Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Labelle.
The Labelle Foundation is a Los Angeles foster-based not-for-profit devoted to rescuing, rehabilitating, advocating for dogs. Our mission is to help our dogs find perfect forever families. We also specialize in neonatal orphans and sick or special needs medical puppies and dogs.
About eight years ago, Laura Labelle fostered a deaf white pitbull puppy. Shortly after, Laura was asked to take the two runts of a Pitbull puppy litter someone had put in a trash bag and left to die in a dumpster. They were only a few hours old when Laura took them in. From that moment, Laura’s daughters, Juliette and Sabrina, and Laura were committed to saving dogs’ lives.
Laura founded The Labelle Foundation with her daughter, Sabrina in January of 2018… Since then, the Labelle Foundation has expanded and grown to include our foster network of 300+ fosters, over 2000 adopters, and 180 dogs currently in foster care. We’ve built up a wonderful network of trusted and capable fosters who house all our dogs and give them a loving environment, to heal and get them ready for adoption.
Something that makes us different from other rescues is that we are a no-mother-left-behind rescue. Quite often, pregnant dogs are left discarded at the shelters. They are neglected and often need specific care and we are able to provide them that! We also specialize in cleft palate and bottle babies who need to be nursed every three hours by the foster because they do not have a mother they can nurse from.
COVID-19 really advanced us to where we are today and forced us to grow and develop incredibly fast. We went from receiving about one foster application a week, and about 3 to 4 applications per dog, to 3,000 foster applications in the first week of quarantine and between 25 to 50 applications per dog. We added three new women to our team and have had to update our infrastructure and website to handle the demand. It is inspiring and heartwarming to see how many people want to foster and adopt.
Has it been a smooth road?
Rescue is never a smooth road. There are bumps, twists, and turns every single day. Rescue is a 24/7 job and things are changing every day. An example of a day in life is waking up every 3 hours during the night to tube feed cleft palate puppies. At 8 am we have our all-hands meeting with the whole team. We had to cut this meeting short because one of the cleft palate puppies died during the call from a heart problem. Laura did everything she could to resuscitate him, giving him CPR, but he could not be saved. We then received a transport of 21 dogs. Two Pitbulls were owner surrendered to us and we had to assess them and put them into foster. We had four vet appointments that day totaling almost $1000. All of this while maintaining normal business, responding to Instagram messages, emails, text messages from adopters, and fosters.
This is a typical day in rescue – besides this process each day contains dogs found on the side of the street, dogs getting sick, facilitating adoptions, and finding fosters. There is always something new and there are constantly challenges; whether it’s during the foster or adoption process or a new medical dog. A day in rescue never goes as planned but we love it! We love working and partnering with other rescues and we love our fosters who really help make everything possible.
Another recent challenge is that during COVID-19, many shelters were forced to close and we needed to act faster than ever to get dogs out of shelters and into foster care. We’ve taken in a lot of dogs including medical and we have a shortage of supplies (beds, crates, food, etc.) that we are currently trying to raise money for. We have received an insane amount of frustrated people online and via email who feel we are not responding to them fast enough. Our first priority is always the health and well-being of the dogs, so people have to wait. We are in the business of advocating and rescuing dogs and responding to emails is not our #1 priority. We have tried to explain to people how incredibly busy we are, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. It has forced us to be adaptable and grow incredibly fast and we are better for it!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Labelle Foundation – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
We save dogs from a variety of situations – tend to their medical or behavior needs and get them into foster. We are devoted to rehabilitating dogs and advocating for the duration of their lives.
At Labelle, our primary specialty is taking orphaned puppies and mom dogs with babies. A lot of times pregnant moms are surrendered to shelters or orphaned puppies are given to us from other rescues. Orphaned puppies require a lot of time and medical attention and they cannot live without bottle or tube feeding. We also specialize in taking care of adult dogs with medical needs, helping them get the vet attention they require and providing any surgeries or medicine/care in order to better their quality of life. We also work to provide dogs with behavioral assistance if needed by working with trainers to help correct aggression, anxiety, and more.
Rescue is also a team effort. Once we take a dog into our care, we are committed to advocating for the dog for the entirety of the dog’s life. This includes medical support, behavioral care and diligent reviews of adoption applications to make each person and dog with the best fit for the dog’s personality. We work with rescues in Bakersfield and Los Angeles to most effectively rescue as many dogs as possible by sponsoring medical, taking neonatal babies, and occasionally partnering with rescues on certain litters. We rely on donations from those supporting us to do all of this work and save as many pups as possible.
How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
In our line of business, we could do this every single day for the rest of our lives and there will still be dogs who die in shelters. At times is it disheartening how hard we work and we often feel like the root of the problem will never go away. There will always be people who refuse to spay and neuter their dogs and people who surrender their dogs to shelters. We are constantly fighting an uphill battle. We try to define success by making a difference in the lives of the dogs we do save by spaying and neutering them so they are never part of the problem, and of course finding them furever homes.
Additionally, Fundraising is fundamental as we could not survive without donations. We are 100% donation based 501(c)(3) non-profit rescue. The money we raise enables us to successfully save dogs’ lives that have huge medical bills so we can ultimately get them into a loving home! Our dream goal would be to raise enough money to have a facility and pay our volunteers who are working 24/7 (rescue never sleeps!).
Financial resources are consistently low due to medical and caring for each dog. We are always looking for donations so that we can support and save more dog’s life! We take donations via PayPal that can be accessed through https://labellefoundation.org/
$50 sets up a healthy puppy for foster
$150 pays for a spay and neuter [with our awesome vet that gives us a discount for our rescue dogs!]
Average vet visit is $500
$2,000 fixes a broken leg, hip replacement,
$5,000 covers one hospitalization for pneumonia or parvo
- Website: https://labellefoundation.org/