Large hearts sometimes come in big packages. That’s what we at BestBullySticks.com know for a fact, especially in the case of North Mississippi Great Dane Rescue. We have the honor of highlighting this great rescue for the second time this year and we’re truly amazed at NMSGDR. They aren’t a big rescue. They don’t have endless resources. But just as the gentle giants they rescue, NMSGDR has big hearts and a willingness to love unconditionally. They get the job done. Here is their story.
When & Why did you start?
While our official start is April of 2010, we began our operations in 2009 due to a need in the community for help saving Great Danes in need. A couple of ladies who would become our future officers, Trista, spent 2009 helping out a few Dane families in need, fostering their Danes short term or fostering Danes found by the local shelter until they could be reunited with their families. In early 2010, one of those ladies received a call regarding a puppymill raid in rural Tennessee, and many of the Danes were being housed across the Mississippi River in West Memphis, Arkansas. Those same ladies stepped up to help without batting an eye, and it was at this time that they decided to commit to starting a rescue in the North Mississippi/Memphis area. Since April of 2010, NMSGDR has been in official operation, growing every day in volunteers, friends, and happily ever after stories!
What’s different about your rescue?
We love the efforts of all rescues, particularly the Dane-specific ones, and respect our fellow rescues, as this is not an easy work or way of life. We do pride ourselves on being special needs friendly, though! We cannot turn down a white Dane no matter what space (or lack thereof) we have. For those who may not know, Danes who are mostly white, are generally born blind, deaf, or both. This is usually done through the breeding of Harlequin to Harlequin or Merle to Merle breeding, which could easily be avoided. Many of these special needs babies find themselves in homes that do not understand them, as many of them are given away or sold at a cut rate, unfortunately, often not bringing the best families. Many are beaten, neglected, or dumped prior to coming to rescue. We love love LOVE matching deaf Danes with amazing families and watching these once broken and misunderstood babies blossom and thrive. Since our official inception in 2010, we have placed at least 7 Deaf Danes with amazing families! That’s about 8% of all of our adoptions!
We also have a mandatory 30 day hold on incoming dogs, giving their foster families time to discover any and all of their needs or issues. Given their size, any issues that may surface following the 2 week “honeymoon period” are of course bigger. For example, ramifications of a 40 lb dog with an issue of chewing, food guarding, or even potty training, is a quite different than a 140 lb dog with those same issues. We keep our Danes in foster long enough to allow us to tell a prospective family anything and everything there is to know about any of our Danes. We hope that this will ensure a perfect match for each and every NMSGDR Dane. We know that many rescues have different policies in this regard, but we feel best about doing it this way.
Something else that we believe sets us apart on an operational standpoint is that our operational costs are pretty much zero. Many rescues do have donors for much of the operational stuff, but some also have to pay for it. We run our website for free internally with all free resources because we choose to spend more time figuring out that confusing technology stuff in order to save our money for the Danes! We do not spend any money on administration, marketing or advertising, with the exception of business cards and swag for sale – which is AWESOME, by the way! (We have great creative folks who help us with that!!) We feel that we do a very good job of operating within our means through occasional donation drives that accompany funds raised through adoption fees and selling our swag, and we are very proud that we are a rescue who rarely posts about money, not that we couldn’t do more with additional funds of course! With an average of 18 to 20 Danes in our care at any given time, we think this is a pretty great accomplishment as well as something that our facebook fans appreciate. You can always know that if you follow us on facebook, you will be following the journey of our Danes and not that of our pocketbooks. We are southern ladies, and we try to keep that kinda’ stuff private, ya’ll!
What is the greatest success story or “win” that your rescue has had?
We have had several cases of severe neglect, but the most visually and physically notable is our sweet Libby. Here full story can be read here, but in a nutshell: Libby wandered onto the yard of someone who knew of our rescue and contacted us. She weighed in at a mere 69 pounds at an estimated 4 years old. Her skin looked like it was melting off her skeletal frame. She was in such poor condition that we could not even tell what color she was supposed to be, and her transporters feared that she would not make the 5 hour trip, as she appeared near death upon retrieval. Through the blood, sweat and tears of her foster home at the Director of NMSGDR’s home, and the love of her new foster sister, a 100% blind and deaf girl named Gracie, who would carefully approach and lie on Libby’s bed with her, giving her support and frequent ear licks, Libby gained 56 POUNDS and revealed her gorgeous merle coat and sweet, forgiving personality. The thing that touched her foster mom the most, is that though this dog was starving and had obviously not been treated well, as her foster mixed up her first meal of prescription food, Libby never took her eyes off the bowl, and SAT! She did not push or rush for the bowl, but with 100% grace and patience, even though her body was starving for nutrients, this girl remembered her manners and sat for her meal. As Libby quickly ate this awesome meal, her foster sobbed and soaked up this girl’s magnificence. Libby is enjoying the good life in her home and has had the opportunity to visit St. Jude, the world-famous children’s cancer hospital, as a therapy dog. For a girl who was deprived of every basic necessity, she holds no grudges against people and actually improves the lives of everyone she meets!
What’s the most rewarding thing about working at your rescue?
The most rewarding part of our rescue is watching some of the saddest, most confused and frightened Great Danes who think they’re as small and weak as a mouse transform into the bubbly, happy, cuddly Great Danes they were born to be. There is just nothing that compares to sharing that kind of happiness with the world! We encourage our foster families to provide frequent photo updates so that the facebook community can share in the development of the Danes in our care and can really feel happy for the families who find their match with us!
What can people do to help your rescue?
If you want to help our rescue, we are always in need of donations and foster homes! There seem to be more and more Danes looking for rescue, and given their sheer size, it just costs more to rescue this breed! You can gift money to us directly through paypal using our email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). We also have found that just having the support of so many loving people on facebook can cheer us up on the worst days! So follow us at facebook.com/nmsgdr and send us a *high five* on the good days and a *hug* on the bad ones! While you’re there, you may just fall in love with the best breed on the planet and open up your couch to a new best friend!
BestBullySticks.com supports NMSGDR! Thank you to NMSGDR and all the hard work they do!