A national animal rescue organization recently announced it will feature a local man in its 2018 The Tails of RescueMen USA charity calendar.
Tehachapi resident Zach Skow was one of 13 inspirational men to be featured in the calendar for their efforts to support the #AdoptNeverShop for a companion animal campaign.
"It was a no-brainer," said actress Felicia Greenfield, as to the selection process for the 4th annual calendar."When we started casting this year, several people threw his name out at us."
Greenfield is the president of Grandpa Dave's Creature Comforts and co-founder of the RescueMen USA campaign along with casting director Jen Halpern, president of Pillows for Paws. She said when she and Halpern started on their endeavor, they focused only on New York residents; however, the calendar grew to include the nation by the second printing.
After doing a little research on Skow, Greenfield said they very much wanted him to represent their rescue efforts by featuring him in the 2018 calendar.
Said Greenfield, "He is what a RescueMan really is, and is incredible."
Initially, Greenfield said, she and Halpern wanted to feature your average, next-door man who loves his dog in their calendar. However, this year, the focus has turned to fully-invested rescue men.
"We have several men whose lives revolve around rescuing and facilitating the lives of dogs and cats," Greenfield said. "We really are celebrating that because you see so much about women in the welfare world. We wanted to showcase some of the men, and Zach was just a perfect example."
For his part, Skow, who founded Marley's Mutts in 2009, said, "I was more excited for the dogs to get the publicity."
In 2008, Skow said his own rescue dogs saved his life while he was suffering from end-stage liver disease due to years of drinking and drug abuse. The love he received from his pets turned his thoughts away from suicide and focused him instead on healing.
After making a comeback recovery, Skow gained a new purpose in life by founding a rescue that rehabilitates and re-homes thousands of abused and special-needs dogs from high-kill shelters in Kern County.
The 2018 calendar will feature a photo of Skow with Hooch, a rescue dog that suffered severe abuse and later was named the 2016 American Humane Hero Dog after being certified as a therapy dog who taught addicts, the homeless and others how to forgive and start anew.
The RescueMen campaign's mission is to spread the word that adoption is the only option when bringing a companion animal into your family.
Skow said Marley's Mutts continues to expand and now operates in four state prisons in California, where 36 dogs are living with inmates.
"We have Miracle Mutts educational group that is education at AD schools and institutions in the Kern County area, and we are going to surpass 1,600 spay and neuters for our low-income folks in our county for this year," Skow said.
Marley Mutts adopts out on average of 100 dogs a month.
"It's a lot of work, and I am pretty overwhelmed most of the time, but it's definitely worth it," Skow said. "We are making a big impact, and we now have the kill rate at our local shelters drop from 80 percent to around 40 (percent.)"
For more information on Marley's Mutts and the services it provides, visit marleysmutts.org. For information on RescueMen or to order a calendar in support of the #AdoptNeverShop campaign, visit rescuemen.org.
This story has been updated to reflect that Skow is a Tehachapi resident.