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Waterloo Regional Police officers rescue dogs bound for euthanasia

When asked about their successes, she recalls the story of a six-month-old American Bulldog used in dog fighting

It began with a commitment to foster pregnant dogs for the Humane Society, then volunteering for a few rescues.Their love for animals and deeper understanding of the world of rescue would lead Kim Spitzig, a Forensic Identification Officer and her husband, Jarett Luke, a WRPS Detective to create Pound Dog Rescue (PDR). 

A police officer for 18 years, Spitzig would start her career as an Animal Control Bylaw Officer, “it was a fantastic proving ground and stepping stone for policing,” she said.

Her love for animals can be traced back to her childhood, growing up with hamsters, budgies, an iguana, and a cat named Dusty. “He was a true member of our family and greatly loved,” says Spitzig, “Funny enough, I didn’t have a dog until my early twenties.”

She credits both of her grandmothers for instilling her compassion for animals, saying they often cared for feral cats and took in strays. “My maternal grandmother lived across the road from a horse farm and we would spend time feeding grass to the horses and petting them,” she recalls.

As a teen she worked for a veterinary clinic, treating animals from the Humane Society. She would see animals in a state of neglect or injury, “it always hurt my heart and I took special care of those ones,” she says.

Becoming an Animal Control Bylaw Officer was driven by her desire to help. “It was here that I learned how to read a dog’s body language, and how to soothe a scared or aggressive dog.”

Her position with WRPS, as a Canine Officer, further fueled her love for working with dogs and obedience training. She also volunteers with Elite Dog Training, “I was thrilled when they offered training spots to our rescue dogs,” Spitzig said.

Her first foster dog was a Rottweiler, named Ty. “I cried buckets when he left, we had done something amazing and life changing for that dog and I wanted more of that.”

PDR is a non-profit dedicated to rescuing surrendered dogs, in Southern Ontario, facing euthanasia due to space limitations. The mission is to find the right homes for these dogs, so they never again deal with the devastation of being lost, homeless or abandoned.

When asked about their successes, she recalls the story of a six-month-old American Bulldog. “When we got him, it was very apparent that he had been horribly abused, used in dog fighting, he was covered in bite wounds and terrified.” He would flourish in foster care. “We healed him, physically, fairly quick. Healing emotionally took time, but he eventually got to the point where he was adoptable and he found a great home.”

Currently, there are 12 dogs in the program. “We can only take in as many dogs as we have foster homes for. Our foster families are integral to the work that we do,” Spitzig says.

In exchange for a loving home, PDR supplies everything for the foster families. “We want our fosters to enjoy the fostering experience and want to continue to foster. We do everything we can to make it a wonderful experience,” she says. To date, they have saved over 530 dogs.

Although most of their dogs are adopted quickly, she says some take longer. “Right now, we have Laika, an eight-month-old American Bulldog/Saint Bernard mix, who just hasn’t found the perfect fit for her.”

“We live in a spontaneous society of wanting things now. We don’t consider the long-term when committing to a puppy.” She goes on to say, “until there are no more backyard breeders, puppy mills and dog brokers we will continue to have this problem.”

Find out more about Laika, the adoption process, how to become a foster parent and what types of volunteer opportunities are available here: www.pounddog.ca

 

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