My name is Sue and I started Toy Poodle Rescue because I love Poodles and am so committed to the health, wellbeing and longevity of this breed. I am British, and came to America in 1990 for a work commitment. I met my husband, and we made our home here in Massachusetts. My parents had given me a Poodle when I was two years old, we grew up together and she was my best friend and constant companion, she passed when I was sixteen years old. Hence my love of Poodles was born.
My husband and I got our first Poodle 17 years ago by default. We happened to go to the mall prior to going out to dinner, and there was this little Poodle in a pet store with his eyes glued to me, no matter what I did, this Poodle watched me walk around the store, needless to say $1,500 later we walked out with this little Poodle puppy – Ben, a puppy mill dog, now 17 years old and the ambassador for Toy Poodle Rescue. This smiley, wonderful, mellow, laid back little guy has allowed my husband and I to be shared with many, many Poodles who have passed through our home and has loved everyone of them with us. So many times we hear people say, I don’t want a puppy mill dog, but Ben is just that, he is going to be 18 years old this year and is healthy and the sweetest temperament dog you could ever wish for.
Little did we know 17 years ago about Puppy Mills and the way those mill dogs are treated, but as everything in our lives we started to get educated about our dog, the Poodle breed and everything dog related. We learnt that we had made a mistake by buying from a pet store, and have tried to rectify that by committing ourselves to rescuing this breed since.
Nutrition is a huge part to keeping dogs healthy, I have been making my own dog food for many years, as my nose knew that if I would not eat the advertised canned food then I did not want to give it to my “child”/Poodle. Therefore, I started researching foods and everything related to it, now I feel there is not too much I don’t know about nutrition for dogs.
We also don’t over vaccinate our dogs, which I believe has extended their lives.
I am a major researcher for knowledge and I believe getting educated on different topics helps us make good and better decisions for our Pets.
How and why I started my own rescue organization
Since my heart has always been with this breed, we decided to start volunteering for a Poodle rescue group and ultimately fostering, this was about 12 years ago now. I was very naive, I was under the impression that rescue meant exactly that, I was soon to find out it meant that they rescued the ones they wanted to and the others just were not. So one night at a rescue meeting, it was being discussed that two Poodles were in the city shelter and one of the committee members had been to evaluate them. One was young and OK and they were going to take it in, the other was old, blind and lame and they were not going to rescue it from the shelter and he would be left there and probably euthanized, and the discussion was over and on to other issues.
I was dumb founded, I thought that if you ran a Poodle rescue group that you rescued Poodles without question, it wasn’t like they didn’t have the money, they had $10,000 in the bank at that time, and my husband and I would have fostered him…..but we were never asked!
After a sleepless night, I called the person who was my mentor the next day, and begged her to come with me to the shelter just to see the older Poodle, and that no matter what we decided it would be on my dime and they (the people running the rescue group) would never know or find out her involvement or that we had gone behind their back, and to this day they never knew. Thank you Debbie.
So we go to see this little Poodle, he was in a crate without a solid bottom so he was standing on the wired part of the crate so any feces or urine could drop through, his little feet were raw. The person who had evaluated him was right he was blind because he had a double eye infection so the drainage had glued the hair from above his eyes to under his eyes shut, so he could not see. She was right, he was also lame due to his long matted coat, matting the hair under his body so he could not extend his legs allowing him to walk. He had not received any care since arriving in the shelter, not a bath or any medication as he was old and was going to be euthanized. Well I paid the fee and took him home and had him fully vetted, we called him Charlie after Prince Charles of England as I wanted him to feel like royalty for the rest of his life no matter how long that was going to be. Charlie lived for 2 ½ years, he could see fine and ran really fast if offered a little piece of steak. He passed in my arms with dignity knowing he was so loved and well cared for. Not left in a shelter to be put to sleep just because he was old.
This care is the very least we should expect for every animal and what we always strive to do at Toy Poodle Rescue.
To say I do not have good feelings for the people who evaluated and allowed Charlie to be left in the shelter to die is an understatement and to this day they are still involved with that Poodle rescue group!
I have to say I learnt a lot from volunteering for the other Poodle group, I learnt how I did not want to run my rescue.
So after moving on from them, I went out to learn everything I could on how to do it right. I took a business course, taught myself how to groom (thanks to Ben, who had more than one Mohawk and landing strip down his back as I practiced on him). I volunteered at different shelters and made friends with other rescue people who helped and advised me, then I got a really great lawyer to protect our rescue and our rescue dogs (the only pit-bull we have) and so Toy Poodle Rescue was born.
I wanted my rescue to be different from the norm, adopters are able to get a hold of us if the dog they adopted has an issue, we can chat with someone who has to give up their dog and no matter what the reason, we do not pass judgment of any kind, that is just not our job.
None of our foster homes pay for anything when fostering one of our dogs, they help approve the home for the dog they foster and we hide nothing from them. They are always able to get a hold of me 24/7.
I think being British, we do not mince our words and always say it like it is. I have no problem speaking up but especially in defense of any animal, and especially one of my Poodles, some people have a hard time with that but most know where they stand. I never play favorites and would never compromise the needs of a dog for anything. I have chosen to forgo many a contact or friendship due to what I felt was a moral indiscretion and lack of integrity on their part regarding the handling and rescue of dogs. I just will never be party to that kind of behavior and the dog is always the priority.
I am an extremely loyal person who runs an honest and caring rescue and that will never change.
I have a wicked dry sense of humor, I treat people how they treat me and have been raised that if someone does something nice for me/us, we pay it forward and do something nice for another.
I do not do well with, or tolerate the usual back biting, politics and angst you have in rescues run by women, hence we do not have or allow that approach in Toy Poodle Rescue, we are a friendly, totally committed bunch that will do anything to save an animal.
My Family and Friends
I have to thank my husband who never signed on for this when he married me, but is just as much a part of Toy Poodle Rescue, he feeds and snuggles everyone, along with vet visits and helping with every aspect of rescuing these Poodles. He is the sweetest, kindest person I know and all the Poodles love him. He never knew that he would be sharing his bed with so many warm bodies, that just happen to have four legs. Thank you Gary.
My friends, who always understand when I have to put a Poodle in the front of any plans we have made, and who are surrounded by Poodles when they come to our home and just know their laps will never be empty at our house. Who tolerate my phone going constanty and loving me anyway. Who have been dragged on more than one frantic rush to go save a Poodle in need instead of going out to dinner. Thank you to you all.
My employers (I also work full time) who allow me to bring sick and needy Poodles to work with me, who understand when I need to just go, and support my love and effort for this breed. You are the best...Thank you.
For the children I work with, who accept every poodle I bring with me, as special and treat them so gently with kindness and love and the endless ball and toy throwing for them, sitting and reading to them and giving them the opportunity to experience the love of a child. Thank you M, Thank you M, and Thank you W.
I believe that every dog rescued should be offered full veterinary care and ALL the Poodles that come into Toy Poodle Rescue are. We only place totally healthy Poodles into their new homes.
We cannot rescue every Poodle, but I will probably die trying. We can though help people and find resources across the country for their Poodles and specific needs, so no Poodle ends up in a kill shelter. We have helped many Poodles and families all over the USA to find help for them or just by talking to them regarding any issue.
To build ‘Poodle Palace’, where we have a quarantine facility to take in really sick Poodles, that will also incorporate a retirement home for old Poodles that no-one wants to adopt. A place where no Poodle is crated and couches and beds are where they reside and a fenced in yard for running.
What a wonderful dream it is!