Dover, DE, (May 11, 2016) – 3-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart is well known as both a fierce competitor on the track and a “big softie” for animals. Stewart began his charitable foundation in 2003 following several personal rescues of animals that were at-risk or abandoned. With an eye on victory at this Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway (DE), Stewart will display the colors of Code 3 Associates – known for rescuing animals lost or injured during natural disasters. It is fitting, then, that attention be given to another outstanding animal rescue organization and TSF Grant Accelerator Charity – National Mill Dog Rescue – based in Colorado Springs, CO.
Heart, determination and compassion are but three adjectives which portray the almost 1,500 volunteers who have rescued more than 10,500 discarded breeding dogs from puppy mills. Since its start in 2007, National Mill Dog Rescue is devoted to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of the most vulnerable of dogs. Their second mission is to educate the public about the cruel realities of commercial breeding facilities.
Founder Theresa Strader, a pediatric nurse by profession, was recently recognized as one of the “5 Incredible Female Advocates for Dogs – Past & Present” by http://barkpost.com for her tireless efforts to both rescue these fragile dogs and educate people about where that “puppy in the window” really comes from. Her crusade began with a 7-year-old Italian greyhound named Lily and has blossomed to change the world for 10,500 dogs and counting.
Late February 2016 found 2 Chihuahuas leading a rescue contingent – complete with motorcycle escort provided by Mile High Harley-Davidson of Aurora (CO) – on a 56-hour, 1,800 mile journey to rescue 110 dogs. This mission was the 8th such trip for the “Harley to the Rescue” team – comprised of puppy mill survivors Harley & Teddy. Harley was the American Humane Association’s 2015 Hero Dog of the Year having become the iconic figure for puppy mill awareness. Unfortunately it was Harley’s last mission as he crossed the rainbow bridge in late March at the age of 15 – having 5 years of love and purpose beyond the cage. His sidekick, Teddy, continues the fight using his status as a public figure to mobilize more than 31,000 Facebook followers to take action against the puppy mill industry.
It’s a love story. It’s many thousands of love stories. Dogs like Lily, Harley, Melva, Teddy, Milo and so many more that come to find grass beneath their feet, warm hugs and plentiful food along with toys and hope and compassion. Yet, it’s not quite a storybook ending – as the job won’t end until puppy mills are closed down and shuttered permanently. And, yet, the indescribable joy that comes from rescuing and rehoming even one lucky dog – it keeps Theresa and her army of big-hearted volunteers engaged, active and driven.
TONY STEWART, Driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing & President of The Tony Stewart Foundation:
What motivated you to start your foundation to help children, animals and drivers injured in the sport of motor racing?
I’ve been extremely lucky to pursue a racing career in its many forms. My foundation provides the vehicle to give back to others experiencing difficulty or trauma. It was easy to select children with critical illness or physical disabilities along with animals that are at-risk as I’m a big “softie” for both. And, including drivers injured in the sport of motor racing was essential as I certainly know the risks involved.
Why is the work of National Mill Dog Rescue so personally important to you?
People like Theresa Strader and the almost 1,500 volunteers who work daily to rescue, care for and get these dogs adopted are the real heroes. Sometimes it takes a well-known public figure to lend a voice to work that can go unnoticed but is so terribly important. If I can play even a small role in helping National Mill Dog Rescue continue their work of saving dogs like Harley or Lily, then it’s the least I can do to help spread the word about a vile industry while providing financial assistance to Mill Dog Rescue through my foundation. Americans need to adopt shelter animals – dogs, cats, others – or only buy through a reputable, specific breeder – never through a pet store or organization buying from the commercial breeding industry. It’s our job to ask the hard questions and voice our opinions about the inhumane treatment of animals.
How, exactly, does your foundation assist organizations like National Mill Dog Rescue?
My foundation exists solely to provide funding grants to outstanding organizations throughout the United States. Since 2004 when the first grant was awarded, we have provided $6.5 million in funding. We receive a large number of applications and are able to select about 100 of the very best charities serving children, animals and drivers. To be selected a “TSF Grant Partner”, the organization must present a unique program or service along with solid financial stability and a way to measure success. Our TSF Slogan is “Accelerating Change” which mostly means that our funding grant is intended to help move a program or service to the next level.
Five Incredible Female Advocates For Dogs, From Past To Present
If you’ve heard of puppy mills, the cruel places where most pet store puppies come from, then you’ve probably heard of Theresa Strader. She founded National Mill Dog Rescue after attending a dog auction in Missouri with the intention of rescuing just a few discarded breeding dogs – and came home with thirteen instead. She was recently featured in an article on barkpost.com which is below:
Walk 200,000 Miles Against Puppy Mills
ResQwalk’s “200,000 Miles Against Puppy Mills” campaign in Harley’s honor is underway, and will continue throughout the month of May! It’s all about raising awareness, and it’s FREE to participate. If you have a smart phone all you have to do is install the app, and then when you go for a walk, or a bike ride, or even just go shopping, the app will log your miles. Your phone’s GPS tracks the distance you travel so every little distance will add up. (once you install the app on your phone be sure to select National Mill Dog Rescue as your charity)
The Horrible Hundred 2016: Puppy Mills Exposed
Buying a puppy online or from a pet store? You could be supporting businesses like these:
Problem puppy mills continue to abound in the U.S., and we’re exposing 100 of them in our fourth annual Horrible Hundred report.
The report describes terrible conditions documented by state or USDA inspectors at dog breeding operations. This year’s list includes many “repeat offenders” who were exposed in a previous report yet still fail to meet basic standards of care.
An AKC “Breeder of Merit,” where underweight and injured dogs were found in unsanitary conditions, appears in this year’s report, as do six breeders who supplied puppies to the Hunte Corporation—one of the largest providers of puppies to pet stores. Others on the list failed to provide veterinary care to dogs with injuries, festering wounds, and poor eye and dental health. One had C-sections performed on her dogs in a dirty shed, and at another, puppies were left outside in subzero temperatures.
Melva Dee’s Diary
DAY ONE – January 31, 2015
My world changed today.
I was awakened before the sun came up, grabbed by rough hands, and quickly yanked out of the only home I’ve known for all of my 6-8 years … a tiny, filthy, stinky, cold, miserable outdoor pen. It was pretty scary, but I honestly can’t say I miss it at all, even though it’s where I gave birth to so many babies. I wonder what became of them …