How the American Brittany Rescue and "YOU" Can Help
More than 1.6 million dogs a year are surrendered to a shelter or rescue. American Brittany Rescue works to place over 1,000 dogs a year into their forever homes. It takes dedication, time and volunteers to make a dog’s dream come true. Take a look behind the scenes with IL State Coordinator, Deb Giesler to get a peek at how owner surrender works.

Why do owners surrender their Brittany?
60% of the time an owner surrenders their dog because of a lifestyle change in the household. The owners might have a change in work hours so they cannot give their dog the adequate care required. Some owners are unprepared to handle their dog’s high energy level or the dog does not hunt anymore. Empty nesters might want to travel or become too old to care for their dog. People have found that once they are not around to give their dogs the attention that they need, the separation anxiety becomes unmanageable with escaping, chewing and destroying the home. 

In one heartbreaking story a couple with a Brittany adopted a child. The child with special needs became a danger to the dog. It was a hard decision for the owners, but they could not trust their child to not harm the dog. They had to surrender their dog.

The other 40% of surrenders are found on the internet, on the streets or through shelters. Each state has one or two volunteers to review Craigslist, Petfinder, RescueMe, or DogtheLove looking for Brittanys. Once a Brittany is found the state coordinator is notified.

What is the typical age of a surrendered Brittany?
There are two main age groups of surrendered dogs. One age group is the 18 months to 2 - 3 year olds. Behavioral issues, Brittany temperament and high energy are some of the issues owners find daunting. The other age group is the 8 years old and up. The older dogs are mostly surrendered because the household has changed or the owner’s lifestyle or medical issues are not conducive to keeping their dog.

What is the surrender process?
Once an owner is willing to surrender their dog to ABR, they fill out the Owner Surrender Application . A state coordinator reviews the form and talks with the owner. Gaps in the dog’s history or shot records will be discussed. The state coordinator will also call the veterinarian listed to verify the medical history. The veterinarians cannot give out information beyond what is on the medical history, but can help the coordinator understand any gaps in the shot history. Some Brittanys come into ABR with an incomplete medical history or no paperwork to support their shot history. Some dogs need to start all over with their shots and most importantly have a heartworm check 6 months after the first heartworm check to be sure that they are negative.

If the dog has any medical issues, it is better for ABR to know up front so that they can address the issues. Some owners are afraid to tell the truth in case their dog cannot be surrendered. It saves ABR time and money if medical issues are known. When the coordinator has a more complete history of the dog it is easier to find the correct foster home. The goal is to have a good placement that is smooth and the least traumatic.

Do the owners pay to surrender their dog?
ABR asks for a donation to help with all the costs associated with getting a dog adopted. Some owners even help with transporting their dog to a pick up, giving a cash donation, and donating the dog’s bedding, bowls, collar and toys. One owner gave all of the above and drove 3 ½ hours from Ohio to Michigan to drop the dog off just so that they could meet the foster family. The dog was 9 years old and there was a change in the owner’s work schedule. The owner knew that the dog’s physical needs were being met, but not the emotional ones. They loved their dog so much that they knew it would be better off in a home where it could be cared for and all the dog’s needs would be met. Some owners keep in contact with ABR to check in from time to time to see how their dog has adjusted.

Working with shelters and breeders
There are some shelters that work with ABR. They will call if a Brittany comes into their shelter. Pictures will be sent to try to determine if the dog is in fact a Brittany. Sometimes, several pictures are required. People confuse Springer Spaniels with Brittanys. When there is a dog without a clear pedigree, but it appears to be part Brittany – ABR will take the dog. The description of the dog will reflect a Brittany mix.

Sometimes, a coordinator can work with the owners to return their Brittany to the breeder. One older couple bought a Brittany puppy from a breeder.  After a few months, they realized with their age, a puppy was not a good fit. The coordinator was able to convince the couple to talk with the breeder, who accepted the dog back.

Sometimes there are stories that coordinators encounter that make them shake their heads. In one example, a man surrendered his Brittany due to his economical and medical issues. Later, he bought another Brittany from the breeder and proceeded to surrender this Brittany shortly thereafter. When he got his third Brittany and decided to surrender that dog, the coordinator was able to talk with the man to discuss calling the breeder. She explained that any reputable breeder would work with the owner and would usually take the dog back. He was embarrassed about how things had worked out with the other dogs and did not want to contact them. He gave permission for the coordinator to contact the breeder and the dog was returned.

Dogs that will never be adopted
There have been times when ABR had taken a Brittany that had some behavioral issues and been placed with an experienced foster home. Despite the foster parent’s training and working with behaviorists, the dog is deemed a danger to themselves or others. At that point it comes time for the decision to let them go.

Volunteers are vital
Each state has a coordinator to review the intake form from the owner surrendering their dog. Each day their goal is to keep a dog safe and help to move it on to the next portion of their life. When IL State Coordinator, Deb Giesler is notified about a dog midweek, she likes to have them placed by the weekend. She has to be quick but at the same time very thorough. With the goal of the least amount of trauma for our sensitive Brittanys, keeping the amount of moving from home to home is the best. She has been known to use her ‘guilt stick’ when there is a new dog coming into the system and she needs to find a spot among the foster homes. She prides herself on working with her network of volunteers to make this experience for the dogs as smooth and calm as possible.

Without the network of volunteers, ABR would not be able to rescue dogs and place them into their forever homes. If you are interested in taking on a bigger role there are many ways to volunteer. There is a pressing need for foster homes where a dog can be evaluated and feel safe. You can be a part of the Brittany Express, transporting dogs from their original home to the foster home. Volunteers are also needed to pull dogs from shelters, perform home visits and other tasks to make the organization work.
  ‘Rescue animals aren’t broken, they’ve simple experienced more life than other animals. If they were human, we would call them wise. They would be the ones with tales to tell and stories to write, the ones dealt a bad hand who responded with courage. 

Don't pity them. Do something. Help to rescue. Donate. Volunteer. Foster. Adopt.
And be proud to have their greatness by your side.'    

Sheltering Animals Overseas
Here in the United States, life in an animal shelter seems like an unfortunate situation for a dog, but in countries like Greece and Spain, the opposite holds true. Shelter dogs are the lucky ones.

Thousands of abandoned dogs overseas are forced to fend for food and water and are vulnerable to street danger, abuse, and even death by poison and other methods. It’s been said that the average lifespan for these stray dogs is two years. If they are fortunate enough to be surrendered to shelter, they are fed and protected and receive medical care. And most importantly, they are afforded a chance of securing a forever home.

Struggling animal rescue groups in such countries attempt to care for the strays and prevent overpopulation. Food is distributed and when possible, strays are spayed and neutered and then released back to the streets. The strays aided by these organizations often wear plastic collars or ear tags indicating they have been vetted.
In general, these overseas shelters differ from typical ones here in America in several significant ways. Rather than being housed indoors in individual kennels, dogs often wander freely outside in a large fenced-in area. In addition, they also share space with injured or elderly farm and working animals. 

These shelters struggle on a shoestring budget, yet manage to provide a haven for animals in cultures where they are considered disposable property. One of the most well-maintained of these is the Santorini Animal Welfare Association (SAWA). It is special to ABR because the first three Brittanys in our overseas rescue mission stayed there until finding homes in the USA. 

Founded in 1992, by Christina Kaloudi, SAWA is a non-profit, non-governmental entity operated by devoted animal lovers and volunteers. Many of these workers live in other countries and volunteer their time while on vacation. Because the shelter is well-known, others help by posting the location of animals in jeopardy or manage to drop them off at the shelter. SAWA rescues the most vulnerable dogs who do not fare well on the streets: the timid, the ill, the injured, the pups and the seniors.

 SAWA protects all of the island’s animals. It currently shelters 11 donkeys, 10 mules, one horse and two pigs. SAWA oversees the working conditions of the donkeys used in the popular rides requiring them to transport tourists up steep hills and hundreds of cobblestone steps. That grueling work often results in spinal injuries. The number of these donkeys surrendered to SAWA is expected to increase with the recently enacted government regulations banning the most overweight people from indulging in these rides.

The various species of animals at SAWA are usually separated, but occasionally when room proves scarce, these dogs and donkeys share the same space. All adapt well. While SAWA proves an exceptional shelter, we now work with additional organizations and individuals as well.

These devoted individuals rescue Britts directly from the streets or woods and foster them until we coordinate volunteers to fly over to transport them home. Our latest mission to Spain resulted in the rescue of 24 sweet pups. It involved the efforts of nine devoted women from different parts of the US and a wonderful partner named Fatima . 
Whether it’s an established shelter like SAWA or the work of a devoted woman like Fatima, all of our overseas partners need our help. 
Visit Santorini Animal Welfare Association's Website (Photos curiosity of SAWA Facebook page.
Jed is a wonderful, active guy who is fun loving, affectionate and great with strangers. Jed is a dream to walk, and fantastic with cats and small children. There MUST be another dog or cat in his household because he’s very insecure without a 4 legged companion and will bond with both dogs and cats. Jed understands the basic commands, and is just the sweetest gentle soul. His perfect home would have a fenced yard with room to run and play. Jed was surrendered to ABR by a loving owner. Jed had a big family with kids and a cat but then the kids grew up and left and his best buddy, Kitty, died. Jed was lonely, bored, depressed. His former family wanted only the best for him and contacted ABR.

Meet Jacques….or Jack for short! He may not be a full Brittany, but he’s just as sweet as a Brittany and loves people. Jack is a wonderful dog who’s very good with other dogs and people. He’s fantastic on walks, n ot pulling on a loose leash and s taying on the sidewalk. Jack is housebroken and not a big barker. While he likes to watch birds and squirrels, he doesn’t have a strong prey drive. He is great with cats and well behaved. He doesn't counter surf or steal food if you eat in front of the TV. When the front or back door is opened he doesn't go flying outside - he’s curious, but if told to stay away from the door, he does. Jack doesn't get on the furniture or beds and sleeps quietly in his crate through the night. When it comes to eating, Jack has his food out all day and eats when he likes…Jack likes to “graze” his meals.

Johnny is less than a year old and so handsome with his very distinctive eyes, a long tail and the beginnings of feathering on his butt and tail. He came to ABR after being passed around, mistreated and not taken care of by anyone he got passed to, even living outside on a chain. He’s lucky enough to be living the good life of an inside dog with healthy food, lots of cuddles and belly rubs. Understandably, he’s not happy or good on a leash. Johnny is extremely smart and learns quickly. He understands "NO," is almost housebroken and uses a doggie door. He is still learning to trust, and becoming sweeter and sweeter. He’s very active as befits his age and breed so he will need regular walks and a fenced in yard where he can run around and explore. He doesn’t dig or jump. He doesn’t mind being crated and easily learns new commands for treats. Johnny seems to appreciate that he was rescued from an awful life. He’s not perfect, but he wants to please and is visibly happy when he gets praised. 

"Rescuing one dog will not change the world... But for that dog the world will be forever changed."

These wonderful Brittanys are currently available for adoption. Click on their picture for more information, and if you think your family is a good fit, please complete an adoption application here.
Congratulations to these Brittanys who have found their forever homes!
Baily, PA
Beau, SD
Belle, SD
Betty, MT
Buddy, OR
Buttercup, KS
Chance, WA
Charlie, AL
Diana, now Katie, NJ
Gilbert, VA
Hoss, WA
Jetta, NV
Kira, PA
Lady, WI
Louie, MN
Lucy, MD
Luna, WA
Maggie, PA
Mateo, PA
MayBelle, WA
Molly, PA
Nolin, MI
Patch, IA
Prince, IL
Rocky, MN
Rosie Mae, FL
Rusty, SD
Saba, NY
Sandy, now Luna, NC
Sophie, GA
Sunai, OK
Tesoro, MD

Quilt Raffle

Think Fall. Think Quilt Raffle.

ABR volunteer, foster extraordinaire and quilter, Mariann Jackson, is again donating one of her Brittany-themed creations to ABR. This stunning lap quilt is 48 x 60. This is a link to the tickets: https://americanbrittanyrescue.rescuegroups.org/info/file?file=25315.pdf

Tickets will be on sell until November 1st and each ticket is just $5. Winner will be announced at Nationals.
Natural Balance UPC Fundraiser

We appreciate everyone who has been sending in their Natural Balance UPC codes & receipts. Thanks to you ABR has received several hundred dollars in rebates. Please remember that this is an on-going fundraiser. If you want more information about what is needed and where to send the items, please email a request to  NB@AmericanBrittanyRescue.org.

ABR is teaming up with Bonedannas, who will be creating kerchiefs and bows for dogs using Brittany themed fabrics. Best of all - 100% of the net proceeds of the sales will go to ABR. The fabric patterns are very colorful & look darling!

If you would like to give to American Brittany directly, please click on the button below to make your gift and help a dog in need.

American Brittany Rescue, Inc. is an organization that was formed in 1991 as a cooperative effort of Brittany owners, breeders, trainers, and fanciers who ABR believes have a responsibility not only for their own dogs and the dogs they produce, but for the breed as a whole.


ABR's mission is to provide the leadership and expertise via a network of trained volunteers to take in stray, abandoned, surrendered and/or impounded purebred Brittanys, provide them with foster care, health and temperament screening, an opportunity for any necessary rehabilitation and to assure their health and placement into new homes. In order to fulfill this mission, ABR's volunteers remain flexible and adaptable to current and future business environments and they remain dedicated to the organization.  

Terry Mixdorf, President
Tina Leone, Vice-President/Co-Treasurer
Michelle Falkinburg, Secretary
Diana Doiron, Co-Treasurer
Tiffany Dexter
Terrie Johnson
Nancy Hensley
Sandra Oelschlegel
Monica Rutt
Maria Smith
Ryan Waterbury
Cheri Wilson
Lisa Bagwell
Brittany Boler
Jeannine Connors
Judie Cutting
Autumn Fenton
Lori Gartenhaus
Patricia Gillogly
Melissa Tapply
Rachel Schollaert
Maria Smith
American Brittany Rescue, Inc. | 866.274.8911 |  Visit Our Website