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So far Debbie Fan has created 35 blog entries.

Senior Dogs who have Cancer

Today we received the news that Big Donut, a 13ish senior dog who we rescued from the South Los Angeles Shelter less than a month ago, has malignant melanoma and mast cell tumor, which was removed when he was neutered last week.  We will have chest x-rays done to see if the cancer has spread, so we can get a better idea of how much time he has left.


Big Donut stole our hearts when DDR volunteers met this old dog and tested him with a variety of big and small shelter dogs.  He has an amazingly stable temperament with dogs and people, and is so grateful to be rescued.  It’s clear that whoever owned him, loved and socialized him until his owner died.  Family members brought Big Donut to the shelter, and reported his age to be 18 years old, however the shelter estimated him to be 10 years.  Our guess is that he is somewhere in between 13 or 14 years, and despite having cancer, has a good appetite and energy.

Sadly, Big Donut’s diagnosis wasn’t the only cancer news we received, our senior dog Bruno has hemangiosarcoma and possibly melanoma, which will require surgery.  We rescued Bruno as a puppy and he had a wonderful home until his owner died about three years ago. Unfortunately, his owner had only a brother, who could not take care of Bruno, so he was returned to us as a senior dog.  All of the DDR dog walkers and kennel staff love Bruno. He is comfortable and happy at our kennel, which is set up like a home, but it’s not a loving home.

We hope that someone reading this post is interested in fostering or adopting Big Donut or Bruno, giving them a real home for the time that they have left to live.  If you can’t foster, can you consider making a donation to help cover the cost of their surgeries and follow up care?  We are dedicated to rescuing senior shelter dogs.  It’s only through your support and generosity that we are able to open our hearts to dogs like Big Donut and Bruno.

Bruno with Dr. Ramirez at Los Angeles Veterinary Center

Fundraiser for Senior Dogs!

Senior dog Bruno’s owner died and he has been waiting for someone to adopt him for two years

We love rescuing senior dogs, especially senior pit bulls. However, the reality is that the process of finding these super senior dogs homes, often takes more than a month or two.

In order to make these dogs as comfortable as possible, while they live with us at our kennel, we decided to do some renovating. We are in the process of  building  two senior  dog suites. Each will have their own private entry. One of the suites, has its own private side yard, and doggy door to leave the suite and enter the yard outside.

While these suites are not homes, for some senior dogs it’s better than anything they have experienced in their lifetime.

We are also installing an outdoor dog washing station that will have hot and cold water to bathe all the dogs at our kennel. A dog washing station was on our wish list when we purchased our kennel property back in 2013, but never finished.

Our goal is to raise $2500 to complete this renovation before the 4th of July.  Check out our progress, and consider making a donation to help us finish this project.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Lady Royale had a huge tumor growing on her shoulder when we rescued her from the shelter. She is all healed up and hopes to be adopted soon!

Beautiful Laila has waited a year to be adopted

Stella loves to cuddle and is a low energy low rider who is waiting for you to adopt her!

Consider being a Forever Foster like Minnie’s family Minnie was adopted and happily living with her forever foster family

Compton Spay & Neuter Clinic

37 dogs and cats were spayed and neutered

Our June spay and neuter clinic was full, with enough pets on our waiting list to fill another mobile clinic. When volunteers arrived at East Rancho Dominguez Park in Compton at 6:10 AM, there were already pets waiting, including “Milo” a six month old shepherd tied up in the back of his owner’s truck bed. His owner had received a citation from an animal control officer, and wanted to make sure to get Milo neutered, vaccinated and micro chipped. While there wasn’t a spot for Milo on the mobile clinic, his owner was issued a free neuter voucher so that Milo will receive all the services he needs free of charge, and we discussed how dangerous it is to transport a dog in the back of a truck. Milo wasn’t the only big dog who showed up, looking for our help.
Many of our pet owners walk to the park, some don’t have telephones, like a gentleman with two kittens that we met last month. He didn’t have a permanent address or phone to make a follow up call for an appointment, but there he was, with both kittens, ready to get them spayed and neutered. In fact, we had quite a few cats at this dog clinic. In 2019, we set a goal of sterilizing more cats at our community dog clinics, a goal we are attaining each month. We wanted to help people like such as a kind woman who had been caring for a community cat. She had tried to catch her, but not before she had three litters of kittens. She finally was able to catch her, and thankfully, we spayed her. She told us that without this free service, she probably would not have been able to afford to spay this mama cat.
We met one dog owner who had an appointment, but had second thoughts, and was just about to leave the line, when the person behind her in line convinced her to get her dog neutered. Often, other community members have a much greater influence on helping a reluctant pet owner make the right decision. There was a very sweet poodle who had a hernia, and required more care than the mobile clinic could offer, we wrote a medical voucher so this dog could be spayed and have the hernia repair surgery, something her owner could not afford.
We met a young man with a male husky, who received a free neuter voucher. Talking to the owner, we learned that he had a female husky at home. He wasn’t sure about getting her spayed. Apparently, the two dogs had already had one litter of puppies, and that’s why he was at the clinic, to prevent more puppies. As volunteers, running these monthly clinics, we try our best to provide as much information about the benefits of spay and neuter, and allow the pet owner to decide. Overwhelmingly, pet owners want to […]

Keeping Chiquis where she belongs

Dagoberto and his beloved Chiquis

Senior citizen Dagoberto visited our Watts Pet Resource Center, looking for help last month. He was being harassed by the manager at his senior living apartment building because of his dog, Chiquis.  Despite being spayed, vaccinated, and microchipped, the manager was requiring proof that she was healthy, or she had to leave.  The description of the proof was very ambiguous, and sounded like a way to force him to move out, since giving up Chiquis was never an option.

One of first clients of the morning. They arrived at 6:05 AM for an 8:00 AM clinic

These pet owners brings their dogs every month for flea & tick prevention

Like many of the pet owners we meet through our programs, they often believe that they don’t have options, feeling stressed out and desperate.  Thanks to our partnership with HEART LA we were able to connect him to free legal services.  The manager received a letter, stating that Chiquis is not violating any rules, and she is allowed to stay with Dagoberto. Despite the rain last Sunday, he came out to thank us at our free dog clinic at Fred Roberts Park.  The worried look on his face was replaced with a smile, as he communicated to us how truly grateful he was for our help.


Chiquis was one of the more than 170 puppies and dogs who came out in the rain to receive free services.

Each month, we spay/neuter, vaccinate, microchip, deworm, and provide flea and tick prevention for upwards of 200 dogs who live in South Los Angeles

It’s through your generosity that we are able to help pet owners like Dagoberto keep their pets where they belong – in their homes!

Thank you for your support


Cecelia & Chocolate find a place to call home

We first met Cecelia W. and her beloved 4.5 year old dog named Chocolate, when she visited our Pet Resource Center on a Wednesday at Inner City Law Center. Our counselors learned that she had rescued Chocolate when she was only 3.5 weeks old, had bottle fed her, and always found a way to somehow provide for this beautiful dog.

When Chocolate was just a puppy, Cecelia was able to hide her from her landlord, but as she got bigger, she realized that she would need to move because there was a no pet policy at her apartment complex. Taking Chocolate to a shelter, or giving her away was never an option. As she worked during the day as a waitress and even working a pastime job at a car wash to make a living, she used all of her tips to pay for doggy daycare so Chocolate could be safe while she worked.

Sadly, Cecelia and Chocolate became homeless, living in a Santa Monica shelter for awhile, until the shelter cracked down on pets, and she moved to Skid Row. Living on the streets of Skid Row is a hard life for anyone, but especially for a woman. She credits the C3 Team with saving her life about 7 weeks ago. They were able to find her a place to move with Chocolate. We often work with the amazing C3 outreach team when someone experiencing homelessness has a pet.

Chocolate is her everything, and she would dog anything to keep her safe and healthy. We have been helping Cecelia with Chocolate’s health care for a couple months because our veterinarian diagnosed her as having early stages of kidney failure. She is comfortable now, needs to lose some weight, and is on special diet. This is where YOU, reading this blog post can help this pair directly.

We are looking for one sponsor to buy Chocolate’s special dog food each month, on an ongoing basis. Here is the link to the type of food she needs https://www.chewy.com/blue-buffalo-basics-limited/dp/37040

Let us know if you can help. We need just one special person to make this monthly donation commitment!

Watts Pet Resource Center – First Quarter Stats

The Watts Pet Resource Center takes place the last Monday of each month. This resource center opened in January, and for three consecutive months, we have served a total of 75 pet owners in the following ways.
61% needed a free voucher for a spay or neuter voucher, 12% needed help with a problem, which was multiple issues that included medical treatment for their cat or dog.
10% needed pet food or other supplies, and the rest of the 17% needed a variety of services, for dogs attacked by other dogs, dogs hit by cars, dogs that needed surgery (tumor removal or dental), and even one dog that had been shot, and likely would have died if our counselors didn’t work with the owner of the dog immediately to save her life.

96% of the pet owners were in housing. Of the 4% experiencing homelessness, all were working with a case manager or an agency. 79% are women bringing their pets. Almost 50% of the pet owners were bilingual or only spoke Spanish. 43% were employed full time, 20% part time, and the rest were either retired or disabled. 80% identified as being Hispanic 18% Black and 2% White
62% receive some type of public assistance

60% of the people had owned their cat or dog for 1-10 years 9% more than 10 years. 70% of the pets had never had a litter, 20% had a litter, and the rest did not know.
Only 50 % of the pets had ever been taken to a veterinarian by their owner. 66% acquired their pet from a family member or friend and about 20% found the pet as a stray. Interestingly, only 10% adopted from a shelter, with a small percentage buying a dog from a breeder.

Of course this is a small sampling of pet owners, and we assume that the people who truly love and care about their pets would show up to our monthly resource center, but some of these numbers reveal a great deal about what’s going on in the Watts community in regard to families with pets.

We will continue this monthly clinic the last Monday of each month through the summer. Some of you reading this post may wonder, why the last week of the month? From our experience, doing this work for two decades, we know, money can run out, choices have to be made, and if there isn’t enough money to buy dog or cat food, people get creative, and feed them whatever is available. This is one of the many reasons why communities like Watts has free roaming dogs, who have a home, but are hungry, or intact and looking to find a mate.

Being in the community we can meet puppies like the adorable pup in this photo, make sure they get vaccinated, microchiped, and sterilized before their first litter. This project is a collaboration with LA Animal Services and […]

Happy 7th Anniversary Shelter Intervention Program

On April 6, 2013, with one counselor, and a goal of maybe preventing 400 pets per year, our South LA Shelter Intervention Program was launched.  Today, as we did back in 2013, we ask one simple question, “How can we help you keep your pet?” Today, our this program is run as a full time, six day a week program, thanks to a generous grant from the Michelson Found Animals Foundation, partnering with Los Angeles Animal Services, we have assisted more than 11,000 family pets stay in their first home – forever home.

Most of the need is medical services, which range from a vaccination, to a tumor removal surgery, relief from a chronic eye, ear of skin condition, and all types of medical treatments, including crisis care for parvo and pets being hit by cars or attacked by another animal.

All of our pet owner are low income, most living at, or below the poverty line.  Some live pay check to pay check, with little or no extra money in their budget for a pet emergency.  While others are experiencing homelessness, and their cat or dog is their best friend, and they have no money to pay for any services.

This model has spread to three other shelters, run by two other non profits. Home Dog LA runs the North Central program and Rescue Train runs both the East and West Valley shelter programs.

Imagine a day when every shelter has this type of program.  A pet owner would never have to surrender their pet to the shelter because they could not afford to pay for a spay/neuter surgery, a dog license, redemption fees, costs associated with a notice to comply, humane euthanasia, and all types of medical care.

While this program is not 100% free to the pet owner, we ask each person to pay what they can, offering them assistance in raising money, finding solutions to cover the costs involved.  DDR pays what the pet owner cannot afford.  This is more than a shelter diversion program, or program to reduce the numbers of cats and dogs being euthanized at shelters due to space.  Shelter Intervention is about helping people, many who are in a personal crisis that involves far more than their pet.  Many tears, both happy and sad, have been shed at the shelter intervention table, over these past seven years, some stories too personal to write on this blog or share on social media.  Not every case has a happy ending, but to offer a pet owner options, to offer hope, to let people know that someone cares about them and their pets is the priceless gift that our counselors give Tuesday – Sunday at the South LA Shelter #becauseweallneedhelpsometimes

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