The GoodBookey team is excited to welcome our latest charity partner, Dusty Trails, to the family. Dusty Trails is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on rescuing senior Labrador Retrievers and providing a loving home for them to live healthily and happily. Make sure to give them some love the next time you place a bet on GoodBookey – $50 will feed one of their pups for a whole month! Continue reading for the whole story on Georgia Evans and how Dusty Trails became her life calling as told by Brian Castle.
While she’s been both friend and family to senior dogs for more than 30 years, Dusty Trails founder and forensic accountant Georgia Evans only recently realized that her passion project was actually the calling of her life.
“I didn’t really know this would happen—starting Dusty Trails as a refuge for senior Labrador retrievers—until a couple of years ago,” said Evans. “But I realized everything in my life had pointed me in this direction, and everything has fallen into place.
Her first rescue, Paddles, was in the late 1980s. After her original owner went to a nursing home, Paddles landed in the local Montana shelter near Evans’s home. “I was a correctional officer at the time, and I decided I couldn’t live without her—I took her home, where she lived out her remaining six months,” Evans explained. “I’ve always had dogs, but some really stand out. I had a German shepherd a few years back, that I saw on Facebook. I took her in, and she was weak and skinny, with a five-pound tumor. After nursing her back to health, she lived another four years.”
At her seven-and-a-half acre facility near the Florida panhandle town of Lynn Haven, Evans currently cares for a dozen labs brought in from various shelters around the state. For many of the residents, being taken in at Dusty Trails means a renewal of life. For others, It’s spending the last days, weeks, or months of their lives not only with dignity but love and care—a doggie hospice of sorts. “I believe these dogs have been loaned to me by God so that I not only care for them but also love them and mourn them when they’re gone,” she said.
Years ago, Evans had a pair of chocolate labs, including one who stole her heart at first sight. “When I adopted this little guy, he had a helicopter tail, always wagging,” said Evans. “I immediately picked him up and looked into his eyes and said, ‘Your name is Dusty Trails under the Big Sky!’ He was my heart for more than 14 years, and when he left this world, I knew that I needed to start this non-profit and name it after him.”
2017 was a big year, as Evans achieved official 501(c)(3) status for Dusty Trails. In addition to making her venture official, she needed more space. “After we got approved as a non-profit, dogs started coming to us more frequently,” said Evans. “We had seven dogs by June, and now we’re up to 12.” While Evans usually doesn’t put the dogs up for adoption, she has a pair right now that she thinks could live a few years and bring joy to new owners.
In addition to earning official non-profit recognition from the IRS, Evans made a big move to accommodate the greater demand for dogs. “I bought our current facility, which includes seven-and-a-half acres of land, a mobile home, and what we call our bunkhouse, last year,” she said. “We let the dogs go in and out of the bunkhouse, which is outfitted with a sofa chair, and kitchen for prepping their meals, and have free roam of the land. There are no cages. We want them to be comfortable and happy.”
While Evans certainly provides a more abundant life for her rescues, she couldn’t do it without several volunteers and dedicated donors. An area veterinarian performs most of the surgeries and provides clinical care for the labs, at greatly reduced rates. Evans has also come up with an innovative way to attract volunteers, tapping into the RV community. “Years ago when I traveled the country in a fifth-wheel RV, I got plugged into a great group of people,” she said. “I advertised the fact that I had two full-service RV sites on my new property, for people who wanted to experience Florida, and that folks could come here in exchange for volunteer work like cleaning up the yard, feeding the dogs and just spending time with them. I’m amazed at the response. We’ve already had three incredible volunteers: Tom and Jen have built fences, done building repairs, helped clean up the property, and made vet runs, while Stacy has made curtains and a sofa cover for the bunkhouse, done some painting and is currently working on little memorials for the fur babies that we have lost.”
Thus far, the non-medical portion of Dusty Trails’ expenses have come from her pockets, but Evans says a faithful group of donors has responded to her Facebook page pleas for help with medical bills. “They always seem to respond to a level where we have just enough, in tandem with the doctor’s generosity with his fees, to take care of each animal.”
Seeing the potential for an even larger population of senior labs at Dusty Trails, Evans has a new fundraising goal, and she’s thrilled to have GoodBookey in her fundraising arsenal that includes Facebook and AmazonSmile. “We are so excited to be a part of GoodBookey—it’s a lot of fun, and the support from the charity outreach team is amazing,” she said. “I’d like to use the money donated here and from other sources to start a $10,000 medical fund, so that we’ll always have enough money on-hand, no matter how serious a dog’s medical needs.”
Evans plans to retire soon from her three-decade career as an accountant specializing in fraud investigations, enjoying her retirement years taking care of a few select clients and spending even more time caring for and loving the dogs who need her the most.
GoodBookey is proud to partner with Dusty Trails, a special place with a special group of dogs living the life they were meant to live. To learn more about this great organization, visit their website.