Today we’d like to introduce you to Yoko Furuno.
Yoko, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
DOGzHAUS (pronounced DOG HOUSE) is a small, Los Angeles based CA registered non-profit dog rescue organization that was formed to give a second chance to dogs and people. We are a 501(c)3 rescue group. 100% of donations benefit our rescue dogs. The organization is run by volunteers and funded entirely by donations and adoption fees. Like other volunteers, I have a full time job plus usually have 40-50 additional hours a week for my rescue volunteer work.
I founded DOGzHAUS RESCUE 4 years ago because there are so many dogs in the shelter. I was a busy person with my work, as a single mom and also volunteering for the animal shelters… When you volunteer at the animal shelter, you meet many homeless dogs… and get attached… unfortunately, some of them are not lucky enough to be adopted from the shelter… It was extremely painful when the day for euthanasia came… It is not the shelter’s fault… not the dog’s fault either… whoever owned the dog in past was not responsible enough… so they gave up the dog with a small reason like a moving, landlord issue, etc….
Those owners may think the shelter re-home all dogs who are surrendered… but the truth is most of the dogs are euthanized because of the shelter’s limited kennel space.
My plate was already full… I did not have more extra time… but I wanted to do something I could do to help more dogs because my dog from childhood was always there for me. I had to do something I could and pay back to their unconditional love.
I came from Japan to attend the college here in the US over 20 years ago. I’ll never be good to speak English… but I thought I could learn so many things from this country. I was a shy kid who was always nervous to speak in front of people. I always played music or drew… and my childhood dogs were always there and watching me as my companion.
The girl who came from Japan and had a hard time to speak English never thought to start a nonprofit organization…. but you know… it was necessary for me to start… and I was able to do it because it was for dogs. I did not think I was not comfortable or even confident enough to start a company if it was not for something I truly loved. But I wanted to stand for dogs.
I currently have appx 60 volunteers in my organization. No one in my organization speaks my language… but my volunteers understand me through the dogs. Working 100 hours total for my day job and the rescue are not easy…
Seeing sad eyes in the kennel at the shelter always hurts my heart. People say “how can you do it? It’s so sad to be involved with the dog rescue…”
Well, I always respond ” someone has to do it so maybe one more dog may have a chance to live. ”
I always say it does not matter it’s for dogs or people or something else… try what you can do to help others…
This world is currently in a very weird time… respect others and be kind are the very important thing, I think. Dogs are same. When you respect them, they respect you. Life is not easy but we can still live as a human being. As a foreigner, my life in the US did not start easily… went through a divorce… did not have a working permit as a foreigner… but I did not give up. I never knew I was going to be a leader of the non profit organization… but anyone can try.
Life is difficult but precious. In a dog rescue, everyday is a challenge. Everyday, we either rescue life or lose life.
I cry everyday in the shower but we have to keep moving forward.
DOGzHAUS RESCUE is a small organization but we are mighty. We normally house 30-35 dogs only. But most of these dogs came to us from the local shelters right before they were being euthanized. It means no one else wanted them.
We choose those “left over” dogs from the shelter. Therefore, most of our rescue dogs arrive to us in medical or disable condition.
Sadly, I see many local rescue organizations take highly adoptable young dogs in healthy condition. Those dogs get adopted through these organizations easily… I see them posting how many dogs have been adopted monthly… My organization does not care about “number of dogs” because our dogs take a very long time to be healed from their medical issue (or broken heart) before they are even available for adoption.
As a rescue, I believe we need to take the one a general party did not want to adopt…. because all dogs deserve a second chance.
A dog has a feeling just like us. They feel exactly the same way we feel. They have emotion. But they are simpler than we are. They don’t care if you are beautiful or ugly. They always forgive you and love you.
Why human being can’t learn from them? I think our world is a lot more complicated because we think more complicated. I hope our organization can educate people better to be a responsible person and help not only dogs but also people. I hope more people learn from dogs. Life can be simpler…
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
First off, I am a foreigner. I came to this country with a student visa which did not allow me to work. Once I received a permanent resident card (a green card), things started working better.
Second off, language barrier. I never thought I could be the person who stands in front of people and leads them until I actually started my nonprofit organization.
Third off, finance. I was told it would be $5,000 to start a nonprofit through a lawyer or CPA. So I learned how to do all paperwork by myself and filed all paperwork without any lawyers or CPAs. I still do the monthly filing by myself without CPA to save thousands of dollars so I could spend the funds for dogs who need a medical treatment.
Learned a lot from managing volunteer people. They are not my employee but a volunteer. It’s a big difference.
It was a struggle as well in the beginning. But we are a great team now.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with DogzHaus Rescue – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am a founder of DOGzHAUS RESCUE. I manage everything. I know every single dog we have had.
Managing volunteers and dogs are not easy. All rescue dogs come to us with a broken heart and need a healing period. You need to be very patient.
Like today, I received a message with a picture from someone who adopted a dog from us a year ago. She told me how she and the dog are doing. The dog is having a great life with the adopter and so loved. Also, the dog brought a lot of happiness to the adopter.
That’s the best reward for me when I see my rescued dog is having a great life.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
The biggest plan for the future is “to continue our organization and save more lives.”
I also have a plan to start a senior sanctuary program. A senior dog in medical condition is always hard to find the forever home. It means they don’t really get adopted. Many of them have a walking issue, deaf, blind, paralyzed, etc… so I hope I can provide their forever sanctuary and bring more seniors.
It’s just so hard and painful to think they were loved one by someone when they were younger and cute… but surrendered as a stuffed animal… I would like those senior dogs to know there is someone who cares for them. I would love to provide “a safe place” for them. Many senior rescue dogs have a broken heart. They are insecure and always worried.
- Website: www.dogzhaus.org
- Phone: 213-999-1369 (voice mail)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/dogzhaus