PLATINUM2024

NATIONAL MILL DOG RESCUE

Colorado Springs, CO   |  http://nmdr.org

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Mission

To rescue, rehabilitate and rehome discarded breeding dogs and to educate the general public about the cruel realities of the commercial dog breeding industry.

Notes from the nonprofit

We are members of the Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies and licensed under the Colorado Pet Animal Care Facilities Act. Since 2007, we have rescued more than 19,000 dogs from commercial breeding facilities across the Midwest, giving each one every opportunity for restoration to health and life as a treasured family pet In 2022, we expanded our transfer program to meet a need that shelters in high population areas have for small-breed adoptable dogs. After purchasing a satellite property in MO, central to where most of our rescues take place, we formed a partnership with the Bissell Pet Fdn. Our MO property serves as a transfer point from which, by mid-2023, we had rescued an additional 500 small breed dogs (over our usual count) and worked with Bissell to send them to shelters where they are in demand. We are saving more lives than ever before--double the number this year and in the future, thanks to collaboration with Bissell and other valued shelter partners.

Ruling year info

2007

Founder and executive director

Mrs. Theresa Strader

Chief Operating Officer

Elizabeth Kirwin

Main address

PO Box 88468

Colorado Springs, CO 80908 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

26-0574783

NTEE code info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We are addressing the problem of thousands of dogs receiving substandard care in commercial breeding facilities. We focus on puppy millers in Midwest states where federal and state oversight is virtually nonexistent. Those states are Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nebraska, but we go elsewhere when contacted by breeders who are shutting down or looking to discard non-profitable dogs. Our core mission is to rescue as many dogs as our resources will permit and address their problems; i.e., lack of veterinary care that has resulted in untreated injuries and illnesses, lack of socialization that has resulted in fearful behaviors, lack of training in how to be what they were meant to be--faithful, family companions. We are also addressing the challenge of educating the public about the cruelty and inhumanity inherent in the commercial dog breeding industry, as well as the problem of the proliferation of pet store and internet sellers.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Rescue

We make an average of two trips a month to Midwest puppy mills whose owners have called us because they are ready to retire/destroy some of their dogs. We have built delicate relationships with 250 mill owners over the years. We do not purchase these dogs; they are released to us. They are either worn-out breeding dogs, surplus pups or others with medical problems; we take all of them on the breeders' list. We don't pick and choose.

A typical trip involves 3-6 days over 1,500 to 4,000 miles across several Midwest states. We have two rescue vans and 4-6 team members.

1,447 dogs were saved in 2022--more than ever in our history. We brought 1,165 to our Peyton shelter for medical/social rehabilitation and adoption. We expanded our transfer program, working both independently and with a national group to rescue and send nearly 300 dogs to welcoming shelters around the country. We traveled a total of 42,054 miles.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Our outstanding in-house team are experts in intricate and extensive surgical and dental procedures. They take immaculate and compassionate care of our dogs.

Every incoming dog is examined, vaccinated, dewormed, heartworm-tested and spayed or neutered. Medical conditions dealt with include severe dental disease, eye, ear, uterine and skin infections, a host of congenital defects, orthopedic deformities, untreated injuries, blindness, deafness, and parasite infestation.

We do not hesitate to call on private-practice veterinarians for treatment of the most severely ill and injured dogs or those that require specialized diagnostic or surgical care.

Since 2018, we have had our own state-of-the art veterinary clinic and top notch staff. As a result, we have been able to perform more diagnostics and procedures in-house, resulting in a dramatic reduction in outside, specialized care costs--from $10,000 monthly in 2015 to $3,800 in 2022.



Population(s) Served
Adults

Educating the public is critical to our mission. It is the long-term solution to bringing about awareness and change in the commercial dog breeding industry.

Our rescued dogs themselves and the publicity generated about them are the best ways to capture the attention of the unaware public. From there, we inform everyone willing to listen.

Our program coordinator and volunteers visit classrooms, arrange adoption fairs, participate in community events, host volunteer groups at the shelter, host Rescue Readers (pre-teens who read to our dogs). We reach thousands of people through traditional and social media, as well as through presentations to service groups and our own special events. Our social media platforms engage a world-wide audience. We enjoy TV and radio coverage in Colorado, as well as nationally, with articles published in newspapers, magazines and online.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Dogs in our formal rehabilitation program are those that exhibit moderate to extreme fear, due to the grave lack of socialization in their former lives. Fear results in behaviors like human avoidance, flight risk, and biting. Our highly trained rehab team uses the latest science-based techniques to help them find their courage and learn to trust. This often takes many months or more.

About 20% of our dogs are in the rehab program, but all of the rest benefit from daily enrichment. Dogs in commercial breeding facilities are unaware of how to play with toys or interact with humans. Our enrichment team uses a variety of items that allow the dogs to problem solve, exercise, play with each other and gain confidence.

As a result of these efforts, most of our dogs go from rescue to adoption in an average of 40 days.



Population(s) Served
Adults

We highlight our dogs on our website and in social media, and we post on petfinder.com, adoptapet.com, allpaws.com and petango.com.

We adopt an average of 75 dogs a month. Potential adopters are screened through an online application that includes questions about lifestyle, expectations, home environment, pets past and present, family members and more.

If they appear to be a good match, counselors contact the veterinary references and get photos of the fenced yard and the gates. Applicants are required to visit in person to meet the new family member and make a final decision. We do not ship our adopted dogs to their destinations.

Overcoming the behavioral challenges of some puppy mill survivors is not for everyone. Our adoption process helps us and our applicants make the important decision as to whether one of our dogs is the right fit for them. Our goal is to ensure that, through our very best efforts, we are selecting only the finest permanent, loving homes for our dogs.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

4-Star Rating 2022

Charity Navigator

Top-Rated 2023

Great Nonprofits

Affiliations & memberships

Colorado Animal Welfare Association 2023

Metro Denver Animal Welfare Alliance 2023

Pet Professional Guild 2023

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of animals with freedom from hunger and thirst

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Rescue

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of animals with freedom from discomfort

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Rescue

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Working with national groups, our goal is to shine a light on the shameful and cruel commercial dog-breeding industry until such time as it no longer exists. Until then, our goal is to continue rescuing as many survivors as our resources permit and restore them to health, so that they can know freedom and become the cherished pets they were meant to be.

Our financial goal is to have the resources to continue to care for this population of dogs for 25 years and beyond.

Our strategy for rescuing dogs is unique, in that we have developed working relationships with roughly 250 mill owners. We have demonstrated a level of trustworthiness over time, so that they now call us on a regular basis when they have dogs that they are ready to discard.

Our strategy for education is to maximize the use of social media and traditional media to get the word out both locally and nationally about the industry.

Our strategy for fundraising is also to maximize social media, as well as to send direct mail appeals, hold special events, apply for grants, practice good stewardship, and to register with sites like Guidestar, ColoradoGives, Charity Navigator, Great Nonprofits, the Better Business Bureau and others.

While bringing the puppy mill industry to its knees may not be realistic in our lifetimes, we are entirely capable of reducing through education the number of people who will purchase their next pet at a pet store or through an Internet site.

An example of this occurred in 2015 when, through the tireless efforts of our volunteers, one of our rescued dogs -- a grizzled, 15-year-old, one-eyed Chihuahua named Harley -- achieved international status by being selected by the American Humane Association as its 2015 American Hero Dog. Harley's story--and thus the story of the cruelty of the mills--resonated with hundreds of thousands of people, literally around the world, through publicity in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, on the NBC Today Show and the Hallmark Channel programming, through interviews held with his adoptive owners and the NMDR executive director on Capitol Hill in Washington. The story was picked up in Germany, countries in South America, and other locales, for a total of 40,000 impressions.

We are also entirely capable of rescuing up to 1,200 dogs annually, meeting all of their medical needs and emotional needs and placing them in homes. This we have established over the past 15 years. We have an 14,000-square-foot kennel facility, a new, state-of-the-art veterinary clinic, an evidence-based training and behavior program, a robust volunteer and foster care program, and an outstanding adoption program, with post-adoption support.

Fundraising is our biggest challenge, but with constant effort in this regard, we have proven we can meet the challenge of a nearly $2 million budget per year. We could not do this without hundreds of dedicated volunteers, who devote countless hours and save us the equivalent of roughly 30 full-time employees a year.

We are a leading organization in the country devoted exclusively to rescuing puppy mill survivors. We have grown over the past 13 years from a group of three committed individuals to a an established, respected organization whose day-to-day operations are handled by hundreds of dedicated volunteers. We have only 31 full-time and part-time employees, most of whom are direct caregivers to our dogs.

Our work has been recognized by the ASPCA (2013 Henry Bergh Award), the American Humane Association (American Hero Dog), The Humane Society of the United States (featured in Animal Sheltering magazine), People magazine, Dog Time, One Green Planet, and dozens of other sources.

Since 2007, we have rescued more than 15,000 dogs. For all of them, we provided extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, socialization and adoption services, with a goal of preparing every one for life in a loving home.

What we haven't accomplished? So many dogs must be left behind because the industry is mammoth in size and our resources are limited. Too many people still do not know what a puppy mill is, how the dogs are treated and why they should eschew pet stores and Internet sellers in favor of adoption through rescue groups and shelters.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

NATIONAL MILL DOG RESCUE
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

NATIONAL MILL DOG RESCUE

Board of directors
as of 01/18/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Ric Drake

Lawrence B. Harris III

Retired

Bryan Caanan

Aerospace Corp.

Karen Lavee Myers

Retired

Tammy Robel

USAA

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/15/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/31/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.