Life’s Little Paws Cocker Spaniel Rescue originated in December of 2006. A handful of people that had met online and had worked with other rescue groups in New England decided to form their own organization.
There was such a huge need to help abused, neglected, or abandoned cocker spaniels – especially the seniors or ones with health issues - these are the ones that seem to go unnoticed. We envisioned taking in maybe 10-20 a year. The first year we took in 64 dogs and placed 58. The 2nd year was an even a bigger increase.
It was obvious that this handful of people needed help so we reached out in every possible way we could – emails, enlisting the help of friends and family, etc. LLP is a totally volunteer group. We have people that foster the dogs, people that make or donate items to auction or raffle to raise funds, people that do home visits and help with transporting dogs from one place to another, individuals that donate in memory of someone’s beloved pet – the list of people that support us is endless. But one thing is certain - without our supporters, LLP would not be in existence.
The need to continually raise money is huge – our veterinary bills are high (in 2011 the veterinary bills alone were over $50,000). LLP tries several different ways to raise money outside of the adoption fees (which rarely cover individual vet expenses on each dog). Life’s Little Paws hosts 2 online auctions a year for cocker spaniel rescue. We have about 5-8 rescues that participate. The auctions are generally held for about 2-3 weeks – the Spring Auction in April/May and the Holiday Auction in October/November.
We have volunteers in Vermont that make ceramics to sell at many events, they also hold refreshment stops at rest areas in the Burlington area 2 or 3 times a year, and take part in many local fundraising events for animals. We have volunteers that sew, knit or crochet for us – items such as coats, bathrobes, bandanas, beds, toys – all for the dogs but we also have items for the humans too…. Such as jewelry, tote bags, books – too many items to list.
In Maine, we have held 4 day yard sales during the Labor Day weekend – this was done for about 5 years – it was a labor of love but an awful lot of work for a few people to do and not a lot of monetary return so we discontinued the Labor Day yard sale and turned our focus instead to hosting an online store.
We have also added a newsletter to go out to people for updates on LLP, reference articles on health issues for cockers, activities that volunteers are doing, etc. Because we are scattered over such a vast geographical area the newsletter as well as regular emails helps to keep us connected.
We are fortunate to have help from our sister rescue in Ohio – Columbus Cocker Rescue. They help with transports, fostering, and vetting of dogs coming from other states. We also have volunteers in Georgia that have come on board and become a part of LLP. The need for rescues in the Southern states is staggering.
We hope to be able to help as many dogs as we can – with the continued help of our volunteers – especially the fosters. Our foster homes are the backbone of the rescue. We do not kennel our dogs.. they are brought up in a home surrounded by love, activities, learning – whatever they need to begin a better life. Fostering is not easy but it is so rewarding in so many ways. We have foster homes from Ohio coming east to include all of New England and down to Georgia in the south.
Life’s Little Paws is small rescue in comparison to many others but our hearts are big and our desire to make this a better world for cocker spaniels is immense. We will not rest until we know that we’ve done all that can possibly be done for this breed we love so much.