Over time, because of their heart for the abused and neglected, the rescue has found its focus leaning into many of the “bully breeds,” specifically pit bull mixes.
“Our mission has expanded to humans, to end the cycle of aggression, the disrespect, the negativity and all the bad things associated with being bullied,” said O’Brien. “We’re hoping our dog’s stories of transformation and resilience inspire others that have been bullied.”
O’Brien and her team of about 50 volunteer foster families, veterinary and behavioral trainer partnerships receive between 25-30 requests per day to save dogs that are on top of the euthanasia list.
“We try very hard to get dogs at the top of the kill list out of the shelters and we cannot do that without fosters and funding,” added O’Brien.
All dogs go immediately to the vet for treatment. Many have heartworm disease or ear infections. Braveheart absorbs the cost of vet bills, including spaying or neutering, and any behavioral training the recovering animals might need.
“When urgent calls for rescue come in, we use our social media and email communication to get the word out,” said Marketing and Development Director Krystle Carrara.
O’Brien and Carrara have seen a tremendous spike in the number of dogs in Georgia shelters in part due to backyard breeding and post-pandemic reality setting in for families no longer able to spend the time or money to care for their adopted pets.
Both women also express concern about breed-specific legislation, which they see as another form of bullying. Insurance companies may not cover homeowners or renters with pit bulls and many apartment complexes refuse to rent to pit bull owners.
“Pit bulls are the most demonized, misunderstood breed,” said O’Brien. “They have gotten such a really bad rep and it’s heartbreaking.”
“We definitely need fosters and funding,” said Carrara. “With Giving Tuesday coming up, we hope people will support us. We have an Amazon wish list and partner with Cuddly, a platform specifically for rescues.”
They also need volunteers to walk dogs and to help the nonprofit get back out into the community with adoption events.
“Most importantly, I want our message for anti-bullying to really get out there because people think of bullying just for people but literally every dog we rescue has been bullied in some way, shape or form,” said O’Brien.
Donate, volunteer or foster: www.braveheartbulliezrescue.org.