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Underdog ResQ Board of Directors:  Lina, Tom, Julie, Margaret, Adam and Gail at Underdog ResQ's Urban BBQ Benefit 2008.

To learn more about our wonderful volunteers, read some bios below!

Tom and Lina

(picture with Happy and Zeus)

Tom and I founded Underdog ResQ in March of 2004. Back then, I managed an animal control shelter while Tom fostered for another dog rescue. As a manager of an open admission shelter, I struggled to get assistance from other organizations with the harder to place dogs. There just weren’t enough rescues and shelters to help with bully breeds, large dogs and elderly dogs, the underdogs in the most desperate situations. It was frustrating and downright sad. With limited staff, we just couldn’t exercise the dogs enough. Dogs would break down and become depressed or over-stimulated when they were walked, making them unadoptable. This is a common problem in shelters, especially those that are under staffed. In the meantime, Tom was fostering bully breeds with his roommate Adam, also now a member of the Underdog team. Tom and I took the plunge and asked two friends and dog lovers to join us in starting Underdog ResQ. Adam and Margaret gladly joined the new adventure. Soon after, when Tom and I moved to NYC, we invited Julie onto the board, a volunteer that showed true devotion and hard work. We knew she could contribute a lot to our Boston area operational needs.

Tom and Adam fostered countless underdogs together (about 30 or more and mostly Pit Bulls, Shepherds and Mastiffs). As of February 2009, Tom and I have fostered one Rottweiler, four Pit Bulls, and two Mastiffs.

My role in the organization, in addition to fostering, is to manage operations, fundraise, plan events, manage dog admissions and coordinate and train volunteers, amongst other tasks. It is a full time volunteer job! Tom’s role is to manage finances, train new foster parents, and screen applications. Both of us are also responsible for NY area home visits and dog evaluations, a state with shelters that need even more help than MA.

We are so proud of Underdog’s success and thankful for the many wonderful volunteers that devote their time, skills and compassion to the organization. We wouldn’t have been able to grow and save so many dogs without them all. We get excited each time we see a volunteer contribute a variety of services to the organization. We started with just four volunteers and one foster home occupied with a heartworm positive 5 year old 70 pound Pit Bull with cropped ears. It took a year to find her a home. Now, we have well over 100 volunteers at a time throughout New England and the tri-state area. We’ve come a long way and we plan to go even further.

For the future, we hope to expand the organization and develop an education program to help prevent homelessness, cruelty and neglect. Although rescue is important, we believe that education is even more valuable, as it has a greater impact on the future of dogs and the big picture. We can’t do this without donations. It costs a lot to run a successful organization!

Julie and Bob

(pictured with Pumpkin)

When Bob and I decided it was time to add a dog to our family, we knew we wanted to turn to a rescue group for guidance in choosing our new family member. After a careful search of available resources, we discovered Underdog ResQ. We loved the story behind why the group was founded and were impressed by its mission as an equal opportunity dog rescue. I eyed a dog they had available (the first Underdog, Maia), but Bob was very hesitant about having a pit bull due to the stigma. We decided it would be best to spend some time getting to know the breed before adopting.

We officially volunteered as a foster home with Underdog ResQ after meeting with the founders and some of the ResQ volunteers at a Petco adoption day. They were so informative and friendly that we immediately felt comfortable and at ease with them. While there, we met a ResQ dog available for adoption. This little pit bull became our first foster dog and, ultimately, the apple of our eyes as she settled into her permanent position in our home.
Despite the fact that my husband and I initially failed our first foster experience by adopting our “Pumpkin,” we were hooked on Underdog ResQ and, to my delight, Bob was hooked on pit bulls. We couldn't think of a better way to honor our underdog than by opening our hearts and home to other pit bulls in need.

As foster parents, we transition our foster dogs from the shelter environment into a comfortable home environment. A big part of this transition is training and teaching the dog healthy boundaries and manners so that s/he fits in with a forever home. Foster dogs with special emotional (e.g., fearfulness) or physical (e.g., starvation) needs are put on a program we design to help them achieve their maximum potential as healthy, functional members of society.

Our experience with Underdog ResQ has been wonderful. Founded by people who are deeply committed to saving dogs, all of Underdog's volunteers are truly an inspiration. As of winter 2008, there are approximately 150 volunteers who demonstrate a great amount of compassion and dedication toward Underdog ResQ’s community.

In 2006, I joined the board of directors. As a part of my role, I reach out to shelters on behalf of Underdog ResQ. I provide temperament testing in the Massachusetts area, perform thorough screens and checks on foster and adoptive family applicants, and continuously research and educate volunteers and community members on breed specific legislature, how to work with the fearful/shy dog, and canine nutrition.


(pictured with Scruffy)

A devoted volunteer since 2005, Gail joined Underdog ResQ's Board of Directors in June of 2009.

Below is an article from the American Way’s May 2007 issue:

When Gail’s beloved terrier mix, Scruffy, died in 2006, Gail, a sales manager for American Airlines in Boston, was heartbroken. Scruffy, whom she
took in as an abandoned stray, had been a major part of her life for nine years. “After he died, it was much too difficult to get another dog,” says Gail. “He was my constant companion.”

Not ready for another permanent canine commitment, Gail arranged for the next best thing. After seeing a notice at a veterinarian’s office, Gail volunteered to be a foster parent for homeless dogs as part of a Boston-area organization called Underdog ResQ (www.underdogresq.org). The nonprofit group, which also has a branch in the New York City area, rescues dogs who would otherwise be euthanized by shelters; volunteers like Gail care for them until a permanent home can be found.

Underdog ResQ volunteers learn of dogs who are available to foster via e-mails that contain pictures and descriptions of the animals. If a volunteer can care for a dog, that volunteer takes him or her in. Over the past two years, Gail has fostered eight dogs (including Mulligan, at left), most of whom stayed with her for just weeks before being adopted. “The first few dogs were hard to give up, but I came to realize that I won’t be able to save other dogs if I keep the one I’m currently caring for.”

Underdog ResQ volunteers make sure the dogs go to good homes by doing extensive checks and by meeting with prospective owners twice before releasing the dog to them. The group has rescued more than 75 dogs over the past three years. “These are such great dogs,” says Branchini. “To think they’re going to get a second chance at a good life is just so rewarding.”

Gail supports Underdog’s future and believes in its mission. In 2007, Gail started The Scruffy Fund, a fund created for Underdog ResQ's future and dream - a shelter where good dogs can be cared for until they find a foster or forever home. Until that dream comes true, the Scruffy Fund may also be used to pay for the boarding and training of such dogs.

Gail, in addition to fundraising, conducts home visits, transports dogs, helps out with planning fundraisers and spreads the word about Underdog ResQ to everyone she meets!

Alyssa & Louis

(pictured with Tuna)

Louis and I have been fostering dogs with Underdog ResQ since October, 2007. We originally decided to foster because we really wanted the companionship of a dog, but weren’t sure if we could commit to the long-term responsibility of adoption. It turns out we can, because we adopted our fifth foster dog, Tuna, in May of 2008 and have had five foster dogs since. We originally planned to foster through a local humane society, but didn’t like the idea of fostering a sick dog to then put it back in a cage to be adopted. After looking into several rescue groups, we decided to go with Underdog because they don’t discriminate against any breed or group of dog and all the volunteers and board members are really great people. It’s been really interesting (and sometimes challenging) to share our home with so many different dogs and we’ve certainly learned a lot (about them as well as ourselves.) The one thing people always say to us is, “Oh, I could never give them up!” While it is always bitter sweet to let a dog go, one of our favorite things about Underdog is that, as foster parents, we have a lot of say in who gets each of our dogs. This gives us a whole lot of peace of mind because we know for sure our dog has been well matched and will be loved and taken care of. Between foster dogs, events, graphic design and anything else we can help out with, Underdog has become a huge part of our lives over the past year and a half and we hope that it will continue to be in the future. We definitely lucked out when we found this organization.


(pictured with Nui)

I wanted to volunteer at an animal shelter for years, but thought I couldn't handle it. After we rescued our dog Nui, I decided it was time. I contacted Underdog because I feel their message is so important. Little cute dogs can easily get adopted, but what about the misunderstood "bully" breeds?
Everyone that I have worked with at Underdog are amazing! I have learned so much about different breeds and feel good knowing that I am helping these awesome dogs.

(Tiffany currently helps out at events, performs home visits and transports dogs to and from foster homes and vet visits. Tiffany is also a Dog Outreach Coordinator and helps get the underdogs adopted! Tiffany has been with the organization since 2005.)


I have always loved animals, a trait I inherited from my father, who would provide shelter and food for stray cats on our land while I was growing up. We always had terriers as pets, so I've always had a soft spot for the scruffy ones with personalities bigger than they were. I really didn't know anything about Pit Bulls until I met the Underdogs. I immediately fell in love with their affable nature and eagerness to please. As a freelance graphic designer and photographer, I'm happy to have a pet project (pun fully intended) that I find fulfilling and heartwarming. I am happy to work with Alyssa to create materials to help Underdog with its mission, and I hope to continue meeting loving families and their adorable pups.

I do not have dogs myself, because I rent a non-dog-friendly apartment. I have three cats, and I used to have a herd of guinea pigs and still maintain a site dedicated to guinea pigs. I'm glad to know a few Underdogs, and hope one day to become a foster parent myself.


I was born and raised in a small town in Western Massachusetts where we had tons of animals in our home at all times. As such, I have always been an animal advocate. When I was in middle school my family adopted a Chow, one of the "bully breeds". She is my little lady and has come to live with me in Salem along with my fiance, Michael, and our adorable rescued Greyhound, Ripley. I currently work at a large non-profit. At this non-profit, I speak to donors each day who make rather large donations to other charitable organizations. In listening to their stories, I realized that, although monetary donations are essential to running an organization, more people need to go out and make a difference. My love of animals and desire to fight for their abilities to grow in safe, loving atmospheres, caused me to research animal rescues in our area. When I found Underdog ResQ, I knew right away this was the kind of organization that I would want to volunteer for: the idea that we can speak for those animals who are most neglected and work as a team to provide safe, loving homes for them inspires me. My time at Underdog ResQ is spent as a development volunteer, working to make our work more known and bring in much needed donations by writing grant requests to organizations and administrating a donation box project.

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