Welcome to the ultimate destination for celebrating the unsung heroes of the dog rescue world. At Rescue Spotlight, we're dedicated to highlighting the remarkable journeys of rescue organizations and the incredible individuals behind them.

Whether you seek heartwarming tales of second chances, inspiring stories of rescue missions, or practical insights into the world of dog adoption, you'll find it all here.

Today, we're privileged to interview Cheryl Rakich, one of the devoted people behind Almost Home Dog Rescue of Ohio You can find a direct link to their Instagram here.

Here is their story:

What inspired you to start or become involved with this rescue organization?

Rakich: I was with another rescue for seven years and I had a difference of opinion with their director so I left and started Almost Home Dog Rescue of Ohio

Can you tell us about a particularly memorable rescue mission or adoption story that stands out to you?

Rakich: Yes, this story received national coverage as it took place in Sherrod, Illinois and it involved a lady that had already been convicted of animal cruelty. She had over 200 neglected and sick collies. They were covered in mites, fleas, some were injured and some had rickets due to malnutrition. Some had maggots in their wounds. She had a barn on the property that housed the collies that had broken limbs...they just languished in the barn. There were some dogs that were so damaged that they had to be euthanized. This rescue effort involved several collie rescues from across the nation, including Almost Home. The 200 soon morphed to over 248 because several females started having litters. The collies were treated by a local veterinarian and local volunteers came to the holding facility daily to help socialize the collies. These dogs all needed special adopters that were patient and understanding as so many were fearful and elusive. The whole effort of vetting, socializing and caring daily for the needs at the holding facility was rewarding but yet very emotional. I am happy to say that the 10 collies were took have all been adopted and are living their best life. Karen Plambeck will be sentenced in June.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a rescue organization, and how do you overcome them?

Rakich: Our biggest challenge is finding enough foster homes. If don't have an open foster home, we have to board dogs. We are currently implementing regional "rush" coordinators and their role is to hold small events to attract potential fosters.

How do you select the dogs that your organization takes in, and what criteria do you use for adoption?

Rakich: We take in any collie or sheltie in need. Adoption criteria...not sure if you mean relating to our process or to the adopter. We do a vet check on the applicant and then an interview followed by a home visit.

In what ways do you work to rehabilitate and socialize dogs before they are adopted?

Rakich: We work with a behaviorist if they need presents, we take the dogs to events, we have games like the pattern game that fosters to with them.

What role do volunteers play in your organization, and how can people get involved?

Rakich: We have fosters, Freed Drivers, bio writers, digital help, photographers, event coordinators, they can fill out an app on our site.

How does your organization collaborate with other rescues, shelters, or animal welfare organizations?

Rakich: We are members of: The Collie Rescue Foundation, the National Sheltie Directors Association, the Ohio Animal Welfare Federation, we partner with other sheltie or collie rescues on large scale rescues.

What initiatives or programs does your rescue have in place to promote responsible pet ownership and prevent pet homelessness?

Rakich: We offer support to our adopters.

Looking ahead, what are your organization's goals and aspirations for the future?

Rakich: Our aspirations are to increase our community involvement with regard to school programs and events at Senior living facilities.