement coordinator I worked with was very kind, caring, and prompt with email responses. If I was feeling like the process was never going to end, she would reassure me that there were only a few steps left between me and my new puppy. When I finally met that sweet little face, she was instantly family. She has brought so much joy, laughter, and warmth to our home...I can't even remember what life was like before my little Daisy Mae.

Those words are written from the standpoint of a MARS adopter. After falling madly in love with my MARS puppy, I couldn't get MARS out of my head. I kept thinking that if they hadn't pulled her from the shelter, if someone hadn't fostered her, she wouldn't be with me. She was the sole inspiration for my desire to volunteer, and help save some puppy lives so that other families could be as happy as mine.

Fostering isn't always as glamorous as it may seem (as other reviewers have pointed out). It can be challenging. Despite the occasional frustrations, fostering has been the most rewarding thing I've ever done. My house can't be foster-free for more than 48 hours before I start shopping the "foster needed" section of the MARS webpage.

It's important to keep in mind that fostering is not a ME thing. If you go into it looking for your perfect dog, you might be disappointed. It's a selfless offering of ones home to a dog that could otherwise be euthanized. It's impossible for MARS to know everything (or anything, really) about a dog coming in other than what has been told to them by the shelter. If you go into it with an open mind and are easy to work with, you will get the help you need to successfully help the dog in your home.

MARS has a huge network of very informed people from all aspects of animal care, and most people are more than willing to share their knowledge for the better good of the pups. There are opportunities to network through facebook and email to learn as much as you'd ever care to learn about dogs. MARS has been extremely supportive to me, and is the main reason that I continue to invite their dogs into my home.

So, from the prospective of an adopter, and dedicated volunteer, I ask that you give MARS a chance if you looking for a new family member, wishing to foster dogs in need, or eager to volunteer for an organization that does amazing things every single day.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am proud to be a long time Mars foster home. I have fostered for several other organizations and Mars is one of the best. They offer lots of training and support to their volunteers and adopters. Whenever I have a question or concern I can get expert advice almost immediately. I love the convenience of having Green Vet Clinic affiliated with Mars. I don't have to pay for vet care for my foster dogs and wait for reimbursement, it's covered up front. I also love that Mars offers training classes and shot clinics at very affordable prices. While this rescue is foster based they do have an adoption center where I can schedule meetings with potential adopters and when my foster dog gets adopted all the paperwork is taken care of. Mars makes volunteering easy. Please consider volunteering for Mars. It's so rewarding to know that you are helping save lives. It's all about the animals.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Where do I begin...MARS has been such a life saving experience for me and animals. I have fostered multiple dogs and have loved every one as one of my own. I adopted my dogs Rebel and Sydney from MARS and they are my life!!! If I have ever had a question there is always someone to answer it. They have given me so many opportunities to help animals and they do so much for as many animals as they can. I am very proud to call myself a volunteer of MARS and love everyone who is a part of this wonderful organization!!!!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started fostering for Mars about 4yrs ago. I worked with Heather H. and she helped me find the right fit for my home. I eventually adopted a German Shepherd. He was a little naughty and so we immediately enrolled in an obedience class, then another and another...I realized that he was very gentle with my disabled sister and so we signed up for a Therapy Dog class and he passed with flying colors. He has such a great temp. that he is also a Blood Donor. Our hard work has for sure paid off he is a wonderful dog.
I fostered a few more dogs since adopting him but then I fell in love with another foster last yr. and she is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever had, I now have 3 and my home is complete.
I would totally recommend adopting from Mars. Are they all perfect? Maybe not...but with time and patience they can be a great family member if you give them a chance.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a foster for years with Mars I would never foster for anyone else they treat their fosters great and truly care for the animals they bring in

5 m2lehner

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been fostering dogs for MARS for just over a year now. As I read the reviews I see people taking about how hard it is for MARS to get back to them. People need to remember that we are all volunteers that have a full and or a few part time jobs so we are not available 24/7. Dogs act differently in most homes due to we don't know their whole story of their up bringing. It really makes me sad that some people think that fostering these dogs we rescue is cut and dry and because it's not. You should be doing research on the breed you are going to be fostering and its behaviors before you bring a dog into youre home. Before you start fostering you should always make a list of questions you want to ask. There is always going to be something forgotten in any situation, nobody is perfect.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We had to put our dog to sleep in 2009 due to medical reasons. We decided that we wanted to help out the breed and offer a home to the poor unfortunate souls who ended up in need. We stumbled upon MARS and sent in our application to foster. My family has been fostering for MARS for over 3 years now and I can't not even count how many dogs we have had come into our lives through this organization. The people who I have worked with are so devoted and compassionate and truly love every single animal that comes through the door. So many of the coordinators are spending their own money to be sure all these animals have everything they need, and some fun stuff too. We have been foster failures twice now and ended up adopting 2 of our fosters, and we are so very thankful to them for bringing our babies into our lives. We love MARS and I know that my children are learning a very valuable lesson on compassion and caring with each animal that graces our home. Thank you all for what you do!!!

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I found MARS earlier this year when we decided that the time was right to reach out and help dogs find new homes.

We found a dog on the MARS web site that had an urgent need for a foster family. I quickly sent in our application and received a response several days later. After providing personal reference information, we received our home visit. I guess our past pet owner experience, combined with positive reference responses and the ability to provide a safe and inviting home, led to us being approved to foster Benson, a 7 year old Sheltie that came from Joplin, Missouri.

As is usually the case, little was known about Benson’s past history. What was apparent was that he had a serious limp. After allowing him to settle in for several weeks we began noticing that Benson seemed to be in serious pain. He loved his long walks but I guess that much activity aggravated his condition.

We spoke with Benson’s volunteer placement coordinator and a visit to their vet was quickly arranged. Pain medications were prescribed and an appointment for an x-ray was set up. What that x-ray found was nearly heartbreaking. Benson had suffered significant trauma which had resulted a broken leg, broken pelvis, dislocated hip, and evidence that both of his front ankles had been broken. All of these had gone untreated for years. As a result of its dislocation, his hip bone was trying to form a new socket but instead was digging into his pelvis bone and causing intense pain.

MARS quickly set Benson up for surgery which involved removing the head of his hip bone and resetting it more in its correct position. Over time the muscles will create a sort of new socket and the pain has been relieved.

While we nursed Benson through surgery and months of physical therapy, MARS provided and paid for all of the costs involved. This was truly a dog saved from euthanasia that would otherwise have resulted due to his medical condition.

And of course, after all of that we became a "foster failure" and adopted him. We hadn’t intended on adding a new member to our family when we started this, but we fell in love and found there was no way we could let him go.

Throughout our entire experience we found MARS and all of their volunteers to be professional, caring, and totally involved. We feel that their processes and procedures help provide the best experience for the animals they serve. As volunteers, we are just thankful to be a part of it.

Benson is doing well but will always have a limp. At least, thanks to MARS, he will no longer be in pain.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with MARS for over 2 years and have enjoyed the experience tremendously. I have worked with another rescue in the past and MARS level of commitment to not only the animals but the volunteers is exemplary. I have become involved with almost every aspect of the rescue because I was give the autonomy to carve my own path and be involved at whatever level suits me best. The people of MARS are highly committed to helping as many dogs and cats as they can and they do it with the best care possible. I praise them for aiming high and staying dedicated to the welfare of animals all over the midwest. Without them thousands would have never seen the love a family can give.

7 Bergie

Volunteer

Rating: 5

First off, to WORK as a VOLUNTEER in animal rescue, you must have compassion, as well as a passionate commitment to help animals in need of rescue. Not all of the animals CAN be saved. There are just too damn many needing rescue. And some may be physically too far gone, or they have been so abused, neglected, or unsocialized, that there is almost no possibility of them ever surviving and thriving in a typical family home setting. Which frequently does not keep rescues from trying---if the dog or cat ultimately does not make it, it will at least have known some measure of care and love in its lifetime, and it will NOT die alone, never having felt a comforting word or loving touch.

Most people not involved with Rescue, have no idea how it actually works. I know that I didn't 8 years ago when I had to euthanize my beloved companion. I couldn't tolerate the empty house, so I spent weeks looking at dogs on PetFinder. I didn't realize that I couldn't just walk into a "store" and pick out the dog I wanted to adopt. Rescue animals are not sitting in kennels or cages in a pet store or humane society, just waiting for someone to plop down some money and take them home right then and there. Rescue animals are being cared for in the homes of volunteers. After the animals' initial intake (which includes basic vetting and vaccinations), they go to the homes of VOLUNTEERS, to be trained, housebroken, socialized... to learn what grass feels like under their feet. To learn that they don't have to scrounge or fight for their next meal. To learn to trust humans again. To gain some sense of security from learning that they won't just be dumped somewhere when their human tires of them, gets a new job, or has a baby.

Sometimes the dogs come from as far away as Missouri, or Georgia, or Iowa. Sometimes the dogs come from nearby Reservations. Sometimes the dogs come from neglectful, abusive hoarders or even breeders, right here in Minnesota.

What does not change, is that the dogs and cats are taken into homes and cared for by VOLUNTEERS. Volunteers who usually have another full-time job; a job that actually pays the bills. And the volunteers have families, and commitments. . . just like "normal" people :)

And Rescues usually tend to do ALOT of due diligence before allowing someone to adopt an animal. There are home visits to be made to ensure that the animal is going to a safe home, not one involved in dogfighting, or meth labs. There are background checks and references required... All of these take time, and all of these are done by volunteers. Volunteers who do have other jobs.

I volunteer with the German Shepherd department of MARS. I have fostered over 30 dogs in the last 2 1/2 years. I will continue to volunteer with MARS BECAUSE of Heather and Tracy. Heather puts "her people's" welfare first, followed closely by that of the animals. Heather knows dogs, and she knows people. When I want to foster a certain dog that will not fit in well with my two GSD's, Heather lets me know and steers me toward a more suitable match. When I am having training or medical issues with my foster dog, Heather has the answers or puts me in contact with the resources who do. Heather is the glue that holds the department together, and we are an extremely committed group of volunteers....committed to the animals, and to supporting each other.

Tracy can be too blunt for some people. She is not always the most diplomatic because she is ALL ABOUT THE ANIMALS. She takes in the most extreme cases, those that would not stand a chance anywhere else. Dogs that are dog aggressive, dogs that are people aggressive or food aggressive, dogs that have been so abused that they have no idea how to behave in order to fit into "the pack." And she takes in a LOT of them at once. So, YES, it is very noisy. And she works her butt off to rehab them so that someday, they MIGHT get a chance to live with a normal family. And if that is never gonna happen for them, she keeps them and cares for them until it's time for their walk across the Rainbow Bridge. And they don't walk it alone. She is there, speaking comforting words, and caressing them with possibly the only kind hand that they have ever known. She is a warrior for animal rights. She has no time to speak softly to people who just don't get it. But she is definitely a warrior that I want on MY side, and that of my animals'.

To sum it up, I trust Heather and Tracy implicitly, to do what is best for the Rescue's animals. If they don't trust a person to care for an animal, I would not trust that person either. "If My Dog Doesn't Like You, Neither Will I." Well, MY dogs LOVE Heather and Tracy.