KERN COUNTY, Calif. – “I started this organization due to liver failure, I was terrified with less than ninety days to live,” said Zach Skow.
That’s the prognosis Zach faced in 2009. He spent six weeks at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital before being discharged home. He was told he needed a liver transplant
“My life was very, very, very low. [I] never done without alcohol or drugs, ”he said.
Zach started his work with animal rescue earlier around 2003. He said it was because of his foster dogs that he changed his life.
“When I came back from the hospital, it was the only thing I knew how to do to try and distract myself from what I was in pain,” he said.
It was when Zach achieved six months of abstinence and was told he no longer needed a liver transplant that he also discovered that his new animal rescue organization, Marley’s Mutts, had officially obtained the status of a non-profit association.
“To be kind of wrapped up in animal rescue and accepted by these dogs and seeing your work make such a difference, I fell in love with it,” Zach said.
Today, Marley’s Mutts offers several programs that help dogs and humans learn, grow, and lead happy lives.
“When you learn to take care of something, to stand up for something, to speak up for something that cannot speak for itself, it’s very empowering. It’s very validating, ”Zach said.
Zach forged relationships with leaders like Mayor Goh and Congressman McCarthy. He even took his mission to the White House and was featured on Ellen.
Zach said this couldn’t happen to him anywhere other than Kern County.
“What I quickly discovered when I started Marley’s Mutts was how generous, conscientious and connected this community is,” he said. “No one gives like Kern County.”
And when he thinks about it all, he’s proud and grateful.
“I had lost, completely lost, all the love I had for myself and my rescue dogs really helped bring it back,” Zach said.
If you would like to learn more about how you can support and participate in Marley’s Mutts programs, click here.