WEST DOVER — The Grayter Good Weimaraner Rescue is giving its golf outing another go after the success of its inaugural event last year.
"Every year, we learn more about what we're doing and we'll keep trying to do it better, every year," said Pete MacDonald, organization founder. "It's all about the dogs. So the more people we attract, the more sponsors we get, the more Weimaraners we can rescue."
Sept. 29, will mark the second annual Doglegs Golf Outing his group holds at Mount Snow Golf Club. All proceeds will go to support its missions to "rescue, rehabilitate and re-home" purebred Weimaraners throughout the eastern United States. Player registration is $125 per person, and it includes 18 holes of golf, dinner and a gift bag. The scramble-format shotgun tournament tees off at 1 p.m. Visit thegraytergood.com to register, donate, become a sponsor or learn more.
Since launching the nonprofit in 2015, 175 Weimaraners have been rescued. MacDonald said that number could "easily" reach 200 by the end of the year.
"For 2018, that would be 75 percent growth over last year," he said. "That can't happen without support from others and fundraising and the foster network that we're continuing to build."
The Grayter Good has had an "incredibly busy year" and has become known in the Weimaraner community as a group that will say yes to taking in dogs as long as they are not aggressive and do not have a bite history, said MacDonald, who estimates average medical costs for each dog is about $1,200.
"Since last year's tournament, we've rescued I want to say another 65 dogs, which is more than we normally do," he said. "We've expanded now past simply just the east coast and we now cover 23 states with our foster network as far west as the Mississippi River."
His hope now is to increase the number of staff members. He expects three people to come on as volunteers, one of whom will focus on social media.
MacDonald said he needs one person to do nothing but say thank you to supporters.
"We always say thank yous; I always try to do my thank yous on Thursdays," he said. "We're all about the connection, always making sure everyone understands we can't do this without them."
During the interview, MacDonald was driving to Vermont and making calls in an attempt to find homes for three dogs in Alabama. He lives in New York and runs the ambassador program at the Mount Snow ski resort.
MacDonald said one of the dogs his group took in has been identified as a strong candidate for detecting narcotics and bombs. The dog is now in training.
"We're sponsoring half of that $10,000 bill," said MacDonald. "But when he's done, he may come to Vermont as part of the Vermont state troopers' canine unit. Or if that's not the dog for them, we will find another police department and donate the dog to them."
Another "major accomplishment" occurred just before last year's tournament, MacDonald said, referring to a three-legged dog named Shadow who was adopted by the group's rescue coordinator in Florida and now provides stress relief as a therapy dog in a dentist's office.
"He's a really special boy," MacDonald said. "He's a goofball. He's still puppy-like but he's a big boy."
MacDonald said the organization also has made some connections with celebrities who love Weimaraners. In a press release, he called the breed "amazing."
"They can be the most loving and loyal dogs, as long as owners give them enough attention and proper training," he said, adding that his family adopted their first Weimaraner in 2008 from a rescue in upstate New York, which began "our love affair with the breed."
The golf tournament is the biggest fundraiser of the year for his group. MacDonald recalled having 40 participants last year with another 15 people joining them for the dinner and silent auction.
About 50 to 54 participants are expected in the upcoming tournament.
"I think that this year's is going to be bigger than last year and our hope is to keep growing every year," MacDonald said, calling Mount Snow "really great when it comes to hosting an event."
He said he anticipates some participants will register the day of the event.
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.