Pet Project

Rescue mission has truly gone to the dogs

Pet Project

Pet Project

Few people get to combine their two loves into something that makes a difference.

Mary Schmittinger of Colgate, Wisconsin, is one of the lucky ones. Her love of baking and dogs has helped further a cause that’s close to her heart.

After adopting a beloved family pet from a local dog rescue group, Mary and several members of the group started their own rescue, Wisconsin Adopt a Golden Retriever. The nonprofit group, run by volunteers, provides new beginnings to unwanted dogs that have been surrendered or abandoned.

Last year, 167 of the furry, family-friendly canines were rescued and placed into foster or long-term homes. The group estimates the cost of placing a rescued dog at more than $500 per pooch.

According to the American Kennel Club, the golden retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the United States. Why? These cuddly, cute puppies grow up to be intelligent, handsome dogs with an eager-to-please attitude. Goldens typically make good hunting companions, guide dogs and search dogs.

"Being able to place a scared, unwanted dog into a loving home is worth the effort it takes to make it happen," says Mary.

Since the rescue group relies solely on donations, numerous fund-raisers are needed to cover veterinarian bills for the dogs, as well as other costs of running the rescue. That’s where Mary’s knack for baking comes in.

In addition to serving as director and home visit coordinator for the group, Mary has been baking to raise money for the rescuers since 2004. For many of the fund-raisers, Mary starts baking months in advance, freezing her treats until just before the event.

Mary has learned what sweet, tasty specialties will sell the best. She says homemade cookies and bars, quick breads, Amish Friendship Breads and candies, such as Peanutty Candy Bars, are gone in a flash.

Her personal favorites are the Peanutty Candy Bars and Cottage Butterhorns.