He had been at our local shelter for more than five years, living in a cage for 21 hours a day, and put in a run for the other three, never shown to potential adopters though nobody could remember why. He had been there longer than most of the staff, so familiar with the place that he would let himself out of his cage at night (nobody could figure out how) to sleep on the cool floor until morning. After temperament testing and some individual play-time, we discovered that Rufo was a true gent. Smart, eager for attention, and grateful for the stimulation of training. We set about getting him a home, and after a few months of far-and-wide networking we found Jon, a wonderful man whose dog had recently passed away. During his remaining winters, Rufo played in the snow, in the spring he splashed in ponds and streams, in the summer he visited the beach at Cape Cod, and in the fall he attended the annual Blessing of the Animals, sitting quietly in a church pew at Jon's knee amid the goats and birds and kittens. In short, Rufo, an overlooked dog in a crowded shelter, was granted not a second chance, but his first chance.
That's how Best Bullies got started. Since then, we have focused our energies on working with long-term shelter dogs who need assistance getting out into the world. That could be because, like Rufo, they aren't noticed, or like Tasha, they have a simple behavioral issue stemming from confinement, or like Mason, they are big-hearted but rambunctious, or like Chubbs, they are overweight and under-exercised, or like Dutchess and Delilah, they are seniors, or like Olive, they are terrified, or like Julie, they are a black pit lost in a sea of black pits, or like Flea, they need serious medical attention, or like Tink or Cole or Daisy or any of the first dogs we dedicated ourselves to, they just simply needed someone to advocate for them.
Since that beginning, Best Bullies and its volunteers and donators, with the help of caring and generous veterinarians and local facilities, has rescued and found homes for many, many dogs each year. Best Bullies' board was begun by Ann, Doug, and Jo Ann, who first met at a local shelter and combined their efforts to get Rufo a home, and then built on that success by expanding Best Bullies' reach to include other dogs and then other shelters. We now have rescued more dogs than can be named here (but we remember them all) and have formed working alliances with other rescue groups in New York and beyond.