27 Dogs. A Nonprofit Lacking in Christmas Spirit. And a Woman Who is Fighting Back.
Can We Bring Her and the Dogs She Serves the Special Christmas They Deserve?
Annie was chained to a tree. Hopeless, helpless to find a better life. Then she was rescued by Dogs Deserve Better-Missouri and Melody Whitworth. Now she has that chance she always dreamed of.
Annie deserves a wonderful Christmas, just like every rescued dog. But she’ll need a Christmas miracle to find a package from Santa under her tree this year.
A couple weeks ago, Dogs Deserve Better’s Director Denise Cohn flew (on the organization’s dime, mind you) to Missouri to dump the whole branch (yes, including the 27 dogs), with no discussion, no explanation, and no just cause.
She had no plan in place to care for the dogs. But you don’t get to just dump dogs and assume they can care for themselves, do you?
Denise promptly got back on a plane and flew away, expecting Melody would care for the dogs even though her dream—and the rug—had just been pulled out from under her. Despite a signed contract giving Melody the right to run and build a Missouri facility under Dogs Deserve Better, she, her volunteers, the branch they’d been successfully running since 2008, and their dogs were dumped by Dogs Deserve Better without a moment’s notice.
Melody has filed a lawsuit in Missouri court against Dogs Deserve Better for Breach of Contract. More will come on the case as it progresses.
For now we need to focus on the immediate needs of the dogs. Melody is staying strong and fighting back, and the best way we can help Dogs Deserve Better Missouri is to SHOW THEM OUR SUPPORT.
Every year at Christmas Dogs Deserve Better runs a Sponsor a Dog for the Holidays Program. This is an amazing feel-good incentive that I started the second year after founding DDB, and it was truly our best-loved annual event. People raved over the photos of the dogs with their gifts, and they adored playing a part in bringing the dogs happiness after they spent years at the end of a chain.
Supporters could sponsor one of our foster dogs for the holiday season, and we’d mail them a photo and a little writeup about their special dog. They often gave sponsorships as holiday gifts for loved ones, and some of our supporters came back year after year to the program. It was special.
Every Christmas we raised enough money for every dog in our program—usually over 100 dogs—to receive his or her very own Petco or Petsmart gift card. We also paid vet bills and folks loved to send the dogs packages with gifts they picked out themselves too.
We loved playing Santa Claus, and so did our donors.
Melody’s dogs were ALWAYS a BIG part of the program. All her dogs got gift cards, and they often went as a group with foster dogs and foster parents to Petco to buy their gifts and share in the fun.
We usually raised enough funds through our holiday program to put $2000 or so on Melody’s account at her vet’s office. As you can imagine, rescuing chained and penned dogs (who come with NO vet care) is often a costly endeavor. I was thrilled to be able to help Melody continue her work for chained dogs without the added stress of wondering how she would pay for vet fees into the new year.
But this year, DDB (aka The Grinch) Stole Christmas from the 27 Rescued Dogs in Missouri. They threw them out of the organization, eliminated their safe place to lay their heads, and cleaned out their Christmas tree.
DDB is running their Holiday Sponsor a Dog program alright—but not a single one of Melody’s dogs is included.
Without our help Melody’s dogs at DDB-MO will not have Christmas.
Let me tell you a little bit about Melody Whitworth, and why I feel we all need to stand and fight by her side. Melody was the ONLY rep to ever get an official branch while I was with Dogs Deserve Better. She quickly showed she was capable of operating to a very high standard, and her enthusiasm for the cause and calm efficiency brought people together.
Earlier we had many reps all over the country, but no one was ever authorized to take their work for chained dogs to the level that Melody was. She was given this responsibility, this trust, because she was (and IS) strong, honest, committed, and operated her branch with the utmost integrity.
She never needed me to hold her hand, but she appreciated and needed the financial support of the national holiday program to give her dogs the Christmas they deserved.
Melody ran her branch the way I wished I could run DDB. She negotiated, she built bridges, and she was and is respected by the volunteers, foster homes, and community that she works in.
I too respected and still respect her greatly.
I’m asking DDB supporters to support Melody in this fight. What Denise Cohn and the DDB Board of Directors has done and are doing is shameful. Absolutely shameful.
I hang my own head over the way the group I formed, devoted myself to, and loved for 13 years has treated a woman who gave the chained dogs and this organization her ALL.
The best way we—as supporters of Melody and DDB-Missouri—can show her we have her back is to choose one or two of the 21 dogs listed on her Holiday Sponsor a Dog page and send along a package or a monetary donation. Your donations will go ONLY to Melody’s branch, and will be used to care and provide gifts for the 27 dogs there that have been pushed aside and ostracised by Dogs Deserve Better.
If you’re a dog lover, and a supporter of all I’ve worked for and Melody has worked for to bring better lives to chained dogs, this choice is a no-brainer.
I will be choosing a dog this evening to support with my donation. I will fight by Melody’s side.
Please, stand with us! Let Melody know she is not alone, that she doesn’t have the full burden of the care of 27 dogs on her own. We are here for DDB-Missouri.
Here’s the link:
Sponsor a Formerly-Chained-But-Now-Free-And-Loving-Life DDB Missouri Dog for the holidays. Because they deserve better than the treatment The Grinch has given them.
Thank You for Reading, Caring, and Sponsoring! I will post an update this weekend.
Please share. This story deserves to be heard, and these dogs need all the support they can get. My gratitude to you, and Happy Holidays.