Shepard teacher starts own dog rescue 

Jennifer Fischer, of Palos Heights and a German teacher at Shepard High School, took her love for animals and turned it into something amazing by founding, Traveling Tails Dog Rescue. (Supplied photo)

By Kelly White 

When it comes to pets, animal advocate, Jennifer Fischer, believes rescued is the best breed. The Palos Heights resident and Shepard High School German teacher took her love for animals and turned it into something amazing by founding, Traveling Tails Dog Rescue.

“We are dedicated to finding every dog the best life possible and compassion, love and quality life,” Fischer, 1989 Shepard graduate, said.

Traveling Tails Dog Rescue is volunteer-based dog rescue that is dedicated to being an active voice for abandoned, abused and neglected dogs.

They rescue dogs from everywhere, including: overseas countries such as Qatar, Jordan and Turkey and in the domestic United States.

The rescue is a foster based rescue licensed in the State of Illinois with its rescue address in Palos Heights and a 501c3 non-profit status that is devoted to changing these dogs’ lives by finding them forever homes.

“I have always believed in rescuing dogs,” Fischer said. “As a child my parents had a rescue dog. All of the dogs I have ever owned have been rescued. My husband and I adopted a dog from a local rescue in September of 2016 after our dog suddenly died. I was fascinated that she was a Saluki/German shepherd mix from Qatar. She is the sweetest dog over and I fell in love with the breed and wanted to help more of them get out.” ​

Fischer then worked with the local rescue organization where she adopted her family dog for a while before fostering her second dog from Qatar. The fostering situation did not last long; however, as Fischer made the decision to adopt the dog after just five days.

“After that, I was connected to the overseas rescue partner who sent our dog and kept in touch in an effort to help more dogs get a chance here in the United States,” Fischer said. “I worked with another rescue group who was helping to get the dogs here until the end of 2018 when they took a break and that’s when Traveling Tails Dog Rescue was born.”

Aside from Fischer, Traveling Tails Dog Rescue’s president, and many transporters and volunteers within the rescue, there are two other official board members: Casey Kuntz, secretary, and Kristi Howard, vice-president.

The overseas rescue dogs are rescued in primarily three way: the mother gets killed, shot, poisoned, abused and eventually killed and the puppies are saved, or a dog is found as a stray in danger close to roads or rescued from abuse, or dogs are dumped by expats at vets and boarding facilities and don’t return to get them.

The United States rescue dogs are either surrendered to the rescue directly from owners who need to re-home due to various circumstances or they are pulled from local area shelters.

“We have pulled several on death row due to shelter crowding,” Fischer said. “We have also pulled several heartworm positive dogs and dogs with injuries or medical issues who otherwise would have no chance.”

With most of the rescues’ overseas dogs coming in through Dulles or O’Hare airports, with a flight buddy as excess baggage, Fischer has a group of volunteers near Washington, D.C., including her lead D.C. volunteer, Lorraine Gruca. Fischer also has a Traveling Tails Dog Rescue South located in Tennessee where lead volunteer, Amber Kipper, assists with accounting, the company’s website, fostering and social media. ​

All dogs that are flown in to the United States must have rabies, DHPPil health certificate issued within 10 days of the flight, an import permit issued by the USDA and customs clearance, according to Customs and Border Control/CDC regulations.

Once a dog is in foster home, Traveling Tails Dog Rescue pays for an exam, fecal exam, Bordetella vaccine, heartworm and flea/tick prevention, along with covering any other medical attention that may be necessary.

 “It means the world to me to be able to help these pups,” Fischer said. “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing innocent, beautiful souls find loving homes and live their best lives. When you really see and understand where so many of these dogs come from and how they had little or no chance of survival it makes everything we do to help them so important. This is especially true in the Middle East where there are not any animal cruelty or animal abuse laws like we have here.”

All of Traveling Tails Dog Rescue’s Dogs are available dogs are listed on its website and on Adopt-a-Pet and on Petfinder and they currently have 12 dogs in foster care who are looking for their forever homes.

The majority of Traveling Tails Dog Rescue’s adopters are located between D.C. and Chicago, but they have also had adopters as far as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Florida, Denver and New York.

Now, with three dogs of her own, Fischer said she could not be happier with her decision to rescue.

“I have always loved dogs and animals since I was a child,” Fischer said. “Now, that I have adopted several rescue dogs as an adult, I see how great the need is to help them. There are literally thousands of dogs sitting alone in shelters waiting to die. So many of these dogs could be saved if people would step up and give them a chance.”

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