by Karey Wedemeyer
Karey Wedemeyer is a volunteer with the Fresno Bully Rescue. FBR will be sharing their animal rescue adventures with us now every other month.
The moment Ryan and Bridgette brought their puppy, Bruzer, home their lives changed. Of course the newly married couple now had the responsibility of an energetic puppy, but this change was much larger than potty training and chewed up shoes. The Puppy would change their lives beyond imagination.
Although educated on the Pit Bull breed as far as loyalty, athletic ability, intelligence and size the Boothe’s had no idea how the rest of the world saw the breed. During walks people often went to the other side of the street to avoid their wiggly puppy. They experienced unwelcomed looks by people at the park who were overly cautious near their dog. As time went on Bruzer proved to be a wonderful companion. He was kind and handsome. I would personally describe him as a “regal gentleman”. However, this did not change the public opinion.
Because of their new awareness Ryan and Bridgette began looking for ways to help educate and show the world this wonderful breed of dog they shared their life with. They found themselves at a local dog rescue called Fresno Bully Rescue. Ryan and Bridgette were the first volunteers to arrive at the rescue.
It was a parking lot full of dogs ran by a few good hearted people that could no longer ignore the need to help rescue the Bully Breed. (This breed is the most overpopulated breed in the United States with hundreds put down every day in your local animal shelters.) They had the love, but no idea how to actually provide a healthy environment for the animals. Lack of funds meant scarce food, shelter and socialization for the animals. Ryan and Bridgette spent countless hours at the shelter exercising the dogs, often paying out of their own pocket for food and dog shelters while the overflow of dogs continued.
The feeling was overwhelming. Ryan and Bridgette made a life changing choice and chose to run the rescue themselves. With the experience of owning their own business and Bridgette’s marketing skills they dove in headfirst with Bruzer on their heels.
One of the hardest but most important decisions was to lower the amount of dogs at the shelter. The amount of dogs living at Bully Rescue would only be the amount that could be taken care of by the volunteers and staff. This meant food, vet visits, shelter and socialization. The number slowly lowered from the highest 65 at one time to no more than 42. This was difficult to do because there were so many wonderful dogs needing homes, but you have to make a decision to be a responsible rescue and take care of the dogs you have. To attain this goal you need help and that is where Bruzer and his village began.
With their marketing and business sense the Boothes recruited volunteers with a wide spectrum of talents ranging from fund raising to maintenance. Volunteers who write grants may have no contact with the dogs but, however, impact the food and shelter of the dogs. There is an adoption coordinator who is a pivotal person screening applications for adoptions, coordinates home visits, arranges introductions with the dogs and remains in contact with adopters for years after the dog is adopted. Hands on medical care and maintenance are a key factor for the dogs to be cared for 24/7. A volunteer coordinator orchestrates a core group of volunteers who help work with the dogs whether it be training, exercise or scheduling events.
Fundraising is also a huge part of a nonprofit organization. Without a strong fundraising group we cannot feed or shelter our dogs. You will see volunteers at Bully rescue ranging in age, social economic backgrounds, skills and a variety of career backgrounds. In any one given day you can see a volunteer delivering laundry, completing a home check , picking up a dog for an event, fixing and welding kennels, picking up dog poop, walking the dogs, internet marketing or even lecturing at a school event. The Bully Rescue volunteer spectrum is endless although the goal simple. Rescue, Educate and Advocate for Bully Breeds.
Fresno Bully rescue has come a long way since the first day Ryan and Bridgette arrived. I often wonder if Bruzer had not been such an amazing dog would they have even found themselves wanting to do more for the breed. Could the original Bully Rescue have survived on love and good intent alone?
Sadly Bruzer has since passed although his momentum has not stopped. The Bully Rescue Village will continue his spirit and continue rescuing and advocating for his breed. For those interested in being part of Bruzer’s village go to the Fresno Bully rescue website at FresnoBullyRescue.org or follow them on Facebook!
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Fresno Bully Rescue.