Arizona Small Dog Rescue Helps Abandoned and Neglected Pups Find Their Forever Homes

From the moment your eyes meet the large, loving ones of the dog staring back at you, it’s love at first sight—and the beginning of something very special. No one understands that unique bond between dog and owner more than Arizona Small Dog Rescue. That’s why the volunteers at this no-kill rescue shelter—considered one of the Valley’s best—have dedicated countless hours to saving homeless, abandoned and abused dogs, giving them a second chance at finding a forever home. AZSDR held its inaugural SpayGhetti and No Balls Gala to promote spaying and neutering awareness on July 28. Here, longtime volunteers Laura Burgess and Donna Umstead talk about the impact of adopting, fostering and volunteering with AZSDR.

How can adopting a dog have a positive impact on both the pet and the owner’s lives?

Laura Burgess

I always make it clear that adopting a dog saves two lives: the dog you adopt and the dog you make room for in a foster home. Reputable rescues do their best to make good matches for both the humans and dogs. Then everyone’s lives are enriched, and you gain a best friend and loyal family member.

Why is dog-fostering such an important service, and what are some of its benefits?

Laura Burgess

There’s a huge overpopulation problem. So many dogs are needlessly euthanized each year at the county shelters because too many people don’t understand the importance of having their pets spayed and neutered. It’s literally a matter of life and death for them, so our family does our part to help save the dogs—it’s that simple. Our family has grown closer through fostering. Our children have gained life skills, communication skills and self-esteem all through fostering. Knowing that we’ve already saved 328 dogs and helped match them with awesome people is an indescribable feeling.

How can volunteering at a rescue shelter impact your life?

Donna Umstead

The rewards are tremendous! You see the outcome of your hard work immediately, as each week dogs that you know and love find new homes. Personally, volunteering at AZSDR not only fulfills a need I have to give back, but I’ve also gained wonderful friends that share common values and goals for the dogs in our care. We have such a multitude of fantastic volunteers that contribute everything from bathing dogs for our weekend adoption events, to bottle feeding newborn puppies, to walking the dogs and helping socialize the fearful ones. The opportunities to help are so wide-ranging, which means people can volunteer anywhere from an hour a day to several times a week.

For more information, call 602.944.2440 or visit