JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The requests came in faster than Kelly Krehbiel had ever seen.
Ten. Fifty. A hundred. The applications kept stacking up, with everyone interested in adopting a dog.
Fur Sisters, a no-kill dog rescue shelter that Krehbiel runs in Jacksonville Beach, was a favorite of Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo. He’d adopted two dogs from Fur Sisters, and he wanted to do more.
And he’s still doing more.
On March 27, right as the state’s safer-at-home order went into effect, Lambo posted on his Instagram account that he would cover half of the adoption fee and six months of food for anyone who adopted a dog from Fur Sisters over the ensuing seven days.
Those seven days came and went and Lambo upped the ante. With so much success, he is now covering expenses for a total of 32 dog adoptions.
“Something like this is huge for us,” Krehbiel said. “We’re a foster-based rescue. When dogs are adopted, it opens up a spot in a foster home. It’s a domino effect. When one dog is adopted, it’s saving two dogs.”
That message resonated all across the country with adoption requests coming in from as far away as Arizona, Krehbiel said.
A normal week of business was one or two adoptions. By the time Lambo’s timeframe expired, 16 dogs had been adopted through Fur Sisters. They had so much success that Lambo decided to add to his original plan.
“I want to keep this going, I want 20 more dogs to get adopted,” Lambo said in an Instagram post. “So, it’s 2020, my offer stands for the next 20 dogs to get adopted through Fur Sisters.”
Fur Sisters, which is celebrating its fourth year of rescue work this month, said the response was staggering. She and colleague Channing Oglesby spent more time than they’d ever spent combing through applications, which she said numbered in the “hundreds.”
Fur Sisters doesn’t have a kennel or keep dogs for adoption at a central location. It relies on a team of foster homes to keep those dogs until they place them with new owners. The animals come from everywhere, but Fur Sisters often seeks out facilities in rural counties that don’t have the space or resources to maintain more than a few dogs at a time.
Krehbiel said that one county in the area had seven or eight caged runs for dogs.
“Once they get more than seven or eight dogs in, they start euthanizing,” she said. “Places like that end up euthanizing for space. It’s really sad. They just need the most help. The people who work there who try so hard.”
Krehbiel said that the other plus of Lambo’s assistance has been the boost of individuals or families who have expressed interest in becoming a foster home to a dog. One thing that Krehbiel said that she and Oglesby have gone over with applicants has been commitment to the dog.
“We really have to make sure they’re in it for the long haul and not just right now because they’re home,” she said.