Honk for Hounds gives abandoned animals new hope (and could ring up a few car sales, too)

Car dealer sponsors adoption event
Honk for Hounds gives abandoned animals new hope (and could ring up a few car sales, too)
Posted at 7:00 AM, Oct 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-12 07:00:17-04

BATAVIA, Ohio -- People looking to buy a car are always trying to find ways to save money. On Saturday, Oct. 15, Jeff Wyler Eastgate Mazda will offer its customers the chance to do so as they save a life.

That's the day Wyler Eastgate Mazda will host Honk for Hounds, a rescue-animal adoption event.

Animal-rescue organizations Sweet Dream House Rescue and Lil Paw Prints Animal Rescue Haven will bring adoption-ready dogs to the dealership; customers who take one home will save $1,000 on their vehicle purchase and receive a $100 gift card to PetSmart. And for every car sold that day, the dealership will donate $100 to the animal-rescue groups.

"I like being able to give those dogs a second chance," said  Eastgate Mazda sales manager Eric Reardon. He walks the talk: His two dogs, Romey and Xena, were both adopted from Sweet Dream House Rescue.

Dogs will be available for adoption between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The dealership will also have a cookout, with free hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks served to visitors.

This will be the second Honk for Hounds event held by a Wyler Eastgate dealership. Reardon came up with the idea for the event this past spring, when as inventory sales manager at the Nissan dealership, he was brainstorming ways to bring people onto the lot. Out of the blue, he received a text from Sarah Schmidt Hopkins, a volunteer with Sweet Dream House Rescue. Schmidt Hopkins had meant only to ask how Reardon's dogs were doing, but instead she inspired him.

"It just clicked in my head: Why don't we have an adoption event?" Reardon said. "So right then and there, I called her up and asked if she'd done this before."

This will be the second Honk for Hounds event held by a Jeff Wyler Eastgate dealership.

It was a first for the both of them, but that didn't stop Reardon and Schmidt Hopkins from creating a successful event. In May, Wyler Eastgate Nissan hosted the first Honk for Hounds, which raised $1,200 for Sweet Dream House Rescue and sent four dogs to new homes.

"He is such a passionate person about our rescue and animals in general," Schmidt Hopkins said. "Our rescue is beyond blessed to have him advocating and helping us raise money."

Sweet Dream House Rescue deals with some of the region's toughest cases of animals in need. The organization's volunteers travel to areas where animal abuse is common and euthanasia is often looked upon as a preferred method for dealing with unwanted dogs.

Some of the dogs they save end up being classified as non-eligible for adoption, as their experiences can lead them to become aggressive toward humans and other animals. But they've found that in many cases, all an abused dog needs is a little love to get things turned around.

The day Reardon decided to become a dog owner, he didn't approach a breeder. He didn't go to a pet store. He didn't even wake up that day knowing he was going to be taking home a dog.

It was the sound of barking from across the parking lot during a December 2015 shopping trip that got Reardon's attention. Curious, he walked over to PetSmart, where Sweet Dream House Rescue was holding an adoption event. Soon he was driving home with Romey, an Australian shepherd mix.

Reardon didn't leave that day with just a dog, though. He left with a newfound passion for helping other rescue dogs find homes.

"You never know how long they're going to sit in an animal shelter or a crate by themselves," Reardon said. "That's why I went the rescue route instead of going through a breeder."

To ensure the dogs go to loving homes, Sweet Dream House Rescue will carefully vet prospective owners, Schmidt Hopkins said.

"We would prefer interested applicants complete a background application prior to the event," she said. (Download the form here.) "If that is not possible, applicants, upon adoption, complete an adoption contract and a background application to ensure the dog is going to a wonderful home."

Volunteers also conduct informal interviews with potential adopters to ensure the dog is a good match for the adopter's lifestyle, she said.