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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Downtown Dog Rescue

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: Downtown Dog Rescue is an all volunteer run 501C3 non-profit organization that believes in second chances for both dogs and people. We rescue dogs and provide services for low income pet owners in under served communities in Los Angeles County.

Results: DDR is revolutionizing animal welfare with its Shelter Intervention Program in South Los Angeles which provides families with a more holistic approach to helping families keep their pets. Hundreds of dogs and cats have been kept out of shelters by providing pet owners who are living in poverty with the assistance needed to keep their cherished family pet. This support ranges from financial assistance to pay pet deposits, fix fences to keep pets safely in the yard, emergency medical care, or the cost of pet medication or food. The Shelter Intervention Program is addressing not only pet overpopulation, but the systemic poverty in the communities of South Los Angeles, Compton, and Watts, that prevents loving families from keeping their pets because of financial circumstances.

Target demographics: pets and people

Direct beneficiaries per year: thousands of pets stay in, or be adopted into loving homes.

Geographic areas served: Los Angeles County — specifically the communities of Compton, Watts, and South LA,

Programs: free and low-cost spay/neuter, vaccinations, dog training, and financial support to help keep pets in homes and out of shelters.

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This rescue not only saves the lives of those older and breed specific dogs that would normally be euthanized in city shelters but it also saves the lives of those like me that they allow to volunteer with these animals. Additionally they have shelter intervention programs where they help pay for medical care for low income families who would otherwise have no choice but to relinquish their beloved furry family member to the city shelter. Last but not least, they provide food, toys, medication and care for the best friends of those forgotten members of our society that reside on the streets of skid row in downtown Los Angeles. I have yet to be a part of a better organization and I can't imagine a world without DDR.

CJ M.1

Donor

Rating: 5

There are so many incredible organizations out there doing great work. Many focus on finding forever homes for animals that are brought into shelters and rescues, but few focus on keeping those same animals with their current families so they don't get introduced into the system in the first place. Their Shelter Intervention program is something that should be introduced everywhere as a valuable part of the solution to shelter and rescue overpopulation. Their network of volunteers is amazing, and everyone I've ever interacted with from this organization has been wonderful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got involved with DDR after adopting one of their dogs, Maya, about 3 years ago. At the time I didn't know much about the rescue but wanted to give back in some way. I was surprised with the amount of work that DDR did beyond just adopting out dogs, as if that isn't a noble effort in itself. DDR also provides training and boarding at their kennel for the rescue dogs as well as DDR alumni.

One of the programs DDR provides each month are free clinics in low income neighborhoods for basic pet care from microchipping and flea medicine to vouchers for grooming and spay/neuter operations. These clinics are an opportunity to interact with the community to have happier and healthier pets. Additionally, DDR works with SpayLA and other Non-profits to provide spay/neuter clinics periodically.

DDR also operates their Pet Resource Center on Skid Row in DTLA which provides pet services to residents who have no access to vet care and need assistance with pet care. Through these interactions DDR gets an opportunity to connect social services and rehabilitation opportunities to them too. DDR's South Gate kennel also provides spaces for pets who need a place to stay while their owners are rehabbing, need hospitalization or going through transitional housing.

Another program DDR provides is a Shelter Intervention program at the South LA Shelter providing information and education, vet vouchers, redemption fee assistance and even handyman services to resolve citations. By simply bridging the information, compassion and monetary divide between keeping a pet out of the shelter DDR not only helps the pets but also their owners.

Lori Weise's rescue is so much more than just a dog rescue, it is a organization that shows compassion and charity to the people who need it most. It just so happens that the common thread amongst all their efforts is a love for our pets. As a volunteer I am inspired by Lori's empathy, strong convictions, hard work and unending drive to selflessly work towards improving the lives of all those she encounters. I am very grateful to have adopted my dog from DDR and being a part of Lori's work.

Donor

Rating: 5

Such an incredible organization, they have my utmost respect. DDR does outreach providing education and assistance in underserved communities. Making a difference where it counts.
DDR are the real MVP’s, thank you, thank you for the invaluable services you provide.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

DDR is one of many great rescues. I love the programs they hold throughout South LA & the Skid Row community with pet and human assistance. I've learned a lot from DDR.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been involved with animal welfare for over 20 years, and Downtown Dog Rescue's dedication to the animals in their care is unequivocal! Each adoptable dog comes from a Los Angeles shelter and is given individual training and attention at DDR's beautiful, private kennel. Not only does this organization make sure they find the the right home for each of their rescues, they are influencers and leaders in the community. By developing lifesaving services like the Shelter Intervention Program and Pet Resource Center on Skid Row, DDR has made life better for countless people and animals who reside in Los Angeles' most vulnerable areas. These community programs provide innovative spay/neuter efforts, veterinary care, basic necessities and even help with referrals social services for people with companion animals. As a result, shelter intake numbers are down, fewer unwanted litters are born, and the people and pets of Los Angeles are happier and healthier. I am in awe of DDR and the incredible work they do. Thank you, Downtown Dog Rescue, for making the world a better place!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We love Downtown Dog Rescues in that they are unique that they not only assist dogs in bettering their lives but humans as well. Lori and her volunteers do incredible work for the community. We applaud their efforts for the programs and assistance they provide to Skid Row. Veterinary care, spay and neuter, daily supplies, food, referrals are what is needed and they are making it happen. The human and canine companions out there need eachother and DDR enables them to stay together and gives them the opportunity to make better decisions and get the help they need they may not have asked for if it wasn't for DDR.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've worked with a couple of different dog rescues over the years and based on my experience, DDR stands out as an organization that is really making a difference. Finding homes for rescued dogs is important but even more important is keeping dogs out of the city shelters and spaying and neutering the dogs that are out there. DDR is the ONLY rescue I know of that helps people keep the pets they already have and love. I volunteer at their monthly spay/neuter/vaccination clinic and South LA and have met so many families that love their dogs but can't always afford to give them the care they need. Helping these families out is one of the most worthwhile things I feel I can do with my time.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a great group! The team are so knowledgable, compassionate & experience. The work they do is so important, welcoming dogs and humans from all walks of life with no judgment.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first heard about Downtown Dog Rescue in a LA Times newspaper article about the amazing work of their Shelter Intervention Program. I fell in love with the heart and soul of this charity! Then they opened up the Pet Resource Center at the Inner City Law office in the middle of Skid Row!! Once again, (& still!) reaching out to help people and their pets. Downtown Dog Rescue is in the business of serving and making a difference in the neediest communities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Incredible rescue, with wonderful, hardworking and passionate staff and volunteers, that help so many unwanted dogs find loving new homes.

Kelli M.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

their compassion for animals is amazing, but it’s their compassion for humans, that make this rescue special ... thank you for all the hard work you do for people and their furry companions.

Donor

Rating: 5

They are one of the most kindhearted and driven rescues in California! I will always support their mission!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with a coalition that involves Downtown Dogs, and I am so impressed with the amazing work they do. They are only a small organization, but their impact is large. They have created a shelter intervention program that helps prevent dogs going into shelters in the first place, by helping people with the problems that lead them to surrender their animals. This program by itself has saved many thousands of dogs, and kept families and their pets together. They also do incredible work with homeless people and their animals, and underserved communities. They provide spay and neutering, low cost vet care, provide assistance with training, all in addition to rescuing and rehoming dogs, including older and harder-to-place animals. I cannot say enough good about them. If you're looking for a non-profit to help reduce the killing of adoptable animals, Downtown Dogs is a great choice.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Downtown Dog Rescue goes right to the root, helping animals and the people who care for them. They walk the walk, and make a huge impact across communities that need support. This is an organization that does things differently, unafraid to be unique and bold in their approach. They don't care about fame or prestige - they care about making a difference.

Jennifer467

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with Downtown Dog Rescue since 2011. This is an amazing organization with a lot of volunteer opportunities such as fostering, transporting, volunteering at clinics and much more. DDR believes in second chances for both dogs and people and really gets down to the root of the problem. DDR mainly serves low income pet owners in under served communities in Los Angeles County.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Downtown Dog Rescue gets it right. I've been working in dog rescue for several years now but have never felt as happy and fulfilled as I do with this organization. Everything I give is appreciated, whether it be my time or my money, but I have never, EVER felt pressured or manipulated into giving more. All the volunteers at DDR are there because they truly believe they are making a difference, bringing change and helping families. There is no judgment, just compassion and a desire to help.

We have an overwhelming pet overpopulation problem here in Los Angeles and I started to feel that simply rehoming animals wasn't going to solve it. I connected with DDR just as the Shelter Intervention Program was getting off the ground and I saw a cause I could really get behind. Spay and neuter, keeping existing pets with their families..I truly feel that is what will bring change to our city. I am honored to volunteer with this amazing organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We met Lori, Sandy and crew 11 years ago when we were looking to adopt a sibling for our amazing street rescue mutt, Cooper. We called several rescues and really connected to DDR and went to see a puppy they thought would make a great sister for Cooper. We did adopt their pup, Violet. Over the years, we got to know DDR and all the amazing programs they run and we've volunteered at events, fostering dogs for them, etc. We had two kids a few years after Violet and they've grown up being DDR volunteers... the DDR group has been amazing about including the little ones and teaching them about animals, rescue and more. Last November, Cooper passed away. We were devastated as was Violet. Our daughter (7 years old) and her Girl Scout troop collected blankets for the shelter and DDR. When we went to drop them off, we met a new DDR rescue - Teddy - that Lori thought we should meet. Knowing Violet, Lori knew what kind of brother she needed now that Cooper was gone and Violet was older. Lori was right. We welcomed Teddy into our home that same day and it's almost a year later and ten years apart that we have adopted two DDR rescues - Teddy and Violet. Thank you DDR for all you do!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Lori Is an angel. I've volunteered for this rescue for a couple of years and not only do they help pets, but they intervene when pet owners are about to give their pets into shelters by offErin an array of help. This is truly a 5 star place and I love what they do with all their hearts day after day.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I highly recommend this organization for anyone looking to adopt a dog. When DDR found my dog, she was in bad condition and they nursed her back health. Not only did Lori prepare my dog Eva to be a great companion, the organization is always available for advice and to watch Eva when I go out of town. I can not imagine a better place to leave my pup when I am away. Since money is tight, I can't imagine raising my dog without the help of Downtown Dog Rescue and its volunteers. They make my life better and gave my dog an opportunity to live. thank you, DDR!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a proud volunteer with Downtown Dog Rescue for about 8 years and am also a board member. DDR first helped me when I had a problem with one of my own dogs and I knew right away that I wanted to work with Lori, the founder, and help Downtown Dog Rescue. There is something special about DDR. Their innovative programs help bring compassion and humanity to pets and the people who love them; regardless of economic status. The services offered to people who need it most is where DDR shines - where other groups often turn a blind eye to the human and only focus on the animal, DDR is there to help both with programs like Shelter Intervention, Free Spay/Neuter, and Free Vaccine Clinics. And they of course rescue dogs from high kill shelters where the dogs then have an opportunity to spend time at the DDR kennels, learning to socialize off-leash with other dogs before they are adopted into their forever homes. DDR has changed my life in more ways that I could have imagined and I've learned so much about compassion, tolerance, and acceptance. Downtown Dog Rescue truly is a GREAT Nonprofit!

2 wrigley-

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What I love most about this organization is that it changes the dynamic of traditional animal rescues. Most animal rescues (in my experience) focus on getting pets out of the shelters and rehoming them. This brilliant organization realized that most animals headed *into* the shelter already come from a safe, loving home, a home that wants them. Sadly, often a fine to retrieve your dog from the shelter, a pet deposit on a new apartment or unexpected vet bills can mean the family no longer has the funds to keep the animal in that safe, loving home. By working at the source - the local shelters - this organization becomes the bridge for families and pets in need. Providing assistance to cover the difference in funds to get the pet out of the shelter (say, if it escaped under a neighbor's watch); offering to negotiate with the landlord or find alternative foster care while a new apartment is found; negotiating with a vet to receive reduced bills for medical treatment - all of these things STOP THE FLOW of dogs entering the shelters to begin with. Many behavioral issues arise when dogs are surrendered and rehomed. This organization cuts off that possibility by keeping the pets with the families that want them. It's a simple yet brilliant concept and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. My hope is that other organizations will take note and emulate this philosophy.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

DDR shows empathy and compassion and unites people. I first learned of DDR through Dogman's class. Dogman was being featured on The Dog Whisperer. I went to the class to try to network 6 pitbulls that had been abandoned in a foreclosure house in Compton. Lori Weise, DDR founder- has a gift to unite people toward a common goal. I had witnessed rescue groups being nasty- publicly criticizing, and here was someone who got rescue groups to work TOGETHER, and WITH the shelter system. I live in SouthLA where there have been tons of strays, some of them pitbulls. After Lori helped me place several of them, I wanted to help her so I became a DDR volunteer. She is a wonderful role model and has taught me not to judge. She is changing the world and I am happy to play a very small part helping her.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Lori and her team at Downtown Dog Rescue not only save dogs from shelters, they prevent animas from entering the shelters and keep families together. The shelter intervention program help keep pets where they belong, with their first families who want to keep them but need a helping hand. DDR also provides education and spay/neuter to prevent unwanted pets from being sent to the shelters. On top of that, Lori and her team save pull senior dogs and other "overlooked" dogs who wouldn't have a chance in a county shelter. Had Lori not saved our beloved dog Ava from an LA shelter, she probably would not have survived. She was shy and afraid and nervous but Lori knew she just needed a family. She changed our lives and so did DDR's spirit and mission.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Downtown Dog Rescue is not only a rescue that helps animals but helps people too! DDR believes in assisting humans so they in turn can help their own pets. DDR goes straight to the root of why so many animals are surrendered to the shelter every year. The work they do is groundbreaking and is a model for all rescues to follow. I am truly proud to be a part of this organization and would urge anyone interested in volunteer work to check out Downtown Dog Rescue!

Lori144

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm very proud to be the president of this progress organization. We have a great team of compassionate people who volunteer for years, working towards not only bettering the lives of dogs and cats but more importantly, their families. One day at a time, one pet at a time, one family at a time, the community becomes more caring and compassionate. With programs based in the most under served communities, some that do not have one animal hospital, offering free spay/neuter and more, we see that families do want these services. People need help, Downtown Dog Rescue is here to provide that help.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Many years ago, I read a tiny article about this amazing dog rescue organization...Downtown Dog Rescue. After doing some research about the group, my husband and I became financial supporters of this inspiring organization. Several years later, in 2009 (we had lost our beloved "Georgie" in 2006), I was in a very sad place after losing my dear mom. One morning, my husband looked at me and said "You need a dog, don't you?" I said "yes", and since we had decided that we would only rescue, our search began. Thanks to my niece, we learned about a giant rescue event at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles...tons of rescues, hundreds of dogs. Long story short, the first booth we went into was, coincidentally, DDR's. We were blessed to find our wonderful "Sam" there, and he has been our love ever since. Honestly, Sam rescued me. I am so grateful to DDR for the amazing things they do for doggies, and for people. Their programs have expanded, their reach has broadened, but their giving, accepting and loving hearts have remained the same. It is an honor to support them.