Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.

I’ve always loved this quote by poet Robert Frost: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

It’s not just because these are clever words written by a clever man — it’s because this quote has the power of truth behind it. At the South LA Shelter Intervention program, we see this piece of wisdom in action time and time again. Taking it one step further, in South LA, good fences (or gates) save lives.

Fence and gate repairs is one of the services we offer to help keep dogs out of the shelter and in their homes. The majority of these requests are initiated by animal control officers who visit a home and cite a dog owner for not adequately containing their dog in the yard. This can be a very challenging citation for a dog owner, especially if he or she is a renter or doesn’t have the money or skills to make the necessary improvements to secure their yard.

That’s where we come in and offer assistance as best we can.

Before sending out a handyman to support the family, we must first obtain permission from a landlord to repair or replace a fence. This can be a greater obstacle than you might imagine. For example, in one of the areas that we regularly service (90003), there are approximately 17,500 homes, condos, and apartments within 3.6 square miles. Roughly 68% of the people living in this very densely populated area are renters. Therefore every repair that we make to a property requires not only the approval of the dog owner, but first the approval of the property owner. This requires our time and also much convincing as many property owners are not initially receptive to the idea.

Other times we meet families who feel pressured to relinquish their pets due to disagreements with neighbors. In these cases, simple fence or gate improvements can create peace between neighbors. Harmony is an invaluable quality when it comes to one’s living situation, and to the safety of a loved pet. The families that we help commonly say things like, “Everything was okay until a new neighbor moved in with their dog.” This is because families regularly share driveways or live on lots where two or three houses share the land. People live in converted garages, or even single family houses that have been converted to accommodate multiple families, each renting different parts of the divided house.

Our job is to try our best to make it work, for the family’s sake and for the animal’s. One simple solution is putting up a sheet of metal, separating the front house from the back house. This can keep two dogs from “fence fighting,” and therefore may keep these animals from being surrendered to the shelter.

Another common fix is lining a chain link fence with aluminum siding, which prevents small dogs from slipping out and getting into the street (where they are often hit by a car or attacked by larger dogs.) Unfortunately, there are parts of […]

Looking for a forever home

TippyThe phrase looking for a forever home usually refers to a homeless pet but in this case, it’s a homeless family.  Tippy, a 10 year old Lab mix has a family who loves him so much, they decided to live in their car instead of surrendering him to the East Valley Shelter.  We met Nicole, her daughter and Tippy when they came to the shelter for resources.  Two weeks ago, we asked for help raising funds to get this family of three out of their car and into the Motel 6 where they are still living in Sylmar.  We raised enough money to sponsor their stay until April 15th.

With a budget of $900-$1000 a month to spend on rent, it would seem that there should be a one bedroom apartment available in the Van Nuys area that she could rent that would also accept Tippy with a pet deposit, which we have offered to pay, but it’s not that easy.  A year ago Nicole had cancer, she had to stop working and her credit was ruined.  This makes it very difficult to find an apartment when a potential landlord sees her FICO score.  So how does someone that is currently homeless move into housing?  With a lot of help.


Earlier this week, we wrote Nicole a letter of recommendation, making a perspective landlord aware that Tippy was neutered, up to date on vaccinations, a calm dog who was being sponsored by our organization and making it known, we would pay a pet deposit, should it be required if they would give Nicole a chance.  Searching for an apartment is a challenge, with the weather being very warm, Tippy couldn’t stay in the car while she went to see apartments.  Motel 6 has a policy that while they are pet friendly, they do not allow dogs to remain inside a room without their owner.  We paid to have Tippy boarded for a few days, we paid to have him groomed and she was able to apply for several apartments.  So far not luck.

Can you help us help this little family?  Do you know of an apartment in the San Fernando Valley that they can call home?  Call 818-407-4145 and leave us a message or email me at

Lori’s 50th Birthday + 2nd Anniversary of the South LA Shelter Intervention Program


Join us Sunday March 29th from 10-12:00 at the South LA Shelter to celebrate the Shelter Intervention Program’s second anniversary. Since April 6, 2013, more than 4600 pets have been prevented from shelters by asking pet owners,”How can we help?” Bring a collar, leash, a bag or cat or dog food to support a pet in need. We are also celebrating DDR founder Lori’s 50th Birthday.


Help us raise $50,000 to support all three Shelter Intervention Program at the East Valley, North Central and South LA Shelters. All funds raised will be used to pay for medical care, dog training, dog runs, redemption and licensing fees, humane euthanasia and more FREE spay/neuter surgeries. Help us help more families with pets living in poverty


Thank you for your support!

Tomas has his lifesaving surgery

We want to say thank you to everyone who donated $1500 so South LA Shelter Intervention dog Tomas could have the first of two life saving surgeries.  It will be a long road to recovery before this sweet little dog can go back to his family, but he is doing well.  First he had to have the dead skin removed.  He will be in the animal hospital, being bandaged and medicated so the skin can heal.  His second surgery will happen once the skin is ready to close.  Right now, the wound can’t be surgical closed,  The animal hospital has donated so much of the “real cost”  $1500 would not even begin to cover the actual cost of the two surgeries and the long medical boarding care.  Tomas’ family is so grateful for the generosity of all of you who donated keeping another dog out of the shelter and in his loving home.  Here is a video that explains the process.

Tomas’ surgery

DDR X The Rescue Train X LAAS = More Lives Saved!

Saturday February 14th was the launch date of a new program for DDR and our partner The Rescue Train.  Based on the success of our South LA Shelter Intervention Program, LA Animal Services (LAAS) agreed to allow us to start a pilot program at the East Valley Shelter.


The program will run the same way our program at South LA runs.  Shelter staff members at intake will identify pet owners who are looking for an alternative to surrendering their cat, dog, rabbit to the shelter.  Our counselor Maddy will offer a variety of services to assist more families in the East Valley keep their pets.  Some of the services we will offer are medical assistance, humane euthanasia, dog training, repair of fences/gates, installing dog runs, paying for dog licneses and free spay/neuter + vaccines as just some of the many services that we offer to families in need who have pets.  We also offer to assist pet owners with redemptions, which reunite pet owners with their pets that are in the shelter but they can’t afford to get them out.  Think of all the pets that are in the shelter that have an owner but the owner can’t afford to get the pet back.  Imagine a day we could send them all back home.


Pug was one of those dogs.  The fees to redeem Pug were $147.  Pug, a one eyed, senior dog who had  a senior owner living on a fixed income with only $60.  DDR paid the balance and another dog went back home.  Our total for our first day was 5 cases.  While we will be there just one day a week, our goal is to continue our partnership with The Rescue Train, who is learning how the program runs, and turn the program over to them to run 2-3 days a week by June!  The Rescue Train understands that there are lots of families who need help, that need additional resources, that need more information so they can keep their pets.  Like our Facebook Page and read our stories of success on this program and more!

Help us find Rudy his forever home!

Rudy is a sweet puppy who is available to adopt.  He is doing great in his foster home with other dogs, loves to come and spend Sunday afternoons at the DDR kennel, playing with a bunch of dogs.

Some of Rudy’s favorite past times, other than playing, sleeping, dreaming and eating. YES he is a couch potato puppy!


So why has this 8 month old pit bull mix puppy not found his forever home?  It’s a mystery to us, but one we can solve together if you share his profile and tell your friends and family members about Rudy  Interested in making him part of your family?  Give us a call today 818-407-4145



Join us Saturday February 14th

Adopt the love of your life on Saturday February 14th Downtown Dog Rescue dogs will be available at a special adoption event at a great new shop in Highland Park called Rosie Bunny Bean.  Stop by and say Hi!