Good Karma Pet Rescue bio picture
  • Welcome to Good Karma Pet Rescue!

    Good Karma Pet Rescue is a network of foster homes in South Florida dedicated to providing dogs and cats in need with the love and care they need and deserve. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

    GK was started in early 2011 by Stacey Tollackson Chen, who decided that she could best provide for her foster animals by starting a rescue that aims for high quality care rather than high volume. We intend to stay as small as we need to be to ensure that every one of our foster animals is treated with the same care and respect we show our own furry family.

    GK is based in Fort Lauderdale and is supported by wonderful, dedicated foster parents throughout the South Florida area. If you are interested in helping to save lives through volunteering, fostering, or adopting, please get in touch with us!

Sweet senior Buddy’s happy ending!

Sharing one of our favorite rescue stories…

After you have been doing rescue for a while, you begin to learn that reality may set limits on what your heart would love to accomplish. You start to set limits. You start to make decisions with a mind for business. You may love black cats (I do!) but you also know they will take a lot longer to get adopted, so you will make an effort to balance out black kitties with more adoptable colors so your adoptions don’t stagnate. When your house has a few rescued dogs in it that are “adoptable” but in reality are very likely never going to be adopted.. well, you have to start being careful about who you take on. But then once in a while.. once in a while, you see a photo or you get an email or you happen across a face in the shelter that makes you throw all REASON out the window — your heart wants you to act, and that’s why you got into this whole rescue business, so you do.

Buddy is one of those cases. We learned about Buddy from an email, which read:

“When Kelly  lived in Bradenton she volunteered for Honor Animal Rescue for 3 years. I now live in Murphy, NC. I volunteer with a small rural shelter. She needs to find a foster/adopter for a senior large dog with bad eyes, thin and skin issues. He is gaining weight and his hair is growing back. His blood work came back with normal kidney and liver levels. He is living outside 24/7 and it is getting below freezing at night. He is heart worm negative and good with dogs. He was abandoned with 14 Beagles. The Beagles have been placed with other rescues. Transportation is arranged. Kelly is coming to Bradenton, FL (south of Tampa) on Dec. 8th. Please consider this poor soul.”

Here was the accompanying video which showed the conditions he was in and living in:

Buddy was in another state. Buddy was a senior with health issues. Buddy was a big dog. Lots of reasons why we shouldn’t rescue him, but my heart was moved. I forwarded the email to my rescue partner, who was moved just as I was. We started posting his photo to try to find a foster — and we did, a foster who said she would hold onto him as long as necessary. So Buddy came to South Florida.

He spent about a week with me. I set him up in our guest room with a big comforter on the floor. He didn’t seem to understand it was for him at first and was laying on the hard floor. I had to pick him up and walk him over the comforter. Then you couldn’t get him off it. He was a joy to have at our house.. even though he’s a big guy, I trusted him with my little dogs right away because he was just so gentle. He is just as he appears to be in his photo – sweet & gentle.

We had him visit our vet and get a dental, and amazingly, aside from a few teeth that needed to be pulled, he was given a clean bill of health. We were sent home with some joint supplements that would help him keep moving well.  Then we had his eyes checked out. Turns out he needed eye drops to keep his eye condition from getting worse, but that was about it. The doctor at Animal Eye Guys, who wasn’t familiar with how our rescue worked, asked for reassurance that Buddy would be alright and be cared for, despite his advanced age. We assured him that he was now SAFE.

Buddy put on weight and his coat filled out. Then he went to stay with his possibly “forever foster.” Just a couple of weeks later, the foster contacted us.. she had taken on half a dozen dogs from other rescues and shelters after Buddy, and now decided that she was overwhelmed and EVERYONE had to leave. This, after she promised she would show Buddy love for the rest of his life if necessary. We started making calls and had a couple of amazing people offer to open their home to him as a foster (thank you Carie & Danika). And then the most amazing thing… WE GOT AN ADOPTION APPLICATION ON BUDDY!

It turns out that Buddy had caught the eye of a woman when she saw us post about him. She had been thinking about him when she saw our plea for a new foster home go up.

That was the catalyst she needed — because of that post, she filled out an application. She and her husband had a young son and never had a dog before. I thought it was an amazing thing for someone who had never had a dog to decide on a “less adoptable” for their first one. We had her meet Buddy and it was love – love – love for everyone. It turns out Buddy was the perfect dog for a novice dog owner — he’s a senior boy, so content to laze about the house, extremely patient with his human brother, and (despite his time left outdoors), he had likely been potty-trained eons ago so never gave them a bit of trouble. Buddy, as unlikely as it had seemed just weeks before when he came to us from Georgia, had found his forever family.

This was the first photo we got of Buddy and his new friend, Cole. How adorable is this?

And here is the most recent photo.. still best buds!

Here is Buddy back when he was looking for a forever home, at our Christmas event. He wore a jingle bell red velvet collar and reindeer antlers and was a perfect gentleman to all the kids who delighted in giving him attention. I guess it was a sign of things to come!:)

It was an unexpected outcome for an old man.. We thought he would live out his days as a beloved foster dog, but instead he was chosen to be a forever dog. We hope you enjoyed this story as much as we did…:)

Tacey our Parvo survivor!

One of our volunteers was visiting the local humane society to adopt a bunny one day when she noticed someone in the parking lot walking around with a very skinny little puppy and asking where to surrender her. We know the humane society does not have the best live outcome rates, and since she knew the puppy would be happier in a foster home rather than a shelter, she asked if she could take her. The owner said no problem and handed over the leash. She mentioned that the dog liked to drink water, which the volunteer found odd.

She brought her home and set her up in a bathroom. When she gave her food, she was surprised the emaciated dog wouldn’t eat. She did drink, however. She drank so much water that she puked it back up shortly after.

She brought her in right away to our veterinarian, who immediately said it could be parvovirus. He did a snap test and, sure enough, she was positive.

Parvo is an extremely contagious and extremely preventable disease that is almost always fatal if treatment is not given. Preventing parvo is as easy as keeping your dog up to date on vaccines. It is especially important to vaccinate your puppy when she is young as that is when her immune system is most sensitive. If a dog is unvaccinated and walks on the same sidewalk as a dog who has parvo, or visits the dog park and a dog has parvo there, they can easily catch it. Dogs who recently have been exposed to parvo may not show any signs of illness, even if they could later die from the disease. And everything they touch can be infected for years with the disease unless treated with a cleaner like bleach or parvosol. Parvo starts to show by lack of appetite, fever, and lethargy. They may start to experience vomiting and diarrhea, which is often bloody. They need immediate and costly treatment in order to survive. Read more about parvo here: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/parvovirus

We named our new puppy Rosie. She was in the fever/lack of appetite/lethargy stage of the disease, which quickly progressed to the bloody vomiting & diarrhea stage. Thankfully we have a wonderful veterinarian who treated her with IV fluids, antibiotics, and anti-nausea & diarrhea medications around the clock and we quickly started to see improvements in her health.

After about a week, Rosie was well enough to go to her foster home with new foster mama Hope!

The great end to this story? Soon after, Rosie caught someone’s eye on Facebook. And not just someone, but a friend of the rescue! She was quickly adopted and joined their happy family.

We ran into Rosie, now Tacey, a little while later at the vet’s office and look at what a gorgeous and happy girl she has become!

Please take time to educate pet owners you may know about the importance of vaccination for their dogs and cats. Tacey was very lucky — had she made it into the humane society, they would have immediately put her down. So many others are not lucky and die in the shelter and in their homes due to this illness. Low-cost vaccine programs are available, so if cost is the issue it should not be. Contact our rescue if you have any questions about local resources for pet vaccination.

Why I hate breeders. Especially pit bull breeders.

WHAT IS THE POINT?

This is Lilo. She was likely a backyard breeder dog. Literally, a backyard. The way she acts she very likely spent her whole life outside.. getting to come indoors was an adjustment for her. She has badly cropped ears and boobies that hang to the ground from all the puppies she nursed. This dog is so sweet, and so thankful for every little thing she gets. Now she spends as little time as possible outside, probably remembering when she was left outside neglected and ignored. Lilo is looking for a forever home.

Lilo is an approximately 4-5 year old girl pit bull. We have spayed, vaccinated, and microchipped her. She has cropped ears and a heart-shaped mark on her head. She is a big, imposing girl… but very, very sweet. So happy to be living indoors, so happy to get food and toys and love. Gets along great with all the dogs at the foster home, from the pug to the pit. Deserves so much better than she got for most of her life so far, so if you are interested in adopting Lilo and giving her the world, apply at: http://adoptadog.goodkarmapetrescue.org.

So anyway. A breeder gets a dog like Lilo, treats her badly, mutilates her (cropped ears = mutilation), ignores her, and makes her have puppies.

Then what happens to the puppies? They’re sold.. to people who may abandon them months later in a shelter (unvaccinated, always).. to people who may breed the dog themselves.. to people who may do worse.. to anyone who coughs up the money.

An example of one of those puppies is Bracho. I received Bracho’s photo in my email yesterday, an email from the local shelter who was looking for a rescue to take this dog in.



Bracho was left in a crate full of standing water/urine/feces for approximately three days, as the shelter advised. He had edema (swelling) in all four paws from the extensive water contact. Worse, he has bone deformities, likely caused by abuse in the form of being closely confined too much during his short life plus neglect in the form of poor nutrition. Another explanation is that he was fed a low-protein and high-calcium diet in a misguided (stupid) attempt to grow him into a “low rider” pit. Oh, and OF COURSE his ears were cropped. I didn’t realize that from the shelter photos, so when I first got a photo from the vet’s office that showed his cropped ears, it was like salt on a wound. I can’t explain it. It’s just maddening that so so so much is heaped on these poor dogs. It never ends for them. And the stupidity! Why go to the trouble of doing some horrible misguided cosmetic procedure on a dog that you aren’t even, you know, FEEDING correctly?

It seems that most stories of horrible abuse are always about pit bull or staffordshire mixes. Example: I did a search for “dog abandoned in standing water” to get information on how it affects their paws, and a story comes up about two dogs left behind in a garage for a month after the owners moved out. What breed of dog were they? Staffordshires, OF COURSE. Story: http://blogs.hudsonvalley.com/211/2013/03/08/spca-two-dogs-abandoned-in-flooded-wallkill-garage/


Bracho being tended to by our vet, Dr. Simon Seskus, and likely getting some of the first kind treatment of his life.

So now Bracho has deformed legs which we hope will improve with high quality nutrition and physical therapy. Bracho eats ravenously and guards his food like so many who have lived with empty bellies. His ears will always be mutilated.

Yet, Bracho is still as sweet as can be. He’s tentative with people, like so many sweet dogs who have been treated badly by the people they’ve known, yet he’s still accepting of love and affection. He still wants to play tug and run around with his toys, even though his gait is heartbreaking.

Stories like Bracho’s make me curse the breeders and the pit bull “lovers” and breeders who are actually pit bull exploiters and abusers. Why on earth go to the trouble of breeding a dog, or buying a dog, and then treating him like this? Chopping off his ears, denying him proper nutrition and then, inexplicably, abandoning him in a crate full of standing water and filth? I just don’t understand.

Bracho is about four months old and 18 lbs. He will be fostered by our vet’s tech, Roxanne, who looks forward to helping him get to as close as 100% as he can be. He is going to be happy from here on out. But I shudder to think of what happened to Bracho’s littermates, or what happens to dogs like Bracho every day who are not so lucky as to be discovered by the authorities.

If you want to adopt Bracho, fill out an application at: http://adoptadog.goodkarmapetrescue.org. He will be ready for adoption in 2-3 months, we hope. If you would like to help a dog like Bracho by opening your home to foster, fill out an application here: http://foster.goodkarmapetrescue.org. We rescue cats too! If you would like to offer your financial support for Bracho and dogs like him, you can send a donation to our PO Box or via PayPal to info@goodkarmapetrescue.org.

You can follow Bracho’s story by becoming a fan of our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/GKPetRescue.

Poor Lisa’s story

Lisa’s fundraising page: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/lisa-kitty/65133

Lisa came into the shelter where I volunteer, the Pompano satellite shelter of Broward County Animal Care, one day late in April. When I met Lisa, she looked like this:

Seeing kitties with this kind of body language is sadly common. The adult owner surrenders tug at my heartstrings especially hard. People usually get their pet cats as kittens, so from when they were just little babies the cats got used to a safe environment, people to feed them and hopefully treat them kindly, and then one day one year, five years, even 15 years in the future (yes, cats are surrendered at 15 years old) they find themselves in a smelly, very loud, very scary shelter with NO idea what’s going on. I have seen cats completely shut down; hiding under their litterboxes, facing the back cage wall frozen stiff, crying incessantly… It’s heartbreaking.

So here was Lisa, with her ears back. A plump, cute kitty, in a very scary situation. All I knew about her was her name and that she was five years old and that her owners surrendered her. I made a note on the cage card for the next photographer (a note for myself or my friend Kate) to re-take the photo when Lisa had calmed down because it made me sad the only photo I had of her made her look so fearful. Notice her ears in a normal position in her intake photo. Poor girl had no idea what was about to happen; she was just going for a ride in her carrier.

My friend Kate went to the shelter next and noticed that Lisa had calmed down, so snapped this photo:

She likely was still scared and still unhappy, but at least she had grown accustomed to the shelter environment and looked like her cute self.

While I was at the shelter on June 1, I overheard talk of Lisa being adopted. What a happy day, an adult cat being adopted! (People, PLEASE adopt an adult! Please? No one else does.) News like that always puts a little spring in your step and helps you have a little hope in a very hopeless feeling place.

On June 8, when I arrived at the shelter one of the awesome staff members told me to make sure I saw Lisa; she was back and she looked bad. I did my usual walk-through to see the new arrivals in the adoptables room when I came across Lisa’s cage. My heart just sank, and my stomach shifted. Poor Lisa was back, only now her face was extremely swollen and she had spots of blood and pus near her whiskers.

I asked the shelter staff what had happened. They explained that the adopters had dumped Lisa back off at the shelter and when they were questioned about her injuries, they pretty much shrugged them off and said they had to leave.

Our rescue does not specialize in adult cats for the simple reason that we cannot adopt them out; no one wants them, a fact that frustrates me all the time. If someone wants a kitten, they want them as young as they can get them. I could have two identical cats, one at 8 weeks and one at 10 weeks and almost everyone would choose to adopt the 8-week-old cat. I have as many foster cats as I can and nowhere to show them for adoption. I love to help adult cats, but we have to have a plan in place before we take them. In this case, however, I looked at the staff member and said I would take her. If I weren’t to take her, I knew what would happen — she would be sent to the other shelter to see a veterinarian and euthanized. After sitting in a cage suffering for who knows how long. The rescue also has a lot of medical cases on our plate right now, so taking on another worried me just a little, but.. again, I could not leave her to suffer and die after all she had been through.

So, my friend and I drove her to the emergency clinic. I had another rescue mission to complete, so we left her in the care of the clinic staff and asked for an update when they could look at her.

When the vet called, he said it was bad. He said when he went to clean the blood and pus off her face, the skin came with it. He said she was in bad shape and in a lot of pain. He said we should consider euthanizing her, but that he would like me to come see her for myself so I could get the depth of her condition.

I can’t really describe the shock of when I saw her. I had thought when we brought her in that she would need some cleaning up and some x-rays in case it were an animal attack and they needed to check for broken bones, but I never considered her skin coming off like it did. It was incredibly raw, shiny with blood and pus. As she was not eating on her own, she needed to be syringe fed. I helped with that. When I would give her a bite of food sometimes blood would drip off her face onto her bed. I told the vet I would like to at least try for a bit and see if she could recover, but that we would have to be careful to not let it go too far. I stared at her and wondered if I was making the right decision by keeping her alive and suffering, but was hoping there could be a silver lining to the experiences of her past couple of months. Lisa was given lots of pain medication, put on an IV, and treated with antibiotics.

The veterinarian flushed out her wounds and the shock of seeing her in her cage was dwarfed by the shock of seeing that she had holes in her face, something I could describe as pockets that extended deep into the side of her face.

A censored mid-cleaning photo:

Again, I wondered to myself if we were making the right decision.

While all this was happening, the folks on Facebook were abuzz with Lisa’s story. And miracle of miracles, I received an application for adoption for Lisa in the case she recovered. I had someone else step up to foster her while she recovered and until she could get to her forever home. Folks started donating towards her care. Amazing things for Lisa! She had a bright future ahead of her, if we could just help her reach it!

One of the big questions in Lisa’s story is — what happened? We have no way of knowing. The vet said it looked as if it could have been a bad snake bite. Someone else said maybe she was attacked by a raccoon. She could’ve had some other kind of trauma; what appeared to be bite marks could be holes caused by an abscess bursting. Unless her adopters tell us, we may never know what happened to Lisa. We do know that it probably happened just a few days after arriving into her new home. By the time Saturday came, she was dehydrated and jaundiced; the vet estimated she had been suffering for 4 days without eating or drinking before the adopters dropped her off at the shelter.

Since the day all this started, Saturday, things have.. well, they haven’t gotten worse. That was a genuine fear.. if the infection were bad enough, or if the injuries were caused by snake venom, or if she had a flesh-eating bacteria, MORE of her skin could’ve fallen off. I would not have expected Lisa to live through that. But during Sunday’s cleaning, nothing new came off. By Monday her wounds were not the bright, shiny, raw ones of Sunday.

Lisa hadn’t been using her litterbox on her own since she came out of the shelter on Saturday, she would just pee where she laid. She had to be bathed every time she was put under for a cleaning. But today I saw her use the litterbox! Yay, Lisa! She has not started eating on her own either. We have been syringe feeding her, and if she doesn’t start eating on her own within a few days or we will have to fit her with a feeding tube to keep her at a heathy weight while her body tries to heal itself.

Here is Lisa today at the vet’s office:

The holes in her face are seeming to want to close. Her face looks awful, yes, but nothing like it did on Saturday. Lisa is starting to move around a little.. we even saw some attempts at grooming! These are all hopeful things. She seems very sad and depressed, but considering what she’s been through in the past couple of months, I would expect nothing else. I try to balance the syring feeding with lots of petting, combing, and sweet-talking and hope Lisa starts to realize soon that very good things are in store for her if she recovers.

We have followed up with Animal Care, and they have assured us that a citation will be served to the adopters as soon as the officers are able to make contact with them. They can plead guilty and pay a $500 fine, or they can contest it and go to court, in which case I will be appearing with all of the uncensored photos of Lisa I have to make sure that they are punished for whatever cruelty or neglect they inflicted on this poor cat.

Please stay tuned to the Good Karma fan page for updates about Lisa: http://www.facebook.com/GKPetRescue. We are so hoping to share happy photos of Lisa soon.

If you want to contribute to Lisa’s care, visit Lisa’s fundraising page: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/lisa-kitty/65133. You can also donate via PayPal directly to us at info@goodkarmapetrescue.org. Whatever funds are left over after Lisa’s care will be utilized for one of our other animals in need, such as Joe who needs entropian surgery, Mariah who needs mammary masses removed and her leg amputated, Daffy’s dry eye treatment, mama kitty Fiona’s hospitalization, food for the eight puppies just born, etc. We really appreciate everyone’s support.

UPDATE: Sadly Lisa passed away while in our veterinarian’s care. Thank you so much to everyone who supported her and hoped for a full recovery.

Meet Mariah the sweet poodle!

Meet Mariah! We first heard about Mariah through one of our foster mommies who saw her at the shelter. She texted to say she wanted to know more about her, that she seemed to have a broken leg and was just a sad old pup. Here is Mariah’s shelter photo:

We emailed the shelter for more information and the email came back said, “Looks like this girl is in pretty bad shape.  Clinic estimates about 14 years old and all her teeth need to come out.  All her mammaries are swollen, but can’t say if there are tumors in all.  She also has cataracts in both eyes.  We would have to release her “as is,” no vetting.  That’s as much as the clinic is able to confirm unfortunately. It is extensive.” As always, we told the foster that we would back her if she could commit to fostering.

So, Mariah got picked up! Mariah with one of her foster moms, Peggy.

Mariah on her “freedom ride” from the shelter! Look at that poor little leg.

Thankfully one of Mariah’s foster moms is a groomer. Here Mariah is after her first bath! Very poofy girl!

And here she is after a good grooming! Thank you, Raquel!

Soon after we took her out, Mariah took a trip to our veterinarian. She was a perfect little patient. The vet estimated that her age is more around 9 years old. She weighs in at just under 8 lbs. What a tiny, dear girl!

She has what appears to be an old fracture to her leg. She can’t walk on it and it just hangs there.

Here is a video of her in the veterinarian’s office:

She has mammaries that are swollen and her nipples expel brown liquid.

Mariah has cataracts in both eyes.

Her teeth are in sore need of a dental.

Despite all of these health issues, Mariah is just the happiest & sweetest little dog. It makes us so sad to think of how long she must have suffered before she finally started getting the care she deserved. She deserved so much better! She hops along after her foster mom and would love to sit in a warm lap all day long. She gets along great with the other pups.

Someday soon, in the coming weeks, Mariah is going to have a very big day. She has so many things that need to be done to her that our veterinarian thinks we may have to do it on two separate days as to not overwhelm her poor system. Mariah will need to be spayed, tested for heartworm, have her mammary tissue removed, have a dental, and possibly have her leg amputated. Here is an image of her radiograph which has been sent off to the specialist so we can make sure we are making the best decisions possible for this dog.

Obviously this will likely result in a very big veterinary bill for all that little Mariah is going to require. Here is a link to contribute towards Mariah’s care: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/mariah-the-senior-poodle-/62680

We rely on our supporters to help us help animals like Mariah. Without donations from people like you, poor Mariah here likely would not have made it out of the shelter! You can either contribute through the link, or send a donation via PayPal to info@goodkarmapetrescue.org. Or click here:


Mariah is also going to need a forever home when she’s all fixed up, so please share this tiny poodle girl with anyone you  know who may want to give her a loving forever home!

UPDATE! Mariah has found her forever home! Yippeeee!

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