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Nonprofit of the Month: Bichon FurKids Rescue

California’s own Bichon FurKids Rescue is dedicated to assisting adorable, loyal pups in finding forever homes — and a second chance at life. Marti Colwell, founder, discusses what inspired her to start the nonprofit, ways readers can contribute and the upcoming Bichon Bash.

What prompted the start of the nonprofit? After losing my second bichon and feeling the void that made in my life and that of my husband, I wanted to find a way to give back and to also heal. I thought fostering a dog who needed an ‘interim’ home would be a way to do that – while not having a true understanding of how many dogs of all breeds and ages were in need of being rescued. I began with an internet-based Bichon rescue in 2001 and co-founded Bichons and Buddies in 2003 in Los Angeles. As the LA area needs were being addressed, and in order to better serve the needs of dogs in San Diego and Orange Counties, I started Bichon FurKids. I found many wonderful kindred spirits in our area who were willing to give of themselves to rescue. Working with deserving dogs has made quite an impact on the lives of the volunteers who help them.

What is the greatest reward in being involved with Bichon FurKids? Our greatest reward is saving the lives of deserving FurKids who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in situations where they need to be rehomed and/or rescued from shelters.

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Marti Colwell

What is the biggest challenge the nonprofit faces? I think I speak for all nonprofit rescues in that there is always a need to save pups and the ability to do so is predicated on having loving foster homes where they can receive the care and any medical procedures they need in order to ultimately find placement in forever homes. Our challenge is continuing to find compassionate and caring volunteers who can help in a myriad of ways — along with amazing foster homes: the more we have, the more lives we can save. That truly is our purpose and the reward, as well as the challenge,

What are your goals for the new year? Our goal is to continue to be able to encourage more dog-loving members of the community to volunteer and to foster so that we can save more lives. The shelters are overflowing with dogs of all breeds and ages whose owners have failed them. These dogs provide unconditional love and deserve to receive that in return. We want to be the people who can truly make a difference for as many pups as possible.

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How can readers help? Volunteering in any capacity – whether it is transporting a pup, grooming him or her, fostering (of course! And we incur all costs for fosters) helping with administrative tasks or fundraising — all of those are needs that an all-volunteer organization such as ours encounters. We provide training to facilitate ‘knowledge transfer’ and are always open to ways to continue to improve our practices in order to help rescue and save more deserving pups.

Does the nonprofit have any events or fundraisers on the horizon? Yes, we have our annual Bichon Bash which takes place in Mission Viejo on Sept. 29. We anticipate having another event in the fall also. That event is in the early planning stage currently.

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