If you have a desire to help, but no outlet to work through, you might feel a little helpless, but not if you have At Risk Intervention. BestBullySticks.com talked to Founder Cyn Mobley about how the organization was started and the astonishing impact they’re making all around the Mid-South and the nation. With a revolutionary outlook and mission and a ton of hardwork, At Risk Intervention is truly making a difference.

When & Why did you start?
At Risk Intervention, or ARI, was started in 2004 as a vehicle for supporting people who wanted to do good things in the world but didn’t want the hassle of starting a charitable organization. We provide infrastructure and support and 501(c)3 partnerships for rescuers, child advocacy programs and just about anything that involves kids or animals. As our program grew, we sought out opportunities to be a force multiplier for other groups. We did a community survey and found that the one thing that rescues said they needed most was money. A bit more investigating and we found that the two major expenses were vet bills and kenneling.

We started by negotiating some great discount packages for rescues at a few vets. Then we built the Waystation.  We also hold seminars on ways to save money and help rescue groups work through legal issues, complete 501(c)3 paperwork (we have an online audio course and plenty of examples) and a host of other things that help existing groups work more effectively. Like I said: force multiplier. Much of the concept and practices are born from my time in the Navy and my experiences at the Naval War College. I know how important logistics and support are in any war, and that’s what rescue is—a war to preserve life rather than destroy it.

What’s different about your rescue?
ARI is a waystation. We may be your answer to: “If we just had a week to arrange transport,” or, “I can take this dog in a month,” or “It’s an emergency! I need a few days to arrange foster care.”

ARI is NOT a rescue group or a foster home. We’re not able to cover normal rescue costs subject to reimbursement or to pay for food and medications.

Here’s what we can do:

  • Provide temporary accommodations in a “group home” setting for dogs who just need a little time to get to safety with another rescue group or to a foster home.
  • Transport the dogs to our vet for spay/neuter/medical treatment. They have special package deals and rates for 501c3 rescues.
  • Do temperament assessments and get pictures and write ups for receiving rescue groups.
  • Play with them and do some socialization.
  • Provide 501c3 partnership for fundraising and grant applications and donations. We deduct 15% from gross for administrative fees.
  • Give medications, heartworm meds and wormers. Rescues are responsible for providing meds, collars and leashes.

What is the greatest success story or “win” that your rescue has had?
Probably our two most famous rescues, ones where we intervened personally, were JuneBug and Sir Giles Henry Express of New Jersey. Both are horrific stories.

JuneBug was found dying under a baking hot porch in Alabama. A friend thought she was a Greyhound and called me. We had her transported to Knoxville TN to our vet. Xrays revealed buckshot and bullets. Her neck was partially broken as well. She was unable to walk and was terrified of everything in the world. After three long months of being in a cervical collar and on crate rest, she gradually became a delightful young Plott Hound mix and found her forever home with Amber Hanrahan in New Jersey.

Late one July night, the staff at Young Williams Animal Shelter in Knoxville, TN called me. They had a Greyhound dying of blood loss from the worst flea infestation they’d ever seen. His hemocrit was 11, a value that is not normally compatible with life. Could we help? I asked them to meet me at the Pet ER. Then I called our Board Members and asked them to meet me at the ER with all the cash from a fundraiser the night before.  Meanwhile, other folks were tracking his tattoos—it turned out that the people who dumped him were actually his owners. They had also dumped Gulliver, a small Shih Tzu, who was also circling the drain.   We learned that the Greyhound was Giles Express and that he was a champion racer in his youth, winning several major races out west.  Giles received a transfusion that night and was on oxygen and other massive support for three days at the ER — this was over the Fourth of July holiday and he was too unstable to move. Then he spent another three days in the ICU at University of Tennessee Veterinary Hospital, then another week at my vet.  Greyhound people around the world rallied to support him and cover the medical bills. 

After a month, Giles went to his forever home with Nancy Hanrahan in New Jersey and became a Hanrahound with sister JuneBug. He was known henceforth as Sir Giles Henry of New Jersey, Superman! He attended Dewey, the annual Greyhound convention, and made tons of new friends. Sadly, almost three months to the day after he arrived at his forever home, he collapsed and was unable to walk. Xrays revealed massive osteosarcoma. We could not get the pain under control with any meds and so we let him go to the Bridge. Even given his short life after rescue, everyone I talk do would do it all again. He became truly larger than life and a real symbol of what we could do working together.  

What can people do to help your rescue?
Well, we can always use volunteers to help clean the Waystation in Knoxville TN and play with the pups. They LOVE visitors. We also have an URGENT need for some building supplies and volunteer electricians in Baker County, Florida to help with one of our busiest partners, The London Sanctuary. TLS is THE ONLY 501c3 animal Rescue Group in Baker County, FL.  We really need a small facility there to help support the flow of dogs north.  I know large construction projects always have a ton of supplies left over—even a small portion of stuff that would normally be thrown away would help put together a small Waystation kennel on the TLS property.  We really need a volunteer Javascript coder to help with a few fundraising programs that would be shared with our partner groups. Money, of course, primarily for dog food and rescues like Giles. We feed Fromm dry food and Chicken Soup for the Soul (canned) at the Waystation and go through around $400 in dog food a month. Our rescue partners DO help out with dog food from time to time but honestly—I know how strapped they are and I hate to ask them to help.  There’s a Paypal button on our website at http://atriskintervention.org

Thank you to At Risk Intervention for all of their hard work to save the lives of homeless and hurting animals everywhere.