The Rescued Pup: Saving Dogs & Changing Lives One Paw At A Time

The Rescued Pup: Saving Dogs & Changing Lives One Paw At A Time

The biggest impact begins with a small act of love. The Rescued Pup came to be after founder, Michelle, felt called to save a few shelter dogs, never imagining just how she’d change these dogs’ lives or that this would lead her to her true calling and passion. Grandma Lucy’s is thrilled and honored to be the exclusive food offered at The Rescue Pup, and to support the amazing work they do. The Rescued Pup has now been saving lives, one dog at a time for nearly a decade and is still going strong! Not only does Michelle save these dogs from the shelter and euthanasia, but she is committed to helping these dogs overcome their behavioral issues and find their perfect fit, no matter how long it may take- you can’t hurry love! Beyond the life saving rescue work Michelle does with The Rescued Pup, she also offers her training services to adoptees and others with her program, Learn to Speak Dog. We sat down with Michelle to hear how The Rescued Pup has grown to where it is today, and were truly inspired by the difference one person can make.

rescue dog Blue with new owner

Photo Credit: The Rescued Pup

Q: How did you get started at The Rescued Pup and what inspired you to care for animals in need?

A: “I went on craigslist and there was an ad to foster a dog from a high-kill shelter, and it was this little chihuahua. I was excited my [yorkie] would have a friend [his size] and I’d be…helping this dog. That dog got adopted before she could be fostered…so I told the rescuer if [something similar] happens again [to] feel free to contact me. It was right around my birthday…and I googled high-kill shelters…[and] this…site came up called ‘Dogs in Danger’… and it gave you how many dogs were supposed to [be euthanized at the shelters] every day. My birthday was two days away and [there were] 35 dogs [that were going to be euthanized on my birthday.] I said [to my husband] ‘I think we should go to the shelter’ and I had done research and I picked out the dogs that…were in danger of [being put down] so I went and looked at them… Three of the dogs had already been euthanized.

There was [a] dog [who] was not moving in the lobby. In Los Angeles…they used to [show shelter dogs on the news] so that was his big day on TV, but…no one came [to adopt him]…so we adopted him. My husband [also] picked out this little, scruffy terrier and the [employee said this dog was] very aggressive. The [shelter worker told us we were] taking the two worst dogs [they had] and I [said] ‘Good! We shouldn’t be taking the ones you’re going to easily adopt out, that’s not much of a rescue.’

That’s how we got started and then I just was drawn to dogs with behavioral issues and what I’ve learned through the years is that…it’s just [the dog] being confused…[because] humans have completely let them down… We always have treated [our rescues] like they’re our own dogs so they have a certain expectation when they get adopted. We’ll hold onto a dog as long as we need to until we find a perfect home or they get their behavior fixed.”

Q: Can you tell us about your training program you offer, ‘Learn to Speak Dog’ and what makes it so special?

A: “My take on training is scientific, but it’s more basic than that even. My take is ‘let’s make sure the dog understands what we’re even asking of it.’ People get caught up in how to correct the behavior, but if the dog doesn’t know you don’t like that behavior correcting it isn’t going to do anything. [The dog] is just going to take it as a stimulus- any attention is better than no attention. The dogs that I rescue…taught me that I had to work on their level. I had to try to figure out what they were telling me, so that I could communicate back to them. So that is why ‘Learn to Speak Dog’ is important and my students will tell you that I speak dog! Halfway through the class, 85% of my students [say] ‘wait a minute- I think this is human training!’ And it is human training. We’re just training people to think like a dog. I [also] do service dog training, and we have three of our rescue dogs that are service dogs now. So we took them from close to euthanasia to providing medical service dogs. ”

grandma lucy's products at the rescued pup

Photo Credit: The Rescued Pup

Q: What prompted you to partner with Grandma Lucy’s, and what made you choose Grandma Lucy’s compared to other brands?

A: “One Nation Under Dog…heard about us and contacted me [saying] ‘we want to make [The Rescued Pup] our charity for the month.’ I went up to say thank you to them and…they said ‘Grandma Lucy’s donated [some bags of] food to us… [and] we want you to have this ten pound bag of food.’ The dogs loved the [Grandma Lucy’s] food so much. I was…so excited [to see that there were] actual pieces of fish [in the food]. Then we ran out and no one up here had it. So then…I reached out to you guys…and that’s how [all] this happened…and here we are!”

Q: What’s the process for the boutique opening?

A: “[Our shop] used to be a gym. I had my friends all donate [pallets to me] and I cut them a part…and made a pallet wall [and] we ripped up all the old flooring. On the other wall, we have a giant tree that an artist painted; it’s our family tree where we post pictures of [our adoptees and adopters] and we [also] have a huge play yard. We also do…level one reiki [healing] here on the dogs and that helps a lot of the dogs. So dog training and selling [crystal] jewelry [for dogs and humans] were what we were [originally] doing, and now it’s a full boutique.”

inside the rescued pup boutique

Q: Do your dogs have a favorite Grandma Lucy’s food or treat?

A: “I love the Pureformance Fish!”

Thank you, Michelle and The Rescued Pup team, for the work you do changing dogs’ lives and helping give them new purpose. Grandma Lucy’s is proud to support the work you do, and to help better every dog’s life- one bowl at a time. If you’re looking for your new best friend, or to improve your communication with your pup, be sure to check out The Rescued Pup!


Danielle Contreras