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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

German Shepherd Safe Haven Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animal-Related, Animal Services, Animals

Mission: German Shepherd Safe Haven, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Public Charity dedicated to finding loving forever homes for abandoned German Shepherds. Our main goal is to rescue, train, rehabilitate, and re-home German Shepherds from shelter environments and from owner surrenders. Our secondary goal is to provide education to the public on the temperament, personality, and life span of the breed, as well as the importance for owners to spay and neuter their dogs. We believe that matching each dog’s temperament and personality to a family’s needs is fundamental to creating life-long relationships where the dog is not just a dog, but a valued member of the family.

Programs: 2011 was our first full year of service. We adopted out 21 german shepherds. Other animals were pulled from shelters in southern california and placed in foster homes until they will be adopted.

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with GSSH for almost two years, and a foster for over 6 months. Tom (the founder of GSSH) truly puts the dogs first, and they are well-cared for, loved, and socialized. GSSH is very picky about who adopts their dogs, and with good reason.; it's about finding the right home for the dog, and the right dog for the home! Most of our dogs are pulled from horrific circumstances, and Tom works tirelessly with each and every one to help build their confidence and teach them their basic commands. Because we are foster-based, all of our dogs are placed in caring foster homes before they find their forever home. While it is fortunate the dogs are not in a shelter anymore, unfortunately we can only rescue the dogs we have foster homes for. Tom has gone above and beyond for every single dog and family he adopts to, and will always be there, even years later, to answer any questions or help with a difficult situation. GSSH i truly a nonprofit; every single penny goes to the dogs.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I fostered German Shepherds with German Shepherd Safe Haven for almost two years, until I was forced to stop due to relocating. What a satisfying experience it was working with such a quality organization! Tom, who runs the rescue, is totally committed to the cause of saving and finding homes for the German Shepherds. I always felt he was behind me and available for anything including advice, veterinary services, medications, training... Since I have moved I enjoy watching his Facebook page to see the inspiring stories as he helps these dogs. I continue to try to assist in the form of financial donations to this wonderful organization.

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been fostering German Shepherds with GSSH for a year and a half. What a wonderful organization!! Tom, who runs GSSH, is 100% dedicated to his mission of saving these dogs. Anything I have needed has been immediately provided- vet visits, medications, advice, or supplies. He always responds promptly, and is interested in how things are going. Our community is so lucky to have Tom and the German Shepherd Safe Haven!!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

German Shepherd Safe Haven put out a call for foster homes and I wanted to help. I had a 12 year old shepherd and knew that with the right care and training, GSD's are wonderful pets. Tom and Jen know the dogs they rescue very well. They take time and patience to learn about the dogs, begin training and give them a healthy new start. After a month it was clear that the biography I'd read of my foster dog was completely accurate. They were always available to answer questions and give good advice. As I got to know the dog, I was also asked for my feedback about the suitability of the dog for potential forever families. I tried, I really tried, to be a good foster family. Of course, we fell in love and realized two German Shepherds were better than one. We failed as fosters but we were only comfortable with a rescue dog because she came from the honest, hard-working and loving hands of this rescue. We continue to rely on them for advice and know that we have professional help if we need it to give our new dog a happy life.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since GSSH was formed in 2010, Jen and Tom have worked diligently almost every day, to put together a Top Rated German Shepherd Rescue in the United States, as rated by GreatNonprofits thru 2015, and are working toward that achievement again in 2016. Not to bad!!! As to one of the many reasons why they have earned this top rating status, please check out the very special GSSH Forever Family stories at

http://germanshepherdsafehaven.org/category/forever-families/

It’s important to note, they have done all this without any monetary compensation for themselves. Instead, they rely exclusively on their great volunteer family that continues to grow each year, generous donations from others that share their German Shepherd Rescue Mindset and some Great Corporate Sponsorship's that all contribute to keeping the GSSH stated mission alive and well!

http://germanshepherdsafehaven.org/about-us/our-rescue/

If your looking to give back to your community by volunteering for a Top Rated German Shepherd Rescue in the United States, Go To the GSSH Website and complete an on-line application! Tom and Jen will welcome you with open arms!
If your looking to donate the change in your pocket or a few dollars more, it is so very much appreciated by this Great Nonprofit organization! Their website has a number of options you can choose for making a financial donation!
GSSH also reaches out to the generosity and support of corporations. If you own or are a part of a corporation that would like to learn more about a GSSH corporate sponsorship, please consider giving the Rescue a call to learn more about the mutual benefits involved! THANKS!!!

I am very proud to be a volunteer and donor for GSSH!

Previous Stories
11

Donor

Rating: 5

There are almost 2 million Nonprofits in the United States today that are seeking donations and volunteers for their special cause.
How do you determine which ones to donate to? Or volunteer with?
Organizations receiving the Top Rated Nonprofit Award from Great Nonprofits, is what many donors and volunteers look for today before they make these important decisions.
This award is one of the most trusted seals of approval any nonprofit can receive and it has to be earned. Under 1% of nonprofits nationwide have been able to achieve this Top-rated status.
When it comes to animal welfare nonprofits, no organization does it better than Tom and Jen’s GSSH. They receive this Top Rated Nonprofit Award from Great Nonprofits year after year.
Here is one story of many as to why this is.
In the last year, their organization rescued Sammie, a very sweet and loving female German Shepherd puppy from a high kill shelter in LA, CA. After being rescued, Sammie was diagnosed with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, (EPI). Sammie’s Pancreas is unable to produce the digestive enzymes needed to break down the food she eats. She was rapidly losing weight no matter how much she ate.
Jen, GSSH co-founder, quickly became an EPI specialist and put Sammie on a specific food regimen that included necessary enzymatic additives that eventually helped to stabilize the weight loss. Each Sammie meal requires half an hour prep time. Jen showed great patience, understanding and provided some very special love while taking care of Sammie. Sammie responded and has now put on a lot of the lost weight and looks great. She is now ready to be adopted by her future forever family.
Sammie’s special diet has come with a monthly price tag. Great organizations attract some great volunteers. And GSSH volunteers, Ehab & Mary, stepped up and are currently sponsoring Sammie.
Again, this is one of many inspiring stories why GSSH is among the very Elite in Nonprofits.
A great organization for your donation and volunteer consideration

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In March 2015 my family and I adopted a dog from GSSH. After a period of time, we made the painful decision that the adoption was not the right fit. We surrendered our dog back to Tom, the founder of GSSH, and, though we knew it was the right decision, we mourned the loss, and the fact that we just weren't the right family for the dog, for a long time. Weeks after the surrender, I spoke with Tom many times, going so far as to speaking with a potential adopter. We wanted the best for the dog, and I wanted to take part in finding the right home. I'm happy to report that Adriana has found her forever home--I met her daddy just this past weekend during a pack hike.

Yes, I'm still very much involved with GSSH. I volunteer at showcase events, doing my part to help the GSDs find their forever homes. I'm also volunteering for the organization by writing their quarterly newsletter. After we surrendered Adriana, my family and I could have easily, from shame and embarrassment that the adoption didn't work, moved on and never had contact with Tom or GSSH. We did not; we remained involved and committed to the dogs and what the organization stands for: to find forever homes for dogs that have had a rough go at life.

I share this story to counter the negative reviews that a certain person has compulsively and obsessively left on this website. The person in question, whom I personally met just prior to her her adoption of Seth (who became Shane), is doing a disservice to the dogs that Tom and Jen rescue from shelters in order to place them in their forever homes. The responsibility they have to the dogs is enormous. If the home they place the dogs in are not the right fit, they have a responsibility to make tough decisions for the betterment of the dogs. And that decision to pull a dog is not an easy decision; it breaks the spirit of everyone who is involved in the GSSH when a home doesn't work out.

I had the honor, at the last pack hike, to meet dogs who were adopted out into their forever homes YEARS ago. When they see Tom, they get so excited and happy, seeking out his affection and attention. These are not dogs who were mistreated by Tom; these are dogs who were saved by Tom. He has given his life to the organization and his dogs. I urge some people to put this into perspective in their attempts to slander the organization; you are only hurting the future GSSH dogs in finding their forever homes.

13 Jami K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

It's been a year since we adopted our shepherd from German Shepherd Safe Haven. First we fostered then we adopted. Our experience with GSSH was amazing. They are supportive through the whole process. The placement of Becca (now McKenna) in our home was done with consideration to our family unit and lifestyle. This rescue is in it for the dogs and that makes all the difference to me.

Previous Stories
15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

German Shepherd Safe Haven stands head and shoulders above other rescue organizations. The priority is the dogs. So much time and attention is spent on really understanding the dogs in their care so that a successful placement can be made. When a family adopts a dog, they become a part of the German Shepherd Safe Haven family. Families are supported well after the adoption is completed. There is a true love of the animals and their well being even when the dogs have been placed.

10 Karlie D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with this rescue since January 2015 and am absolutely in love with the dogs we help and the rescue itself. I firmly believe that everyone involved with the rescue has only the best interest of the dogs in their hearts. Sometimes this can be a struggle, as a volunteer how can you not want to take these beauties home every day? If I had a mansion, believe me I would. But again, this rescue is all about the dogs and finding them the forever home they deserve. Tom, Jen and the other volunteers care deeply for every dog that comes into the rescue. This starts the moment the dog is rescued and truly never ends. You will never hear GSSH boast about how many dogs they've adopted out and how quickly they've done it because they believe in careful and proper placement every time. This minimizes the chance that a dog will end up back in a shelter or on the streets, and GSSH makes sure this never happens to their dogs. Although I have only been with the rescue for a year I have witnessed first hand the good this rescue has done for the shepherds. Many of the forever families stay in contact with the rescue and tell us of how happy they are to be a part of the GSSH family. GSSH takes great care in rescuing, fostering, and adopting out dogs. This can be a lengthy process because Tom and Jen take great care to get to know and understand every single dog that is rescued, and work on any issues they may have. This also applies to getting to know potential adopters, and families that have adopted. By knowing the dog and the family GSSH is able to make sure dogs are placed in a home that will be the best for them, forever. They also provide continued support to families to make sure the dog is well taken care of and the family is provided with guidance if any issues arise. As a lover of all dogs, but especially German Shepherds, I know that proper care and ownership is key to helping this breed. I have seen GSSH work to create a better rep, and better lives, for these dogs and plan to stay as a volunteer for a very long time.

18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with this rescue since late 2011 and you could not find a better group of people. Tom and Jen know what it takes to operate a rescue the way it should run, where the dog comes first, nothing else. If the dog is not the right fit for the family, then they don't allow them to adopt. German Shepherds are a special breed and not for everyone. Tom and Jen make sure that the dog is the best fit and that is what sets them apart from other rescue groups. Their follow-up is incredible and it gives the forever families peace of mind knowing you have them to help you work through a problem after the adoption. I have seen first hand Tom help people with their German Shepherds that were not even adopted from their group. These were families that wanted to surrender their dogs to the organization and were at their wits end and he turned the situation around with some training advice and the families were able to keep their dog in the end. I am very proud to be part of the German Shepherd Safe Haven Family. You could say I found my forever home! Great dogs, Great people and a superior organization!

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am very proud to volunteer for the GSSH pack. This organization has such an incredible group of people who are completely dedicated to saving the lives of German Shepherds. Tom founder and Jen co-founder of GSSH, have built something amazingly special here in Orange County, CA! I absolutely LOVE this organization!!

Every GSSH dog rescued has their own before and after story. You can read about them over at the GSSH website. http://germanshepherdsafehaven.org

What’s truly amazing is that all of them seem to understand that their life has just been saved. GSSH adoptive pet parents can attest to this. In turn, our appreciative GSSH dogs are determined to reward their new best fit adopting family with an exceptionally close and enduring forever relationship. The bonds that are and will be formed are incredible! If you're planning to add a four-legged family member to your household, it doesn’t get better than that!

Check out our current scheduled Showcase Events listed at the GSSH website and then come on by and say hello. The GSSH dogs would love to meet you and show you their appreciation, just for visiting. And of course the GSSH volunteers would love to give you an up to date “411” on GSSH and their dogs!

If your looking for a close and enduring pet relationship, I certainly hope you’ll consider opening your home to one of our amazing GSSH dogs that is also looking for this kind of relationship with you!

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GSSH has a warm and caring staff, who really want the best for the dogs in their care! They are professional and kind. The dogs are well-behaved as well as beautiful! Tom and his staff are the absolute best!

Heidi Kendle

12 Cheri10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I are new volunteer for GSSH. In our short time with the group we have learned that the founders and the other volunteers care deeply for all of the German Shepherds. The founders take great care to match the dogs with their Forever Families. It is clear that the dog is first in all considerations. The dogs they rescue are well mannered and trained.

My daughter has always loved GSD and when we met one of the founders, we decided it would be a great way to spend time with these beautiful and intelligent dogs without actually owning one. But, if we were to adopt a German Shepard, we would do so from GSSH because we know that the dog would be matched to us and more importantly, we would be matched to the dog.

I have read some of the other reviews and most say it so much better than I can.
We enjoy the Monthly Showcases where we meet the public (potential adopters) and give them information about the organization and the dogs. It is very true about the description on their website: “a fun group of people who find joy in simple things like a tail wag or a sloppy doggie kiss” The tail wags and abundant sloppy doggie kisses are a wonderful way to spend a few hours a month.

10 Sarah2574

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GSSH is the greatest local nonprofit organization. I am proud to say I am a volunteer with this organization. They really have a passion for German Shepherds and put the dogs needs first. They really take the time necessary to ensure their furbabies are going to a forever home and will be happy and safe. I always recommend the GSSH and hope to one day adopt a furbaby from them myself. Such an inspiring, genuine organization. GSSH is the best! =)

Previous Stories
12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

German Shepherd Safe Haven is a terrific foundation. Not only do they love each and every one of these wonderful dogs that cross their path, but they also truly take care of them and put their needs first. They make sure the dogs are healthy, spayed/neutered, and up to date with all of their shots. GSSH is also sure to train and discipline every dog that is welcomed into the GSSH in order to make sure their new owners will be happy and satisfied with their new member of the family.
They have created an extensive process in order to adopt their German Shepherds. Not because they want to be difficult, but because they want to be 100% sure that each dog is placed in the right home in every single story. They have yet to have any unsuccessful stories, and I anticipate (with their process) they won't run into any. This process also helps "weed out" the people/families who aren't willing to go through all of the responsibilities an addition to the household can be. I instantly fell in love with every single dog I work with and met, and am so lucky to be able to meet new dogs and be a part of their journey. Thank you GSSH for creating this great community and organization! =)

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

German Shepherd Safe Haven is not only a place where helpless dogs are given a second chance but it is also an organization that educates people about the misconception of the German Shepherd breed. There are thousands of abandon German Shepherds currently in the United States, most of them will never be given a second chance to live out their lives in a loving home. When I first volunteered for this organization, I loved that they are so different from other rescue groups. Every decision they make is for the greater good for the dog and the dog only. It is not for profit or just giving them out like christmas presents. They truly love and respects these precious dogs and tries to do the best they can with whatever they can offer. I am so grateful to have found an organization that shares the same passion as many of us dog lovers.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

At the beginning of 2013, I made a new years resolution to begin donating a few hours of time each month to a worthy cause in my community. I began to look for a Non-Profit organization that would be a good fit for me. I had learned that millions of dogs were being euthanized each year primarily because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since I loved dogs, I decided to seek out an organization that was truly dedicated to providing an alternative to this senseless killing. I checked out the local dog shelters and dog rescues as possible places to volunteer my services.
GSSH management described their young organization as “a fun group of people who find joy in simple things like a tail wag or a sloppy doggie kiss”. They were looking for volunteers to assist them at their monthly show case events, (holding dogs, greeting and talking with potential adopters, providing information and answering questions about their rescue). This sounded like a fun and healthy environment for me to achieve my personal goals of giving back. I filled out an application on line and they immediately put me to work.
I am now into my second year volunteering with GSSH and this organization is everything they have advertised! Not only is this a fun organization that deeply cares for the dogs they rescue, but they are truly appreciative of their volunteers.
Below is a video they put together to express their appreciation to the many GSSH volunteers that are making a positive difference in the rescue efforts of the GSSH dogs. GO AHEAD AND CHECK IT OUT!

http://germanshepherdsafehaven.org/2014/04/11/video-celebrating-gssh-volunteers/

If anyone is looking for a fun way to give back to their community, consider donating a few hours a month with GSSH where the tails are wagging and a lot of sloppy doggie kiss’s are awaiting!

Previous Stories
11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Loving Dogs and wanting to rescue them from the many kill shelters, abandonments, etc., are part of every Dog Rescue’s mission. What separates German Shepherd Safe Haven (GSSH) and puts them in a league of their own are just two words, Their Founders!
Three years ago, founders Tom Williamson and Jen Cheng had a vision to create a professional dog rescue that put mistreated and abused German Shepherds first at every step along the way in a carefully laid out quality adoption process. Their partnership, an experienced blend of dog knowledge, entrepreneurial talent and leadership skills, has paid great dividends!
Today, GSSH sets the Standard of Excellence for Dog Rescues!

The founders recognize that a tremendous amount of time and energy are required to do things the right way. Anything less is not acceptable. Every detail is attended to by these quality individuals.
Just two examples out of so many.
Jen and Tom have designed a first-class website to provide the GSSH dogs with the best opportunity for finding their forever homes. www.gssafehaven.org Check it out! This elite site, that now sets it's own standard, utilizes the founders exceptional photographic skills for presenting the GSSH dogs to potential Forever Families. The GSSH dogs get it and love every minute of the attention they receive in their photo shoots! They don’t mind the amount of energy and time that is required to make this forever memory!
Us humans have all kinds of reunions during our life spans. So what has Tom and Jen done for the GSSH dogs? They created the German Shepherd Safe Haven annual Family Picnic event giving the GSSH dogs a place to reconnect with old friends and above all else, showoff their Forever Families! Check out the 2013 event along with the enthusiastic efforts of all involved that contributed to these forever memories at
http://germanshepherdsafehaven.org/2013/07/27/german-shepherd-safe-haven-family-picnic-2013/
There are so many other examples of what Jen and Tom have accomplished that has contributed to making GSSH the best! Check out all the other reviews to learn more!!!

Tom and Jen have built, and continue to attract, a special TEAM of talented and dedicated Directors, Advisors, Foster Families, Volunteers and Donors to support them in all their efforts for carrying out the Rescue’s mission.
Under their leadership, they and their TEAM have risen to the many challenges presented and are eagerly prepared for the unlimited opportunities that lie directly ahead.
This great young organization, GSSH, is ready to take their spot on the 2013 GreatNonprofit’s Top-Rated List!

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

German Shepherd Safe Haven is a wonderful organization, and I wished I would have known them before we got our beautiful German Shepherd from another organization. Because he was not the right fit for us, and we are not the right fit for him, but nobody tried to find this out. Some organizations only count the number of dogs they can place whether it fis or it does not. But the people from Safe Haven helped us with their knowledge to make a difference. When you adopt a dog from this organization you are never without their help and support, if you have questions etc., and that is be very important !
I just think, this orangization is amazing and I recommend them to anybody who wants to adopt a German Shepherd.
Wilu Nassios

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We volunteer and foster dogs in emergency circumstances, We also have adopted a great dog from this rescue, and continue to maintain a close relationship with them. All the staff at this rescue are helpful and knowledgable in the operation of the rescue. We could not be happier with our association with German Shepherd Safe Haven. Tom and his organization are totally devoted to the rescue and welfare of the German Shepherd breed.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an animal lover and have always loved the German shepherd breed. My Experiance with rescues has been some what of a love hate one. I think rescues begin for the right resons but some where a long the way loose their sight of what's important. German shepherd save haven rescue is 100% in it for the dogs! I was and am impressed with their adoption process. They are very dilagent in finding the dog a forever home so the do not end up back in the system. This is key, otherwise your not rescuing at all, your just rotating the dogs in and out of the system while collecting an adoptin fee. Any rescue can adopt out but not many "find homes". The relationship they form with the new adopters is close and they don't leave them feeling abandoned with this new dog they don't know. They really get to no the dogs and truly love these dogs. While I volunteered, they gave me information to learn about all of the dogs so I new what I was talking about to potential adopters. I give German Shepherd Safe Haven Rescue an A+ . Ronna Eckholm.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

German Shepherd Safe Haven is a wonderful nonprofit rescue! I know Tom the co-founder was very drawn into rescuing German Shepherds, which influenced me to volunteer. Although this rescue is fairly new, they work their events and interviews with possible homes, like they have been doing this for years. The rescue is very professional, organized and most important they look out for the best interests of the dog and pairing them with the right family/owner. I appreciate the training and the time they took to teach us how to properly handle a dog before walking a dog or attending events. I also appreciate the communcation amoung the rescue, they always gave us detailed facts about each and every dog before attending an event. Allowing us to be familiar with each dogs. Everyone was very communicative and was able to help each other out when needed. I believe communication is key,without it, it could be a disaster and we would look disorganized and unprofessional. Lastly, this rescue is super fun! Tom, Jen and all the volunteers are always a joy to be around and give such a positive vibe to helping these dogs find a home. And I can not leave out all the amazing dogs I got to work with, I've never met any dog that I didn't like working at this rescue, they all were sweet and obedient dogs. I will always and forever be a volunteer for German Shepherd Safe Haven.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Tom and Jen are 100% for the dogs. In the short time they have been a rescue they have saved so many Amazing dogs. Any dog they rescue is a reformed animal before it is adopted. On top of being a top notch rescue the people behind the scenes are great people.