Can This Couple Revolution Dog Rescue Organizations
Photo: Kris Craig

Shopping for a puppy on Craigslist isn’t a very good idea. Odds are that the breeders you find on sites like that are irresponsible, and the puppy you adopt may have some long term health problems because of it. Amna Memon found this out the hard way. Four years ago, while searching for a puppy on the popular website, she came to a realization that would end up changing her life.

After searching the site for a matter of minutes, Memon realized that very young (weeks or days-old) were “essentially being sold for Xboxes.” A quick observation of the photos that were posted showed many of these puppies looking sickly or noticeably neglected. At the time, Memon was living in Jacksonville, Florida where she was enrolled in law school.

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Can This Couple Revolution Dog Rescue Organizations

She responded to a woman’s advertisement for an American bulldog puppy. The woman agreed to meet her in a Walmart parking lot where Memon paid her $50 in exchange for a puppy that was infested with fleas and worms. At that moment she knew that her life’s purpose was to rescue dogs from poor conditions like these.

Since then, she and her husband have dedicated themselves to rescuing dogs in similar situations, getting them healthy, and finding them forever homes. She says they call their approach proactive rescuing – they try to get the dogs before they end up in shelters. She put law school on hold and returned to her home state of Rhode Island to start a business that may revolutionize dog rescue organizations.

Memon and her husband, James Baribeau, started Broken Tail Foster and Rescue, a registered nonprofit, last year. They also opened Oh My Dog, a retail pet store in Lincoln, Rhode Island. The retail store helps fund the rescue organization. They sell dog toys, food, collars and leashes, and they offer training and grooming services as well. After expenses, the store profits about 20 percent of their sales. All of that money goes back to Broken Tail.

In true entrepreneurial fashion, Memon describes her thought process like this:

“I’ve been studying other rescues since I started, and, I was thinking, how can a rescue be self-sufficient? And I thought, well if you’re adopting dogs, you now have customers. And those customers need food, grooming, boarding and training. Why not offer those services?”

Since she started doing this work in Florida four years ago, Memon says she has rescued about 400 dogs – 50 of them from Rhode Island. She says that her initial intention was to work with dogs in the South. She didn’t realize that there was just as much need in New England, and all parts of the country for that matter. Memon says that these types of puppy mill establishments are a huge problem in New England, and that is what brought her back home.

Some of the dogs that Broken Tail rescues are from “backyard breeders” who do not worry about the welfare of the dogs, but rather are just looking for a way to make some quick money. Others are “accidents” who are born to dogs that are not spayed or neutered. The owner of the dog does not want the puppies and in most cases cannot afford to give them the care that they need.

Can This Couple Revolution Dog Rescue Organizations

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Unfortunately, as Memon and her husband quickly found out, these types of breeders are everywhere and their puppies are typically sickly, malnourished and neglected. Before you consider adopting a puppy please check out the source of where the dog is coming from. Yes, adopting a dog is expensive, especially if you’re looking for a purebred.

If you adopt from an irresponsible breeder you may end up paying less up front, but medical bills in the long run may be more expensive than you can imagine. Poor care of puppies and improper breeding can lead to terminal illnesses, congenital and genetic diseases and poor development. These issues could end up costing you thousands in the long run. Be responsible about puppy adoption. For more information on how to find a responsible breeder check out these related articles: