Growing up, there was always a rescue dog in Dan Roberts’ house. At one point, there were three at the same time.
When he moved out to pursue a career, he found himself picking up the family dog to accompany him on hikes. But feeling like “something was missing,” he rescued a pit bull, Eddie, from a high-kill shelter in California through the West Coast Pet Project. The adoption, he says, was a jumping off point in wanting to help other dogs, including fostering and volunteering with local rescues.
Now a real estate agent with Oakwyn Realty, animal advocacy has become part of his professional life. Roberts launched a one-for-one program helping dogs, even incorporating it into his business plan. It’s simple but powerful: One dog saved for every home sold.
But why now?
“I did it after learning about kill shelters and the thought of a dog like Eddie never getting a chance. And now I get to give back on day one, as opposed to the norm, which is become successful and when you’re older, write cheques to charities,” he tells Daily Hive.
“I have always felt that the time to give back is now, not when things slow down, or when retirement comes.”
So far, 19 dogs have been saved based on his sold properties. There are also a lot more who he’s taken in as fosters until a permanent home can be found.
So what has the reaction been from clients? Overwhelmingly positive, says Roberts.
“My clients definitely respect the fact that I do this, but after the deal is done, of course,” he says.
The dogs mostly come from southern California, from the region where Eddie was plucked from an overcrowded shelter with slim resources. Between overbreeding, abandoned and stray dogs, and a lack of spay and neutering, the population of shelter pets there is booming.
“Vancouver is very pro-adoption now over buying from breeders or puppy mills but it is the opposite in most parts of North America. People will buy a puppy only to give it up 1-10 years down the road, and of course the older the harder it is to re-home the dog because everyone wants a puppy,” he says.
“Millions of healthy dogs get put down each year in the United States and we are trying to help out, and mostly educate.”
When the dogs arrive in BC, they are put into the care of temporary foster parents and boarding facilities until the dogs are placed into a forever home. Until adoption, he pays for all associated costs, including food and vet bills.
Next up in the realtor’s efforts to help dogs is supporting his girlfriend Stephanie Taylor’s documentary on the plight of stray dogs in Cabo San Lucas, the popular Canadian tourist hotspot on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula.
The film, which is in pre-production stages and is generating funds through a Kickstarter campaign, will highlight the (mostly hidden) problem — and what people are doing to help out.