Skip to main content
Some Good News

Canine Compassion Fosters Hope, Healing and Accessibility

Back to News
Woman with her dog

Most people haven’t experienced deeply caring for an animal for weeks or months at a time, bringing them into their home to heal and get strong, knowing they will eventually be moving on to someone else's home. For the Montfort family, this kind of generosity has become a way of life. Led by SPH alumna Reka Montfort and her husband Josh Montfort, Head Coach and Director of Gymkana, this family has not only embraced the noble cause of fostering rescue dogs but is also gearing up to make an even more significant impact by training service dogs.

The Montfort home is a haven for animals, especially those who have faced adversity. Fostering rescue dogs has become a central part of their lives, as they open their doors and hearts to dogs in need of second chances. Beginning in March of 2019, the family's commitment to providing a loving and nurturing environment has transformed the lives of 97 dogs and puppies, helping them overcome past traumas and regain trust in humanity. Sons Luke and Tyler are an integral part of the rehabilitation process. In addition to the dogs in foster at any given time, the Montfort family has three permanent canine residents – Sydney, Harper and Tucker.

They ended up being therapy puppies for us during the pandemic.

The Montforts’ dedication goes beyond simply providing shelter. They actively work with a local rescue organization, Knine Rescue, Inc., to identify dogs that may need extra care or rehabilitation. The Montfort family has created a safe space where these dogs can heal, learn to trust again, and eventually find their forever homes. The largest number of dogs they have ever fostered at one time happened in January of 2021, when they had 9 foster dogss, including 7 puppies. This was in addition to two dogs of their own! Reka says that “they ended up being therapy puppies for us during the pandemic.” One of those puppies, Tucker, eventually became their third pet. Another, Angelica, was a 6-year-old St. Bernard who had spent her entire life living in a crate that was too small for her. Josh Montfort found help in one of Gymkana’s assistant coaches, Angie Prescott, who is a physical therapist and created a regimen for Angelica to gain the strength she needed to learn to do things like stand, walk, run and play for the first time.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the Montforts’ work is witnessing successful adoptions. As fosters leave their care to start new lives with loving families, they take pride in knowing that they played a pivotal role in the dogs’ journeys toward brighter futures. Each successful adoption is a testament to the positive impact a few people can have on the lives of many.

In a more recent development, Reka is taking her passion for dogs to new heights by venturing into the world of service dog training. This endeavor stems from a desire to make a positive impact not only on dogs, but on the community. Service dogs play a crucial role in enhancing quality of life for individuals with various disabilities. Reka's official journey into dog training began in April of 2022, when she trained her golden retriever Sydney as a certified therapy dog through an organization called Fidos for Freedom.

I’m most excited about playing a role in the impact that a service dog will have on their person.

Sydney and Reka now volunteer at places like assisted living facilities, schools, libraries, police departments, and the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Fidos for Freedom also places service dogs for training and has approved Reka as a service dog trainer. These trainers work with all the service dogs in training on Wednesday evenings and for an hour on Saturdays so that they get used to being handled by different people. Reka is currently waiting for her first dog to be assigned to her.

Reka says “I’m most excited about playing a role in the impact that a service dog will have on their person. Being able to train a dog to have higher-level skills and how that translates into giving someone a level of independence and freedom that they never thought was possible or that they used to have but no longer have seems so rewarding.” The Montfort home is a place where love and training go hand in paw. With their unwavering dedication to fostering rescue dogs and their newfound commitment to training service dogs, they are making a profound impact on the lives of both humans and canines. Their passion for these furry friends is not only changing individual destinies but also contributing to a more accessible society, one wagging tail at a time.

Man sitting with dog
  • Categories
  • Some Good News