Loved at Last Dog Rescue was originally founded as a collaboration between two dedicated dog-lovers -Jan Olsen and Sue Bridger. They were determined to create a rescue organization that could reach out across borders to help suffering dogs. Along with volunteers who were also passionate about the welfare of dogs – Jan and Sue wanted to fill a need; helping unwanted dogs – especially those who were easily overlooked and those who had experienced cruelty or trauma.
The second part of the rescue’s name “love knows no boundaries” sums up the spirit behind this initiative – Loved at Last Dog Rescue takes in dogs from a number of different countries and circumstances – promoting the belief that all dogs deserve our compassion, regardless of where they come from.
Loved at Last Dog Rescue was formed in 2016 and officially incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2017. Jan already had extensive prior experience working with other large, well-known volunteer-based rescues and Sue had over twenty years’ experience running a private dog daycare out of her home. The founders combined their talents to work together on a dog rescue that would fill an immediate need – finding loving homes for dogs that would otherwise have no hope – stray dogs that faced extreme challenges in countries where they were horribly mistreated and routinely rounded up to be killed.
With a background in animal activism and a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of these ‘forgotten’ victims of human cruelty, Jan Olsen personifies the heart and soul of Loved at Last Dog Rescue. Locally, she has been instrumental in advocating for much-needed changes to local tethering laws. Her devotion to rescued dogs is both inspiring and humbling. Jan oversees all aspects of the rescue, and her vision has carried us forward as the organization has grown and continues to expand. In 2018 alone, Loved at Last Dog Rescue found homes for 219 dogs and 2 cats!
As the co-founder of Loved at Last Dog Rescue, Sue Bridger has helped with every aspect of the rescue including fostering and rehabilitating some of the rescued street dogs. Sue was originally attracted to the cause after learning of the plight of Iranian dogs that were the victims of horrendous violence – maimed by acid attacks and missing parts of their ears and tails that had been cut off. Iran has no anti–cruelty laws, and without urgent help, these helpless creatures would be left to suffer a slow, agonizing death.
During the first year of operation, Loved at Last Dog Rescue focused on rescuing dogs from the Middle East – particularly Iran. Loved at Last Dog Rescue currently helps dogs from many countries including India, Iran, Mexico, China, Korea, Kuwait, and Bahrain. The rescue also takes in some Canadian dogs and dogs from high-kill shelters in the United States.
Alliances are formed between Loved at Last Dog Rescue and concerned citizens in these countries, who work tirelessly to save as many dogs as possible. Without the assistance of Loved at Last Dog Rescue, there would be no future for many of these dogs that often first require expensive surgery, amputations, veterinary treatment, and rehabilitation. The process of finding the right forever home then begins, with volunteers from Loved at Last Dog Rescue completing telephone interviews, home checks, and matching potential adopters with their chosen pup.
Although based out of Vancouver, Canada Loved at Last Dog Rescue has no shelter. The rescue relies solely on committed foster volunteers who agree to look after a dog until a good forever home can be found. These volunteers are situated throughout the Vancouver area, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and western Washington State in the U.S. Volunteers are the key reason that Loved at Last Dog Rescue has been able to rescue so many dogs.
Perhaps the most unique feature of Loved at Last Dog Rescue is that everyone works together as a team to ensure that the dog is placed in a suitable forever home – one that meets the unique needs of each rescued dog. Many of our volunteers have been with the organization since late 2016 or early 2017. The majority have full time jobs and put in almost full-time hours with the rescue as well!
Dog rescue is not for the faint of heart. Difficult decisions must be made and sometimes it feels that one can never do enough to alleviate the suffering that exists. Seeking donations to fund our rescued dogs (medical care, travel costs etc.) is important, as is managing the inevitable challenges with behavior – many of these dogs come to us unfamiliar with life inside a modern home and unaccustomed to the expectations of most adopters. Even something as simple as walking on a leash is new to some of them! The rescue’s stringent adoption criteria reflect this – our special dogs require some very accommodating adopters!
Loved at Last Dog Rescue has many success stories – life-changing rescues where a dog is taken from almost certain death, restored to health, and adopted into a new home as a much-loved family member. Thanks to the original founders, and the many volunteers who work on behalf of these dogs, Loved at Last Dog Rescue will continue to reach out and make a difference to dogs in need.
Loved at Last Dog Rescue is always in need of committed people who can help with almost any aspect of the rescue. Could that person be you?