We had the good fortune of connecting with Kim Lehere and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kim, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
In the state of Texas, dogs are considered property. As a result, most dog rescues cannot legally take in a stray animal and private citizens cannot legally rehome a stray animal. Ownership must be legally transferred in order to avoid being accused of theft. Owners can surrender a dog to a rescue, a shelter, or another individual. Animal shelters are obligated to have a stray hold period for stray animals to give their owners a chance to find and reclaim them. If no one comes for the dog, ownership transfers (in most cases) to the municipal shelter, who can then legally transfer ownership to a rescue or an adopter.

The public believes turning a dog into a shelter means the dog will be euthanized, and that’s simply not true. Strays must be held for the established stray hold, and most shelters work with a network of rescues and promote their animals for adoption. The shelter is also one of the first places an owner will look for their lost pet. Not all stray dogs are abandoned by their owner. There are many dogs that are stolen and then abandoned or stolen and then get loose.

In addition, if a person isn’t containing their dog or not treating their dog properly, they should be held accountable. Same for those who abandon an animal. It’s all against the law, and only the police or animal control can ensure people are held accountable. The dog needs to go through the system for this to happen.

It’s counter-intuitive, but we try to educate and inform as much as possible. Rescues aren’t turning away strays because they don’t have a heart – they legally can’t take them.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ll talk about my time with the rescue here… I Am Dog Rescue, Inc. was founded in 2015 by Mike Frazier. After providing the new board of directors with some marketing ideas, I ended up joining the board of directors. I served on the board for a while and ended up stepping down for a period.
I rejoined the board and in 2019, I began working very closely with Mike on the day-to-day operations for the rescue. There’s SO MUCH paperwork and tracking and communicating involved! Mike’s father passed away, and he had to travel out of state. At that time, I took over handling things while he was gone.
When he returned, Mike shared with me that he was going to be having surgery in September for prostate cancer. He had his surgery, and I handled things while he was hospitalized. Mike was just getting back into the swing of things when he unexpectedly and tragically passed away. Without leadership, we knew I Am Dog Rescue’s time would be limited. The board of directors met and discussed options, and we determined we wanted to forge ahead in Mike’s honor.
The board trusted me to take the reins, and I’ve served as president of the board since that time.
It has been quite the learning experience, and I’m really proud of how much we’ve accomplished. We are a small group with limited resources, but we have rescued over 400 dogs and continue to be an organization driven by our passion to help dogs in need. We have a solid board of directors who are focused on the dogs and serve with purpose. We are all volunteers, and we love every story we’ve been blessed enough to be part of.
I have discovered time and time again that these dogs find their way right to where they’re supposed to be, and we’re so happy to have played a part in so many success stories.
I’m proud of the network we’ve built and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Of course, we’d take them to one of our favorite animal shelters to volunteer. Little Elm Animal Shelter would be our go-to spot. We’d have brunch at the Brass Tap in Crossroads. They have a dog-friendly patio. We’d go to Bottlecap Alley in Crossroads for dinner. They have an awesome, dog-friendly patio.
On a Saturday, we’d head to Oak Point for polo at Prestonwood Polo Club. Such a dog-friendly time with lots of room and ponies! We might bring the grill and tailgate too!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All the recognition goes to our foster network. We are 100% foster-based (we don’t have a facility), and our foster families are the heartbeat of our rescue. Without a committed foster, we can’t bring any dogs into our program. Our foster families give our rescue dogs love, structure, training, and kindness. They help each dog get ready to go to an adopter. They fall in love with their foster pups, and while it can be difficult to say goodbye, they know that dog got a 2nd chance all because they made the choice to become a foster. We are incredibly grateful for each of our wonderful foster families.

Website: www.iamdogrescue.org

Instagram: www.instagram.com/iamdogrescue

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/company/iamdogrescue

Twitter: www.twitter.com/iamdogrescue

Facebook: www.facebook.com/iamdogrescue

Youtube: www.youtube.com/@iamdogrescue

Image Credits
Sheila Wilson – Photography by Sheila Reese Tigert – 8Two4 Photo

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