Dogtime’s Road to Rescue program salutes Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus, dedicated to saving Dobermans in need in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana.
How did your organization get started?
We are an offshoot of another rescue but one that was all-breed. The founders of IDR+ were volunteers who really wanted to focus on the Doberman Pinscher rescues. Therefore, in 2003, we created our own group.
What is your mission?
Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus is a not-for-profit organization that rescues Dobermans in need to place them into responsible homes. We also work to educate the public about the Doberman breed.
How do most of your animals find their way to you?
Our Rescue Dobermans come from animal control organizations, humane societies, and owner give-up situations within Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana.
What happens to the animals once they are in your care?
They are fully vetted and fostered in caring homes. We endeavor to place each Doberman into a home best suited for that individual dog. Some factors we take into account include the dog’s reaction to children, other dogs and cats. We carefully screen all applicants since we want to ensure that each adoption is a good match and provides a permanent home for the dog. We maintain contact with our adoptive families and encourage them to contact us in case of any questions or problems.
Tell us about a particularly compelling animal or inspiring rescue.
Let’s tell you about Kimber, an amazing dog and story. Kimber is a recent adoptee whose story may be familiar to many, as she was IDR’s “featured dog” for quite some time. Her tale was rather horrific and truly speaks to the dedication of the many volunteers who worked to bring her back to health. Just getting Kimber to IDR was a challenge–she was a young stray in Kentucky when the local neighborhood people watched her run around for six full months as she grew increasingly emaciated and developed a severe case of mange.
Unfortunately, her health continually deteriorated to the point that someone was going to simply shoot her rather than try to help her. Luckily, a woman from a rescue organization in Tennessee was in touch with a woman in Kentucky who knew about Kimber, and the woman from Tennessee worked with IDR to arrange her capture and transport her up to Chicago, a feat which involved numerous volunteers driving many hours.
From the beginning, we all knew that Kimber (named after the person in Tennessee who rescued her initially) had a tough road ahead of her. Without a doubt, she had the worst case of mange anyone had ever seen. It was painful to even look at pictures of her and especially painful to think that she had been running around in that condition for so long, something that could have been avoided had someone called Animal Control to pick her up early on.
Her mange was so advanced that her eyes were swollen shut and blood would fly from her ears when she shook her head; given her young age, she had basically spent her entire puppy life in an increasingly advanced state of pain.
With all she had been through, no one would have been surprised to hear that Kimber had trust or temperament issues relating to people. And yet, one of the first updates from IDR+ President Pam Abare-Newton noted not only that her health had already improved markedly after a week on medication (in that blood no longer flew everywhere when she moved), but that Kimber was perfectly crate-trained, gaining weight, and best of all, constantly wiggling her little tail nub all the time. As one IDR volunteer put it, “All this poor girl wants is love.”
And love is certainly what she got. Under Pam’s constant care and watchful eye, and all the well-wishes of her many supporters, Kimber’s truly remarkable progress continued. This was an arduous process as Kimber’s mange was so advanced that she had to be kept segregated at Pam’s house for a long time, not only to keep her comfortable but also, quite frankly, because she smelled so bad due to the mange.
However, as her hair began to grow back in and medical treatment began to work on healing her raw skin, new pictures showed the amazing difference-a dog that was once painful to look at and brought tears to our eyes started to resemble a playful, happy dog looking for her forever home.
That home came in the form of Reva Chen, who came to IDR’s February adoptathon with her husband; they were looking for just the right addition to their family. While they took their time meeting and asking about other dogs, they realized that Kimber was just right for them. However, they were a little surprised as they kept getting stopped on their way out and told how lucky they were to be taking home “everyone’s favorite!” Some of the volunteers didn’t even recognize Kimber until they were told who she was.
Kimber is now living the good life with the Chens, according to Reva’s updates. While her mange isn’t yet completely cured, that hasn’t stopped Kimber from enjoying life. She loves going on walks, chewing on rawhides, and showing off her sense of fashion as she wears a t-shirt on her walks and sometimes doggy boots to protect her still-delicate skin.
A quick learner, Kimber has in addition to basic commands also learned to shake hands and roll over, especially if there’s a belly rub in it for her. She also recently enjoyed her first visit to a dog park, happily playing with the other dogs for as long as she was allowed. Reva is looking forward to a time when Kimber can put the mange behind her so that she can live her life without limitations as she was meant to all along.