Underdog Rescue in Moab, Utah, works with Hannah to save thousands of stray dogs
More than 250,000 stray companion animals reportedly live in the Four Corners area of the Southwest United States. Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab is working to reduce those numbers.
Headquartered in Moab, Utah, the Rescue Ranch (as they call themselves) rescues stray animals and hosts free spay and neuter clinics on the Native American reservations that make up most of the Four Corners. Life here can be difficult for dogs, because the reservations don’t have good access to veterinary care, with just two veterinarians serving the entire area—and it’s a big area. The Navajo Nation alone is larger than the state of West Virginia.
As a result, many of the dogs taken in by non-profit Underdog Animal Rescue have never been vaccinated; spayed or neutered; treated for worms, ticks and fleas; microchipped; or treated for heartworms. Making sure these dogs are healthy is quite the undertaking. Hannah The Pet Society is lending a helping paw, thanks to a connection made by Kimberley Khodakhah, a veterinarian in New York City.
“Dr. Kim is an animal welfare advocate who arranges spay and neuter clinics in remote and needy areas all around the world,” says Katy Gullette, Founder and CEO of Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab. “She came across information about the free spay and neuter clinics we host and got in touch with us. Through discussions about our mission and the hardships of reservation life, she took an interest in helping with our goal to reduce the suffering of these animals. Knowing that we receive dozens of surrendered animals at each of our clinics, she introduced us to Hannah The Pet Society to expand our reach.”
Doggone it, why stop at one state when there are 50?
Because the Rescue Ranch takes in so many dogs, they adopt them out to Forever Families across the country. This is a win for the dogs and for prospective Pet Parents living in areas where a strong spay and neuter ethic means there are more adopters than dogs and way more adopters than puppies. The Rescue Ranch already places many dogs with families in the Pacific Northwest, and Hannah helps the Rescue Ranch move even more dogs off the Native American reservations and into homes in Oregon.
“We have quite a few adoption partners in Colorado and Utah, but we’re more than happy to spread the ‘rez dog’ juju far and wide!” Gullette said. “Hannah provides transportation for the animals, so in some ways, working with Hannah is easier than working with our closer partners who we share transportation responsibilities with.”
Hannah The Pet Society helps fund transportation so Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab can pick up as many homeless pets as possible.
Once so-called rez dogs from the Rescue Ranch are settled at Hannah facilities, Hannah The Pet Society helps match them with Forever Families. “Pacific Northwest families are very similar to those we see in Utah and Colorado,” Gullette says. “They’re outdoor-oriented and looking for a dog that will match that lifestyle. Rez dogs, who are almost all mixed with some sort of working breed, fit that bill perfectly.”
Hannah gives all dogs the care they deserve
Before matching the dogs with Hannah Members, Hannah makes sure the dogs get needed medical and behavior care so they can be healthy and happy in their new homes. “Hannah has been able to help by taking some dogs with behavior issues—mostly extreme shyness from having limited and, often, negative interactions with people—which our small staff can’t devote the time needed for their growth and enrichment,” Gullette says. “And just as important as taking dogs—and a few cats—is the opportunity the partnership has to expand awareness of the plight of animals on the Native American reservations.”
“Our team also has to be flexible and think outside the box because there is no roadmap for what we have taken on,” Gullette continues. “It’s great to have a partner like Hannah that understands the real needs and very real situations we deal with every day. Having a partner able and willing to deal with this sort of situation is not only heartwarming, but it also saves us a lot of money so we can care for the dogs we take in at our Rescue Ranch.”
Just like the Rescue Ranch team thinks outside the box, so does Hannah. Gullette appreciates Hannah’s approach to providing care for Pets, including those adopted by Hannah The Pet Society Members. Pet Parent Members are able to enroll in Hannah Pet Hospital’s monthly Total Lifetime Care plans, allowing them to receive unlimited veterinary and behavior care for a set monthly fee.
“Hannah has been so easy to work with and very forthcoming about their programs,” Gullette says. “We work with a designated person from Hannah, but we’ve also been introduced to many of the team members. Everyone seems committed to the animals’ welfare and ongoing care.”
Underdog Rescue and Hannah The Pet Society partnered to rescue this dog from the Four Corners area. She loves other dogs and likes people–in fact, when she was in a kennel, she went crazy wanting to get out to be with friends.
“Our experiences with Hannah to date have been nothing but positive,” Gullette adds. “They have gone above and beyond to support Underdog Rescue, offering to help at our free clinics, coming to clinics to transport animals directly from those locations, offsetting the costs we incur through donations to our organization and, most importantly, taking on animals that need more care at the outset than most others they would come across. We are very grateful for their support and partnership.”
Perhaps those most grateful for the partnership between Hannah The Pet Society and Underdog Rescue are the dogs of the Four Corners. They’re the ones who can’t help themselves. But thanks to generous people and organizations, they’re getting the help they need.
See the great work Underdog Rescue is doing by visiting their website at UnderdogRescueMoab.org. And if you’re interested in adopting a Pet, check out the available Pets hosted by Hannah The Pet Society. Who knows, one of them may just be a rez dog.