The Renegade Rip

Marley’s Mutts looks to find forever homes

Back to Article
Back to Article

Marley’s Mutts looks to find forever homes

Marcus Castro

Zach Skow, owner of Marley's Mutts, spends time with dogs Baloo and Maggie in the wilderness of Tehachapi Feb. 28.

Marcus Castro, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Before Zach Skow and his rescue organization, Marley’s Mutts, started rescuing “death row” dogs, Skow was the one who needed rescuing.

“I wasn’t used to doing anything without alcohol or drugs. I was scared of everything, absolutely petrified,” said Skow.

Marley’s Mutts is a non-profit organization where Skow and his crew rescue dogs from Kern County’s animal shelter. Kern County’s animal shelter has one of the highest killing rates in the nation due to the high volume of animals they receive.

Skow has had dogs in his household most of his life. He also started in dog rescue in 2005 with the Humane Society. But these are not the reasons why he now rescues dogs.

From an early age, Skow was heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol. Being intoxicated was his norm and when he was not intoxicated he felt out of place in every aspect of life.

“Being physically addicted really prevented me from succeeding in anything I tried,” said Skow.

Skow estimated that he’s attended 10 schools including Bakersfield College.

“I drank in class. I drank in the parking lot at BC. I’d go to the liquor store around the corner and just fill up a cup with vodka or just beer. I’d buy an Old English 40. Then brush my teeth in the parking lot. Just ghetto and shady shit,” said Skow.

Skow was 23 when he realized that he was physically addicted to alcohol.

“I tried to go one day without drinking, and I went into full blown withdrawal,” said Skow. “Alcohol withdrawal is the most dangerous type of withdrawal. It can kill you.”

Skow had to go to the hospital, and they told him he needed a medically aided detox. He said, “I don’t plan on not drinking I just plan on going one day … are you crazy.”

Shortly after that, Skow’s liver failed. He spent two months at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. He then got transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills where he, coincidently, was born. Cedars-Sinai is one of seven transplant hospitals in California.

Skow needed a liver transplant but had to be sober for six months before his body was healthy enough to accept the liver.

“Day in and day out things were just as bad as they could get physically,” said Skow.

Skow was going through alcohol withdrawal, causing him to vomit and defecate blood often. He also had a catheter in his back that drained his stomach.

Skow began writing a journal and walking Marley, Tug, and Buddy, rescue dogs from the Humane Society, every day.

There was a time when he felt that he didn’t want to be alive.

“The only way I could get my confidence up to not just put a bullet in my face was with my dogs,” said Skow. “They helped me face each day. We’re going to do this, it’s not just you.”

One of Skow’s struggles while being sober was that he didn’t know how to properly socialize. The dogs helped him with socializing because he didn’t feel as self-conscious when the dogs were with him.

Skow traded his addiction of drugs and alcohol with health and exercise. The health choices and exercising with the dogs began to slowly and then quickly help him get physically better.

“I took trying to live like I took after alcohol and drugs,” said Skow.

When the six months was up and he was eligible for a transplant, he no longer needed one. With the help of the dogs, he ended up rehabbing his liver.

Skow realized that the dogs rescued him when he needed to be rescued so he then decided to take a page out of Canine Canyon Ranch’s book and returned the favor by rescuing dogs.

“My biggest dream is to have a human and dog rescue side by side,” said Skow.

In May of 2009, he corporated Marley’s Mutts. Marley is one of the dogs that rescued Skow, and that is why Skow named the dog rescue Marley’s Mutts.

Marley is the pack leader of Marley’s Mutts. He breaks up all the fights and keeps everything in order in the pack. “He’s 13 now, but he is still a ‘G’,” said Skow.

Marley’s Mutts has received a lot of recognition across the world with fans in 44 countries.

Marley’s Mutts has adopted out around 250 dogs as of the end of 2014. They are already exceeding that number this year with the addition of transporting dogs out of state via airplanes.

Marley’s Mutts and Skow have gotten involved with a lot of people and places in the community.

Skow has been working with well-known dog trainer Cesar Millan. “Working with Cesar Millan has been awesome,” said Skow.

Skow is working on getting a rehabilitation program going with the Kern County Sheriff Department. It is slow going, but Skow hopes to have a program where the inmates help rehabilitate the rescue dogs and in the process the dogs rehabilitate the inmates.

Miracle Mutts is an educational program that Marley’s Mutts has. Miracle Mutts goes to as many schools as possible to educate students.

Miracle Mutts has an event at Beale Library every other Wednesday called Barks and Books. This event is for children who have a hard time reading.

“In order to succeed in school you have to be able to read out loud,” said Skow.

The Barks and Books event has the kids read out loud to the dogs. Skow explained that if you ask the kids to read to an adult they won’t do it, but when you ask them to read to the dogs, they will. The kids feel that people will judge them while they read out loud, but they feel no judgment from the dogs.

They have a Barks and Books event specifically geared to help first-generation English speakers read out loud.

Skow explained how the community of Bakersfield is amazing and thanks them for being so caring and supportive of him and Marley’s Mutts.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Writer
Marcus Castro, Contributing Editor

Marcus Castro is a contributing editor on The Rip this semester. He was the Editor in Chief in Fall 2015. Marcus is putting much of his focus toward page...


19 Responses to “Marley’s Mutts looks to find forever homes”

  1. Fortune minichello on March 6th, 2015 8:58 pm

    I would like to be involved Zach
    I am staying in LanCaster at the moment

  2. harriet Amacher on March 7th, 2015 4:37 am

    You have done well with your second chance Zach. I’m not in your adoption community but have rooted for you and these pups. I cry a bit sometimes too. I love what you do. May God continue to bless you and your mutts.

  3. Susan on March 9th, 2015 7:28 am

    I follow all of your posts and am moved by your determination.I have always been close to my canines….personal pets and fosters…May God bless you and your mission.

  4. Amanda Stroope on March 9th, 2015 7:44 am

    Zach words can’t even describe how amazing you are. The overcoming of your addiction and finding your real self amongst the mutts was a combination of God never leaving your side no matter how bad it got, your determination to make a change even if at times you didn’t think this life was for you and the mutts who were your angels with there guidance.
    You are an inspiration to many. Yourself was rescued and now you rescue those that like you are desperate and just in need of someone or something to make that difference. It makes me proud every time I can say “Zach yeah I know that guy.” May God give you the strength to carry on day in and day out with the amazing new life rescuing animals and people. Thank you!!!!!

  5. Peggy A. Beachler on March 9th, 2015 8:14 am

    Hooray for u & the mutts. I’ve adopted older dogs from 2 different ” kill ” shelters & they were the BEST companions a person could ask for. I’m older & sickly now & if I wasn’t I’d be looking for more wonderful friends .Kudoos to U for the wonderful works u r doing & May God Bless U !!

  6. Linda Tomolonis on March 9th, 2015 8:47 am

    I too am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict nodding and the only way to stay sober is through service to others. I truly believe that.

  7. Deborah Jones on March 9th, 2015 10:15 am

    Zach I am very proud of everything you have accomplished. You have beaten the odds and have come out on top. God wasn’t thur with you yet and he has total faith in you. I now have 6 dogs and 3 cats and a few feral I take of. I had 7 but i lost her March 8th of last year she lived a great life and was a wonderful lab. I still feel the hurt because I miss her she was my baby. But they are all my babies and I wish I could have a place here like yours. It breaks my heart to see animals mistreated or put down. I admire you for your strength and you are in my prayers for your health. Good fortune in all you do! If you are ever down south give us a chat! Your pet pal Deborah.

  8. Carol Hoehn on March 9th, 2015 10:24 am

    Zach I have been a frequent follower on Facebook of Marleys Mutts and I am soo impressed with the lives you save and the home placement you are all involved in. All of those who are involved with the care saving of dogs re-hab of them and mostly saving their lives and loving them are truly touched by God!!the fund raisers your group come up with are amazing. We must all get involved all over this country in one way or the other with donations adoptions helping in animal shelters as well as raising funds for this wonderful cause !!! THESE dogs needus all to get involved. I try and do what I can as well as sharing information!!! Love to all of you atmarleys Mutts and a big hug to Marley. CarolinOH

  9. Ange Noonan on March 9th, 2015 10:47 am

    I have been following you on FB for a while so it was great to get the whole story Super proud of how you turned your life around

  10. DEBBI TROBALL on March 9th, 2015 12:13 pm


  11. Mitzie Georgatos on March 9th, 2015 12:22 pm

    Hi Zach, I want you to know that we are so proud of all you have accomplished in you own life and also in the lives of the dogs! I also have a friend goin thru alot of the same liver situation you faced. We are standing by him in every step he’s faced. We also love our dogs they are such a part of our family. We have 2 black labs and 1 pit bull, the pit bull we rescued and saved from our friend who is so sick. All props to you Zach for all you have done and are currently doing. My husband and I have and will continue to always support you and Marleys Mutts. We love attending your fundraising events and just donating cash to support your orginazation!
    Keep up the great work Zach!!!!!

  12. Sheila Turner on March 9th, 2015 2:10 pm

    I think it is very brave of you to tell your story Zach, and think you are doing a wonderful thing by helping so many dogs that may have been killed otherwise. I follow you frequently, but cannot recall ever seeing Marley. Can you post him sometime? I would love to see the inspiration behind your healing and wonderful turnaround. Keep up the great work. I wish I lived closer, because I would foster for Marley’s Mutts or be part of the organization in some way, shape or form. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you do! Hopefully your story will inspire others to turn their lives around also.

  13. Ester Rivera on March 9th, 2015 2:30 pm

    You are amazing. Yes, you were given a second chance by God Almighty. God Bless you and keep on giving to these animals.

  14. Aaron on March 9th, 2015 3:07 pm

    You are truly an inspiration Zach. We have been following MM for over a year now from Baltimore Md. We have 6 rescue dogs of our own and foster when we can. Would love to start something similar here in Maryland. Keep up the good work!!!

  15. Marianne on March 9th, 2015 4:47 pm

    God bless you Zach! Clearly God has had a special plan for you since day one! Rescuing his precious creations!!

  16. Beverly Jane Thomas-Brasen on March 9th, 2015 7:52 pm

    I read the article, and although I had not known the full story until I read it above, I wanted to tell you that I have had a great respect for you and what you are doing. I only wish that I had met you and got involved when I was living in California after my husband died. But I am now living in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and it is not possible for me to move back to California. But I pray that God will heal you since your recent surgery and bring you back to full recovery, so that you can do what God has blessed you for doing — rescuing those helpless babies that have no voice and would have been killed, just because some cruel human had discarded them. Thank you again for the work you do and God bless you!

  17. Pam on March 10th, 2015 12:55 am

    Hi Zack!!

    The work you do is so great!! I live with the 3 ould’ves, should’ve, could’ve and would’ve. Those and the words, what and if!! My life would be so different. I wouldn’t have married my 1st husband who verbally and physically abused me and left me with hearing loss in one ear.

    Then in 2001, I was sexually assaulted (police said I was physically and verbally abused and 1 case of battery). That was it!! I couldn’t take anymore!! My faith brought me back slowly. I don’t go out much, but, I try.

    Since having Marley’s Mutts on my Facebook, I get strength from very brave dogs like Hooch!! Look how he turned out!! He’s great!! You may think that MM’s is helping you, which it is, but, it sure helps a lot of people out here!!

    So thank you Zack and please continue doing what you do!!


  18. Deylu on March 10th, 2015 11:01 am

    icould write so many words to describe how thankfull i feel for you helping so many furry friends. We need more people like you. I have three rescued canines and 5 cats. They are my daily therapy. I spay and neuter cats , trap and return program. Sometimes i feel that is not enough what i do but is the best from the bottom of my heart. Some day i’ll have a bigger place to live and will star helping more with fostering. Thank you Marley and God keep blesing you always!

  19. Carol Hoehn on March 9th, 2017 11:06 am

    I have followed Marley’s Mutts for several years now and it never ceases to amaze me the Wonderful work you all do at Marley’s Mutts !!! You are Hids Angels on earth and spread love and joy everywhere you go!! I am so proud of the Hell (no other word qualifys) you came thru with Gid’s llove and guidance . The love and joy Marleys Mutts and all the dogs and friends who support you have given you love !!!! I am soooo proud of all who work so hard to work with and love all the dogs I need !!! Love and prayers for you Carol in Ohio 🐾🐾🐾🌹❤🙏🌹❤🙏😘😘🇱🇷

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
The news site of Bakersfield College
Marley’s Mutts looks to find forever homes