Family Dog Rescue: A Sonoma haven for special dogs

By: Roger Coryell

Sonoma’s Family Dog Rescue is no ordinary animal shelter. Nestled in the property that was once once the Aberglen Pet Resort, this establishment stands as a sanctuary specifically for dogs with special needs. These dogs, often disregarded in typical shelter environments due to physical disabilities or health conditions, find a home here.

Angela Padilla, the founder of Family Dog Rescue, once faced a grueling battle against an aggressive form of breast cancer. During this challenging time, she found solace and healing through her involvement with a local dog shelter. Inspired by her own experiences as an underdog, she resolved to create a space for the canines that shared this label.

Twelve years ago, this vision materialized as Family Dog Rescue in San Francisco. Now relocated to Sonoma, the shelter is home to numerous dogs, each with their own stories of resilience and hope. Padilla’s own rescue dog, Tito, who is deaf, blind, and hairless, serves as an embodiment of the shelter’s mission and welcomes visitors with enthusiastic affection.

Some of the dogs under their care include Leah, a reserved terrier-shepherd mix, King, a terrier left to fend for himself on the streets, and Gertie, an English Bulldog found in a severe state of malnutrition. Despite their disparate backgrounds, the shelter’s goal remains consistent: to provide these animals with a safe, nurturing environment until they find their permanent homes.

Family Dog Rescue is more than just a shelter. It’s a comprehensive program where dogs receive necessary medical care, temperament evaluations, and necessary vaccinations. The organization’s mission doesn’t end there. They actively work towards building connections with locals, encouraging participation through various channels such as volunteering, fostering, and adoption.

Running an establishment of this nature is certainly not an easy task. Family Dog Rescue heavily depends on the local community for support, be it through hands-on assistance or monetary and in-kind donations.

The shelter also hosts community events as part of their outreach efforts. An upcoming event at Abbot’s Passage Winery & Mercantile in Glen Ellen is scheduled for May 20. This evening event, featuring live music, food, and a silent auction, allows the community to connect with each other and the dogs up for adoption.

Family Dog Rescue prioritizes creating an individualistic experience for their potential adopters, mirroring the personal care they provide for their dogs. This bond, built on understanding and mutual respect, often results in successful matches that lead to lifelong family additions.

Family Dog Rescue is more than just a symbol; it’s a functioning embodiment of resilience, providing a glimmer of hope for the underdogs of the canine world. With each adoption, it continues its mission of creating new, loving families and fostering community spirit.


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