GLENBURN, Maine — It’s common knowledge that dogs will use shoes as chew toys. But what may not be as well known is that unwanted shoes can be the source of funds raised to rescue dogs in danger of being euthanized.
Sheri Martin of Star Bright Animal Rescue Inc., based in Glenburn, has formed a partnership with Shoebox Recycling, based in Pennsylvania, to raise funds to benefit her dog rescue organization. Shoebox provides large boxes that will be placed at area businesses where pairs of gently used shoes can be donated. For every pound of shoes Martin’s organization collects, it will receive 50 cents from Shoebox. Shoebox, a for-profit recycler, then ships the shoes to locations around the world, including Sierra Leone, Bolivia, Liberia, Guatemala, Chile and Jordan, where the shoes are available at “affordable” prices, according to Lisa Pomerantz of Shoebox Recycling.
Martin has been in service to rescuing animals for the last five years.
“We deal mostly with dogs, but we do have a three-legged kitten,” she said.
Hers is a private nonprofit rescue organization in which dogs are placed in foster homes in Maine, New Hampshire and Georgia until they can be adopted. In 2010, Martin said her organization placed 496 dogs, found through Petfinder.com, in adoptive homes throughout New England and New York.
“Currently, we have from 35 to 50 dogs in foster care. Those dogs are all waiting to be adopted,” she said.
“I’m a dog person. I have two dogs from Georgia, a boxer mix and a black and tan coonhound that belongs to my daughter,” Martin said. Most of the dogs Martin rescues come from shelters in Georgia or other southern states. “I have been to shelters in Georgia and sometimes there are as many as 400 dogs in them.” she said. “Everything from chihuahuas to Labrador retrievers. I never realized there was such a problem.”
Funds raised through the collection of old shoes will go to the organization’s rescue efforts.
Although Martin’s organization does not specialize in rescuing any particular breed of dog, it does lean toward dogs of a specific color.
“Black dogs are euthanized in the south at a much higher rate than dogs of other colors,” she said. “We try to rescue as many black dogs as we can.”
Star Bright does not yet have a shelter facility, but that is one of Martin’s dreams, one that will require additional fundraising. Meanwhile, current fundraising efforts will go toward costs related to rescuing the dogs — $10-$20 per animal — and for quarantine services, examinations by a veterinarian, spaying or neutering, immunizations and transportation.
“I would love to have a facility. We could save so many more dogs,” she said. “We want to place these dogs forever.”
Collection boxes have been placed at Economy Motors Inc., 640 Coldbrook Road in Hermon and radio station Q106.5, 24 Acme Road in Brewer; and Husson University Alumni Lounge, Meeting House, One College Circle, Bangor.
For information about Shoebox Recycling, go to shoeboxrecycling.com.