By: Kelly Allday
As the daughter of a veterinarian, animals have played a huge role in my life. I was fortunate enough to learn how to ride when I was four and trained and competed with Hunters and Jumpers until I was 20. As most of us know, when you have horses, you’re likely to have dogs, and boy did we have all the dogs. Over the years, my family owned Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and Boxers. I absolutely fell in love with this breed.
When I was a sophomore in college, a friends Boxer had a litter of puppies and he asked me to transport them from our hometown to school for him. There was no way I wasn’t keeping one of them and ended up with my first dog, Mac. When I graduated from college, I got my first job and decided that I wanted a companion for him. This was my first exposure to animal rescue. I started to look around at local rescues and found the most perfect one-year old female Boxer to bring home, Dharma (who I renamed Karma). She immediately found a special place in my heart mostly because of her background and her lovable nature. She had been a stray in Tennessee who had been picked up by animal control. The shelter that took her in usually euthanized dogs after five days, but because she was so sweet, they kept her for two weeks while they located a rescue.
There was something special about her. She seemed to love and appreciate having a loving home and became my baby. I was lucky enough to travel cross country several times and live in different states with her loyally by my side. Something about her made me want to learn more about animal rescue and what went into it. I signed up to be a foster for the rescue I got her from. Over the years, I fostered around ten dogs for multiple rescues and really loved it. I know a lot of people talk about how hard it would be to let them go, but I felt the more dogs I brought in and found homes for, the more good I could do. I even found dogs for two of my best friends.
I moved to California in 2015 and lost Karma in February of 2017. It still brings me tears thinking about it even now. I went a couple months without a dog and decided it was time to get another. I found Bodhi, my frenchton (French Bulldog/Boston Terrier cross) in Kentucky and brought him back to California. It was only so long before I was looking for another rescue to volunteer with and I came across an organization called Road Dogs & Rescue. They specialized in taking in bulldog breeds with medical conditions, seniors, and special needs.
This cause looked like something I would like to be involved with so I began volunteering by walking dogs, doing transports and pickups, and taking them to multiple specialist appointments. In this process, I came across Charlie, a six-month old French Bulldog who had been surrendered by a breeder because he exhibited neurological symptoms, when I took him to see a specialist. I fell in love with him and asked if I could foster. Of course, he was my first “foster fail” and he never left. I continued to volunteer with Road Dogs even after relocating back to Kentucky in 2021 and fostered a suspected neuro English Bulldog, Lexie Moonshine.
I blame my parents for my bleeding heart towards animals, especially those who are less fortunate or have medical issues. But I love my work with animal rescue. Dedicating my time and efforts towards these creatures who just need a little extra love and attention, finding them medical solutions, and ultimately homes is so rewarding. I would absolutely recommend getting involved if you’re looking for a way to spend free time, for a little inner peace, or looking to give back to needy animals that could use a break.
Road Dogs & Rescue Link : https://www.roadogsandrescue.org