Rescue organization helping dog find new home after owner dies of COVID-19

Nebraska No Kill Canine Rescue helps rehabilitate, train and find homes for dogs in need.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Karl Skinner is the founder of Nebraska No Kill Canine Rescue, a nonprofit that partners with existing dog shelters to help them find new homes. One dog that Skinner is working with is a four-year-old German Shepherd Mastiff mix named Harley. Harley’s previous owner passed away in January from COVID-19.

“We’re working with a lot of the dogs that are the hardest to place,” Skinner said.

Skinner was introduced to Harley, who had never been to a veterinarian, through social media.

“I knew that her socialization was probably going to be on the low end,” Skinner said.

Skinner says he had been following Harley and learned over Facebook that she had been re-homed. Shortly after, he checked back in on her, only to find that things had changed.

“I came back to the page a few days later and I posted another comment, ‘How’s Harley doing?’ I found out the dog had been returned a day later,” Skinner said.

Ever since, Skinner has been working to help Harley find her forever home.

“We just felt like dogs do better in homes, and why not help them, rehabilitate them on a one-on-one basis in a home, as opposed to setting up a facility where people can drop the animals off,” Skinner said.

Veterinarian Megan Ehlers of Ehlers Animal Care says she could tell just by observing Harley that the dog lacked confidence. Ehlers explains that dogs crave strong leadership from human beings, as it gives them a sense of security. Dogs who have not been formally trained and/or move from home-to-home have issues with confidence and interacting with others.

“If they don’t have that [leadership] and they don’t have socialization outside of just that home they go to live with, they don’t know how to interact with other puppies. They don’t know how to interact with human beings,” Ehlers said.

Right now, Harley is in a foster home. The fostering of dogs helps prospective adopters simulate how dogs will behave in a domestic setting, while giving organizations like Nebraska No Kill opportunities to assess each dog’s unique needs.

“We rely on the community to help us provide homes for dogs who need medical and behavioral rehabilitation before they become actual adoptable pets,” Skinner said.

Harley’s current foster parent, Ashley tells Channel 8 that she and her husband Gary have grown quite attached to Harley. They plan on using the next few weeks to assess how Harley reacts to living with their child and their two cats, before deciding on whether to adopt.

Skinner says adopting his first puppy is what motivated him to research the plight of dogs who live in puppy mills. It’s the reason he founded Nebraska No Kill in the first place.

“I’ve heard many times, if I win the lottery, I’d start a dog rescue,” Skinner said. “We actually did.”

You can learn more about Nebraska No Kill and their partners here.

Categories: Lancaster, Nebraska News, News