How many of us have said, “If I could I would own an animal sanctuary?” I know I have. We all have dreams and making our dreams come true is something we all strive for. Sometimes, though, we just don’t know where to begin.
Today I am very excited to introduce a very special young Cape Cod woman who, at only seventeen years old has already begun. Jordan Ayres also dreams of one day having a sanctuary and plans are already underway to make it happen.
Rescuing animals often involves rescuing people as well. Jordan understands this and her goal is to help, not only animals but the community as a whole. She was kind enough to consent to an interview which I am excited to share today.
Without further ado, here’s Jordan!
Photos (c) Pawsitive Rescues
Q. For those who have not heard about Pawsitive Rescues, please briefly describe your mission and goals in your own words.
A. Pawsitive Rescues (PR) would be all about building bridges and destroying harsh or demeaning stereotypes. This sanctuary would not only be for dogs, but for people as well, which is one of the things that separates us from other organizations. Our primary focus in the canine world would be rescuing what we refer to as death row dogs; dogs who are living on borrowed time due to overcrowding in kill-shelters. Each hour, these pups get closer to their euthanization appointment. The PR staff would swoop in and bring these dogs to our sanctuary, where they could live out their lives with other dogs who have been in their paws, free of worry. Better yet, we would also hold adoptions, so if we find a suitable furever home, you can bet your tail that that is where they would go. But, regardless of adoption, they would be alive, and most importantly, happy and healthy. My dream for our property would be similar to that of Territorio De Zaguates, a mutt rescue in Costa Rica; so plenty of socialization and exercise would be guaranteed. I have high hopes for these dogs, and because of that, I want to give them the best chances at being the "poster-puppies" for dogs in that situation. Many times, because of the large amount of bully breed dogs in shelters as well as the world's vast misunderstanding of them, they would find a new start on our property. Given that they have the right potential, I'd love to see them go through the training process to become service dogs. Whether they become emotional support animals, or dedicate their smarts to caring for children with autism, they'd be making a "pawsitive" impact on the world. There are so many options for these dogs that are often neglected because people cannot see past breed or circumstance.
As I said though, this is not a sanctuary that closes its doors on people. In the future, PR plans to partner up with other mental health organizations to expand our helping hand. Our focus for the people would be to help those that suffer from mental illnesses (such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, etc.) as well as substance abuse/addiction. And, of course, we are completely LGBT+ friendly. Everyone is welcome, no matter if you're here for the rehab part or just for the dogs and community. It is well known, especially to the sufferers, how difficult it can be to hold a steady job when you're battling internal demons. But here, there would be an understanding for those things that many employers simply do not have. This kind of acceptance, as well as motivation, could be enough to push people forward into the happy and healthy life that everyone deserves. Because, each day they got out of bed, they would see the impact they have face to face. Each day they wake up, they would be one of the reasons that a dog can have its own second chance. They would get to see how each bit of effort they put in is instantly rewarded with compassion and excitement, from both the staff and the dogs. There isn't anything else like it. In the future, I would love to also incorporate suitable living quarters on our property for our staff and, with the help of a skilled attorney, I have no doubt that it will be possible. Pawsitive Rescues would be all about second chances and proving stereotypes wrong. We are all much more than our past tells us we are. Each and every person and dog can do incredible things; Pawsitive Rescues would just be offering the opportunity and support to do so. To find out more, I highly recommend checking out our website as well as our Facebook page!
Q. What is your timeline for accomplishing the tasks necessary to make this happen?
A. Due to the fact that I am seventeen, this year is all about preparations. Things like funding and spreading awareness are my priority, so when my eighteenth birthday arrives, the transition and paperwork will go smoothly. However, there are still so many things that PR and I can work on in the meantime to create "pawsitive" change in the world around us. I hope that in the next five years, our organization will be up, running, and gaining velocity. I am dedicating my life to this, and I have no doubt that it will succeed. There are too many good people in the world for something like this to fail.
Q. How did you become such an animal lover?
A. I have loved animals ever since it was physically possible for me to do so. In fact, I recall one time in elementary school - it must have been in third grade or something. I have always been excessively passionate about animals, dogs right there on top. So, of course, when I caught wind of the local pet shop's involvement with puppy mills, I was livid. Don't ask me how I stumbled across such information, because I really couldn't tell you. All I can say is that I was, and still am, very obsessed. Anyhow, during our snack break I started my mission. It all included stealth, passion, paper, a hole puncher, markers and yarn. I made one of those signs that goes over your neck/shoulders, with the words "Stop Puppy Mills" or something along those lines boldly written on the back and front accompanied by messy sketches. I then wore it to lunch in the cafeteria. Now, my efforts didn't close the pet shop (though that did indeed eventually happen, thank goodness), but it did earn me a complete scholarship to the Cape Cod Audubon's summer camp, which I adored. I grew up with Rottweilers, and throughout my childhood had been sidekicked by turtles, cats, rats, guinea pigs, fish, dogs, and the many wild creatures I considered my friends. I have never been afraid of animals, or any encounters with them; snakes, alligators, allegedly aggressive dogs, rats, etc. I love them all, though I'd be the first to tell you of the one exception - spiders. But other than that, I am a lover, not a fighter, though I won't hesitate to fight for them. Currently, I am employed by Nauset Pet Services, a dog boarding kennel, which I love. Then I return home every evening to a beautiful Saint Bernard, a handsome Rottweiler, and a rescue cat with crooked eyes (still totally purrfect). I am always eager to care for people's pets while they are away as well as help with my neighbor's horses, Jack and Skip. As I approached my eighteenth birthday, I looked to my future. My love for people and animals collided and Pawsitive Rescues was born.
Q. This is a very ambitious project for a teenager to be undertaking. How do you hope to accomplish the outreach, funding, etc. that will be necessary. What have you already done and what comes next?
A. I am very fortunate to live in the time of social media. Without it, even my business consultant said, 'such a dream would be considered impossible'. In between work, the PR launch, school, and personal things, it has been quite the juggle. However, impossible is one of those words that tends to make me more motivated. What can I say; I'm still a teenager and I like to prove the world wrong! As far as outreach goes, the feedback I have received has been amazing. So many people and groups have referred me to different places, organizations, people and places. Still, I am in shock. Word travels fast, especially on Cape Cod. The support has been overwhelming. I hope soon to be able to involve my own school district. Getting the community on board is something I am very passionate about, and I think even when PR is this small, it has the potential to help a lot of people. So far, I have been funding through GoFundMe; and we're nearing the $1,000 mark! Although I haven't used any of the donations yet (all costs have been paid for from my own paycheck as my donation), watching the funding grow has been beyond exciting for me. To see the messages I receive, I just don't have words. It is heartwarming, and the stories people have told me in response to my mission - it is exactly why I'm dedicating my life to this.
So far, I've accomplished quite a bit. Our website is up, and I spoke with an attorney to get my Articles of Incorporation checked over. We have pages on social media, and are being sponsored by a handful of local stores. Word has gotten out, and progress is being rapidly made. Anyone who wants to get on board is more than welcome!
Q. Tell us about your current project (Project Doggy Bag)
A. This project is still under construction so to speak. However, the main goal is to help the local homeless population get through the remainder of the winter safely. I will be speaking with the NOAH Homeless Shelter in Hyannis in hopes of getting some feedback to figure out how many of each supply we will need. The plan is to fill one gallon Ziploc bags with basic necessities that we often take for granted; things like Tylenol, toothpaste, deodorant, protein bars and canned goods, hand warmers, etc. and, with help of our volunteers, a small letter of encouragement with phone numbers to available local help services. It is well known that homelessness often times goes hand in hand with substance abuse as well as mental illness. Not only is it PR's mission to care for our people, but it should be the mission of the community as a whole. It is my hope to get a group of people involved with the project. You can read more and follow the updates on our website!
Q. How can people help?
A Every bit of support helps; whether it is in the form of a donation or a supportive email. I have been so touched by the stories people have told me in response to my efforts and it is things like that which will keep me motivated. I am always looking for people who share the same like-mindedness. Of course, connection-wise, attorneys, veterinarians, mental health care specialists, graphic designers, real estate agents, etc. would all be helpful. One of my biggest issues will be forming a trustworthy and passionate board of directors; so absolutely anyone who is interested in this project could be an enormous help. If you'd like to donate, we are currently accepting online contributions at gofundme.com/pawsitiverescues. And, in case anyone would like to contact me, my work email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Anything else you would like people to know.
A. If there is anything I could tell to a person who is struggling, it is that you have meaning. You, whoever you are and whatever you have been through, you are important. Your life has more value than you realize, and your past does not account for who you can become tomorrow. Don't ever give up on yourself, because someday you could be the reason someone else can live another day. Your life can bring smiles to others, and that is what matters most. There are many, many people out there who are more than willing to help you, whatever it is you are going through. Sometimes, all anybody needs is a nudge to begin to move forward. If you think Pawsitive Rescues would be the right nudge for you, or for someone you know, please contact me through my email. Even if PR is not fully established yet, I am happy to point you to trusted sources/organizations that are.
So there you have it. Remember the name folks – Pawsitive Rescues. You will be hearing lots more about this organization in the months and years to come. If you are able to help with referrals, donations or as a volunteer, please contact Jordan by emailing email@example.com.
Thank you Jordan and thank you to the loyalpitbulllove.com community for your support.