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Rescue the Underdog Wants to Save All the Dogs

Who We Are

Rescue the Underdog is a small volunteer-run organization that saves dogs from being euthanized in high-kill shelters. Most of the dogs are rescued from the Central Valley, and we often save them within a day of their being put down. Some are strays, but some are surrendered simply because they are “old.” Rescue the Underdog tries to save as many dogs as we can, with our goal being to save them all. We take dogs that no other rescue will take. So we might end up with unpopular breeds, older dogs, dogs who need special medical care, or dogs who need to be socialized. We also have plenty of young, healthy, well-adjusted dogs who are abandoned for no apparent reason. We do everything we can to save them all, get them the medical care they need, socialize them, and place them in loving foster homes, eventually to be adopted into forever homes.

How We Started

Our founder, Curt Klaus, was a volunteer at the Madera County Animal Shelter, a kill shelter in the Central Valley. Curt could not bear to see so many dogs being euthanized, so he ended up adopting a dog that was about to be put down as the only way to save its life. Eventually a nonprofit group, Friends of Madera Animal Shelter, was formed to partner with MCAS to save dogs from euthanasia. FMAS is our primary partner in identifying and saving dogs at risk of being put down. Most of the dogs we save come from the Modesto shelter, which is a kill shelter.

What started as one man and one dog soon became a weekly routine, with Curt monitoring the list of dogs that were imminently about to be euthanized, “vouching” for them at the shelter and assuring the shelter that he would take them if no one else did. This bought the animals some time for other rescue groups to come through and save them. If no other rescue took them, then Curt would personally drive to Modesto each week to save the dogs, often hours before they were to be put down. Some weeks he would get no dogs, or maybe one dog; recently, this past summer, he saved eight dogs in one trip. Curt started getting help from other volunteers, and the group came up with the name, Rescue the Underdog, in 2017.

What We Do

We are a completely volunteer-run organization. Our funding comes from adoption fees (which we share with FMAS), private donations from our generous supporters, and more often than not, our volunteers paying out of pocket because we can’t bear to see our dogs go without the medical care they need. Our dogs are special, and many of them need adopters who will give them time to adjust and feel safe in their loving new homes. Our reward is in saving these precious lives and seeing the joy that we bring to people’s lives when they find their perfect match in an Underdog. There is no greater joy than to see an Underdog’s transformation, from the time they are pulled from the shelter to when they are adopted by a loving family.

If you’d like to help, you can volunteer, foster, adopt, or donate. We are always in need of fosters, and we are in need of donations to cover the special medical care that some of our dogs need. Please visit our website at

Sandy Hoang is one of the primary volunteers with Rescue the Underdog. She is a Bay Area local who grew up in San Francisco and now lives on the Peninsula with her 4 dogs: Olive and Georgia, who are foster fails originally from Redding; Harlie who is a fospice dog originally from Newark; and Zeb who is a foster dog originally from Modesto.

Shelter Zone features a shelter and rescue group each month. If you would like to contribute, contact