Animal Rescue Konnection (ARK) was born from the belief that every dog deserves a chance.
Too many dogs were being euthanized under the guise of labels like ‘unadoptable’ and ‘not place-able’ without evaluating the dog as an individual, looking at the dog’s stresses, looking at the physical environment or enlisting a training regimen. We decided to do something about it.
We focus on helping dogs that are displaying behavior symptoms during their confinement. Why? Because, in our experience, these dogs manifest entirely differently in new environments, after they can de-stress from the trauma of being misplaced or with proven training regimens.
In May 2012, we found ourselves desperately trying to find a shelter that would take in dogs, including a pregnant pit bull whose time was up at a local pound. Against great odds, we found a shelter willing to take her in, care for her and monitor her around the clock.
That’s when we realized we had found our niche. These dogs could be saved if only other shelters and rescues knew about them. Leveraging our vast connections in the rescue community, we could fill a huge void — a collaboration (or “konnection”) between progressive shelters and rescues and dogs whose time was up or were not doing well in their current environment.
We work tirelessly, collaborating with shelters and rescues willing to take on the challenge of taking in these at-risk dogs, giving them shelter, training and helping them succeed, and adopting them out to loving families.
Most people do not realize that Massachusetts is plagued with a homeless pet population. Many homeless dogs are specially selected by shelters and rescues that tend to take in puppies, small breeds and desirable family breeds such as Labrador Retrievers. While that is needed, it leaves a void for the “undesirables.” ARK’s focus is on the “underdog” – those dogs most likely to be passed over because of the breed, age, medical or behavioral issues. Because these dogs may not show well or may be stressed because of their circumstances, they are less desirable to many shelters. These otherwise “unadoptable” dogs are finding no such labels with ARK and the shelters and rescues that ARK collaborates with.
How We Do It
We get creative. We network. We collaborate. We innovate and think outside the box. We are committed. We do not stop. We know that we are these dogs’ only chance, so we work vigorously to follow through until we find a solution.
Since 2012, we have created a network of area rescues and shelters willing to help, and we are always on the lookout for more willing to join and support our mission. We now have animal control officers calling us from all over the state to help them with dogs that – before ARK – had limited options. We are being contacted by Massachusetts shelters and rescues to come and evaluate dogs they are having problems with and to give suggestions on how to manage the dog and keep them from deteriorating in the shelter – a common occurrence for some dogs in the shelter environment.
Now, if a shelter, rescue, animal control officer or holding facility has a dog they want to save, ARK will do whatever it takes to make that happen. We clock in thousands of miles (nearly 10,000 in our first year) helping these dogs in need and whose time is running out.
Our model is working. Shelters and rescues that would initially call ARK to help them are now helping ARK. Many are collaborating on their own now because of ARK, enabling us to move on to more and more shelters and animal control officers willing to grow and change.
Our hope is that Massachusetts becomes a true no kill state, where euthanization is only an option for dogs with painful, inoperable medical conditions or dangerous behavior beyond rehabilitation. As more shelters are making it their mission as well, their policies and procedures are changing and tightening. Dogs aren’t slipping through the cracks; they are slipping out of obscurity into the limelight as poster dogs for change.