Many Central Oregonians might think of Street Dog Hero as an international dog rescue: saving dogs around the world from neglect, hunger, and abuse; transporting them to Oregon; and then fostering them in loving homes until they are adopted into their “Furever Families.”
And that much is true.
What many in the region may not know is that Street Dog Hero (SDH) also has a deep local commitment – rescuing dogs and providing much-needed spay, neuter, and wellness services to the communities that need them most – right here in Central Oregon.
In 2021, SDH continued its upward trajectory of dog rescue while also strengthening its local efforts in Central Oregon, and hiring its first executive director.
It was a banner year by all accounts.
Last year, SDH rescued 522 dogs and seven cats from Central Oregon and around the world.
Here in Central Oregon, they provided low-cost or free spay and neuter surgeries to 407 local dogs and cats, and provided wellness services to 100 local animals.
Internationally, SDH provided wellness services to 500 dogs and cats, as well as 386 free spay and neuter surgeries in Mexico.
Also in 2021, SDH hired Diana Fischetti as its first executive director.
Fischetti said she is thrilled to provide strategic direction and operational oversight for SDH.
Before joining SDH, Fischetti served as the Director of Development and Marketing at United Way of Central Oregon and prior to that, she co-founded, co-owned, and led the operations of Broken Top Bottle Shop.
Currently, she volunteers on the Boards of Directors of Kor Community Land Trust and OUT Central Oregon, and is a former Board member of The Environmental Center.
“Having fostered and adopted a dog from South Korea through Street Dog Hero in 2017, I have a deep heart connection with the organization’s mission and work,” says Fischetti. “As a lover of people, pets, and the planet, I am absolutely honored to bring my nonprofit expertise and business background to this lead and support SDH’s heartwarming work serving dogs and their communities locally and around the world.”
Since its inception in 2017 by Founder Marianne Cox, SDH has rescued 1,833 dogs from neglect, hunger, and abuse around the world, including from South Korean meat farms, overcrowded shelters in Texas, California, and Ohio, and from Central Oregon communities, providing them with wellness, sterilization, transportation, fostering, and adoption.
Since Cox founded the organization, SDH has also provided 1,569 spay and neuter surgeries (806 local and 761 international), as well as wellness services to 1,300 animals (100 local and 1,200 international), to underserved communities.
SDH concentrates its efforts where animals are least likely to receive essential care due to financial, geographic, and cultural barriers.
Organizational rescue efforts last year were focused in Central Oregon, Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, British Virgin Islands, Guam, Mexico, and South Korea.
Some of the most compelling rescues in 2021 included six dogs from Kabul Small Animal Rescue (KSAR) in Afghanistan with knowledge of the impending withdrawal of U.S. troops.
SDH envisions a world where all dogs are healthy, safe, cared for, and wanted.
This is why SDH is focused not only on saving dogs that currently need to be rescued but also on the root causes of pet overpopulation by offering low-cost and free sterilization in hopes of reducing the number of unwanted companion animals that are born.
With the need for affordable spay, neuter, and wellness at an all-time high, SDH was providing these essential services in Central Oregon in 2021, hosting pop-up “Clinics,” serving the communities of Christmas Valley, Madras, and the lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
Through their Junior Heroes program, SDH works to educate and inspire the next generation by engaging kids ages six and up in volunteering at events, with foster dogs, and at Clinics.
Today’s youth will make decisions in their lifetimes that will dictate the outcome for future dogs around the world.
SDH also engages children through international Clinics as well, offering the opportunity for participating and education.
One unspayed female dog and her unaltered puppies can produce 67,000 unwanted puppies in only six years.
One unspayed cat and her young can produce 420,000 kittens.
Many don’t survive, or spend their lives plagued by disease.
Those that do survive often go on to continue the cycle.
SDH’s Junior Heroes program can help break that cycle.
As the local nonprofit enters 2022, it continues to deepen its local and international commitments under new leadership.