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Author Travels Ten Thousand Miles To Discover The Truth Of Rural Shelters

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on June 23, 2020

Cara Sue Achterberg, the author of Another Good Dog and Girls’ Weekend, has a huge passion for rescuing dogs. She started off fostering dogs just to help her family find the perfect companion. Now, 177 foster dogs later, it’s clear that saving dogs is an important part of her life. However, as crucial as fostering dogs is, she knows there’s even more she can do to help. So, Achterberg wrote a new book called 100 Dogs & Counting, which covers so much more than just fostering and adopting. It shows the reality of the dog overpopulation problem, which Achterberg quickly learned is a fixable problem if more people try to make a difference.

Learning to Save Lives

Achterberg’s passion for dogs began after her dog Lucy passed away. Lucy had lived with them for 17 years! Achterberg looked at shelters for a new family member, but no dog seemed to fit what they were looking for. That’s when they decided to foster dogs to help them find the perfect pup. At first, they thought fostering was a temporary situation until they adopted a dog, but it ended up becoming a lifelong adventure.

The more Achterberg fostered, the more she wondered if there were other things she could do to help. Even after fostering over 100 dogs, there were still endless amounts of dogs looking for homes. Sadly, many dogs were also still dying in shelters. Eventually, one foster dog named Gala really pushed her to make a change.

“We fostered Gala for 11 months and during that time I had plenty of ‘enough’ moments. I finally began to wonder if I could keep fostering forever, which led me to wonder at what point there would no longer be so many dogs in need of rescue. There was only one way to find out,” said Achterberg.

During Achterberg’s book tour for Another Good Dog, her other book about rescue dogs, she decided to make some special stops. She visited rural shelters that had minimal funding. She brought them donations and helped them with whatever needed to be done. At each shelter, she learned that there was so much about shelter dogs that the world didn’t know.

100 Dogs & Counting

Achterberg took everything she learned while visiting the shelters and put it into her upcoming book, 100 Dogs & Counting. However, after her first time visiting the shelters, she knew that there was even more she could do. So, she returned again and again, each time learning more about how she could make a difference. She documented her journeys into her book, along with photos from her experiences.

The book begins by talking about some of Achterberg’s memorable foster dogs. Then, she goes on to share her experiences at the shelters. Many of these places have overcrowded kennels with not enough donations. Sadly, many dogs have to be put down to save space, but it’s not because the staff wants to do it, it’s because they’re left with very few options. This inspired Achterberg to discover how no-kill shelters in rural areas reached that “no-kill” status. With enough support, it’s always possible. Of course, adopting and fostering is always the best place to start.

“Too many homeless dogs are still suffering and dying, but it is absolutely fixable; and there is something everyone can do to help, no matter their circumstances,” Achterberg said.

Achterberg’s upcoming book, 100 Dogs & Counting, is the story of fostering, saving dogs, and putting a stop to the endless stream of dogs looking for homes. She hopes that her new book will be able to reach lots of people and inspire them to help change this world for the better.

100 Dogs & Counting will be released on July 7th, 2020, and it’s available for pre-order today. To learn more information about it, visit Achterberg’s website and check out the 100 Dogs & Counting Facebook page to find out how you can help save dogs in need.

Images provided by Cara Sue Achterberg

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