The History of ABRN

All Breed Rescue Network began at the Denver Municipal Shelter in the winter of 1989 when one of our founders was helping a friend look for her lost dog. She was amazed to see so many unclaimed purebreds, including a Wire Fox Terrier, her own favorite breed. She bought it, cleaned it up, had it neutered, and found it a home. She also tracked down other dog fanciers and told them about their breeds. Since she lived close to the shelter, it seemed fairly easy to drop by once a week or so and let people know what was there. Little did she know! She met and joined forces with others already doing rescue for their breeds, then other area shelters began to be covered, and the network emerged.

All Breed Rescue Network was formally incorporated on January 3, 1993. Our purpose is to provide breed assistance, welfare, education and placement. We received our 501-c.3 in November of 1994 and maintain membership in the Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies.

We are recognized as an integral part of the animal welfare community in this state and work cooperatively with nearly every shelter, both public and private, to place dogs in breed-appropriate homes. We have approximately 40 members who pay dues and volunteer their time to support the ABRN program, in addition to their individual rescue activities.

Our Contributions to the Community
Some of our contributions to the community at large are the following:

ABRN publishes an annual Breed Rescue Referral List of about 150 reliable breed rescues. This list is a formidable undertaking and represents hundreds of hours of volunteer effort. It is provided free of charge to area vets, groomers, pet supply stores, animal control agencies, and other humane organizations.

Our shelter liaisons notify many other animal welfare groups about shelter animals that are their special concern. It is not true that purebred rescue people care only about purebreds. We care about all dogs; indeed about all animals. We may feel a special affection for a particular breed, but what prompts us to do rescue is a sense of responsibility to that breed, not a belief that purebreds are "worth" more than others. In addition, most of our groups will find homes for mixes of their breeds when they have the resources to do so.

Breed rescue people spend countless hours providing support and education to puppy buyers who acquire their pets from commercial sources. Many of these puppies would be abandoned as adults without breed rescue assistance.

Many shelters use us to help place dogs they have received. They know that if one of our members refers an adopter, the home is qualified; and they will not be dealing with that dog again. This frees up staff and resources to concentrate on other dogs who need extra time. We are able to do this in Denver because almost every metro area shelter spays or neuters intact animals before they are released to new owners.

Many breed rescues are able to take and place some animals who cannot for reasons of health, temperament, or age be successfully placed from a shelter environment. In fact, a number of breed rescues prefer to pay the fee and adopt the shelter dog themselves so that it can be observed in a home environment before being placed. Fostering by individuals with extensive knowledge about a specific breed increases the odds for a successful adoption, especially for some of the more challenging breeds of dog. Also, a well funded rescue is able to do a more thorough physical assessment than many shelters.

Breed rescue is a resource other than the commercial breeder for the average pet seeker who thinks he wants a purebred. Most people settle on a breed purely on the basis of how it looks, with little or no information about temperament and behavior. Frequently, we can prevent an individual from acquiring a dog who would be a disastrous match and steer him or her to something more suitable.

We are a coalition of quite disparate groups with different policies and procedures, but we are united in our commitment to finding quality permanent homes for all adult dogs, as well as reducing the population of unwanted animals. We believe that this can best be done by working cooperatively with others in the animal welfare community and by supporting the spaying and neutering of all pets before placement.

Our "Numbers"
What follows are All Breed Rescue Network’s statistical reports for 2008 and 2007. Unlike previous years, the terminology of these statistics, reported by ABRN-affiliated rescue groups, were converted to be in alignment with the Asilomar Accords. For definitions of the terminology used in the reports, go to

Click here to view rescue statistics for all years since 2006, when we started gathering our stats electronically.

ABRN asked our groups to not only track statistics on the number of dogs that they handle annually, but to also report the number of spay/neuters, vaccinations, microchips, and overall cost of veterinary care provided. ABRN and its affiliated groups report an estimated annual expenditure of veterinary care of $821,891.00 in 2008 and $510,420.00 in 2007. Increasing numbers of dogs, dogs whose conditions require more extensive care to bring them to adoptive status, and increased veterinary costs strain the financial limits of ABRN-affiliated groups, most of whom operate on limited budgets. ABRN, with its visibility, standing in the community, and the additional funding of grants, is able to lend much-needed support to these groups, enabling them to continue their rescue efforts.

All Breed Rescue Network enjoys a unique niche in the animal welfare community in Colorado. We have functioned as an umbrella organization for individual breed rescue groups since our formal incorporation in 1993. ABRN epitomizes the vision that animal welfare organizations will work collaboratively to develop successful models for lifesaving. We maintain active memberships with the Denver Metro Shelter Alliance, the Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies and the American Humane Association, among others.

ABRN performs an important function as a conduit between area shelters and private breed rescue groups. Volunteer liaisons serve many of the Front Range shelters. They work diligently to forge positive working relationships with staff and facilitate the transfer of dogs that have not met their adoption criteria into the care of private breed rescue groups. Our groups then rehabilitate and re-home the majority of the dogs released to them. We have the added advantage of time and breed specific knowledge that may not be available in a shelter setting. Therefore, dogs that would have previously been viewed as euthanasia candidates are afforded a second chance. Our statistical report reflects that ABRN has significantly impacted the reduction of the euthanasia rate in Colorado and we have moved closer to the realization of our own mission statement, “ending the euthanasia of Colorado’s adoptable dogs”.

We also meet the private sector’s need as an additional relinquishment, referral and educational resource. ABRN’s operations are funded primarily by membership dues, donations from the public, grant monies, and fundraising activities. The economic downturn has resulted in a larger than normal influx of dogs in need of being re-homed, often straining our groups to capacity. The need is up, but the donations are down, making grants such as the one we received from Maddie’s Fund even more essential to our ability to continue our work.