Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Chained Dogs MKE, Inc. rescues abused dogs

NOW: Natalie’s Everyday Heroes: Chained Dogs MKE, Inc. rescues abused dogs

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Chained Dogs MKE, Inc. is an organization that works to save animals chained in yards with little shelter or food. Founder Katrina Rasler believes saving lives can take many forms -- from educating owners to finding new homes.

CBS 58 recently caught up with Rasler and her team at Humbodlt Park, meeting two dogs who've had their lives transformed in a few short weeks. 

Watching Bruce walk through the park, it's hard to imagine his life before.

"Totally different dog," Rasler said.

He's curious, because he's got a great big world to explore.

"He was barely fed, it was just an awful situation," Rasler said of his previous life.

Just weeks ago, Bruce's home was a small apartment balcony. He didn't have room to walk much, and his ribs showed through his fur.

"He was starved, malnourished, covered in cigarette burns and frostbite," she said.

That's where Rasler came in.

"The whole story behind it is very heartbreaking, but when you're able to save them, save their lives and then rehome them, it's a feeling that I can't describe," she said.  

Rasler started Chained Dogs MKE back in 2015, getting calls about animals living outside.

"The neighbors, family members, even aldermen, contacted us about people in their district, that they were concerned about the dogs being outside 24/7," she said.

She learned about Bruce when someone tried to give him away for free.

Each situation she is called to begin the same way.

"The first thing we do is a welfare check," Rasler explained. "If the dog is in a dire situation, meaning like medical, or needs immediate attention, we will contact the police."

Luna is another recent rescue.

"So, they burned her with cigarettes here," said her foster mom, Mary Rinnert.

The three-year-old dog needed immediate care.

"She's getting more and more comfortable every day," Rinnert said.

Now, Luna is recovering from her life outside, and she recently gave birth to a litter of puppies.

"I would say Luna definitely pulled heart strings. She was probably one of the worst that we've ever had," Rasler said.

But Chained Dogs board member Megan Jordan said it isn't just about removing dogs.

"Sometimes it's educational. Sometimes it's resource, money, things like that," Jordan explained.

Rasler and her team provide shelters, heated beds and food to families.

"Any supplies that they would need, basically, to keep the dog as comfortable as possible and fed outside," she said.

Right now, she's helping 20 families feed their pets. She estimates she's helped 500 animals over the years.

"I would say 99.9% of the time, it's great. We've only been refused maybe twice out of all these years," she said.

Jordan says working with Chained Dogs MKE has taught her a lot.

"People typically don't realize that, in our community, we have a lot of dogs that are mistreated. They're abused. They're chained up outside. So, it's eye opening," Jordan said.

"It's truly amazing how they bounce back so fast," Rasler said of the dogs' resilience.

Rasler says the reward is seeing the progress made by dogs like Bruce and Luna.

"We're just a handful of girls who just love animals," she said.

Doing what's best for each dog, as best she can.

"She's an inspiration. We need more people like her," Jordan said. "It takes truly a different person to go out of their way and really deeply care for the animals like she does."

For more information on Chained Dogs MKE, Inc., you can visit their Facebook page here.

If you'd like to nominate an Everyday Hero, send Natalie a message at [email protected].

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