When you think about rock ’n’ roll, you probably don’t think about cats and dogs, too. But Motley Zoo Animal Rescue has created a perfect mashup of the two!
History and Mission
Bryan, Director of Marketing for Motley Zoo, and jme, the organization’s Executive Director, had started fostering dogs when they adopted Jasmine, a pup with poor socialization skills. They hoped to help Jasmine learn how to coexist with other animals, plus they wanted to save the life of a rescue animal who would have been euthanized otherwise.
After their successful experience socializing Jasmine with a foster, jme and Bryan simply couldn’t stop. They began working with multiple shelters and rescues to provide a loving foster home, specializing in small dogs with behavioral concerns. After working with many organizations, they began to wonder, “How would we run a foster-based animal rescue differently?” Once their ideas took shape, jme decided to form Motley Zoo Animal Rescue - a foster-powered, volunteer-based rescue.
The name alone was intended to express acceptance of diversity and individuality. Bryan and jme have absolutely succeeded in creating a come-as-you-are culture within their organization. All of their volunteers and foster families forge a bond through their love of animals and their respect for each others’ efforts and uniqueness.
Sticking to the rock ’n’ roll theme, jme had a fantastic idea (that came to her in a dream) to take some foster kittens to a concert to meet the band. The first band they visited was Rancid: the band members were so excited to meet the kittens that they added Motley Zoo to the backstage guest list right away. As expected, the fans went wild! Everyone wanted a pet that had been held by their favorite musical artists. This strategy has become very popular for Motley Zoo, and nowadays they are requested at concerts more often than not. It’s not only a great way to help the rescue animals, but also a fabulous way for a performer to decompress and get some snuggles in before getting back to the grind of touring. One of their most memorable celebrity meetings was their second ever, which was with Snoop Dogg! (You can see more rock star pictures on their Rockumentary page.)
From taking that first litter of kittens to a rock concert on a whim, to fostering a baby pig, jme is not afraid to jump into the unknown and try new things. The rewards of success outweigh the risk of failure.
Photos feature Motley Zoo Rescue animals with the following: Mark Lanegan, Rancid, Tove Lo, Crowbot, Voltbeat, and Snoop Dogg
These photos were provided by Motley Zoo.
Daycare and Training
In 2014, Motley Zoo opened their Rockstar Treatment Dog Daycare facility in Redmond, which helped provide a steady revenue to support their rescue work. They offered both daycare and boarding services and even had a camera in each area where anyone could check out the site and watch pups play. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen structural concerns with the building, Motley Zoo had to leave the site and cease their daycare and boarding services in December of 2022.
Motley Zoo also offers an amazing training program called Rock Star University, with six trainers to help pets with behavioral issues. This training goes far beyond sit, stay, and roll over! There are 13 levels (K-12) to accomplish before graduating. The trainer works with a pup and then assigns homework to the owners to watch and practice at home. This helps ensure that each animal receives the appropriate attention, reaction, and signals for their behavior both during and outside of class time. (So owners are also trained during this program!)
Behavior challenges can be very stressful to handle and can often lead to a sorrowful decision to give up an animal. Since losing their facility in December of 2022, Motley Zoo has been offering Rock Star University training sessions at the pets’ homes. This means that fewer pets can be scheduled each day, and requires more time and effort from the trainers. However, this program is very important to Motley Zoo, so they are doing everything they can to keep it running until they have a new facility.
The Need for Foster Families
When asked what Seattle Pup Magazine should highlight about their organization, jme simply said to emphasize the importance of fostering and the need for foster families in Washington right now. If less than 5% of the households in Washington agreed to foster animals, there would be no animals euthanized for space in shelters. Motley Zoo has a wonderful frequently asked questions page about fostering to provide detailed information and ease potential concerns.
When fostering, a family or individual agrees to house and care for a pet for about two to six weeks. The rescue organization that a foster family is working with will usually cover all expenses, including medical care and food. Fostering is beneficial to a shelter for many reasons, but two that stand out are that pets are more comfortable and that fostering enables the rescue organization to get to know the dog (or cat) in a home environment through the foster parents’ observations of their personality and challenges. This helps the rescue group best place a pet with a future forever family.
Motley Zoo typically has around 150-200 available foster families at any given time. They place a heavy emphasis on ensuring that those volunteering to foster are treated with the utmost respect and kindness. This helps a foster family feel comfortable and love the process so much that they want to do it over and over again.
Having fostered over 1,500 animals, jme said that the best way to keep yourself from wanting to adopt them all is to imagine you are pet sitting for an owner you haven’t met yet. Though she has absolutely adopted a few foster pets over the years, this mindset has helped her not to grow too attached to every animal that paws into her home.
The foster community in Washington is struggling to keep up with demand and many homes are doubling up on foster pets. If you are interested in fostering an animal (and able to do so), consider giving it a try! If fostering is doable for you and your family, you could consider making it a seasonal or yearly activity, or foster as often as you are able!
Fostering isn’t possible for everyone, but there are lots of other ways to help local rescue groups. To see other ways to support Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, click HERE.
Keep up with Motley Zoo’s events HERE. They participate in many fun activities year-round, from Bark at the Park to pie-making lessons to weekend-long festivals. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram or check out their BLOG!
Article by Wendi Black
Edited by K. Sims
Photos provided by Motley Crew Animal Rescue
These sites were used to obtain information about the population of pets in shelters in Washington State (about 75 thousand) and the number of households in Washington State (just over 3 million) to figure out the percentage of households needed to foster just one pet in order for all of the shelters to be empty (under 5%).