dog resting head on cushion

Foster dog Sega (KMC Adopt Don’t Shop)

Volunteering can be such a fulfilling activity. Every other month, we highlight a new organization or event for those who are looking to learn more about the services and resources available to them as well as for those who are looking to give back to the community.

This month we are featuring KMC Adopt Don’t Shop. I had the pleasure of speaking with the foster coordinator and dog trainer, Ronda Smith, and current foster dog mom, Autumn S.

Ronda has been with KMC Adopt Don’t Shop for a year and a half. She is someone who prefers animals to people (me too, Ronda), is currently in school for vet medicine and just wants to give back to the animals.

Ronda stressed that fostering and adopting are not for everyone. Animals can be a huge commitment; however, fostering can be a way to figure out if you are ready to adopt. If you choose to adopt, there is a five-part rigorous process to ensure that the situation is ideal for both the family and the animal that involves applications, interviews and meet-and-greets. However, Ronda is passionate about connecting animals with families and by the end of the interview she asked me, “Have you ever thought about a cat?”

If you love animals but cannot make the commitment to fostering or adopting, Ronda explained there are plenty of other ways to volunteer and help with the animals. Caring for animals is expensive. There are veterinarian costs, boarding costs, feeding costs, training costs and more. You can donate items for fundraising costs, donate to the cause or simply bid on raffle items. They need people to help with the re-homing process and transport the animals to adoptive and foster homes. You can do something as simple as sharing the animals up for adoption on your social pages.

Ronda also connected me with Autumn so that we could share a foster story with you.

As Autumn adjusted her computer’s camera, the biggest most lovable-looking boy invaded the picture. I’m sure Autumn was saying something, but I must admit, my focus immediately switched to this giant. She noticed fairly quickly and stated, “This is Sega” and then turned to him and said, “Sit, we are going to an interview.”

Foster dog sega laying on floor

Foster dog sega laying on floor (KMC Adopt Don’t Shop | Autumn S. )

Sega came with so many warnings: He was aggressive and reactive! He had already been rehomed six to seven times. The family before Autumn and her spouse had him only three days before calling and saying that someone had to pick him up the next day. While Autumn is telling me all this, Sega is in the background rolling around in the sunbeam peeking through their window.

Autumn wasn’t sure what to expect when Sega showed up at her house in the backseat of someone’s car with no lead or muzzle and warnings of being people and dog aggressive. Autumn simply reached in, and Sega came right out. For three months, Sega has been training to work on reactivity. He does really well at training, but he is still protective of “his” people and “his” house. When I asked Autumn if he was on track to become a “foster fail,” she said that while they love Sega, he really needs a ranch and something to protect because he is going stir-crazy in a house.

When asked about the rewarding aspects of volunteering, both Autumn and Ronda had something to say. For Autumn, “Sega brought us a ton of comfort…and gave us something to do (after the loss of Moku) …. He needed us.” KMC Adopt Don’t Shop works hard to align the right animal with the right family and to ensure that the animal fits the family’s lifestyle. As someone who works hard to coordinate people and animals, Ronda loves “seeing how happy and comfortable the animals are in their new homes.”

While I only got to speak with Ronda and Autumn, many people ensure these animals are safe and happy. Ronda wanted to make sure they were mentioned:

“I just want to thank the founders of KMC Adopt Don’t Shop, Amy and Brendon Bale. As well as all the hard-working ladies who put in so much time helping these fur babies and our foster families who help support us in finding furever homes. I appreciate Kindsbach Sunshine Farm for lending us a helping hand when needed with fur babies. Especially dog training. Thank you Amy, Caroline, Jennifer, Léonie, Mariana and Melissa! Y’all are awesome. Thank you to our past volunteers and thank you to our future volunteers as well. We could not do this without you.”

Two dogs sleeping

Two dogs sleeping (KMC Adopt Don’t Shop)

If you are interested in learning more about fostering, adopting, helping with transportation and re-homing, fundraising or donating to KMC Adopt Don’t Shop reach out to Ronda at, or go to their Facebook and Instagram pages.

UPDATE: Since writing this article for the August 2023 “What’s Up” magazine, Ronda has reached out and informed us that Sega has officially been adopted. He lives on a farm and has a new donkey best friend. His new owners built him his own mini-pool.

Dog playing in his new pool at his new farm home

Sega at his new home (KMC Adopt Don’t Shop)

author picture
Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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