By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(Jan. 3, 2019) Susanne Hoshino has rescued over 1,500 animals through her organization, Kindness Matters Rescue.
She has spent the last eight years living by her motto, “working together we save them because every life matters.”
Hoshino, a resident of Berlin since the 1980’s, has spent her life caring for animals and people alike. Equipped with medical knowledge and experience from her former occupations as a nurse and physical therapist, Hoshino uses her skills to help rescue and tend to animals who would otherwise be euthanized and forgotten.
Having a soft spot for animals, Hoshino first began rescuing them full time in 2010.
“Back in 2010 I really started more intensively doing rescue,” Hoshino said. “I had found a stray dog and I ended up bringing him to animal control in the hopes that he could be reunited with his owner. When I brought him there … I became aware of the overwhelming number of dogs that are homeless.
“Even though I’ve been involved with volunteering at shelters and have my own dogs, I had never realized the magnitude of it,” she continued. “So, I resolved that I would do something about that.”
In 2018, Hoshino rescued 403 animals spanning from multiple animal control shelters and kill shelters in Maryland and Virginia. Of these animals, 266 were dogs, 136 cats, and a baby raccoon.
Most of the animals she has rescued were expected not to survive, riddled with illnesses, starvation and poor living conditions. Hoshino used her medical training to nurse hundreds upon hundreds of animals back to health and worked around the clock to find these animals a forever home.
Hoshino travels throughout the Delmarva area picking up animals from shelters. She receives very little monetary assistance from the community, spending a large sum of her own money to care for her rescues.
“The veterinary bills are the highest costs,” Hoshino said. “I’m working with 10 different rescues that increases my ability to rescue animals exponentially. But all those animals that go to rescues they need to cross state lines … They need a health certificate and they need a rabies shot, so that’s coming out of my pocket and depending on which vet I go to it can be very expensive.”
After nursing the animals back to health, she sends them off to various rescue operations all across Delmarva, spanning as far away as Hughesville, Maryland, to Wilmington, Delaware. She works with more than 25 animal rescue organizations including Worcester County Humane Society, Town Cats and K9 New Life.
Some of her rescues have even become Instagram famous. A pitbull named Willie was rescued from a negligent owner who bragged about his yard mate freezing to death on Facebook.
“I saw [Willie] … and he was emaciated like a walking skeleton with hair loss and scars,” Hoshino said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, well I am going to get him to rescue.’”
Willie was rescued by Hoshino and sent to a rescue organization in Wilmington, Delaware, where he was adopted by his permanent family. Willie even has his own Instagram page, ‘WilliePierogiPlatypus” with more than 40,000 followers.
“This was a dog that almost froze to death … he would have died had animal control not busted the owner,” Hoshino said. “He became an Instagram star. Willie was even featured by the Dodo [website] and he had 64,000 likes.”
Several of her rescues have become part of her own family. One particular favorite of hers was an older beagle she named Daisy.
Daisy was abandoned and nearly starved with a necrotic tumor the size of a baseball which left her struggling to sit up.
“I’ve seen a lot of terrible things in animal rescue but she was just about the worst,” Hoshino said. “When I picked her up to put her in my car, she could not even lift her head. She couldn’t stand … and yet the tip of her tail would wag and she tried with all her strength to lay her head in [my] arms.
“I brought her home and started some homeopathic remedies in addition to the regular medicine,” she continued. “She started to eat on her own and I was so, so happy. Pretty soon she could lift her head and she could sit.
Tragically, due to the advanced state of her tumor, Daisy passed away March 20 last year in Hoshino’s arms. Daisy had been in her care for five months. The Berlin resident said she was happy to spend the time she had with Daisy.
“I really feel like she’s an angel that came to Earth because she was pure love,” Hoshino said.
Hoshino has several fosters in her house at any given time, but she also has her permanent furry friends, like Snuggles, another rescue she claimed for herself.
“I was picking up some animals at the animal control that I was taking to rescue … and I saw this little puppy,” she said. “The animal control manager said, ‘She’s got a problem and we don’t know if we’re going to let her out of here.’ I had a rescue partner interested in her and I would be fostering her for the rescue partner so I took her home with me that day. I followed my procedures of quarantine, immediate vaccinations and the quarantine procedures that I usually do.
“She recovered and I realized how intelligent she was,” Hoshino continued. “I ended up being a foster failure and I kept her.”
Hoshino takes in just about any animal she can, because in her mind, all animals are worth saving. She uses every available space in her own home to care for these rescues.
“Luckily my sons are grown up and not living at home because their rooms have been turned into foster rooms,” Hoshino said.
Kindness Matters Rescue will be expanding into a nonprofit this year, which will enable more animals to be rescued, Hoshino said. The animals rescued will be trained to become service animals for veterans and people with disabilities.
“I’m starting to bring in another person to help me with things just in the last few weeks which is wonderful,” she said.
Hoshino encourages the public to contact her if an animal needs assistance, and to adopt rescue pets. She accepts pregnant mothers, bottle-fed babies … any pet in need.
“The [main] thing is not to think that animals that are in animal control have anything wrong with them,” Hoshino said. “They have nowhere to go but to death. That is why I choose to help them, because I’m gonna be their step away from that. Consider adopting an animal from that type of situation or from a rescue. I really want to press on people is every animal is an individual and you cannot really judge [them] by its breed especially if it’s a mixed breed.”
Hoshino is in the process of setting up a Facebook page and website for her organization. To contact Hoshino about animals in need of rescue, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or through messenger on her personal Facebook page.