One thing I have learned in life is that as rough as I have had it in the past a dog has always helped me through it. Now, if you are not a dog lover than you most likely will not understand what feeling I am trying to express here. That is a feeling of gratitude, love, and appreciation for my favorite animal.
You see, for me, MD, I have seen some cruelness and wretchedness through my life. The things I have seen with my own two eyes (sometimes four) have literally been blows to my soul. Sometimes, I did not know how to cope and deal with the experiences of my life. Going back to another empty apartment or house, feeling alone without anyone to understand. That all changed when I had a dog around.
A dog, so kind, so truthful just like the innocence of a baby who has not learned the cruelness yet. A dog, even having been through the cruelness, having survived unspeakable acts looks to you, just as broken and beat down, understands yours eyes. That dog limps his years over to you and licks your face as you join him at his level. You see, the dog took years to trust again but he does. The dog understand the spirit of each human. He feels the spirit of each individual, good, bad and reacts accordingly.
Having stayed and lived in the United States, South Korea, Canada, China and Germany I have kept an open eye to how different culture treats our favorite four legged animals. Please understand, I have seen great pet owners in every country that treat their dogs like a member of the family, speaking to them just as they are a beloved son or daughter. In Germany dogs can be seen at any restaurant and store accompanying the family out. In South Korea and China they are taking bike or motorcycle rides with their owner.
Now having covered that aspect of responsible pet ownership, there are so many dogs that are beaten, shot, strangled, starved, and tortured without mercy. There are also so many dogs in the world that are stray, no home and no comfort. Whichever is the case, their is hope out there. I know so many people personally that have taken it upon themselves to save a dogs life! In turn that dog, saves a humans life. Everyday a dog teaches a human how to be humane, we just have to open our eyes.
One, beautiful, humane, human has not only taken it upon herself to raise rescue dogs of her own but to take in others in hopes of giving dogs a second chance at life.
Caddy Labarge is quite possibly the kindest of all people I have ever encountered. It is fitting, with her heart, her spirit that she started an extended family with her Non-Profit Organization Spitfire K-9 Rescue based out of Rockwall, Texas.
I recently had a chance to interview the So Crucial family member, Caddy Labarge and learned so much about her organization and mission. I found out a lot about how she started, where’s she’s at now and where she’s going with Spitfire K-9 Rescue
Michael Dadourian and Caddy Labarge Interview
MD: Thank you for taking time out to do this interview Caddy for michaeldadourian.com. Learning of your work with rescues really hit home with me because it is always something I have wanted to do as well. Tell me how you got your start with rescue dogs. When did your love for dogs start?
CL: When I was 7 years old, I sat and drew out plans for my rescue. It was going to be called Second Chance. And there was going to be a thrift store next to it, to support the rescue. Friends and family thought I was crazy. But I didn’t care.
As I grew older, my dreams slipped away into reality. We rent our home, live paycheck to paycheck and we have bad credit do to a custody battle. Even through this we always took in at least one stray at a time. I would clean them up, have them vetted and trained and find them a home.
Although we still are in the same situation now, I’m not letting it stop me.
Now we rent a home with 5 acres. Every payday we have bought a few fence panels at a time. With a lot of prayers and help, we are slowly building my dream. Every week is a struggle. But it’s worth every second of it.
MD: You created Spitfire K-9 Rescue in 2000, right? Was there anything significant going on previous to 2000 that led you to create your own safe haven for dogs?
CL: We lived in a bad part of town. I pulled up to a stop sign and saw a pitbull badly hurt and bleeding. I went home and told my husband. He kept saying NO. Knowing we could not afford to help. I asked him to at least go feed him. So we packed up and walked down. The dog was growling and showing his teeth. He started to pull himself away toward the highway, so we backed off. At that point my husband agreed that we couldn’t leave him there. We went back and got the truck. When we pulled up, the dog came to us and pulled himself towards our truck. I think he knew he was safe at that point. We then named him “BigBoy.”
After taking him to the vet, we were told that he was used to dog fight and he would never be able to walk without a lot of pain. His hips were broken. He was burned and cut all over. I layed with BigBoy for weeks. His cries were so loud. It crushed my soul.
After a lot of research, 3 months later, I had him running and healthy again. I used the all natural method. Lots of vitamins and spices. The vet was in shock and could not belive it was the same dog.
While we had Bigboy, I reached out for help and begged all of the rescues. I needed at least advice. But no one was willing. Here I am, a person that is willing to help and all these “so called” rescues can’t even take an hour to come look at the dog.
I was disgusted. At that point I said, FINE, I will work on having my own rescue. And I will be there not only for the dogs, but for the people. After that, For 6 months I fostered up to 14 dogs at a time. I learned about all the ups and downs of the rescue world. I did not want to jump in until I knew I was ready.
Here we are! 2014. We have rescued and re homed over 40 dogs. We have also helped many family’s with situations.
MD: What was your goal or goals in creating your own shelter? Did you have a concept in mind as far as which dogs to take in?
CL: I have a huge soft spot for German Shepherds and beagles. I do very well with bringing out the best in fearful and mistreated dogs. My goal was/is to treat each and every dog like family. I want quality and not quantity. I may have only 10 dogs at one time, while other rescues have 30 in boarding. But I personally know each of my dogs, inside and out.
My goal is to also help other family’s out. In the past we have helped with spay and neutering, dog houses, shots, fencing, collars, even a wheelchair for a dog.
In the long run, after we can buy our own land, I’d like to hire homeless people to help with the dogs.
MD: Do you find many of these dogs on your own or do you have also people bringing you dogs that they find?
CL: I always find the dogs on my own. Although there are many great dogs out there, I connect to the dogs with a deep soul.
MD: You are based in Rockwall, Texas; are there dogs that come from different neighboring areas as well?
CL: It is very peaceful in Rockwall. You don’t see stray dogs anywhere. All the dogs I have, have come from the bad parts of Dallas.
MD: How many dogs would you say you have currently? What kind of challenges do you encounter with sheltering numerous dogs? How long does an animal usually stay with you before you are able to find a home for him or her?
CL: I currently have 10 dogs. 3 of my own. The challenges are the seniors or the protective ones. They may never find a home. But they will at least have me until the end. Puppy’s always have a quick turn around. Older dogs, not so much. I like the older dogs though. So I will stay true to them and do what I can.
MD: What do you look for in a potential adoption candidate? What is the process for someone interested in adopting?
CL: Depends on the dog. Different dogs have different needs. Each of my dogs would be perfect for a certain kind of person. I do not adopt to those that live in an apartment unless they live there for 3 years or more. A fenced yard is also required. There is an adoption application to fill out. If approved, there will be a home check.
From there you will foster the dog for 1 week to make sure it’s right for you.
Then there is a final adoption agreement along with an adoption fee.
I ask that I am able to visit from time to time. Or at least get updates.
MD: Are people able to adopt if they live out of state, is that process different than in state?
CL: Yes. I’ve had really good luck with out of state adopters. They must be willing to set up and pay for transportation. Although there are some dogs I won’t allow out of the state due to age. Sometimes it’s a very stressful event when they are being transported.
MD: In what ways can people help your Non-Profit organization?
MD: What are your goals for Spitfire K-9 Rescue in the next 5 years?
CL: Oh so many. First a dependable vehicle to make it easier to transport to and from the vet, groomers and their new home. On grooming day we can make up to 8 trips. Also looking into getting an RV along with a trailer, so we can set up adoption weekends!
I’d love to set up a agility course for the dogs! One thing I’m working on now, is to come up with some sort of outdoor noise minimizer. The neighbors were not too happy to see rescue moving in next door.
And of course, save more dogs lives and educate others.
MD: Thanks again Caddy for joining michaeldadourian.com and we will continue to check in with you.
CL: Thank you for taking the time!! ♡
MD: You have relocated from Texas, how difficult was that transition and how are the dogs these days?
CL: Moving was definitely a challenge. Not only the move itself, but having to find a rental willing to take a chance with a rescue was close to impossible.
We did find a place, but it’s very small and in a neighborhood. It’s hard on the dogs and the neighbors.
We are hoping to buy a home this year sometime.
MD: How can people help now that you are in Florida and is there a location you prefer people to donate food, items, toys etc. to Spitfire?
CL: Help is always needed. We have mostly senior dogs so vet bills are always through the roof.
Dogs supplies are always needed & appreciated. They can be dropped off or we would be glad to pick up.
If there is something we don’t need or use, we give to the homeless with dogs.
MD: How can people contact you now about finding a good home for the dogs you rescue and care for?
CL: The best way to contact us is through email.
Or through Facebook (Listed Below)
YoPlease visit and share Spitfire K-9 Rescue Facebook Page
- See video updates of the dogs of Spitfire K-9 Rescue at Youtube by Subscribing
- Caddy has now developed a website to sell incredibly unique individual pieces of jewelry to help raise money to feed, vet and otherwise help save these dogs lives in hope to find them a wonderful new home, http://www.spitfirek-9rescue.com/