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Foster Families Help Furry Friends Find New Homes

Saukville nonrofit group Tailwaggers 911 has matched nearly 1,000 dogs with new families since 2007.

A true passion and love for dogs is what drives Dawn Boeselager's enthusiasm for making sure she can help as many rescue dogs as possible.

Boeselager, founder of Tailwaggers 911, has fostered dogs with other rescue organizations and often found that the hardest part of the process was that — no matter how long she housed a dog — they were suddenly taken away once they were adopted.

"That was hard on me, so I put my head together and I started this rescue," she said. Boeselager founded Tailwaggers 911 out of her Saukville home in 2007. Since then, nearly 1,000 adoptions have been completed.

Tailwaggers 911 has a partnership with the Habersham Animal Shelter out of Clarksville, GA. Organizers from both groups meet in Louisville, KY, to transfer the dogs. The animals are then brought back to Wisconsin and paired with foster families.

"We put dogs on our website, along with profiles," Boeselager explained. Anyone interested in adopting a pet has to send in an application. Organizers will do a background check and if it's approved, they e-mail the person letting them know they've been approved.

The dog's foster parents are connected with the possible adoptive family, so they can set up a meeting for the family to meet the dog.

"If they agree it's a good fit, they can take the dog home for a five-day trial. There's no pressure," Boeselager said. "If they decide to adopt the dog, we conduct a home visit and, if everything looks good, we finalize adoption."

In the rare event an adoption doesn't work out, families are allowed to return the dog to Tailwaggers 911, but Boeselager said that hardly ever happens.

"If a dog is returned, it's because the family had to move and couldn't take the dog with. It's never really an aggressive dog or something like that," she said.

"I thought they were very thorough," said Nada Wigand, who adopted three dogs: Lilly, Lucas and Frankie, from TailWaggers 911. "They let me know everything that was happening and they were very thorough, which made me feel comfortable with the process."

Wigand especially liked the five day at-home trial period when she adopted her third dog.

"We had a person from Tailwaggers911 come to make sure the dogs were comfortable (with each other) and also they, as an organization, were comfortable with the situation.”

Through the whole process, Wigand said, it's apparent the organization has the best interest of each dog at heart.

"Everyone we've met is super enthusiastic and helpful ... The amount of work they put in for each dog is incredible," she said.

"We want to be respectful to our adopters and we want to make sure our dogs are well taken care of," Boeselager said. She owns three dogs and is currently fostering two others right now. A business analysis by trade, her passion is for helping the animals, specifically rehabilitating dogs with either emotional or physical conditions.

She credits the foster families located all over Wisconsin and the Tailwaggers 911 Board of Directors for supplying the resources needed to allow the organization to do all they can do. Tailwaggers 911 also welcomes anyone who would like to participate with the group.

"We have fostering, we have volunteering. We have fundraisers ... there's a lot of ways you can get involved with us," Boeselager said.

Volunteers are needed to clean crates or handle the dogs at different events. Boeselager said even though dogs come and go, families make sure to keep in touch with Tailwaggers 911, to let her know how their four-legged friend is doing.

"What's nice is that many of the adopters send us Christmas cards and we get updates. It's like a big family," she said.

Tailwaggers 911 will be at the Wellness Fair on from 8:30 a.m. To 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17.

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