When Ashley Cunningham, Barks of Love (BOL) founder, president and CEO, moved to California for law school, she had no family or friends in the area. She was forced to leave her two dogs behind with her family back home in Arizona.
“I’ve had dogs since I was born … so being without any animals in California got really lonely,” said Cunningham.
Cunningham’s search on Craigslist for a family that needed a dog sitter lead her to discover “foster homes” for dogs and, subsequently, the founding of Barks of Love in 2008. BOL is a Fullerton-based nonprofit organization that saves dogs from being euthanized.
“I had never heard of an animal rescue before,” Cunningham said. “Thinking this sounded like a great idea, I signed up to be a foster home for a small rescue in San Clemente. For almost a year, fostering dogs came in and out of my home as they were adopted and then another was rescued. It was such a fulfilling experience, not only for myself, but, at the same time, I was responsible for saving these dogs’ lives.”
Eventually, the animal rescue Cunningham volunteered for ran out of money and was forced to close down. It was at that time, Cunningham realized that she could probably start her own rescue center. It started out small — just Cunningham and three dogs. Over time, more people wanted to volunteer and further opportunities arose.
Sylvaine Capron, owner of Dogma Pet Portraits, had a great experience with BOL and became a pet owner within days of taking in an adoptee.
“They made it very easy for us,” she said.
More here: For the love of dogs | Daily Titan.