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Herald Mail Media: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot honors volunteer organization for saving dogs

In saluting the co-founders of a dog rescue organization Tuesday, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said his thoughts turned to his “best friend,” Henry.

Henry is a yellow Labrador retriever.

“I’m personally moved by the work you do,” he told Laurie Brewer and Kelly Middleton, co-founders of For Otis Sake. Citing his family’s fondness for their pet, Franchot said, “If anything is ever needed by Henry, no expense is ever spared.”

For Otis Sake, founded in 2014, is named after another Labrador retriever.

The organization rescues, rehabilitates and finds homes for at-risk dogs from underfunded and overcrowded shelters and animal control facilities across the country.

The organization uses donations and money earned through fundraising to cover costs such as veterinary care, food and training expenses. It also works with foster families who care for dogs until they can be placed permanently.

Since it was founded, For Otis Sake has rescued and assisted in the adoption of almost 400 animals. The return rate on adoptions is less than 3 percent.

In recognition of its contributions, Franchot presented the organization with the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for Washington County Tuesday during a ceremony at the Washington County Chamber of Commerce in downtown Hagerstown.

The award was created to honor the legacy of public service exemplified by Schaefer, a former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor and comptroller. One recipient is selected from each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions.

“We’re beyond grateful and humbled to get this award,” Brewer said.

Brewer said For Otis Sake is not a shelter.

“We have a great Humane Society here. ... We focus on rural animal control facilities across the United States,” she said.

In many of those facilities, dogs are at risk of being euthanized.

“We do what we can to help the dogs,” Brewer said.

That often means treating them for illnesses or medical conditions, having them spayed and neutered, and putting the canines through training.

“We’re committed to training, and we spend a fair amount of money on training,” Brewer said.

The number of rescued dogs varies.

“It can be 100 to 150. It can be a year where we do 70 to 75,” Brewer said.

“A lot of it is based on how many foster homes we have available,” Middleton added.

Brewer and Middleton stressed that For Otis Sake is an all-volunteer organization, from leaders to foster families. Given that, Middleton said, it’s easy to be swamped by day-to-day details.

“Sometimes it takes something like this (award) to make you see the big picture,” she said.

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