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Maple Grove Resident, Volunteers Bring Three Years of Good Karma to Shelter Dogs

Apr 10, 2016 11:27AM ● Published by Wendy Erlien

Good Karma Animal Rescue of MN Executive Director, Founder Lisa Booth of Maple Grove. (Photo provided by Lisa Booth)

When Lisa Booth and family moved to Maple Grove from out-of-state, she went through what she describes as a “major culture shock.” 

Feeling like she wasn’t meeting anyone, Booth decided to take some time off from her telecommuting job to volunteer fostering animals. 

“I loved fostering, it was so rewarding,” she said. As she continued fostering, Booth became more actively involved in organizations, taking on more responsibility. “I found out more about what I believe in. I thought about it and thought about it and decided it was time to do it my way.”

As a result, Booth started Maple Grove-based nonprofit organization Good Karma Animal Rescue of MN in January 2013 with the mission for the organization “to work tirelessly to provide the highest quality of physical and emotional care to the animals” they rescue. 

Providing a supporting environment for foster families and the rescue dogs are a key component of Good Karma. The organization does not have a physical shelter, kennel, or facility. However, from food to medications, the organization provides volunteer foster families with the supplies and support needed to make their experience successful while the dogs are awaiting adoption.

“They don’t have to spend anything,” she said. “We provide 24/7 support to our foster parents.”

Through a private Facebook group and continued learning opportunities, volunteers from the Twin Cities area are able to connect with one another to learn, grow, and support each other in their fostering experience. 

Good Karma volunteer Jennifer Zafft (photo by Wendy Erlien)

 “My friends and family often ask me how I can foster and then give them away. I have had 24 fosters and have loved each and every one of them,” Good Karma volunteer Jennifer Zafft said. “The thing that makes the difference for me is realizing that I am sending my foster dog into a loving home with a family and a future. The dog that needs me is the one that is in the shelter - terrified. If I can open up my home to them, they are guaranteed a future. What a powerful gift I can give them!”

Before animals are available for adoption, Booth said it is important to ensure they are physically and emotionally secure pets.    

“It’s important we give them a safe place, not just a roof to live under,” Booth said. “Every dog has a story to tell, if we just know how to listen. We listen with compassion, empathy, and patience.”  

Currently, there are about 30 active volunteer foster homes for dogs coming to Good Karma.

“Good Karma represents a compassionate and committed group of volunteers with one common goal: rescuing animals and finding their forever homes,” volunteer Donna Brezinka said. 

Good Karma volunteer volunteer Donna Brezinka (Photo by Wendy Erlien)

 Approximately twice a month, Booth and a volunteer travel to a Missouri shelter to pick up dogs in need of a new, permanent home. Upon arriving back Minnesota, the canines are assessed by a vet tech team during an intake session before being placed with a predetermined foster family for two to four weeks (or potentially longer).

By focusing on a foster process first, Booth said it helps dogs acclimate to living in a home with a family.

“Some were born in a shelter. We’re preparing them to thrive in their new, adoptive home - just being a pet. We’re restoring their faith in people, if they were abandoned,” she said. “Until we know them, we can’t responsibly make a good match with a family.”

To date, almost 600 dogs have found new home after living with a Good Karma foster family.

“Assuming they are healthy and adoptable, we ask foster parents to take pictures and write a short biography for the website,” Booth said. Families interested in adopting go through a screening process. “It is important for us to find the best fit for dog and family,” Booth said of the process. “Rescues are different. I consider it a great responsibility to these dogs that I would do the very best for them. Our mission is that we’re here for the dogs.” 

Good Karma volunteer (photo by Wendy Erlien)

The organization has nearly 50 volunteers, with more than half involved with the organization for more than two years. “We’re so small, culture and fit is important,” Booth said. “Our group is really good hearted, normal people.” 

Zafft’s family, which includes two young children, has been a foster family for the dogs for several years.

“Many people think that because you have small children or work full-time you can’t foster. I am proof that it works! It is so rewarding,” she said. “Being a foster family has taught them [the children] compassion and a love for all animals. I am glad to be able to instill those values into them at such a young age.”

Although there is an adoption fee, it doesn’t sustain the full work of the organization.

“We really depend on the generosity of people, but there is always work to be done,” Booth said.

Like most nonprofits, funding through fundraising events, corporate donations, supplies, and online giving programs helps the organization continue its efforts.

“These animals come first and we continue to be inspired daily,” Brezinka said.

To find out more about Good Karma Animal Rescue of MN, visit: http://www.goodkarmamn.org/home.html

 



 

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