This rescue has taken “shelter” to the next level.
At Luvable Dog Rescue in Eugene, Oregon, dogs awaiting adoption get a real home experience — complete with couches, raised beds, televisions, and brightly painted walls — rather than cages and a concrete floor. The updated and cozy environment is meant to minimize the animals’ stress, help them socialize with people and other dogs, and show potential adopters how the animal will look and behave in a home atmosphere.
“Most dog breeds were created to live with humans in a home-like environment,” Liesl Wilhardt, executive director of Luvable Dog Rescue, told Lady Freethinker. “If they are anywhere else, like alone in a cage, they are stressed and don’t feel secure.”
The facility is comprised of a 1,200-square-foot shelter with seven additional small cottages situated on 55 acres of fields, meadows, and trails.
If that doesn’t sound dreamy enough, it gets better: they have a maternity ward, an enclosure purposely located near a busy area (the kitchen) so the mother and her puppies constantly see people coming and going. As a result, the puppies are socialized with humans yet protected at the same time.
The dogs aren’t the only ones who benefit from the pleasant cottage experience. People who may feel uncomfortable with the melancholy atmosphere of traditional shelters are pleasantly surprised when they visit the Luvable.
“Everyone says it is more like a daycare or summer camp for dogs!” says Wilhardt.
And happy dogs are good for adoptions.
“When the dogs are happy and relaxed, they ‘show’ much better to potential adopters. They are running around playing and having fun — not cowering in the back of a cold cage.”
Wilhardt, who has a soft spot for pit bulls, receives most of her dogs from Los Angeles and surrounding area shelters with high kill rates for hard-to-adopt dogs (like pit bulls, chihuahuas, and pregnant dogs).
“As much as we are able, we take pregnant dogs and nursing mothers with puppies, and puppies who have been dumped at shelters with no mother,” said Wilhardt.
The facility hopes to enlarge their “maternity ward” in the future to accommodate even more mamma dogs.
Speaking of mother dogs, Wilhardt recalled a memorable recent event: “On just this last transport…our people at the shelter were loading up dogs for us when a car pulled into their shelter parking lot. They saw a door open, and someone put a blanket down. Then they drove away. The little dog just sat there on her blanket, alone in the parking lot. Our transport driver, Mark, saw this all happen, and said, ‘ah shit, wenre full, but I can’t just leave her there!'”
“He went over to her, and she was very sweet and gave him kisses, and she was also EXTREMELY pregnant. So that was that. She came to Oregon, riding shotgun in the front seat of the truck with Mark, because he had no crates or space left over in the back of the truck.”
“We named her Trillian and she gave birth to 6 beautiful babies the very next afternoon.”
To learn more about the adoptable dogs or other ways you can help, please visit the Luvable Dog Rescue Website.