New England All-Breed Rescue specializes in second chances

Kelly O’Brien volunteered for years rescuing Boston terriers and large-breed dogs, finding them new homes with appreciative dog lovers.

“The more I got involved, the more I realized how many dogs were dying,” Ms. O’Brien says.

To help all dogs in need, not just select breeds, Ms. O’Brien and her cousin started a rescue group called New England All Breed Rescue in 2008 in Connecticut, expanding to Massachusetts in 2010.

And they really mean all dogs. The nonprofit takes all breeds, all mixes, all ages, all health problems, all behaviors — well almost. Only when a dog is vicious does Ms. O’Brien have to turn it away.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it,” says Ms. O’Brien, president of the rescue group and a resident of Leicester. “A lot of dogs don’t have to die now.”

The fate she is sparing these lucky dogs from is euthanasia, or being “put to sleep,” at animal shelters in the South, the Midwest and occasionally New England.

Ms. O’Brien’s group brings canines from Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi and Texas, where shelters are inundated with dogs, up north to New England states, where lots of people want dogs.

The group also rescues dozens of dogs from New England whose owners couldn’t take care of them or neglected them.

In Massachusetts, All Breed Rescue can only help in-state dogs because the group doesn’t have a facility to keep out-of-state dogs quarantined for 48 hours, as state regulations require. All Breed Rescue is run entirely by volunteers, including Ms. O’Brien, who foster dogs at their homes.

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