I always hear from people that they want to have an animal rescue just like mine, Pet Place International. My advice is to enter into animal rescue because you love animals, have empathy for them, and want to make a difference. 

There's nothing more rewarding than rescuing shelter animals in danger of being euthanized, caring for them, and then finding the perfect forever home for them. However, before considering starting your own rescue, you must have a financial plan in place upon which to sustain your operational costs, such as feed and veterinarian costs.

If you think your adoption fees will cover your expenses, think again; they won't. They may cover your gas to get to the event and your lunch that day, but that's about it. Have a financial plan in place - a partner with a steady income, or another career. Eventually, you will garner support from grantors, but even then there will be lulls in the grant cycles; you'll need to be prepared to sustain your rescue during these times.

Additionally, be prepared emotionally, as you will want to save every animal, but you will not be able to; and not every animal will survive an illness. The guilt is tremendous and one needs to reconcile the myriad of emotions that are inevitable. You must realize you are doing the best you can and that what you are doing is very important. You are saving lives, and making a difference.

As a rescuer, you will open yourself up to scrutiny. Be prepared, as everyone has an opinion and they are happy to tell you what you are doing wrong. The good news is, you'll have many loving supporters and they will outweigh the negative; embrace and appreciate the love and support you receive; let them know how much you appreciate them, and fully accept their support; you deserve it. There may be those who feel you have personally spurned them or are angry because you did not adopt a dog to them, etc.; they will slander you and your rescue in retaliation. Bitter people will try to hurt you by hurting your rescue group. My advice is to pray for healing and health for them, as bitterness is toxic to one's soul. 

As a rescuer since 2008, I have experienced all of the above. Rescue is not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to laugh, cry, go broke, lose your freedom, etc., because your life will never be the same. Rescue is a life commitment of your time, love, emotions, strength, and finances. However, above all, there is nothing more rewarding that I can think of doing. To see an animal transform from despair to hope; to see a family's life change, and watch a new dog bring them together is priceless. 

You will fall in love with every animal you rescue; you'll want to keep every one coming through your rescue (that's how hoarders get started). You cannot keep every animal; as much as you love that animal, he/she needs a one-on-one family, and you need to be able to let go. It's excruciating at first, but it gets easier and in no time, your tears will turn into tears of joy; you'll be smiling as they walk away together to start their new life as a family. "Rescue" is all encompassing, and I can't think of anything more fulfilling than serving God’s creatures. 
Joan, PPI

Romeo's Story


Romeo’s story:

We rescued dear sweet Romeo from the South Los Angeles Shelter.  He is a small senior Poodle who we were immediately smitten with.  He had some dental issues and we had his front teeth (top and bottom pulled).  

Romeo did not get adopted right away.  In fact, he spent the first year in our home with us.  We fell in love with him.  However, it is our purpose to find homes for the dogs we rescue.  And one day someone came along looking for a dog just like Romeo.  We had already strongly bonded with him, but it was time to say goodbye and let him go to his new Forever home… so we thought.

We checked on him one time and he tried to leave with us, but otherwise he seemed fine in his new home.  We wouldn’t find out until later (from the neighbors) that Romeo was not well-taken care of.  She (the adopter) would let him out to go potty and he would sometimes sit on the sidewalk all by himself.  We didn’t find out that Romeo had gone missing until he was already gone for two months.  We were in a full panic.  Jeff and I rushed to Orange County to search; talk to neighbors, and hang fliers.  This June it will be 2 years since our sweet boy, Romeo, went missing.  We are still looking.  

In the meantime, during our search, we have rescued 4 Romeo look-alikes and have placed them in good responsible homes.  We still have one Poodle boy (named Romeo), but he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast.  He’s quite happy hanging out with us and Booster.  Here is Romeo’s video.  If you happen to have ANY leads, please let us know.  We love and miss this sweet boy terribly, and we need to bring him home.  Thank you.  Joan

Youtube video link: http://youtu.be/prCe_CHTfR8

I love this article.  It definitely rings true.  This is something we hear every weekend at our adoption events when a potential adopter is filling out the adoption forms.  Every time I hear it, it makes me cringe.  Adopting a dog, cat, horse, or any animal is a huge responsibility and should not be taken lightly.  Read the story to follow and know that we, PPI, and every Rescue adheres to the same strict policies regarding adoption of an animal, and here's why: 

"Every rescuer has heard that line.  Lots of people balk at rescue applications, contracts and requirements.  I recently had a conversation with a friend who was shocked at how many rescues (ours included) have a strict adoption contract that includes cash penalties for major breaches.  I can understand the initial reaction of someone who hasn’t worked in rescue. Until you have, you tend to think that most homes are good, and that people who love animals will therefore take good care of those animals.

…and then you get involved in rescue, or you work for animal services, and you see the things that you see.  Things like (and all of these are real life examples):

- A former professional athlete with a horse whose founder had gone untreated until his coffin bones protruded through his soles. The owner believed the horse lied down so much because he was “lazy.”  He was euthanized.

- A wealthy Southern California couple whose 17 hand ex-racehorse was 300 pounds underweight and nearly dead.  He lived at their home and they looked at him every day.  He was rescued and recovered.

- A family who were to have been the retirement home for a high level dressage mare.  She and a yearling warmblood were found in their yard, skin and bones.  Plenty of hay on site that wasn’t put out for the horses because “they had grass.”  It was wintertime and the grass was eaten completely down.   They were eager to tell us how much they LOVED their horses.  The mare was euthanized, the yearling survived.

- An elegant show barn that adopted a lesson horse, failed to feed the horse as instructed and denied noticing the horse had dropped 200 pounds.  The horse was returned to the rescue and recovered.

- A wealthy man who was known as a “big name” at the racetrack who had starving horses at his home farm. Six had to be euthanized. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

ALL of these homes “looked good on paper.”  In reality, they were terrible situations in which horses died or almost died – not because of any intent to harm the horse, but because of a lack of knowledge or just plain carelessness.  In the last case, the man blamed the situation on workers at his farm – but the court held him responsible despite his excuses.

In short, there are a thousand things that can go wrong and bottom line, after we drop off the horse with you, we are all a little bit scared.

We are scared you won’t watch your kids and we will see him on Youtube being jumped over a picnic table…after we adopted him fully disclosing that he was arthritic and limited to flat work.

We are scared you will be taken in by some charismatic trainer who is abusive to your horse behind your back.

We are scared you won’t maintain the same level of cleanliness and horse care that we see on drop-off day.

We are scared you won’t notice a big, fat tendon and will continue to ride the horse on it.

We are scared you won’t notice your western saddle is sitting on the horse’s withers.

We are scared that, while we saw you ride and love you, you will let someone else ride the horse who has no judgment and will override or abuse the horse.   A friend had a rescue horse come back 200 pounds underweight and, for good measure, he had been taught to rear.

We are scared that you will simply move the horse, ignore our attempts to contact you, and we will not know if the horse is alive or dead.

We are scared that you will totally change the feeding program and then dump the horse when it has a corresponding change of behavior.

We are scared that you don’t know what mold looks like.

We are scared that you will let the kids feed to “teach them responsibility” and never check to see how much has been fed or if it has even been done.

We are scared that you will move to a property with barbed wire and figure it’s okay to turn the horses out because, hey, it’s a big field and what are the chances they’ll get hung up?   (A rescue friend just took in 2 horses, badly injured from barbed wire…one was dragging a useless hoof behind her.  A young mare whose life ended today because of fencing.  The other may pull through.)

We are scared that one day, we will be one of the rescues that has learned one of its adopted horses went to slaughter.  We are scared we will be that rescuer who has to spend the rest of their life beating themselves up for making the wrong decision.  These two horses were sold to a kill buyer by their adopter in Texas.  They could still be alive.  Right now, no one knows.

Rescuers make adoption decisions all the time based upon an application and one or two meetings. You might be the best home in the universe, but we don’t know that – and please don’t hold it against us if we try to verify that by talking to your references and checking you out.   We understand it seems invasive to agree to a criminal check but please put yourself in our shoes. We simply can’t take your word because the bad people lie just as convincingly as you tell the truth.

Rescuers understand that you don’t think it’s fair that you can’t have your old horse back after we pulled him out of a kill pen.  But we want a home for him where there is no risk of that happening.  We have an absolute duty to keep that horse safe to the best of our ability for the rest of his life.  This isn’t a shoe store where the goal is to move inventory along to make way for more.  The goal is to put horses into homes where they will never fail to receive proper care – ever – and will be euthanized by a vet or keel over from natural causes at a ripe old age.

Why do we ask for ID?  Because we personally know of people who have been banned from animal ownership by the courts who are on Facebook with fake names, trying to adopt animals from unsuspecting rescues.

So when you read our contract, or any rescue’s contract, bear in mind that if you are the good home you say you are, you will never be reminded you signed that contract.  You will tag us in your Facebook pics and show us how the horse is doing.  We might stop by once in a while, with notice. And if you’re awesome, we will sing your praises from the rooftops!  You will get plenty of credit for being awesome. If your circumstances change and you need to return the horse, we will take the horse back cheerfully and do our best to ensure that he finds a new home equally as awesome as you were.  But if you starve the horse, or you take him to an auction, we are going to sue you.  And we are going to tell the world about it.  You need to know that up front.  We have a life-long open door policy for returns and a zero tolerance policy for people who won’t use that open door policy to return a horse they cannot afford to keep or simply do not want anymore.

If it seems like adopting a child – well, it is.  We take the responsibility of making the right placement just as seriously.  If you don’t want to sign a contract, buy a horse.  If you like the idea of having lifetime “technical support” and knowing that the horse always has a safe haven to return to if your circumstances change, adopt from a reputable rescue.   The choice is yours!"  Unknown  


It's important to train your dog, not only to give him/her structure and confidence, but to keep him/her safe!  When you take your dog for training, what really happens is they will train you to train your dog.  You will learn the important do's and don'ts.  You'll be surprised to find out what you didn't know about dog training!  Both you and your dog will benefit from professional dog training - making both your lives less stressful and more joyful.  Joan 
Animal shelters are over-crowded due to pet over-population.  The euthanasia rate is at an all-time high in our history.  Please spay/neuter your pets.And remember to Adopt not Shop.  Save a shelter dog!  Thank you.  Joan 

March 09th, 2014


February 1, 2008
My bio, Joan

Pets, including  dogs, cats, horses, house-rabbits, reptiles, rats, and birds have always been a big part of my life.  
When I was a kid I had a pet duck who I took for walks in his home-made shoes (so he wouldn’t get blisters); I had a 
dog named Heidi who rode on my bike with me; and a house-rabbit named Buttercup who shared my home with me 
(and even used the litter box), and Mr. B, the magnificent Bearded Dragon, who lived to be 8 years old!

My animal rescue efforts started when I was about 13 years old.   I found a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest.  It 
was still pink and it had no feathers.  I picked him up and brought him home.  I came up with a concoction of food that 
worked for him.  It was made out of Cream of Wheat, meal worms, and saliva.  I fed him with an eye dropper every 3 
hours, and I named my new little friend Karma.  I hoped that one day I would be able to let Karma fly away and that he 
would live in nature as God intended.  With regular feedings, Karma was thriving and gradually started to get bigger and grow feathers.  And it wasn’t long before he would fly to my bed (very early in the morning) and chirp loudly -- with his mouth wide open -- right in my face for me to get up feed him.  When I felt Karma was old and strong enough, I took him outside to let him fly away, but he stayed in the tree only to fly down when I called him to see if he was still there at the end of the day.  Until one day when I called him and he didn’t come down; he had flown away.

I grew up in Huntington Beach, California in the 70’s, and back then there were a lot of open fields and about 5 major stables, from Bill Williams Stables to Rex Reynolds.  Huntington Beach was a big horse town.  Our house was the last one on the street and our street ended at a hay field, where riders galloped by on their horses on a regular basis.  I used to sit on my fence watching them magnificently pass by, hoping that someday I could get close enough to actually touch one!  

I was about 10 years old and that’s when I fell in love with horses.  I never wanted anything as much as I wanted a 
horse of my own.  I used to draw pictures of them for hours, and I studied their anatomy until I could name every part. I could tell you any horses’ breed just by looking at him; and I could tell you his age by looking at his teeth.  I still have fun doing that.  I loved everything about horses, even they way they smelled!  
Then I finally got a chance to ride one! What a thrill!!!  His name was actually Pokey and he was my friend’s horse.  
She double up on her friend’s horse and let me ride him.  He was pretty pokey, but I did get him to gallop AND I 
WAS EXHILARATED!  What pure joy!  I squealed in delight, “He’s running!  He’s running” as we galloped across the field.  It was decided right then and there:  I had to have a horse of my own!!!  

It seemed like forever, but finally it happened… a neighbor of ours was selling her horse, Ginger.  And my friend, 
Buster, said I could keep her on his property for FREE.  I never cleaned the house as well as I did that day.  I 
scrubbed every square inch and then I begged my parents relentlessly until they caved in.  How could they say no; 
she was only $100 and we had a free place to keep her! 

I got my Ginger, the best horse ever!  She was athletic and tall at 16 hands, a Thoroughbred/Morgan mix.  Perfect.  
She would do anything I asked of her.  She would wade right out into the lake and take us for a swim; I’d get off her 
back in the water and she would swim to shore and patiently wait there for me to swim in.  And when my friend, 
Jeanne, and I were racing the train on her back -- laughing uncontrollably at the guy on the train pretending to shovel coal into the engine to make the train go faster – and fell to the ground in fits of laughter, Ginger stopped right in her tracks and she just stood there patiently waiting for us to compose ourselves enough to get back on.  

I would sit on her backwards and gallop around like a trick rider; one time I even went over a jump that way -- not a 
good idea, but I managed to stay on board!  I would stick to flying over jumps sitting forward on her from then on.  I 
rode Ginger all across that city, along the beaches, and across the fields always riding bare-back and bare-footed, 
like a wild Indian.  

And when it was raining out, I would still go to see Ginger and just lay on her back, watching the rain come down 
through the cracks in the barn while smelling her warm musky coat.  My children love the story about the time I rode Ginger through the Drive-Thru at Jack-n-the Box on Main and Beach. I point it out when-ever we drive by it and say, “there’s that Jack-in-the-Box…” and they love the story about when I brought Ginger in the house; they laugh when I say how big she looked while standing in the living room.

Before she came to me, Ginger had had a rough life and was neglected.  I think she was grateful to have someone 
spending so much time taking care of and loving her.  I spent every moment I could with her.  Ginger would do 
anything for me; she totally trusted me and I her.

But things were changing; I was changing.  It was 1974 and I was a restless teenager, I’m not sure what brought me to the decision, but when Jeanne’s friend asked about buying Ginger I said okay.  A decision that I will always regret; it was without a doubt the single most terrible decision I have ever made.  How could I let Ginger down like that and how could I forgive myself.  I’ll never forget seeing the white mushroom shape on the tip of Ginger’s nose through the green trailer window as she stood in there wondering where she was going.  

She was going with them to her new home at their ranch in Riverside; it sounded like such a nice place for her to be. My heart ached as they drove away with her.  Even as they were driving away, I didn’t know why I was saying 
goodbye to her.  I wish I could go back in time and change that moment; the moment I decided to let her go.  It still 
makes me cry.  It will always make me cry.  

A few months later my mom took my friends and me to visit Ginger, but unfortunately we got lost and couldn’t find the ranch; we had to return home without seeing her.  Then we made another attempt to see her and this time we found her, but it was bittersweet.  We got to see Ginger, but the conditions she was in were appalling.  She had lost weight and was neglected; and the pony in the paddock with her had hooves that curled up from neglect.  It was a very sad revelation.  No one was taking care of her; no one was spending time with her; no one was loving her.  

I had to get Ginger back.  I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I was determined to get her back.  I called a few times to talk to her new owners and I even spoke with the ranch hands who were kind enough to talk to me about Ginger whenever I called.   They seemed to be the only ones who had seen her lately.  
It was one of them who called me to tell me that Ginger had died.  I was too late; Ginger was gone.  Through my tears I asked him what happened to her, but I would soon learn that what he told me wasn’t true.  A week later that same ranch-hand came to my house to tell me that Ginger had died from abuse and neglect.  I was heart-broken.  I wouldn’t be able to rescue my Ginger.   She was gone forever.  

My only consolation was, and is, knowing that she is in a better place where there’s no pain or suffering.  I see her 
prancing in her lovely perfect form, rolling in fresh grass, and frolicking around where ever she may.  And some day I’ll get to lie on her back again and smell her sweet aroma and tell her how much I love her!  
And she will tell me she knows.

There’s no doubt that my experience with Ginger has fueled my desire to get involved in animal rescue.