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Marley's Mutts founder reflects on how animal rescue led him to sobriety

"It's unbelievable."
Posted at 7:04 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 12:47:22-05

KERN COUNTY, Calif. — “I started this organization in liver failure, scared out of my mind with less than ninety days to live," said Zach Skow.

That’s the prognosis Zach faced in 2009. He spent six weeks at the Bakersfield Memorial Hospital before being sent home. He was told he needed a liver transplant

"My life was very, very, very much so rock bottom. [I] never coped without alcohol or drugs," he said.

Zach began his work with animal rescue earlier around 2003. He said it’s because of his foster dogs that he turned his life around.

“When I got back from the hospital, it was the only thing I knew to do to try to take my mind off of what I was suffering through," he said.

It was when Zach reached six months of sobriety and was told he no longer needed a liver transplant that he also found out his new animal rescue organization, Marley’s Mutts, was officially given nonprofit status.

“To get kind of enveloped with animal rescue and to be accepted by these dogs and to see your work making such a difference, I just fell in love with it," said Zach.

Today, Marley’s Mutts has several programs that help both dogs and people learn, grow and lead happy lives.

“When you learn to care for something, stand up for something, speak for something that can’t speak for itself, it’s very empowering. It’s very validating," said Zach.

Zach has built relationships with leaders like Mayor Goh and Congressman McCarthy. He’s even taken his mission to the White House and was featured on Ellen.

Zach said this couldn’t have happened for him anywhere other than Kern County.

“What I quickly found out when I started Marley’s Mutts is how giving and conscientious and plugged in this community is," he said. "Nobody gives like Kern County.”

And when he looks back on it all, he’s proud and grateful.

“I’d lost, completely lost, any amount of love I had for myself and my rescue dogs really helped give that back to me," said Zach.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can support and participate in Marley's Mutts' programs, click here.