The Rescued Dog is honored to be featuring one of our founders, Kathy Toomey, for August’s spotlight volunteer. Rescue work is not easy; it’s emotional, time consuming, exhausting, challenging, and frustrating at times. To run a successful, ethical, supportive, proper rescue it takes immense dedication, love, tough skin, a positive attitude, lots of teamwork and a hell of a sense of humor. Enter, Kathy.

Kathy’s road to rescue is such a great example because she began as most of the general public still is today—with limited knowledge of pet overpopulation, where or how to obtain a dog and a lack of knowledge of the staggering numbers of dogs in shelters being euthanized. Growing up in Philly, PA, Kathy’s family had cats but did not own dogs. No matter how much she begged, they were not allowed to have a dog. She says of her childhood, “Born and raised on the streets and playgrounds of Philly, like Will Smith.” (Haha!!) As a young adult, Kathy’s first dog was a bulldog, Sophie, bought from a breeder for 2k. She was a first time dog owner without a deep understanding of dog ownership. The breeder did not ask her any questions about her knowledge or preparation for owning a pet (much less bulldogs who are predisposed to various medical ailments). Immediately, Kathy began researching and learning about pet ownership and quickly learned about the millions of dogs in shelters. This early interest in the pet overpopulation crisis led her to visiting a shelter one Christmas eve where she fell in love with a sick, senior lab sleeping on the cold concrete floor. She wasn’t affiliated with a rescue so she wasn’t allowed to adopt him (certain dogs in shelters are only allowed to be ‘pulled’ by approved rescues). His face haunted her. Shortly thereafter he was euthanized. Her heartache, new found knowledge and animal loving passion led her on her journey to become actively involved in dog rescue. Although most people who learn about rescuing over buying from breeders end up becoming part of this movement by rescuing/adopting their own furbabies, most will not go to the extent Kathy did to start their own rescue! Kathy’s journey is so important to share because it’s rooted in education; educating oneself and then acting on that new knowledge to create change.

Kathy, an RN, has that innate caring and compassionate nature. She moved to San Diego in 2005 on a 6 month assignment as a travel nurse and never left. She volunteered at another rescue where she was an adoption coordinator, poop cleaner upper, nurse to sick pups, dog walker and mentor to other volunteers. After becoming close with TRD’s other founders during their volunteer work, this amazing group of women decided to start a rescue of their own. With TRD Kathy wears many hats. She was initially the lead Adoption Coordinator and then changed avenues and is now our Events Director as well as a board member. Kathy is a natural events planner; with her super social personality and love for throwing good parties! She puts in many hours each week organizing fundraisers and happy hours, while also supporting the adoption team doing home checks and adoption meetings. Kathy has three rescue loves now, Buddy, an 11 year old Poodle/Bichon mix, Wookiee, a terrier mix, and Kadence, a Basenji.

Kathy is a key player to TRD, helping us to continue to grow and become more and more successful. She has tons of motivation, an incredibly positive nature, immense dedication and a sense of humor that keeps us light and laughing during some of the more difficult times in rescue. TRD could not do what we do, as well as we do it, without Kathy! I asked Kathy one thing she would like to teach the world about pet ownership. She says, “It all falls under the same category, the pet population. The importance of spay and neuter, and how important it is to rescue over buying from a breeder. It’s much easier to rescue over buying because the transition goes smoother when you adopt a dog that’s been in foster care.  TRD gives you a support group to set you up for success!”

More fun facts:

  • If Kathy had a superpower it would be to make the world love, cherish, respect and co-exist with animals.
  • Kathy admits to being a reality TV junkie, but at the moment her favorite TV show is Homeland.
  • The place she most wants to travel? Thailand. We’re sure she’ll get there.

Thank you, Kathy, for all you do to save pups, educate people and help run TRD! We are so fortunate to have you on this team!




I got my start in dog rescue by using Facebook to help network dogs who were in high kill shelters in San Bernardino, CA.  While that was fulfilling, I really wanted to be more hands-on and interact with the dogs who were being saved.  I wanted to personally see the transformation from a scared shelter dog to a happy and adoptable dog.  So far I have fostered four wonderful dogs for The Rescued Dog and hope to foster many more!  I also love volunteering at the adoption events and watching when a match is made between a dog and their new owners.


My design thesis in my senior year of college revolved around re-designing the animal sheltering system. I spent hours and hours a day volunteering at a handful of shelters. I saw someone bring in a terrified dog as he screamed at shelter staff: “I just don’t want the damn thing anymore..” That was the tipping point for me… Also, this is my favorite quote…ever: “All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.”


Life has so much to offer if we remember to look beyond ourselves. I volunteer because it continuously teaches me something new about people, about cooperation, about compassion, and about myself. I have a great passion for animals. We have three rescue dogs that came to us in 2008.  Since then I’ve wanted to work with an origination that helps save dogs and put them in forever, loving homes so when I came across this opportunity with The Rescued Dog to help I jumped at the chance.  I am passionate about their mission to save dogs from high kill shelters and I truly believe that help comes in many forms, volunteering is one way to accomplish what we are supposed to accomplish in this lifetime.


I started volunteering with TRD in 2015. Volunteering has been great. I love dogs, I mean who doesn’t right?! However, I do not own a dog…not yet. I live vicariously through the rescue. If you can’t afford to adopt a dog or don’t have the ideal living situation to have a dog, like me, you can still “scratch your itch,” that’s a great thing about volunteering with us. So, the irony is I have been telling you about how great it would be to adopt a rescued dog and save them from their unfortunate circumstance and put them in a happy and caring home, and in my case, I didn’t know it then, however, the rescue saved me. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be a part of and for filling my need to be around so many furry friends.


I was introduced to rescue as a child when I met a greyhound rescue organization one night at Balboa Park and convinced my parents to adopt one.  Our family greyhound Bookie and I were best buds for the ten years we had him.  Since then I have been a sucker for rescue dogs.  I am so glad I was introduced to TRD by a friend and fellow foster, and have had a chance to work with some great people and dogs, and found my little buddy, Madison!


I was introduced to The Rescued Dog while working at a local shelter.  I was excited about their mission to save dogs from high-kill shelters & wanted to participate with this mission.  I love working with the TRD team and fosters to get these pups out of the shelter, into a great foster home and finally on to their furr-ever homes!


I have always been a firm believer that doggie cuddles could save the world. So, when my mom said she wanted to start fostering dogs I was very excited. In the short period of time I have been volunteering with The Rescued Dog I realized I want to be an advocate for change. I took on this role not only to push myself but to also be a bigger voice for all of the shelter animals, since they can’t do that on their own.


The bond I have with my dog, Otis who I rescued about 2 years ago,  is that of a family member, a best friend, and a companion. Saving dogs from high kill shelters is a rewarding task, but adding a new member to someone’s family is life changing. Rescued is truly the best breed.


I got involved with rescuing dogs when my own dogs and animal loving kids got a touch older and realized I had a tiny amount of free time to fill! My kids begged for Chihuahuas, Daschunds, Huskys etc….so naturally I thought fostering would be great!  Once I got in, I was hooked and wanted to do more to help shelter dogs find the forever love my own dogs had. In regard to volunteering, I believe that if we all give a little we can accomplish a lot!


10 years ago I took a road trip from Philadelphia to San Diego with my beloved English Bulldog.  As a travel nurse, I was given the opportunity to move across the country, and with working only three days a week, I had time to volunteer with my first passion, rescue dogs.  Through volunteering, I met an amazing group of women who shared my same vision, so we collaborated The Rescue Dog!  I am so proud of our accomplishments and I look forward to continuing to educate and save lives!


I was fostering for the SD Humane Society but was looking for a rescue I could become more involved in. A friend foster failed with TRD so I filled out an application. I feel like I’ve found my calling! There is nothing like getting a dog right out of the shelter and making him feel safe. Now as an adoption coordinator I get to see the rescue through to the end, a great family and a forever home!!


I rescued my first dog in 2010 and started volunteering with a rescue a year later and loved it! After meeting a few amazing friends, it became evident rescue work was more than just a fun hobby. I truly believe the best dogs are rescued dogs and have come to find my true passion in life is in dog rescue. Fostering is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have and I highly recommend it to everyone! I can’t imagine my life without dogs, and thankfully I’ll never have to. I’m so excited to be working with such a fantastic group of people and I can’t wait to see what The Rescued Dog accomplishes!



It is easy to buy a dog from pet stores, online ads, or from dog breeders, but rescuing a shelter dog is definitely more rewarding.  How can you not admire that once sad dog, now all waggy and happy because they’ve been given a second, sometimes third chance at finding their forever home?  The ability of these pups to recognize and embrace their new life never ceases to amaze me.  The Rescued Dog saves dogs from high kill shelters and prepares them to meet and be adopted by a loving family.  TRD fills the corners of my life and it makes me happy to know I’m doing something worthwhile for these sweet pups.  Having rescued – and been rescued – by my own dogs proves that rescued really is the best breed.


My passion for rescuing dogs comes from my great experiences with rescue dogs in my life. I personally have had my life brightened by many great rescue dogs, and I have seen how having pets, and dogs particularly, has improved the lives of my friends and family. For me, the best part of dog rescue is seeing the connection that dogs and people make, and knowing that when we connect the right dogs with the right people, we are improving the lives of everyone involved, both human and canine.