News & Features
Seven Central Florida rescue organizations making a difference for animals in our region
Published: February 6, 2013
Florida Little Dog Rescue
SPECIALIZES IN: Primarily dogs under 25 pounds, but larger breeds on rare occasions
ANIMALS ADOPTED OUT EACH YEAR: Since 2009, a total of 2,105
ANIMALS UP FOR ADOPTION NOW? 40 (with others in foster care until they are ready to be put up for adoption)
Unique rescue ventures are all in a day's work for longtime rescuer Laurie Johnson. Introduced to the world of dog rescue at an early age by her mom, Johnson started Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue at the age of 18, an organization focused on rescuing Great Danes, Dobermans and other large breeds. When she got married and moved to Orlando, however, her husband's dog allergies led her to downsize – she started working primarily with breeds weighing less than 25 pounds. Her efforts evolved into Florida Little Dog Rescue, which she co-founded with Dana Van Zandt in 2009.
"Over 75 percent of our dogs come from Polk and Osceola shelters," Johnson says. While they still rescue a good amount of dogs in Orange, Seminole, Lake and Brevard counties, she says that "Polk and Osceola have more need." While there are lots of rescues operating in this area, she says, there just aren't as many taking in dogs from Polk and Osceola.
Johnson says the organization has a guiding principle for every adoption it facilitates: "We are here to find dogs their people, not to find people their dogs," she says. That's because, as Johnson points out, it's never a dog's fault that it has been abandoned.
"Most dogs are in rescue not because they are bad dogs, but because they've had bad owners," Johnson says. "They are very appreciative dogs and very grateful, [and] they will appreciate good ownership because they know what bad situations are."
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