Over twenty-five years ago Jim Deering, always an animal lover with an extra soft spot in his heart for dogs, was managing a dairy farm near Madison, Wisconsin. “I saw this vacant farm across the road and thought, wow, this could make a great dog rescue/sanctuary. I envisioned open-air pens with groups of dogs playing and socializing and a central indoor facility for the winter months.”
That random thought attached itself to his heart and never quite went away.
Jim’s dream of rescuing dogs would have never have come to fruition if not for being sidelined by a work injury. Realizing he’d never be able to go back to the work he loved, the future dog rescuer grew depressed. However, everything changed one day when a friend began to talk about her volunteer work with rescue dogs.
They both realized they had a similar passion and, with the support of their spouses, the two future entrepreneurs started to plan and pursue their dream of opening a not-for-profit dog rescue facility.
“Most shelters operate on a Monday through Friday schedule which is a stumbling block for people with full-time jobs. Our idea included being open seven days a week so we could be available when people weren’t working.”
Connecting dogs and people ended up being only part of the plan. Jim and his partner realized that by offering daycare, boarding, grooming, and a retail store the funds generated could subsidize the rescue portion of their non-profit.
After much searching, they found their current location in Oshkosh. Not only did the building meet their needs, but the landlord appreciated their vision and drive. They signed a lease and NEW PAWSibilities moved from a dream to reality.
In the beginning, they facilitated the surrender of dogs from families unable to care for their pets as well as opening the doors to local strays. After he felt more confident about the entire process, Jim reached out to a friend who ran a shelter and asked about the possibility of helping to place her dogs. She welcomed his willingness to help but suggested a completely different path, one that brought dogs up from Kentucky where she worked to rescue dogs from a kill shelter. A week later that first batch of dogs arrived. Thirteen is often thought of as unlucky, but for those first dogs, affectionately called the “Lucky 13,” and everyone involved, it was anything but.
“These pups changed the direction of our group and opened our eyes to the plight of dogs in shelters in Kentucky and throughout the US. Those thirteen dogs were so nice and people fell in love so quickly that they found their forever homes much sooner than expected. Six years later some of those “Lucky 13” still come back for boarding so we get to see them.”
Two weeks later the group in Kentucky contacted Jim about bringing up another batch of dogs and, since September 2012, NEW PAWSibilities has welcomed new adoptees from Hazard, Kentucky almost every other Saturday. They provide them with basic needs and care and place them with loving families.
“There’s often a stigma that rescue dogs are damaged goods which is not even close to being true.” Their team of dog-loving, compassionate people work to eliminate the stigma of “un-adoptability” brought on by breed, age, and physical malady. NEW PAWSibilities welcomes easy dogs but they also take care of those dogs that may need some rehabilitation as well as older dogs that may not get adopted as quickly.
Jim believes that loving, dog-friendly families come in all shapes and sizes. Their goal is to find an adopter whose lifestyle and family configuration is a perfect match for one of their amazing dogs. When they can, dreams really do come true.
Oprah Winfrey says, “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams,” and that is exactly what Jim has done. “We live in a complicated world, one which is often devoid of love. At NEW PAWSibilities our mission is to create a world where every dog can be surrounded by love. We get enormous satisfaction by connecting people and dogs because, as simple as it sounds,
love is just a wag away.