Badass was founded in 2011 by Sara Cross with the mission to save dogs from high kill shelters in the rural South and to create a supportive community of dog lovers in NYC.
Today, that dream is a reality as over 2,300 dogs have found their way from their Southern roots, through our amazing foster homes in NYC and into the homes of loving adopters. All with a sense of community, support and being totally Badass while doing it. The dog that started it all is Fred, now known as Kevin. Originally from Kentucky, Kevin now lives in Hawaii where he enjoys days on the sandy beaches and hanging with his cat sibling.
There are many things that make Badass special, from the level of dedication and care put into each dog’s medical and behavioral transitional needs, to the community that has been created. Each adopter is invited into the community where they can find a level of support from Badass and fellow adopters that is uncommon. We provide advice and support to our fosters and adopters and we all come together to help in times of need. The process of rescuing dogs doesn't end with making sure each dog is good with people and other dogs, it extends to dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds or medical conditions. I am proud to be part of an organization that steps in to help dogs with medical conditions that are treatable but also a death sentence in most shelters.
My personal journey into the dog rescue world started when I adopted my first Badass (Clark Kent) in 2013. The community at Badass drew me in in a way I never expected and I immediately started volunteering. Today I oversee the Rescue Programs and get to see every dog that comes into rescue transform from shelter life into their forever home. Watching the full transition is the best part, but it isn't always easy. At times it's a struggle, as there are tough days, but in the end, seeing the happiness of each dog as they realize they are forever home, it is all worth it. The love shared between each Badass dog and adopter is the reward not only for them but for each volunteer that touches that dog as they go on their journey through rescue.
I have adopted three Badass dogs in the last six years and had countless fosters move through my home. Some for a single night and some for months, but each one takes a piece of my heart as I pass them on to their adopters.
I have a soft spot for the dogs that are shy, nervous and shut down while in the shelter. The ones that stay in the back of their kennel. They don't make eye contact and are not interested in the treats offered. It is these dogs on each rescue trip that require a little more time and patience. I remember the first time I went to Selma, AL and came across a large hound that was in the back of his kennel, scared and unsure about what was happening. I sat quietly in his kennel, not making eye contact for around an hour. Just waiting for him to let his guard down a little. Just enough to sniff my hand and take a treat. From there I was able to pet under his chin and he looked into my eyes and asked for a little more patience and love. Eventually I got him to crawl out of his kennel and after a few more unsure moments moving through the shelter we made it to the outside world. He perked up and realized "This is my chance out!".
His Badass name was Van Helsing and when he made his way to NY I fostered him for a bit. He and my dogs had a great time going for long walks in Prospect Park where Van Helsing continued to learn that the world isn't all bad. I cried the day he was adopted because I knew he was ready and I was so happy for him. I remembered the shy and shut down dog curled up in the back of the kennel and thought about all the others yet to be saved. It is these moments, when a dog goes from hiding in the shadows to walking confident on the NYC streets, that defines Badass and what we do.
Croque Monsieur, Pit Bull mix (2 y/o), NYC • “He’s from Georgia and he’s a toy hoarder. He stashes them in his crate.”
Teddy Francisco, Shih Tzu (5 y/o), NYC • “He leans into all your pets. He’s blind in one eye but he doesn’t notice.”
Millie, Treeing Walker Coonhound (1 y/o), NYC • “She’s from Alabama and likes to spread her toys everywhere. She was hit by a car in December and had multiple fractures in her rear right leg. She’s doing physical therapy and water therapy and is back to running around.”
You can submit an application for Croque Monsier, Teddy Francisco, or Millie here.