Anyone who has ever owned a puppy knows that they have the remarkable ability to elicit smiles and laughter in a heartbeat. Puppy lovers like myself also understand that a puppy’s cuteness is tempered only by the fact that they require an extraordinary amount of around the clock care, attention, and training in the first months of their young lives. While it’s heartbreaking, it should come as no surprise that new owners often abandon puppies, unaware of the magnitude of work they actually require.
Countless numbers of dogs are abandoned each year, and of these abandoned dogs a select few will very luckily find their way into the hands of Pound Puppy Rescue (PPR), an organization founded in 2001 that is devoted to keeping puppies out of overcrowded shelters and to finding “forever” homes for the pups once they are healthy, socialized and of an appropriate age.
Indrani Gardella, a Student Services Manager at Stanford by day and puppy rescue extraordinaire by night (and all of the available hours in between), has been involved with PPR for the last five years. When we speak, Indrani is very appropriately at a dog park with her adopted dog, Sutter. As I imagine her dog frolicking in the background, Indrani candidly elaborates on the rewards and challenges of puppy rescue volunteering.
Just five years ago, Indrani volunteered at local shelters but became jaded by the low quality of care the animals received. It wasn’t until Indrani approached a woman and her new PPR adopted puppy at a local café that she discovered her calling as a PPR volunteer. Indrani has never looked back and has done everything from answering all incoming PPR emails to coordinating foster placements at 6pm on Friday evenings to participating at PPR showcase events at local pet stores.
Next: PPR challenges and rewards
Indrani touts PPR as not the traditional type of rescue organization because it’s a virtual network of volunteers. Volunteer foster families open their homes to the puppies and in addition to shuttling the pups to vet visits and to adoption showcases, these tireless volunteers provide their charges with around the clock supervision, care, and love. Indrani stresses PPR’s lengthy interview process of potential adopters and remarks, “we wait for the right home and family. We don’t make any rash decisions.”
While puppy rescue certainly has its rewards (after all, who can resist those cute faces?), Indrani doesn’t downplay the challenges involved with such work. With so many abandoned dogs and puppies to rescue, her motto is, we can’t save them all. She candidly states, “we have to focus on who we do save and not on who we don’t.”
Indrani’s positive can-do attitude and enthusiasm for puppy rescue is contagious. She suggests that volunteering, whether at PPR or any other organization, doesn’t need to be an all-consuming experience. For somebody like myself who wants to get involved but may not have hours on end, Indrani notes that there are tons of incremental tasks organizations such as PPR need completed from evening phone outreach to stuffing envelopes to car transport. I realize that Indrani is so inspiring not only because of her accomplishments as a PPR volunteer, but because she has found her true passion and has done everything in her power to champion her cause.