A new dog rescue has opened in Buffalo called 716 Paws. The rescue operation is run by a collective of animal lovers, many of whom have plenty of experience in the world of pet rescues. Now, if you’re wondering how many rescue operations are located in WNY, there are approximately 2 dozen, which is considered a lot for size of the city.
So why are there so many rescues?
While some of the dogs are rescued from around this region, most come from down south where dogs, in a lot of cases, are not considered a part of the family, as they are up north. Down south, it is common for dogs to be kept as working animals, used for hunting purposes, or to guard properties. Many of these dogs are kept leashed outside, or free to roam. Compounding the problem? Unlike pet owners in the north that typically get their dogs fixed, in the south that is not necessarily the case. Ultimately, this means that there are scores of dogs having puppies, without the proper resources to provide for them, which is when the animals end up in “high kill” shelters.
Because of this problem, southern rescues have sprung up that try to pull as many of the dogs from the high kill shelters as possible, while working with shelters up north to place the dogs.
The good news is that the dogs that do make their way to WNY tend to find forever homes fairly quickly, for a number of reasons, including the abundance of dedicated rescues (and their resources), and a growing number of people adopting pets during the pandemic (with more people staying at home). Websites and social media are also efficient and effective tools that help in the match-making process.
While the adoption rate in WNY is strong, there are always more animals in need of homes. That’s why 716 Paws has a Foster-to-Adopt program, for people who are on the fence about adopting dogs. This program gives people a week’s time with a dog, to see if the arrangement is a good fit for the dog and the owner. If it is, great – one more pup finds a forever home. If the match doesn’t work out, the person is asked to continue taking care of the dog until another home can be found.
While talking to representatives from 716 Paws, I found it interesting that Buffalo has become a regional hotspot for dog adoptions. In Rochester, for example, there are very few rescue organizations and resources. It’s the exact opposite in Buffalo, which means that the good old 716 is doing a bang up job of saving dogs’ lives. Apparently, Rochesterians have come to call upon Buffalo as an excellent resource for pet adoption. And what’s not to like about that? Buffalonians certainly love their animals – you might say that we’re a bit canine-crazy in these parts.
I am told that there are numerous reasons why rescue dogs have become a more popular pet choice these days. It starts with the negative (and relatively unfounded) stigma associated with rescues dissipating over time – rescues used to get a bad rap. Today it’s completely the opposite. A person looking to adopt a dog can usually find exactly what he or she is looking for, due to the vast number of dogs that are being rescued. On top of that, the dogs come with vaccines, and are often times chipped, neutered, and so on. That means that there are fewer expenses and headaches when adopting.
Currently, 716 Paws is in line to receive its 501c3 status, which will open up a lot of doors for the volunteer-based organization. Once that status is in place, the plan is to launch a series of community involvement programs that are still in development, such as placing rescue dogs with veterans; offering low cost neutering; assisting people in responsibly ‘rehoming’ their unwanted pets. Being a certified non-profit also means that 716 Paws will be able to host fundraisers to support their mission.
716 Paws is always on the lookout for volunteers, from processing applications to making phone calls. They are also always looking for people to adopt the dogs (learn more). Once again, if you’re on the fence, you can always try out the Foster to Adopt program.
Hopefully, 2021 will be an even better year for pet adoptions in Buffalo, as the city continues to roll out dog-friendly measures such as the legalization of pets on restaurant patios. Thankfully we have organizations such as 716 Paws that help make the arrangements for people-pet partnerships as effortless as possible.