The dogs no one wanted

Published on: January 2, 2019

Rescue brings ‘new life’ to needy dogs

By YVETTE C. HAMMETT

Photos from New Life Dog Rescue
Kris Presson is founder and director of New Life Dog Rescue. She takes in dogs nobody else wants from shelters across Florida, nurses them back to health, then puts them in one of 20 foster homes across the region until they find a forever home.

Kris Prossen has a tough side hustle, one she conjured up herself three years ago out of need. She and her band of dedicated volunteers take in the dogs no one else wants — the breeding mommas no longer useful to their owners and the crusty, bleeding dogs whose owners did them wrong. The heartworm positive dogs with mange chained in the backyard day and night.

“There are only a handful of rescues in the state of Florida who take in just medically needy dogs,” said Prossen of Riverview. “Now, we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit. It requires a lot of dedication to fundraising and help from the community,” she said. “And this community supports us.”

New Life Dog Rescue gives back to the community as well. For the second year, it has collected and donated pet food for the Riverview Senior Holiday Dinner to hand out to seniors on fixed incomes who need help to keep their pets.

“We donated for the senior dinner last year and this year,” Prossen said. “We have such a following. When we ask for help, people are happy to do it. People ordered through Chewy or Amazon and had it sent to us. We support the community and that saves us from having to save the dogs.

“We will continue to make donations a few times a year,” she said.

New Life has about 20 dedicated volunteers who take in dogs once Prossen gets them healthy. Some take more than one. They commit to keeping the dogs until they find a forever home for them.

“We take the dogs no one else will, we get them healthy, then place them in the foster homes. So, they get nourishment and training to be part of a dog-friendly household with rules and restrictions.” They also have time to get socialized around people and other animals. 

The volunteers are spread throughout the Tampa Bay area. One is in Auburndale, one in Carrollwood, they are in Odessa, Clearwater — all over. “New Life Dog Rescue has a very solid reputation,” Prossen said. “True rescue people and fosters want to be a party to rescues that do the right thing, including every dog that gets adopted.”

Baby, a white purebred American bulldog, shows off her holiday best. A throwaway breeder mom, she has been trained on a leash, is housebroken and a protector. Baby is up for adoption.

And those who adopt also sign a contract stating that if it is one day or 10 years later and they no longer want the dog they adopted, they will contact New Life, which will take it back.

“Sometimes things change,” Prossen said. “The dogs need a safety net, and we are it.

 “We have pulled from animal shelters all the way from Chipley (in the Panhandle) to Manatee, Hillsborough, Polk and Pasco counties,” Prossen said. “Our foster families sign a contract saying they agree to keep them until they find a home and to get them to the appropriate vet appointments and to the ‘meet and greets’ we have going on.”

New Life Dog Rescue has two meet and greet events each month on either a Saturday or a Sunday. One of those is held each month at Pet Supplies Plus on S.R. 60 in Valrico.

“It’s great there because the community supports us with food, collars and leashes. You can make a donation at the cash register,” Prossen said.

“There is very little we can’t do,” she said. “We’ve done dogs that have ephemeral surgery, when a hip is broken. We reach out to the community, and they support us. We have a huge following. In three years, we’ve gained 2,500 Facebook followers.”

Some dogs have stayed in foster homes six months to a year. Some dogs are adopted within four to eight weeks. 

One dog now available for adoption is Baby, a pure-bred white American bulldog from Manatee County. “She is a 70-pound throwaway momma, pure-bred American bulldog who had never even been on a leash,” Prossen said. “She was a lot of work, but is now the most loving, obedient, protector. She’s an awesome dog, and I’m very proud of her.”

Baby is currently getting treatment for heartworms, but is otherwise ready for adoption.

Most of the dogs available have been trained in basic obedience, they are all spayed or neutered, and they are housebroken and crate-trained. New Life asks for a donation that can run from $150 to $250, depending on the dog. Seniors go for less because they are harder to place. 

To adopt, go to www.newlifedogrescue.com and fill out an adoption application or a foster application. Donations can also be made there and donors receive a tax receipt for all donations. 

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