August 27, 2014 - For the second year in a row, a Metamora woman opened her home and her heart to help benefit the K-9 Stray Rescue League in Oxford.
Sarah Gorman, 11, of Ontario, Canada, gets a "Welcome to America" kiss from Alvin, one of the dogs waiting to be adopted from the Oxford-based K-9 Stray Rescue League. Gorman attended a hoedown in Metamora Saturday that helped raise funds for the group. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
"I think we all need to do something. This is my (way to) give back," said Jacqui Schaefer, who hosted the Second Annual Recovery Cleaners Hoedown on her spacious property along Brauer Rd.
Schaefer owns the Madison Heights-based Recovery Cleaners, a restoration company that specializes in cleaning garments and textiles damaged by smoke, soot, water, mold and other contaminants.
She hosts the hoedown as a way to thank her clients, friends and family for their business and their support throughout the year.
Schaefer decided to incorporate a charitable element into the event because rescuing abandoned, abused, neglected or homeless dogs is a cause near and dear to her heart.
"This is a passion of mine," she said.
All three of her dogs are rescues. The oldest, a 16-year-old Border Collie/Chow mix named Cole, came from K-9 Stray Rescue. The other two came from Georgia and California, where they were about to be killed in shelters.
Volunteers and dogs from the K-9 Stray Rescue League had their own special area at the hoedown. Guests were invited to pay $1 to pose for photos with two adorable puppies, purchase tickets for a 50/50 drawing and visit with a variety of lovable dogs currently available for adoption.
The rescue group raised $366 to help its efforts and one dog was adopted.
"It was pretty successful," said Marion Muir, a rescue volunteer for four years. "It was very positive. We had good, friendly dogs. Everybody enjoyed spending time with them."
"This a great way to raise awareness and help people understand what happens to dogs left in shelters (that euthanize their excess animal population)," Schaefer said.
Many dogs that would otherwise be put to death in such shelters are saved by the K-9 Stray Rescue League. The volunteer-run operation houses and cares for them at its kennel and through foster homes until they're adopted.
Lori Stevens, the group's medical coordinator and board president, estimated 98 to 99 percent of their dogs come from shelters.
Although Oakland County's animal shelter is a no-kill facility, Schaefer noted "that's not every county."
Schaefer finds it appalling that millions of homeless and unwanted dogs are killed each year in shelters across the United States. "There's no need for it," she said. "I think we need to be a no-kill nation."
"Puppy mills" need to be "shut down," in Schaefer's opinion, because they're "creating the excess" canine population that leads to full shelters and dead dogs.
"There's no shortage of dogs," she said.
Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog-breeding operations that place profit over the well-being of the animals they sell.
"We need to start realizing they're not disposable," Schaefer said. "These are living creatures and we need to be responsible for them."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.