Rescue Of The Month
Pali Boucher started Rocket Dog Rescue in 2001 with the mission of helping create a world where all companion animals having loving and permanent homes and where no good natured dogs, no matter what their age, are killed because they are considered to be surplus or un-adoptable. Boucher's story is truly inspirational, and we are so honored to name Rocket Dog Rescue as our Rescue of the Month for September.
Before starting Rocket Dog Rescue, Pali was homeless living on the streets of San Francisco. Growing up, her mother struggled with drugs, mental illness and was homeless. Pali's mother had passed away when she was 10. For a short time after, she was in foster care, then with her dad, and then back on the streets.
While homeless, she would visit the dogs at the San Francisco SPCA, which at the time was a kill shelter. She would say hi to the dogs and give them some attention. "I wasn’t looking to adopt. But there was this one hound dog always baying at the top of his lungs. I fell in love. So somehow, I got the money, faked an address and adopted him," Pali recalls. His name was Leadbelly.
Taking care of a dog while homeless can come with significant challenges, and Pali unfortunately faced many of them. She was in and out of jail and was very close to losing Leadbelly a couple times. This was when she realized she needed to make a change in her life and decided to enter a drug program. Pali found a friend who would care for Leadbelly during her recovery. About a year later, she was clean and sober and had Leadbelly back in her life. It was at this time that Pali's subsidized housing was approved, and she was so grateful to have a roof over her and Leadbelly's heads.
Pali spent the following years fostering many dogs. Sadly, Leadbelly died in 2001, but with his passing came an idea. "I wanted to go the next step and create my own nonprofit. My core group of about 10 friends became my board of directors and volunteers. Rocket Dog Rescue is a tribute to Leadbelly. He helped me learn how to take care of myself by taking care of him," said Pali.
For more than a decade, RDR operated without a facility and was solely dependent on their network of fosters around the Bay Area. After much hard work, dedication, and fundraising, Rocket Dog Rescue was able to open their own Urban Sanctuary and Adoption Center in Oakland, California in 2014.
RDR has saved over 10,000 dogs from euthanasia in overcrowded Bay Area shelters and is exclusively volunteer run and operated. We'll be donating $1 or more for every product purchased from Neptune & Co. to Rocket Dog Rescue for the entire month of September. You can donate directly by clicking here, and can follow RDR on Facebook and Instagram. If you're looking to adopt a dog, check out their available dogs here.
British restaurateur, author, actress, and television personality Lisa Vanderpump has added "animal rights activist" to her long list of accomplishments. In 2015, after witnessing the horrific images of slaughter and abuse of dogs in preparation for the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, which in an annual event in Yulin, China, Lisa was determined to do something about this. Executive Director, Dr. John Sessa, recalls,
"[Lisa] immediately started emailing me and calling her husband Ken to see what we could do about it. We immediately made a PSA with Sharon Osborne, executed a large demonstration in front of the Chinese Consulate and made several trips to Washington DC to lobby for House Resolution 401, which we helped author."
It was around this same time that Lisa, Ken, and John realized the huge dog homeless and overpopulation problem occurring in their own backyard in Southern California. In Los Angeles alone, over 3,000 dogs are euthanized in city and county shelters each year. The three knew they had to help, so they started The Vanderpump Dog Foundation in 2016 and opened the Vanderpump Dogs Los Angeles Rescue Center just over a year ago. The Rescue Center is swanky and brings the "Vanderpump" flare and style complete with jazz music, velvet couches, and even chandeliers.
Check out our Q&A with Dr. Sessa below:
What are the biggest challenges Vanderpump Dogs faces?
Dr. Sessa: We have been able to become a huge voice for the voiceless in a very short amount of time and I think our biggest challenge is keeping up with the demand for help. We get hundreds of calls and emails every day about dogs domestically and around the world that need our assistance. It is our duty to make sure we are a source for information and resources for everyone reaching out to us and help as many as we can.
Running a rescue and helping dogs can be tough both emotionally and physically. Can you share a tough experience or trying moment for the organization, and what you did to overcome it?
Dr. Sessa: We have a very dedicated and compassionate team, who strive to help every dog who needs our assistance. I think the biggest struggle and experience we have to continually get over is the inability to help every dog that comes our way. I just always remind the staff that we can help as many dogs as possible today and with our larger legislation and education efforts, we will eventually be able to effect change on a long term and be able to help all dogs. Dealing with loss is always difficult, but a part of the job when rescuing.
Do all of the dogs you rescue stay in the Rescue Center or do you have a network of fosters in the LA area that help care for the dogs as well?
Dr. Sessa: We do a combination of both fosters and in-house dogs. Our volunteers and fosters have become such an important part of running the non-profit and making sure to keep expenses at a minimum.
Where does your primary financial support come from?
Dr. Sessa: Originally our financial support was solely from Ken and Lisa, which can get tasking and expensive. Thankfully, the model that we have built has a revenue producing entity with our grooming, retail and adoptions. This contributes to about half of our total overhead, our annual fundraisers (World Dog Day and our Gala) produce a significant portion and our wonderful donors contribute the rest.
How many dogs on average do you place in their forever homes annually?
Dr. Sessa: The first year of operations, we successfully rescued and rehomed 500 dogs. Our goal is to double that this year!
For those reading this, if they want to help fight the good fight, what can they do to help?
Dr. Sessa: I suggest they go to www.vanderpumpdogs.org and help our efforts by building your own fundraising team or join one of our existing teams. We have competitions for groups to win prizes, as well as, raise money for our dogs - so it is a win win! Also - there are several other ways to show your support and they are listed on the website.
What are the plans for the future of Vanderpump Dogs?
Additionally, we are continuing our rescue efforts locally (hoping to double our adoption numbers from last year) and internationally, bringing much needed supplies for dogs to third world and impoverished countries.
In the long term, we would like to eventually open a sanctuary and rescue operation in Malibu on a significant parcel of land.
After volunteering for a national French Bulldog rescue in 2010, Megan Gates started learning what "the world of rescue" meant and stood for. What she learned changed her life forever.
After attending several commercial breeder dog auctions and finding out the eye-opening truth, Megan started to spread the knowledge she had gained. In 2013, she founded SNAFU (Short Noses And Friends United) Rescue and decided to do what she could to help the dogs in the commercial breeding system.
SNAFU does this by networking with commercial and private breeders for breeder releases. The organization also raises money in order to attend commercial breeder auctions and purchase dogs to free them from the commercial breeding system. It is a tough balance of bidding responsibly in order to help dogs in need but also not contributing to the problem.
Based on their name, SNAFU primarily rescues English and French Bulldogs. "There are many breed specific rescues around, and some of the other breeds already had rescues. Due to our love of short noses and the need for a rescue, we decided to focus mostly on them," said Megan.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, SNAFU receives most financial support from individual donors and fundraising activities. This is also one of their biggest challenges, as they continuously need financial resources to cover many vet bills and expenses that are incurred.
All dogs rescued by SNAFU are cared for by foster homes as they organization does not have a facility. On average they rescue between 25-30 dogs a year, but they are starting to grow significantly. "We would love to continue to grow and assist as many dogs as we can by helping get them out of the commercial breeding system, and helping any dogs who are unwanted in their current homes. We do also take on a few dogs who are surrendered due to behavioral issues. We will continue to educate and make an impact in the lives of short noses in need."
This month we're excited to name Compassion Without Borders as our Rescue of the Month! Country lines don't stop this amazing organization from helping dogs in need.
Christi and Moncho Camblor started Compassion Without Borders in 2001, with the vision of helping provide brighter futures for animals both in Mexico and in the United States. CWOB was born out of a clear understanding that all dogs deserve a fighting chance to live a great life, regardless of their geographic location. "We have a focus on Mexico because the need is so great and there are so few programs to help animals south of the border," said Christi.
"The magnitude of their suffering, the bleak and harsh landscape into which they were born, the total and complete lack of humane options for these animals, it screams to me from south of the border and calls me forward to do whatever I can," Christi writes in another post.
CWOB has established four programs that are the cornerstone of the organization's mission, which include Mexico Dog Rescue, US Dog Rescue, Veterinary Wellness Clinics & Spay/Neuter Services. They also actively help other rescue groups in the US and Mexico to provide outreach for humane rescue education and training seminars.
Last year alone, Compassion Without Borders rescued over 600 dogs. They have a shelter located in Santa Rosa, California but also rely on a network of foster families located in the Santa Rosa area. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, CWOB is dependent on donations from individual supporters. This also proves to be CWOB's biggest challenge. As a result, Christi and Moncho are constantly navigating the best ways to have the most impact with their limited resources and staff while maintaining their amazing programs.
Just like the future of the dogs they rescue, CWOB's future looks bright with plans of opening a shelter in Mexico for orphaned puppies, nursing mothers, and their litters. Christi and Moncho also have a capital campaign in the works for 2019 to renovate their shelter and open a sliding scale clinic for low-income families.
This month we are featuring Los Angeles-based rescue organization, A Purposeful Rescue, as our Rescue of the Month. We sat down with founder, Hillary Rosen, who calls each dog she rescues a ‘magical unicorn’.
Life was never the same for Hillary Rosen after stepping foot into her first animal shelter during the summer of 2012. She immediately realized how big of a challenge animal shelters faced with limited space and a lack of financial resources. Within 24 hours, Hillary rescued her first dog - an 80 pound Rottweiler/Pitbull mix named Marley. Within two weeks she had found Marley an amazing forever home. It was in this moment that she felt the undeniable need to help as many dogs as she could, so she decided to start A Purposeful Rescue.
One of her biggest challenges is “managing work and the rescue - there is not enough time in the day, however, we run a pretty tight ship and get a lot done for being such a small organization,” Hillary said. She attributes much of the amazing work to the volunteers who donate their time to rescuing dogs and providing the necessary care.
Hillary and team are very active within the Los Angeles community and work with their friends at Downtown Dog Rescue and Home Dog LA, who each run intervention programs at both the South LA Shelter and North Central Shelter.
A Purposeful Rescue relies primarily on individual donors, but also likes to tap into each volunteer’s strengths. In another interview, Hillary mentioned that “not everyone can walk into a shelter and volunteer and not everyone can foster a dog. There is so much more to running a non-profit pet rescue than fostering and adopting. We always need help with fundraising, events, transportation of dogs to vets and fosters, accounting, and social media, to name a few things on the list of needs.”
To date, A Purposeful Rescue has rescued somewhere around 600 dogs in over five short years. “Our big goal is to have our own animal hospital where people who don't have the financial resources can come and will be provided free or low cost good vet care,” said Hillary.
To help this amazing organization take one step closer to opening their own animal hospital, Neptune & Co. will be donating $1 at a minimum for every product sold to A Purposeful Rescue for the entire month of January. Follow their amazing work on Instagram, Facebook, and their website.
Helping rescue dogs is woven into the very fabric of Neptune & Co. There is no better way to celebrate our official launch this month than by featuring Muttville Senior Dog Rescue based in our hometown of San Francisco, California. During the entire month of December, we will be donating $1 for every product purchased to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue was founded in 2007 by superstar animal advocate, Sherri Franklin. She was inspired to start Muttville after volunteering at local shelters around San Francisco and noticing that senior dogs were always being passed up by potential adopters. She remembers thinking "I had to take action! When I started Muttville, many shelters assumed seniors were 'unadoptable' and routinely euthanized them." Muttville started in Sherri's home and she saved 27 dogs that first year.
In 2012, the SPCA generously allowed Muttville to rent an old administrative space. This allowed Sherri to move the operation out of her house. Amazingly, they have saved the lives of over 5,000 senior dogs since 2007, with over 1,000 of those dogs rescued this year alone.
Aligned with the organization's mission statement, Muttville's biggest success has been helping to change the way people think about senior animals. Sherri explains, "When I founded Muttville, we thought most of our adopters would be senior citizens. We still have a strong and dedicated Seniors for Seniors program (we waive the adoption fee for senior citizens), but many of our adopters are young families and millennials who bring their Muttville dogs to work with them!"
Muttville relies solely on individual donations, which is also one of their biggest challenges. "Most of our dogs come in need of dentals, which range from $700 to $4,000 in cost. On average, we spend $1,600 per dog to get them ready for adoption. Veterinary costs add up quickly!", says Sherri.
As for the future, Sherri told us "We are looking forward to more dogs being rescued. More seniors finding homes. More people understanding that adoption is a lifetime commitment, and that those last years can be the best years. More senior people realizing what a wonderful difference a senior dog can make in their lives. And more families falling in love."
Donate to Muttville by clicking here.
Here are some dogs currently available at Muttville looking for a forever home.
|Corgi Mix, Female, 8 yrs
|Spaniel Mix, Male, 9 yrs
|Chihuahua Mix, Female, 10 yrs
|Pekingese Mix, Male, Hospice
|Chihuahua Mix, Female, 8 yrs
|Poodle Mix, Female, Age Unknown
|Dachshund, Female, 9 yrs
|Jack Russell Terrier Mix, Male, Age Unknown
|Maltese/Poodle Mix, Male, 7 yrs