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Meet Pupstarz Rescue

Meet Pupstarz Rescue

Header Photo by NYC Pet Photographer Stacey Axelrod


Pupstarz Rescue are an all-volunteer animal welfare group committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of dogs and cats in public shelters at high risk of euthanasia, as well as those in danger of abuse, based in the U.S. They are a foster-based rescue and have saved over 1,875 dogs and cats since 2015. We were lucky enough to work with some of the fantastic dogs from Pupstarz Rescue on our trip to New York so you may spot some of them on our website. We recently got to chat with Pupstarz volunteer, Danielle, to find out more about this amazing rescue.


Can you tell us a little about yourself and your role at Pupstarz? 
My name is Danielle Rosen, I began with Pupstarz Rescue probably 4 or 5 years ago. I started helping with transports, then somehow I started fostering which fell into my lap. I was only going to take a dog for about 4 hours because the foster didn't show up and then it ended up being a couple of weeks! And I've been fostering ever since for them. I've been doing the social media for probably 4 years, as of right now we have gone from around 12,000 followers to about 33,000 followers!


Do you know how many pets Pupstarz has helped to date and how many are currently in your care?
As of right now, we have about 30 dogs and cats in our care because a bunch just got adopted! 40 is probably the average that we have but some puppies get adopted right away, some dogs take longer to get adopted so it varies on a day to day basis. 
Why is Pupstarz and animal rescue in general so important to you? 

Pupstarz is important to me because we are mostly based on the complete kindness of volunteers - no volunteer gets an ounce. I love Pupstarz because the same 3 women are still the head of it and they run things very well, they're very organised and they're responsible individuals. We have a great set of fosters (we could always use more!) but I love the fosters, we're all in it together. I also love Pupstarz because we're all friends, we all bring something different to the table, we listen to each others opinions. We're not a rescue that's trying to grow, grow, grow. Yes, we want to make more people aware of rescue but we never take on more animals than we can manage, which a lot of other rescues may do. I love that Pupstarz rescues a lot of pregnant moms. We have a specific couple that foster for us that will always take the mamas that have just given birth or are about to give birth. 



Photography by Nuria Rius for Hiro + Wolf


We know Pupstarz is a foster-based rescue, is there a reason for that?


Animals in a shelter are definitely under more stress, so if we can take animals out of a shelter environment and put them into someones home and start preparing them for their eventual forever home, it's going to be an easier transition. We teach them the basics of how to be a dog - we don't let them on the couch at first, we make sure that we establish boundaries. It's not military-like, we teach them as much as we can the methods of Steve del Savio from Pack Leader Dogs. His methods have helped us tremendously.
What is the best thing about your work? 

The thing I enjoy the most about volunteering is that I get to do the social media, I get to stay connected to the people that have adopted a dog from us which is really, really important to me. I go out of my way to connect puppies to the litter a year later or something like that. I think it is so important to keep the alumni involved, still spreading the word, possibly fostering and still feeling like they're part of the Pupstarz pack. They are the reasons that we are still a non-profit and they're the people that can speak from personal experience and recommend us. The fact that I can post an animals picture on social media and raise money for the rescue and the animals themselves. We recently had an animal that was blind in one eye, and that was causing the dog a lot of pain so I thought we should fundraise for the surgery as it was really expensive. The rescue didn't ask me to raise money, but we raised our target and went over it and it's just word of mouth, 25 dollars here, 25 dollars there that helps. It's incredible how people you don't even know have donated to a cause and you get to thank them publicly. 

Is there a particular animal whose story has stayed with you? 
I normally foster the elderly or handicapped or emotionally messed up dogs. That is what I found to be my specialty, one that haven't had human interaction, or have never been around other dogs. There's been a lot of dogs that have really touched me but one in particular is Jasmine. She was an owner surrender to our vet. She came to us very, very nervous. God knows what mix she was - she looked like a drowned rat! She had a skin condition, spots, raised lumps all over her skin. She needed lots of meds, steroids and things to have it balance out. But after so many years of not being on the correct medication and food, there was only so much we could do. She was elderly, we nursed her back to health, got her comfortable with being handled, and she actually got adopted by a woman who lives a few blocks from me! She re-named her Ellie. When she came to us she looked like a mess, now she actually has hair! She still has her quirks and so forth, she still has to be on a small amount of meds, but her skin looks 10 billion times better, she's happier, and I get to see her from time to time still. 


Photos by @STYLEPUP


What do you think is the best part about adopting a pet?
Adopting an animal is a live-changing experience. The fact that you can take a dog from 2 month to 15 years old and actually give them a home. Maybe they've had 10 homes before you, or maybe 1 home before you, but they will change your life and you will be a changed person as a result. You gain compassion, train yourself, train your dog, living with something that you know you can take care of. If you do things the right way, read up on how to look after a dog, it can be such an incredible experience, and the amount of doors that open up to support the rescue you adopted from and connect with other like minded people. 
What advice would you give to someone looking to adopt a dog or a cat? 

When people ask us how to prepare to adopt, to see if they want to adopt, what breed to adopt or so-forth - they need to do their research. Sometimes certain breeds we put up, people will say certain things like "beagles are always going to howl" but every animal is different. I think people need to do their research but take it with a grain of salt. Definitely ask friends for advice if they have dogs. Just googling is going to take you down a rabbit hole that goes on forever and ever and might not even be useful. We have particular things that we tell people if they were to contact us for advice. People also need to think about the amount of time that they have. If they're going to adopt a 15 year old, lazy dog then it's alright if you're out of the house and so forth, but if you adopt a very energetic dog so that it can go running with you, you better make sure that you have that time to do that. A lot of people will return their animals to us complaining about behaviour problems, when really those behaviour problems exist because the person is not exercising their dog enough. Another great piece of advice is that instead of going on Pet Finder and going down a rabbit hole of searching. Instead look up local rescue organisations, look at reviews, follow the rescues on social media or look at their website. Email them and see what their responses are like and so forth is the best way to get information and one-on-one advice when looking for an animal. We do not care who they rescue from. If someone is looking to rescue, I will suggest other rescues if need be, we just want them to rescue period. 

Photography by Nuria Rius for Hiro + Wolf


How can people best support the work you do? 
The first thing I wouldn't eve say is donating. Obviously it's helpful because we spend about $250,000 a year on medical bills, so obviously that's huge. But honestly, I would say word of mouth. Somebody who has adopted sharing us on social media, recommending our rescue. Sharing dogs that need temporary foster homes. The more followers that rescues have on social media, the more we can show the rest of society, especially those thinking of getting a dog from a breeder, that hey, you can get a pure-bred from a rescue, you can get a puppy from a rescue, you can still meet your best friend. There are just as many messed-up breeder dogs as there are rescue dogs. The more we can spread the word on adoption or fostering the better. We share so much advice and tips on our social media. 
Sum up Pupstarz in 5 words! 

Compassion, Balance, Support, Loyalty, Community. 


Thank you to Danielle for taking the time to chat with us! You can find Pupstarz on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. You can also donate to them directly here


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