Dogs Matter Eases Foster Care Dilemma

Addicts don’t need to fret about beloved pets during treatment

Kara Conway Love
Special Contributor

When Taylor Stensrud faced a life-altering dilemma, Dogs Matter was there.

Taylor Stensrud with his rescue dog, Belle, a black mouth cur. (Photo: Courtesy Dogs Like Me)

“In early 2018, I was finally ready to accept my truth and willing to begin an alcohol treatment program after nearly two decades of abuse,” the Highland Park resident said. “But what was I supposed to do with my dog, Belle, for 60 to 90 days?”

Housing a pet during a rehabilitation stay is an issue that gets overlooked and holds many people back from getting the help they need on their journey toward recovery.

Addiction can strip away almost everything. One by one, people around an addict often find they have no choice but to leave, and pet owners don’t want to lose the only one who stays and loves unconditionally.

That’s where Dogs Matter, headquartered near Midway Road and Northwest Highway, runs to help.

The Dallas nonprofit founded in 2014 by Stephen Knight provides temporary dog foster care placement and supportive services specifically for addicts and alcoholics seeking treatment and transitioning to recovery. Knight recently appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show

The donor-supported agency takes care of the food and veterinarian services, provides status updates to clients, and includes free aftercare follow-ups for up to 12 months.

“They truly do ‘take care of your best friend while you take care of yourself,’” Stensrud said. “Dogs Matter found the perfect foster family and relieved me of the added stress and anxiety over the care of my dog when I needed to focus on myself and my sobriety.”

Dogs can help reduce loneliness, create social opportunities, lower blood pressure, and provide a sense of purpose in a seemingly hopeless situation.

“Belle has been my loyal companion throughout my journey,” Stensrud said. “We were successfully reunited after my treatment in the summer of 2018 and have been living in a safe, sober environment ever since.”

Stensrud also now works for Dogs Matter, heading up the marketing and foster operations team.

“I’m extremely grateful to the Dogs Matter organization and its amazing volunteers,” he said. “They were such an integral part in my journey towards a new life in recovery.”

Kara Conway Love writes for, which seeks to connect and inspire dog lovers while advocating for a better life with dogs. 

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