Katie Day, SRES, an agent with Maloney Real Estate in Sioux Falls, S.D., loves dogs so much that she made animals a focus in her business slogan: “Finding people and pets their ‘fur-ever’ homes.”
For nearly a decade, Day has helped to rescue dogs, transporting them to local shelters where she volunteers on weekends. Day, who owns three rescue dogs herself, took over as director of local nonprofit Almost Home Canine Rescue in 2018. “We have quite a few [Native American] reservations in Sioux Falls, and we work with them to get the animals the care they need,” she says.
Day notes that location and financial strain make it difficult for those living on reservations to access care for their animals. Only one has an animal shelter—and none have onsite veterinary care. But all of the reservations are facing an overpopulation of animals.
Almost Home Canine Rescue takes in dogs—and sometimes cats—that need to be adopted, have costly medical issues or need to be spayed or neutered. Parvo, a deadly virus that spreads easily among dogs, is one of the main medical issues Day sees with rescue animals. In most cases, the cost of getting an animal ready for adoption is more than the return. But Day says that’s beside the point.
“Every dog in need deserves care and a family,” she says. “We never refuse medical treatment for any animal that comes in. When past adopters share their pictures and their stories of their animals, that’s what makes it easy to remember why we do this.”
On difficult days when, for example, a severely ill dog needs thousands of dollars in care or a large group of dogs come to the organization needing to be adopted, Day wonders how the organization will continue funding its efforts. “But then, the volunteers step up or the dogs get adopted, and we just keep going,” she says.
Relying solely on donations, small local grants and out-of-pocket funding, Day says she and the organization keep moving forward and helping as many dogs as possible. Day has big hopes for the future. “We’re looking forward to opening a physical location, hosting vaccine clinics and starting funds in the names of dogs we’ve lost to Parvo.”
Until then, Day credits her real estate career with making her work at the rescue possible. “A lot of the people I’ve sold houses to help support dog rescue. Real estate gives me the flexibility in my schedule to be able to dedicate my time to dog rescue. It also gives me the opportunity to put my own money into dog rescue. Truly, it makes this whole thing possible.”