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Scott: Dr. Schults, thank you very much for joining us on the Frisco podcast.
Dr. Schults: Thank you for having me.
Scott: For everybody that’s listening, we are hanging out at Mazie’s Mission today, and I’m going to guess from the logo that you guys do something with animals.
Dr. Schults: That’s a very good guess. We do, and we’re actually the only veterinary clinic of its kind that is only open to municipal shelters and rescue groups, which means that we only work on homeless animals. We are a 501(c)(3) ourselves. I founded this organization in 2009. We started out as a rescue group. We were pulling animals from shelters and getting them well, getting them homes, and we have kind of divulged into becoming a large veterinary clinic. We opened here in 2014, so we’re having our 2 year anniversary.
Dr. Schults: Thank you. What we do basically is we are a full service veterinary hospital. We do everything that any other private practice veterinary hospital does except for our demographic is different, as I said, homeless animals. We offer all these services at a drastically reduced cost for these groups.
Scott: I’m guessing from what you just said then that if I find a dog or a cat or whatever animal, I don’t bring it directly to you if it needs attention. I would still take it to the shelter, and then they would call you?
Dr. Schults: That is correct.
Dr. Schults: We don’t work with the public at all, and so what you would do is exactly what you said. If you found an animal of the side of the road who was injured or whatnot, you’d contact your city. Let’s say it’s in Frisco. You contact the city of Frisco. They have an animal control department and they would come pick up the animal. We actually work with the city of Frisco. The supervisor brings us animals all the time that they’ve found on the side of the road or whatever, and then they work with Collin County Animal Services, and they would transfer that dog to that shelter. You don’t bring them directly to us. You would take them to the shelter, and then they would determine if they needed to come and see us.
Scott: Okay. Do you only work with Frisco or do you work with other surrounding areas?
Dr. Schults: No sir, we work with everybody around here. Lewisville, Fort Worth, the Colony, any municipal shelter around here, Little Elm, we work with all of them.
Scott: Okay, very good. What about animals in particular? I saw a lot of pictures of dogs out there.
Dr. Schults: Yes.
Scott: That’s a soft spot for me personally, but what other animals do you work with?
Dr. Schults: We basically just do dogs and cats. We don’t do any type of exotics or anything. We have partners, and we call them rescue partners that do exotic work. We’ve had a turtle come here once. We transfer those on because I don’t know a lot about them. You see a lot of pictures of dogs around here because every single picture you see around here are dogs that this organization has saved. We have pictures done of them and they’re in the clinic. Probably 75% of our patients are dogs.
Scott: One of the things I was reading outside was a part of your mission to reduce the rates of euthanasia in animals. How do you guys go about helping that to be the case?
Dr. Schults: how does that all correlate?
Scott: Besides just treating animals that are injured?
Dr. Schults: Well, my organization pulls … When we go to a shelter, we only pull animals that are on the euthanasia list. They usually have something very seriously wrong with them, and whether it’s a skin condition, an orthopedic condition, whatever it may be, so we lower it in that way, but indirectly we are hoping that by making veterinary care much more affordable for these rescue groups, they’ll have more money to be able to pull more animals from the shelter. We’ve actually had several times where a rescue group will come in and say I wouldn’t have pulled this animal if you weren’t here, because they know they can afford it. Before, they would just keep walking past all those animals saying we can’t afford that, we can’t afford that, and I understood that, which is why we founded this. Now they say, you know what, we can afford it, so let’s go ahead and pull it. Therefore, we are decreasing the rate of euthanasia.
Scott: Do you know how many dogs roughly or animals you guys have saved?
Dr. Schults: Well personally, like our organization alone, between our fosters, and we’ve probably saved about 800 animals since we’ve been founded. In the 2 years that we have been open here, we have seen over 2000 animals.
Dr. Schults: Yeah.
Scott: Yeah. You guys treat a lot of pets then.
Dr. Schults: We do. We’re very busy.
Scott: What got you into this and made you want to do this particular business, and I’m going to queue this up by saying there’s a lot of giving going on here. You’re reducing your rates. You’re doing a lot of things to try to help the shelters, help the animals, so there’s clearly an altruistic intent in all of this.
Dr. Schults: Right. Well, I was blissfully unaware of the euthanasia rates and puppy mills, and how many animals were euthanized every year until about 2009 when I was asked by a colleague of mine. Hey, I’m dealing with this puppy mill raid. Could you come and volunteer some of your hours? I was like, I’ve got nothing to do. The next day, I went out there and I was appalled. It was on a Collin County puppy mill raid, one of the largest in the state. It had 542 dogs on her property, and her and I believe it was her daughter, it could have been her husband, I can’t remember, but it was just 2 people taking care of these dogs, and I say taking care in quotations because they really weren’t. One of the largest raids ever, and it was horrendous. Seeing the condition of these animals and she was still breeding them. I believe there was at least 8 litters born in the weekend that it took us to take us … It was insane. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like that.
Scott: Were they trying to breed dogs for sale and just not selling them enough of them?
Dr. Schults: Yes. You know, I don’t know how she got to be at the point of 542. It’s very easy to start out with 8 dogs, and all of a sudden you have 80. I don’t know if she just got completely out of control, but that’s where those trade day puppies and Petland puppies, those are all puppy mill puppies. When you see an organization like that, they are just breeding as much as they can so they can sell as much as they can. It’s strictly dollars for them, and I think I knew that somewhat in the back of my mind, but it really didn’t hit me until I went and saw this incredible, just horrific situation that these dogs were in. Several were euthanized on sight because they were in such bad condition. There were dogs without front legs that she was still breeding. She went to jail, and that just changed everything for me. I said I’ve got to be able to help organizations that fight this. I’ve got to help the rescue groups because, of course, dozens of rescue groups came in and pulled these animals. Some of them had such bad medical conditions that they didn’t know what to do.
Scott: Were you already a doctor at the time when you went to see this?
Dr. Schults: Yes, yes. I’ve been a doctor for 18 years, so that was about 5 or 6 years ago when I did that.
Scott: Got you.
Dr. Schults: It changed everything. I mean, that day I went home and said I’ve got to be able to do something. Then just over the next couple of months, this is when this was born.
Scott: One of the things in having taken part in several nonprofits in the past myself is that you’re always in the business of to some extent raising money because you’ve got to be able to provide your services. I know there are a lot of pet lovers and dog lovers and people that love animals in general in Frisco. For those that are inclined to want to help our, what is the best way for them to get involved?
Dr. Schults: We always say if you cannot donate, volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, foster. There’s so many different ways that you can help us. Of course, donating is the ultimate way to go, but a lot of people can’t do that. We always need foster homes, someone that’s willing to bring an animal into their home, take care of it. Of course, we pay for everything. We pay for food, medical expenses, all of that. You just need to be willing to care for the animal and take them to adoption events until they’re adopted. We also have several community outreach programs. We work with Hope Store, which is in Plano and it’s a domestic violence shelter. If anyone ever comes into their shelter that we will take care of any animals that they have for the 30 to 45 days that they’re in the shelter.
Dr. Schults: We always need Hope Store’s fosters, and they say about 75% of victims won’t leave their abuser because they don’t want to leave their animals behind, so we have kind of nipped that and said bring them all with you. We’ve done several of them, and that has been an amazing community outreach program that we’ve had. We’ve helped a lot of people with that. That’s an easy way to help us because you only have a 30 to 45 day commitment to take care of these animals. Our very first one was a bird, which was really interesting. Yeah, it was great. I mean, it was different, but that woman was so appreciative that we got her bird out.
Scott: What kind of bird was it?
Dr. Schults: I don’t even remember.
Dr. Schults: It was crazy, but she was just happy to get her bird out of there because she didn’t know what was going to happen to him when she left. You can also volunteer at our adoption events. We have at least 2 a month, usually on a Saturday. You can find all that information on our website at Maziesmission.org.
Scott: For people that are interested in being foster parents to a pet for a little while, what is the average duration that you would have that pet with you?
Dr. Schults: Usually it’s about 2 to 3 months. I will say that we’ve had a few in our program that have been 9, 10, 11 months. It really depends on how bad of the condition they’re in. If they have a very severe skin condition, they’ll be with us a little bit longer, but the average is about 3 months that we keep these guys.
Scott: What sort of criteria do you have for people that are interested in fostering pets?
Dr. Schults: There really isn’t a huge requirement other than all the animals in your home are fully vaccinated. They have to be spayed and neutered. We really don’t have any requirements on how big of a house you have or where you live. We have people in apartments that do it and we have people with little kids. If you have children and other pets, we have to be cognizant of what we’re pulling is going to get along with kids or other dogs. Really you just have to fill out, I mean it’s a very short form online, and you submit it to us. We look it over and we try very hard to pair you up with what sounds like what is going to work with your family. We even have a little tab there that says what are you willing to work with, what are you not willing to work with, size, sex of the animal, but we’ll know everything that you are expecting from this. Then we have foster coordinators that contact you and we just talk about what you want to have pulled.
Scott: Well, keep up the good work. You guys are doing something amazing here, and you can kind of feel it just walking through the door, but it’s nice to see and know that here in Frisco, there’s a lot of people that love their pets and there’s a lot of people that are looking out not only for their own pets, but for yours as well.
Dr. Schults: Right. Well, thank you so much for having us and helping us get the word out.
Scott: You bet. We will definitely spread the word far and wide. For anybody that’s listening, if you want to go directly to their website, it is Maziesmission.org. How do you spell Mazie’s?
Dr. Schults: It’s M-A-Z-I-E-S.
Scott: M-A-Z-I-E-S-mission.org. We’ll see you guys next week on the Frisco podcast.