This month we're honored to name Southern California Bulldog Rescue as our Rescue of the Month! This bulldog-specific rescue provides shelter, re-homing assistance, and funds for medical treatments. Their bulldogs come from animal shelters, other rescue groups, and owners who wish to surrender their purebred bulldogs, and this incredible organization helps find suitable homes. Learn more below about their awesome work.
Tell us about how Southern California Bulldog Rescue was started? Is there a personal story behind your mission?
It started with a group of a fellow bulldog adopters about 12 years ago that had been volunteering with another Bulldog rescue program that had separately decided to not accept senior or special needs Bulldogs. There was a backlash with the established rescue's decision and many felt unfair to the senior bulldogs, those bulldogs that might have special needs and those Bulldogs that perhaps were not a beautiful as a show dog.
The group of friends, all still actively involved decided to start their own Bulldog rescue with a mission to save 'all Bulldogs', regardless of age, medical conditions or question about pure breed status. The current core of volunteers and directors have a different mission in that we believe that "No Bulldog should be left behind' in a shelter because of being too old, having medical issues that can be difficult to cure or treat, and that even those Bulldogs that are no show quality Bulldogs deserve a right to live with a family.
What are the biggest challenges SCBR faces?
Our biggest challenges is having the resources to provide medical care and safe homes for the dogs with rescue. While vets do offer some discounts and assistance - the cost of medical care to assure all dogs are spayed or neutered before adoption, get current on shots, microchipping, treatments for ear infections, skin infections and eye infections adds up quickly for our rescue program. Bulldogs that make into rescue usually come because their care has been so neglected that owners have abandoned the dogs as "lost causes" or too expensive now - so leave at shelters. People don't give away happy and healthy Bulldog puppies, they abandon or give away senior and sick Bulldogs.
We have a hard time finding foster homes that can locally care for the Bulldogs once they are rescued. Rescued Bulldogs usually need to see a vet at least once a month, and sometimes multiple times a month to keep on the road to recovery. Our foster homes need to be not only in state, but literally a reasonable drive to one of our vets to get scheduled care. Offers to foster that are very far away from where the dogs need to rescued from and vets they need to see are kind, but hard to take advantage of because of location.
Running a rescue and helping dogs can be tough, both emotionally and physically. Can you share a tough experience or trying moment for you, and what you did to overcome it?
The walking into a shelter to save one Bulldog and seeing so many other dogs that need help or saved also is draining beyond belief. It's easy for people to sit behind computer screens 'pushing' the image of one pet in need around, trying to find a rescue or adopter for that dog. I went to a local shelter to pick up a 13 year old Bulldog that appears to be blind, down to skin and bones since he couldn't find a food bowl and crying out of fear being in a shelter with other dogs barking around him. The old guy was just starved and scared in the shelter, a place he didn't belong and where his owners have left him to die.
As soon as I saw him on the Internet, I knew I would get him and in the shelter I felt better knowing I would walk out with him with me. Things would be better for him now. Just because I know there is a Bulldog in the shelter I want to rescue doesn't mean I don't have to walk past rows of cages with other dogs that need rescue too. The walk in the shelter and seeing all the other dogs in need that I wasn't sure someone would come 'save' or adopt is heartbreaking. They all paw at the same type of gates, try to angle to get your eye contact and bark for attention. All these other dogs are just as confused and scared as the one I took out. There are sounds, smells and eye contact you make with other animals in the shelter that you can't easily forget or likely will forget.
You don't overcome it or forget it. I think I manage it by remembering I saved one today and that likely made space open in the shelter for another dog that needed that space too. That the expenses and time I give this dog I took, should mean the shelter can spend what they were to provide him on another dog in need. I think from my experiences walking into shelters, waiting and taking one dog ( sometimes two) gives me insight to what I dislike about human nature with the way some treat pets.
Do you have a network of fosters in the Santa Ana area that help care for the dogs or do the dogs stay in a facility?
We would work with a network of dedicated volunteers that do everything from also going to shelters, fostering Bulldogs in their homes, making office visits, providing care are home, help find homes and manage to even assist with fundraising efforts. We also use a couple kennels services to keep some Bulldogs until foster or adoptive homes are found. It's really volunteers that have the same mind set and make time in their own lives to help the Bulldogs that make it all happen.
Where does your primary financial support come from?
We are 100% not for profit and volunteer staffed. We have fund raisers on a regular basis, some larger planned annual fund raisers and depend on donations. We have some grants that help too.
How many dogs on average do you place in their forever homes annually?
On an annual basis we rescue and place about 300 dogs a year. But ours is not just 'rescue and rehoming', a large part of what we do is help owners keep their bulldogs in with the family. We donate food to families that need help feeding their dog if the family has a short term need. We help families find needed medical care and hospice for dogs the family can no longer care for in a way that is safe.
For those reading this, if they want to help fight the good fight, what can they do to help?
We are one of many Bulldog rescue programs located in the United States and on a worldwide basis. Bulldogs aren't unique to just Southern California and there are likely Bulldogs in need in someone's own area that need to be found and helped. There are dogs of all breed and mixes in shelters that need help too, those should be the first dogs people should wan to 'put their hands on to help'.
If after they think they have done enough locally or still compelled to help our rescue efforts, we also need all the help we can get. We work on fund raisers on almost a weekly basis to cover expenses for the dogs we get into rescue. We are constantly networking to find prospective adopters and foster homes for the bulldogs in need. We seek opportunities to get donations of needed supplies for the bulldogs, such as food, leashes, medicated shampoos and shelter.
What are the plans for the future of Southern California Bulldog Rescue?
SCBR will likely continue to move forward as it has in the past for as long as their is a community of volunteers that see Bulldogs in need. When we first started we are only able to help Bulldogs in the Orange County and surrounded counties that made up most of the metro Southern California area.
Over the years we have stretched farther south with volunteers to the Mexican board and sometimes over that into Mexico, north into the central valley's of California and east into neighboring states with more volunteers helping in pocket areas. I don't see an end to SCBR, but hopefully see others start their own rescue programs.
If you're interested in helping Southern California Bulldog Rescue, donate today or like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram.