(Photo Credit: Big Rapids Pioneer/Alex Wittman)
CATTLE DOGS: Jeff and Monica Lamer sit in the shade of trees on their Remus property with Levi (left) and Muffin (right). The Larners run AuCaDo Rescue for Australian cattle dogs from their home. Through their organization, the couple has helped more than 900 dogs.
Remus couple runs rescue operation for Australian cattle dogs from their home
REMUS — Mark Lamer said his wife, Monica, has a gift for communicating with Australian cattle dogs. The couple, who run AuCaDo Rescue from their Remus home, has helped more than 900 dogs through their organization. However, the organization would not be nearly as successful without Monica’s sixth sense for understanding dogs. Mark estimated Monica spends 20 hours per day caring for the dogs and said she has a 1198 percent” success rate of matching people and dogs. “People think that just because (the dogs) are rescues and just because they were surrendered to a shelter that there’s something wrong with them,” Monica said. “I want to get the point across that that’s not always true. If there is something they need to relearn, (the breed) is smart enough that they can relearn it.”
Monica, who grew up on a farm in Wacousta, said her love for Australian cattle dogs dates back to her teenage years. In 1974, she bought an Australian cattle puppy from a breeder. Although she knew nothing about the breed, the intelligence and loyalty of her new companion “amazed” her. Carrie Blue, a red heeler with a blue saddle, won over the hearts of everyone she came in contact with, Monica said. When Monica’s son was born nine years later, Carrie Blue was his “protector and friend.” In 2004, Monica adopted Jessie, a red heeler, from Georgia. It was the Larners’ first experience rescuing a dog, and Jessie has “far exceeded” Monica’s expectations. Later, Mark adopted Bear, a large red heeler. During the adoption process, Monica said she realized many heelers find themselves homeless due to a lack of knowledge on the part of their owners.
Despite her evident love for the breed, Monica is the first to admit that Australian cattle dogs aren’t the perfect fit for every individual or family. If they have no outlet for their energy, such as a human companion or another active dog, Australian cattle dogs can become barkers, destructive or runners, she said. As a •et, the must “absolute! “have basic obedience training and know their owner is “top dog.”
RESCUE DOGS: Remus resident Monica Lamer rewards Muffin, an Australian cattle dog, with a treat. Monica runs AuCaDo Rescue with her husband, Mark. Muffin, who was rescued in December, is one of 22 dogs available for adoption. (Pioneer Photo/Alex Wittman) Ideally, she would place her dogs on farms, but many find suitable homes in suburban, active households. Monica is vehement that no adopted dog is maintained outside as an unsupervised “yard dog.” She said she doesn’t want her dogs to be chained or left in a yard with no fencing, including invisible fencing. Following Jessie’s adoption, the organization “kind of snowballed,” Monica said. AuCaDo Rescue is the only Australian cattle dog rescue in Michigan, and there are currently 22 dogs available for adoption at the facility. The Larners take in dogs from all over the state and the surrounding states as well. Because she is not opposed to special needs dogs, Monica said she receives many dogs from out of state. The Larners presently have six deaf dogs in their care. Additionally, they have dogs who have come from abusive situations.
“I tend to take the ones that need a little bit more (help),” Monica said. Levi, a red heeler who Monica considers special needs based on his skittish demeanor, has been at the rescue for five years and now lives inside the Larners’ home with Jessie and Bear. Monica described herself as the “go between” for dogs who are homeless and people wishing to adopt them. AuCaDo Rescue rehabilitates, retrains and re-homes Australian cattle dogs, which includes vetting, assessment of behavior and general care of the dogs as they wait to be placed. Since “cute” puppies don’t need any help finding home, Monica said she focuses her rescue efforts on adult dogs. Some dogs have been at the rescue facility for as long as three to five years. “(The dogs) stay as long as needed,” Monica said. In her rescue experience, Monica said she has realized several misconceptions about dog adoption. For example, many of the hopeful adopters that contact her want a puppy. These individuals believe they need to train the puppy themselves in order for it to obey them. Monica said this is simply not true, and mature dogs are often a better fit, especially for people who work during the day.
“You’ve got to give the dog a chance to show you what it can do,” Monica said. Evart resident Emily Rogers adopted Cisco from Larner’s organization in 2005. Although Cisco has since passed away, Rogers said she would recommend AuCaDo Rescue to others. “(Monica) is easy to work with,” Rogers said. ‘She really cares about the placement of the dogs. She doesn’t just want to find them a home. She wants to find them a good home.” Even after the adoption of Cisco, Rogers continued to work with Lamer and fostered some of the dogs waiting for placement in her home. Rogers said Lamer asked for her input when interviewing potential adoptive families.
“I think Monica does a great thing, and she does it selflessly,” Rogers said. “She spends slot of time, money and energy to help the dogs.”
Twice a month, the Larners’ host a low-cost spay and neuter clinic for dogs and cats. Vaccinations are also available.
Volunteers and donations are welcome to the rescue as well.
“My reward is getting emails and updates (from people who have adopted) about how it has changed their lives,” Monica said. “It’s changed the dog’s life, obviously, but it has changed the owner’s life as well.”
Individuals or families interested in the clinic or adopting a dog can contact Monica at (989) 330-5147 or email@example.com.