In speaking with Kim Bruck, president of Arizona Basset Hound Rescue (AZBHR), it’s obvious that she is in love with the breed.
“It’s their personality—that sad look in their eyes that captures your heart,” she explains. “They’re sociable and love to be with other people and dogs.”
Recently, AZBHR reached an impressive milestone, rescuing its 1,400th Basset, a pooch named Simon, whom the organization cared for despite overwhelming medical issues.
“In the past almost 11 years, we’ve rescued the 1,400 Bassets and Bloodhounds because of the amazing dedication of our volunteers, adopters, and donors,” Bruck explains. “We’re an all-volunteer staff with no physical location; the dogs in our program all live with volunteers. The AZBHR program wouldn’t exist without the volunteers who foster the dogs.”
Inspired by B.H. Cares—a national rescue effort originally founded by the Basset Hound Club of America—a group of local Basset lovers worked to create a Phoenix-based rescue effort. They began in 1999, and since then the nonprofit organization has cared for its 1,400 Bassets and Bloodhounds through donations and volunteer efforts.
How has AZBHR found all of its lucky dogs? As a no-kill organization, the group has formed relationships with entities like Maricopa County Animal Care and Control and other shelters that notify the folks at AZBHR when a Basset or Bloodhound is on the list to be euthanized. In addition, many Basset guardians who can no longer care for their pets will often seek out AZBHR, Bruck says.
Once a dog is in the AZBHR program, he or she receives medical attention, is spayed or neutered, and stays with a foster family until a permanent guardian adopts the dog.
“As a foster volunteer, all you have to do is provide dog food and lots of love,” Bruck explains. “We pay all of their medical bills, including getting them spayed or neutered. And for dogs we can’t adopt out, like seniors or those with severe health or aggression issues, we consider them ‘forever fosters.’ They stay in the program.”
Bruck says that, on average, there are approximately 80 dogs in foster care at a time and that the organization is always seeking adoptive families at events throughout the Phoenix area. Last year, AZBHR made headlines when the organization took in more than 50 dogs from a local puppy mill.
“The key to our success has been tireless volunteers. It’s our passionate people who keep us going,” Bruck notes. “We all want these dogs to find a new life and get better.”
To support its efforts, AZBHR participates in several fundraising events, including the upcoming Basset Ball on September 25 in Scottsdale. The organization also sells unique Basset-inspired merchandise, such as specialized wines.
“We like to say that happiness is a rescued Hound,” Bruck says. “It’s all about the dogs and the love of the breed that inspires us to help them.”
To learn more about Arizona Basset Hound Rescue and its efforts, visit AZBassetRescue.org. — Michelle Talsma Everson