Name/Neighborhood: Alice Schindler/Four Corners, Silver Spring

Organization/Role: Operation Paws for Homes – Foster Mom

What is Operation Paws for Homes?

Operation Paws for Homes (OPH rescue) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization devoted to the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of dogs who have overcome great odds and deserve wonderful, caring forever homes. OPH is an all-breed dog rescue, and we take in dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages. These dogs are rescued from overcrowded, high-kill shelters in the southern region of the United States, primarily shelters in South and North Carolina, as well as Virginia. Our goal is to offer a second chance to dogs abandoned in shelters and out of time.

How did you hear about them?

After moving to Silver Spring, I was looking for a rescue that included a stronger event and outreach presence in the Montgomery County/D.C. region. I was in search of a smaller rescue with a more grassroots approach. I learned about OPH rescue through a friend and fellow dog enthusiast, Caren Collins, who had been with the rescue since it began in 2010.

How long have you been volunteering?

I’ve been fostering dogs with OPH rescue for a little over three years and have placed over 65 dogs/puppies in forever homes.

What do you do as a volunteer?

I am primarily a foster mom. It’s one of my passions. I pick dogs up from our transport, clean them up, spoil them, and integrate them with my personal dogs. Many of these dogs were found as strays, escaped horrible conditions, or in some cases even feral. Fostering not only frees up spaces in the shelter for other dogs, but also is a huge help in socializing them with other dogs and pets and getting them adjusted to living in a home again. This makes their transition a bit smoother from shelter to permanent home. You can also find me at regional adoption and educational outreach events, trying to get out pups adopted out to great families and people. I’m also known to pick up donations from our wonderful local pet store partners or neighbors, which are either used to feed our fosters or sent down south to our shelter partners who rely on us for food and bedding donations.

How can others help Operation Paws for Homes? Do they need volunteers? What’s a great way to get started?

The rescue is about 99 percent volunteer-based so we are eternally grateful for any help from folks who are willing to get involved. Check out our website https://ophrescue.org/get-involved. We are ALWAYS looking for volunteers who are willing to participate in any capacity such as holding leashes at events, in public relations/graphics design, funding (online campaigns/ grant writing), transport, FOSTERING, going over adoption applications, and social media help. If you’re a dog trainer, groomer, or vet hospital, we are always looking for partners and resources to share with our adopters and volunteers. If you’re thinking about adopting a dog, definitely take a look at our online gallery https://ophrescue.org/dogs. If you’re doing any spring cleaning and are looking for a place to donate towels, blankets, and bedding, rescues are always in need!

What has been one of your favorite moments volunteering so far? 

I think my favorite moment occurred recently. It was January and very cold. One of our shelter partners notified us of a large group (maybe 50-some) of dogs of all ages kept outdoors, without shelter in the mountains in North Carolina. There were several pregnant moms and while I had never fostered very young puppies and certainly never a pregnant mom! Because of my positive experiences and the strong network and mentor support within OPH rescue, I decided to go out on a limb and give young puppy fostering a try…and I loved it! Momma dog and her five 1-week old puppies were flown in by volunteer pilots from North Carolina to Virginia, where I picked them up and brought them to my home. I had the opportunity to name the mom and the litter and because I am a science nerd and work in neurology, I decided to give them neurology-themed names. Momma was named Dura Mater and the pups: Axon, Dendrite, Synapse, Neuron, and Myelin. They were known as The Brainy Bunch!!! The pups were all recently adopted out to loving homes, and I am currently fostering Momma until she is ready to go home! It’s been a very rewarding experience for me, and I will definitely be fostering more litters in need as well as adult dogs in the future! Two of the dogs from the litter even remained in our community, which I thought was really special!

Anything else you’d like to share or that folks should know? 

I love our community and the fact that Silver Spring Cares chooses to highlight people within our community for their passions. There are so many who do wonderful things every day and it’s a great feeling, knowing fellow volunteers are recognized and celebrated!

 

Mike Diegel