MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - Sandra McCully and Melissa Knox started Madison Small Pups Rescue and Adoption a little over two years ago and have already found permanent, loving homes for over 200 small dogs.
On an average, the two have a success rate of of about 18 per month. They work with several animal shelters to rescue and foster dogs weighing less than 20 pounds. Their numbers are quite impressive, considering it is only Sandra, Melissa and a small group of volunteers doing the fostering.
"We have a very strict application process because we feel like these dogs have had a bad life," said Melissa Knox. "Most of the ones we get are not treated well and we want to make sure the last half of their lives is the best we can make it."
All rescued dogs are taken to a vet for complete care, including spay or neutering, then groomed and made ready for adoption, but not before they spend time with the foster family.
Small dogs aren't always compatible with other pets or small children.
"We try to get to know the dog," said Knox. "We are kind of strict about that. We want to get to know the animals and we try to test them out and see what home they would do best in."
This can be costly and Madison Small Pups Rescue and Adoption depends greatly on donations. There is an adoption fee, but Melissa says it is a necessary evil.
"People don't understand how expensive dogs are and that adoption fee tries to cover any vet care," said Knox. "There's multiple issues that we pay for, we have on our website a before and after picture that's horrifying. It's a dog that looks yellow, you can't tell it's a dog, it looks like a creature, it's a little white Shih-Tzu and he had no idea how to be a dog, because he had never been treated as one."
Sandra McCully says the horror stories never stop.
"We had a foster that drove four hours to pick up two poodles that were going to be used for dog fighting bait," McCully said.
"And that's why we do it, somebody's got to be their voice," Melissa was quick to add.
But when the dogs do get adopted, Melissa says, "I will cry buckets, that's part of it, fostering is extremely hard, we need more fosters and we need more help."
If you would like to help, either by adopting, fostering or making a donation you can go to Madisonsmallpups.org.