DOERS OF GOOD: NORTHERN STAR DOG RESCUE
CBT Realtor® Tom Caples and his wife Amanda put their money where their mouths are. As founders of Northern Star Dog Rescue, the couple saw a need and decided they had to do all they could. We are pleased to feature them as our July Doers of Good.
Both Tom and Amanda have volunteered hundreds of hours at local shelters over the years. As a result, they were witness to the number of dogs – dogs that could have been amazing pets – euthanized because there just wasn't room for them. They may have been "long-timers" or have had some behavioral issues that would have taken a lot of time to correct. They both felt drawn to doing more to help, and NSDR was born in January of 2021.
The mission of NSDR is to assist in saving shelter dogs from euthanasia. "That's about 90% of the dogs we save," says Tom. "The others come may come from hoarding cases or incidents of severe abandonment or abuse. Due to the large number of dogs in shelters, located here in Idaho, as well as in other states such as Utah, Texas, and Arizona, many dogs who are not immediately adopted are being euthanized. Most of the dogs we save have literally minutes left before we swoop in to save them."
The organization is 100% foster-based, meaning there is no actual "shelter" location. The dogs rescued from their dire circumstances are placed in homes, which helps them "decompress from the stresses of being in a shelter or from being neglected," Tom explains. "We believe this helps our dogs be more successful in transitioning to permanent homes."
Though most of Tom's waking hours are spent in his real estate business, he is active with NSDR in an advisory role and as the treasurer on the 501(c)3's board of directors. "Amanda handles the day-to-day," he tells us. "I take part in the public events where I am needed most. We've also opened our home to foster some of the more challenging dogs. I dedicate a lot of my time outside of real estate to help these dogs transition into a normal life of just being a dog and a companion. It's sometimes difficult and requires a ton of patience, but it's very gratifying to see the progress these dogs make."
He adds, "People sometimes forget that, like humans, many of the dogs we see are traumatized by the 'system' they get caught in. Showing them a loving home life is critical to saving them."
In the very short time the rescue has been operating, 170 dogs have been saved. According to Tom, donations are the "lifeblood of our organization." In addition to donations, NSDR charges a $300 adoption fee for each dog. Though that certainly helps, "it doesn't cover our expenses for vet visits, spaying/neutering, vaccinations, and other medical needs. We have several dogs who have had to have surgeries to improve their sight or correct a deficiency and could have been the reason the dogs were relinquished in the first place. Sometimes, we use our personal funds to cover the costs, and that's one reason real estate has been such a blessing."
Tom goes on to explain that the organization provides crates, beds, food, and supplies to many of their foster parents. "This helps us keep more loving homes when those folks might not be able to afford to do it otherwise."
When asked why the Caples took on such a big task, Tom is quick to answer. "There are too many success stories of dogs that go from no hope to finding amazing families and forever homes. It's almost as if the dogs realize what they've been through and realize they will finally be loved. It's incredibly rewarding."
Of his career in real estate with Coldwell Banker Tomlinson, Tom says, "Coldwell Banker has always been a huge proponent of giving back. It's part of our core values and has given me the opportunity to give back. Coldwell Banker's support and love for animals is longstanding. They have had many national campaigns for bringing homeowners and dogs together. It seems to be a perfect fit for me."
In closing, Tom adds, "It's important to find something that tugs at your heart and contribute what you can, no matter how small. Just do your best to leave this place a little better than you found it."
Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we will spotlight over the next several months or tell us in the comments below about what lights your fire when it comes to making our communities better.