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August 5, 2021 Fundraiser Update

Thank you!! for making our 40th Anniversary Fundraiser a success. Although we did not reach our goal of $40,000, we did raise $24,744! The Mark and Carol Zimmel Fund has agreed to match these donations for a total of $49,488! This will go a long way for paying down our past due vet bills and catching up with some much needed and overdue maintenance at the shelter. Thanks to all who donated.

Fostering changed his life from Destroyer

to Perfect Companion – Arnold’s Story

Hi, my name is Arnold. When I arrived at Born Free in January, I did not adjust well. Alistair, a volunteer, saw me sleeping on the concrete (since I had destroyed my beds) and attached some carpet to some plywood, and I destroyed that, too. I destroyed my door, which had to be replaced. The volunteers did everything they could to help me get used to my new surroundings, but, like I said, I did not adjust well.

So, another volunteer took me home to foster me. I was happy there, I never destroyed anything, I got along with my new brother and sister dogs and never made a mess in the house. Sometimes, my foster mom would take me on outings to an outdoor restaurant or Fairchild Gardens and I was always well behaved. One day, a man named Mario, came to meet me. I liked him right away. My foster mom told him all about me and he liked me right away, too! And now Mario is my dad and I really love him. But I am so thankful for the volunteers at Born Free for all they did, but especially to my foster mom for taking me home, so I could show Mario what a good dog I am. I wonder if he had seen me in the shelter acting all crazy, if he would have chosen me.

Sometimes, I think about my other friends back at the shelter and I know, if they had a foster mom or dad to give them a chance to show their real personalities, they could find their own Mario (or Maria), like I did.


Arnold is right! Fostering REALLY helps a dog to get adopted.

There are many reasons to foster a dog. Here are a few:

  1. Not a long term commitment. Many of our foster dogs get adopted in only 4-6 months.
  2. No vet bills. Born Free is responsible for prearranged vet care.
  3. Learn about many different types of dogs. Dogs of all breeds, size, and ages need foster homes. What can they teach you about themselves?
  4. Learn about yourself. Always thought you liked only big dogs? Foster a small one and discover they can be just as much fun as a larger one!

The biggest reason: you are saving a dog’s life! There is no doubt that when you foster a dog you are not only saving one dog’s life, but 2. The dog you are fostering allows an opening at the shelter for another dog to be rescued.

Sometimes our shelter is full and we have to turn away dogs. If you take a foster dog, it opens up space for another dog to be given a chance. To find out more about fostering a dog from Born Free, click here.

Alistair has been volunteering with Born Free since May 2020. Originally inspired by a news article about the rehabilitation of Michael Vick’s dogs, Alistair began volunteering at animal shelters 7 years ago. His volunteer activities took him to multiple shelters in California, Philadelphia and Utah (even meeting some of the Vick dogs). Alistair prefers to spend his time with the behaviorally challenged dogs, but he also works with some of our dogs who really have no problems at all and just need a walk and some leash manners.

The experience Alistair brings to Born Free is a real asset to our shelter. Thank you, Alistair for all you do for the dogs and our shelter.

“We’re fortunate, really. I come from city shelters with high euthanasia rates and extremely limited resources. It’s a much harsher environment and many of the dogs never see the opportunities they deserve. At Born Free we have the time, space and patience that few shelters have. That’s all most dog’s need: A chance and some consistent rules and guidance. That’s what we do at Born Free and I’m fortunate to be a part of it” Alistair Thompson

Upcoming events in August

Join us at Kira Kulture Paradise Pumps and Pups this Sunday, August 8, 10am – 1pm. Dog adoption event plus a portion of the ticket sales will be donated to Born Free Pet Shelter. Click here for details.

Come meet our Born Free volunteers and dogs at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens Dog Bazaar! August 22, 10am – 4pm. Look for our tent. Support 2 great causes at once!  For tickets and info, click here.

Take your dog for a stroll in Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens every

Sunday 8-10am.  For more information click here .

If 8am is too early, Pinecrest Gardens is now open to dogs on

Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 5pm. To find out more, click here.

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up with the activities of our volunteers and dogs.

Support our Supporters and Feed Dogs at the same time!

Born Free Pet Shelter just spent $4,000 on dog food. Master Pet Nutrition who recently gave us 500 pounds of dog food, has generously offered to give 1

FREE bag of dog food FOR EVERY 3 bags purchased when you select Born Free during checkout. Support those that support us!

To learn more about how to Adopt, Foster, Volunteer, or Donate to Born Free Pet Shelter, please click on the photos below.

July 21, 2021 Fundraiser Update

Starts today! 40th Anniversary fundraiser…40 years, 40 days, $40 donation to $40K goal and donor match!

THE FINAL STRETCH!!

Marquesa finally gets a home!

Marquesa arrived at Born Free over 6 years ago. We fed her, took her to the vet, loved her, and waited for her forever family to find her, wondering why such a sweet, gentle dog was passed over time and time again. Last month we spent over $1,100 removing a large mass from her neck. Then it happened, Libby came to the shelter and immediately fell in love with Marquesa! Born Free never gives up on a dog, no matter how long it takes.

Please donate during our 40th Anniversary fundraiser and your donation will be doubled! Special thanks to the Mark and Carol Zemmel Fund,

which has offered a generous dollar for dollar match for every donation up to $40,000.

— All donations are tax deductible. —

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Donate.jpg

Our final stretch is here!       Only 10 days left to claim the dollar for dollar match from the Mark and Carol Zemmel Fund. Let’s get as close to our goal as possible. If you have not donated yet, please donate today.

Every donation helps and is matched!

Julie has been volunteering with Born Free for two years. Julie accompanies other volunteers on outdoor adventures, vet visits, and other excursions to socialize the dogs. She also lends a hand with the newsletters and our Petfinder listings. On her second day volunteering, Julie took home a small dog to foster that she ended up falling in love with and adopting. When not helping out at Born Free, Julie volunteers helping homeless cats. Thank you, Julie, we appreciate all you do.


Born Free Pet Shelter just spent $4,000 on dog food. Master Pet Nutrition who recently gave us 500 pounds of dog food, has generously offered to give 1

FREE bag of dog food FOR EVERY 3 bags purchased when you select Born Free during checkout. Support those that support us!


Upcoming events in July and August

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up with the activities of our volunteers and dogs.

  • Take your dog for a stroll in Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens every Sunday 8-10am.  For more information click here .
  • If 8AM is too early, Pinecrest Gardens is now open to dogs on Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 5pm. To find out more, click here.

– Join us at Kira Kulture Paradise Pumps and Pups on August 8, 10am

– 1pm. Dog adoption event plus a portion of the ticket sales will be donated to Born Free Pet Shelter. Click here for details.

To learn more about how to Adopt, Foster, Volunteer, or Donate to Born Free Pet Shelter, please click on the photos below.

Juli 12, 2021 Fundraiser Update

Starts today! 40th Anniversary fundraiser…40 years, 40 days, $40 donation to $40K goal and donor match!

Meet Marquesa, Golda, Lumi, Duke, and Buddy. Marquesa just had a mass removed from her throat at a cost of $1,123. Golda was rushed to the vet when she was vomiting blood last month – $672. Lumi needs hip surgery, we do not have an exact estimate yet. Duke and Buddy both need dental surgery estimated at $600 total. These are the types of unforeseen expenses Born Free has every month. Please donate during our 40th Anniversary fundraiser and your donation will be doubled!

Special thanks to the Mark and Carol Zemmel Fund, which has offered a generous dollar for dollar match for every donation up to $40,000.

— All donations are tax deductible. —

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Donate.jpg

We are halfway through our 40 Day/40th Anniversary Fundraiser and are slightly behind our target at this time. If you have not donated yet, this is a great day to do it! Please help us keep up our momentum. Every dollar helps!

Just for Laughs!

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to find out which Gardens our dogs will be visiting each weekend!

-Take your dog for a stroll in Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens every Sunday 8-10 am. For more information click here .

-If 8AM is too early, Pinecrest Gardens is now open to dogs on Saturdays and Sundays 10AM – 5PM. To find out more, click here.


To learn more about how to Adopt, Foster, Volunteer, or Donate to Born Free Pet Shelter, please click on the photos below.

July 1, 2021 Fundrasiser Update

40th Anniversary fundraiser…40 years, 40 days, $40 donation to $40K goal and dollar for dollar match!

We are 10 days into our 40 day fundraiser and have nearly reached our 1st milestone of $10,000.  Please help us keep up the momentum!  With your donations our goal of $40,000 is in reach.  The Mark and Carol Zemmel Fund has generously pledged to match every dollar raised up to $40,000.  Please consider donating $40 or whatever you can afford.  All donations help and are appreciated, no matter the size.
    Due to the pandemic, 2020’s annual fundraiser, our primary source of income, was cancelled.  Our last fundraiser was March 2019…over 2 years ago!  We need your support to continue.
    We only need 25 supporters a day with a donation of $40 to reach our goal.  Can you make a $40 donation to help us continue our mission of saving abandoned and orphaned dogs?  Please click on the donate button or use our Venmo or PayPal QR codes below or click here to go to our donate page.  Thank you.

Where does your donation go?

Our monthly overhead is approximately $10,000, which includes our one paid employee, who looks after the dogs 7 days a week, dog food, heart worm and flea and tick medications, insurance, taxes, electricity.  Our vet bills are on top of this.  We have many senior dogs which add greatly to our cost.  We spend an average of $9,000 per month at the vet.  Last month, Sasha (below) needed to have ear polyps removed, which could have caused her to go deaf, and cost over $5,000.  We never refuse a dog medical care because of cost. 

Just for Laughs!

Upcoming Events For July

  • Take your dog for a stroll in Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens every Sunday 8-10 am.  Look for us, meet our dogs, say “Hi!”  For more info click here .

To learn more about how to Adopt, Foster, Volunteer, or Donate to Born Free Pet Shelter, please click on the photos below.

Everyday Angels

Key Biscayner and founder of Born Free Pet Shelter, Alicia Aballi has saved hundreds of animals since 1981. Now living at her 5 acre property in Homestead, she and her team of dedicated volunteers continue to care for rescue dogs in a humane, open environment where they can exercise and maintain a healthy life while awaiting adoption or in which to live out their remaining years happily when adoption is not an option.

In 1981, after moving to Key Biscayne while working in NW Dade as a teacher Alicia Aballi began rescuing dogs from the streets of Miami and Key Biscayne. The number of dogs grew to over fifty. In 1993 upon the passing of her physician husband, Alicia took her grassroots efforts to the Redlands where she stills cares for dogs at the age of 92.

“I’ve taken care of animals since I was a little girl growing up in Cuba,” she says. “I love helping anyone in need, whether it’s animals or people; it makes me feel good. I just wanted to find a way to continue to do that.”

She is the daughter of Jorge Govantes, a Cuban ambassador to Switzerland in the pre-Castro era. She came to the United States in 1959, received a Masters Degree in Education from Memphis State. In the years following, she taught in Tennessee and in New York before moving to Miami in 1981, where she taught English and Spanish for the Dade County Public School system. Upon her arrival in Miami, Aballi settled in Key Biscayne where she continued her life-long practice of taking in animals in need.

The Key Biscayne community has always been very committed to the Shelter’s mission. Brigitte de Langeron from Key Biscayne Luxury Real Estate helped with the garage sales during the grassroots years, and the Key Biscayne Community Church continues to help with fundraising efforts. Back when Ms. Aballi lived on the Key, the Islander paper would feature dogs each week to help with adoptions. When a dog was surrendered, abandoned or lost, the Key Biscayne Police Department would call Ms. Aballi to come pick them up. There have been too many helpful Key Biscayners to name them all and that continues today through strong resident support at the annual Gala.

“Hurricane Irma hit Homestead really hard,” says Ms. Zanghi Born Free Fundraising Committee Chairperson. “We didn’t lose any dogs, thank God, and at the time we had about 125 dogs at the shelter, but we did lose a tremendous amount of infrastructure, including 25 of our dog shelters. So we were in dire need of support. So that year, at our annual fundraiser, I went to our donors and said this is a really special year, we’re really in trouble and we really need your help and raised an impressive $350,000.  Before that we were raising about $200,000, so our donors really came through for us. I was so happy about that. We were able to replace in that one year all those 25 dog shelters.”

Over the past 40 years the shelter has seen hundreds of amazing success stories, such as Mario, who was found as a stray in Homestead and arrived at the shelter in March 2019.

Mario

Mario“He was diagnosed with by the vet with a very bad case of alopecia, lesions and other skin infections,” says Lorena Barros, former Social Media Manager. “These health issues didn’t deter him from being a happy energetic two year old. ” After seeing multiple specialists, it was found that environmental allergies were the main cause of the hair loss. Mario patiently endured regular shots, medications and medicated bathes. He was fostered by two loving families who helped him get back to being a healthy dog. In October 2020, an experienced shepherd couple, who knew how to handle dogs with these health issues, stepped forward, fell in love and adopted him. It took a village of loving, caring people and generous monetary donations to make this happen.”

Toby and Flo

At 13 years old, Toby was surrendered to the shelter when his owner passed away.

“After more than a year of living at the shelter, we decided that no senior dog should live out their golden years in a shelter and took Toby (on the left) home to foster,” says Sophie Gillette, Social Media Administrator. “In the summer of 2020, we took him and his foster sister, Flo, on holiday to upstate New York where he went on hikes, saw many waterfalls, and had the time of his life. I created videos to promote Flo and posted them on Born Free Pet Shelter’s Instagram pages. On one of these posts, Lori from Georgia, noticed this sweet German Shepherd in the background and called to see if he was available for adoption. Toby now lives with a little brother, adores his new dad, and seems to be getting younger and younger. His forever mom, Lori, makes sure that he gets lots of car rides and at 14 years old, he is now loved and living the best retirement lifestyle that most dogs only dream of.” Flo was adopted only a month later and is also happy and loved. Thank you Lori and Jacob.

And there are still plenty of dogs still waiting for their own happy-ever-after.

Elena

“Elena is a one-of-a-kind wonderful dog,” says Maria DeLange, Adoptions and Volunteers Coordinator. “She is sweet, smart, loves people, and is well-behaved.” She arrived at the shelter when someone found her on the street. She had no chip, no collar, and was limping. Elena’s limping cleared up, but, unfortunately, she has spent two long years at the shelter with no adoption interest. Elena’s lack of adoption interest is hard to understand because she is a great dog and volunteers love her. Since day one in her new foster home, Elena has been very playful with her foster mom. She loves playing with her toys, especially the plushy ones, and she loves to show off her tug-of-war skills. She is an independent dog, but she also likes to snuggle with her humans. Elena is exceptionally well-behaved in the house and is house-trained. Elena would make a great addition to any family. We are hoping that special someone opens their home to this wonderful girl.

Over the summer the Shelter is holding Special fundraiser!  Our hope is to raise $40,000 over the next 40 days through $40 (or more) donations.  The Mark and Carol Zemmel Fund for Human/Animal Connection has generously pledged to match every dollar raised, dollar for dollar, up to $40,000.

“Our annual fundraiser is Dec. 4, 2021,” she says. “This is our major fundraiser, this is where we traditionally raise all of our money. Our expenses to run the shelter are about $300,000-$350,000 a year, just for operations. Most of that is for veterinary bills. We have a lot of older dogs who need annual checkups. If you’re a dog owner, you know that after they get past a certain age, those checkups for senior dogs are very expensive, and we keep dogs until they pass away if they’re not adopted, so our veterinary expenses probably run about $150,000 per year. But because we’re run almost entirely by volunteers, we’re really efficient in our use of money, so every penny that goes to the shelter, goes to the dogs.”

Over the years through volunteer dedication, donor generosity, and Alicia’s driving force, Born Free has flourished.  Please continue to support Born Free’s mission by giving generously to our summer fundraiser and help us continue our good works.

Born Free’s 4O year anniversary fundraiser

Starts today! 40th Anniversary fundraiser…40 years, 40 days, $40 donation to $40K goal and donor match!

Born Free Pet Shelter is launching our 40th Anniversary fundraiser today!

Our hope is to raise $40,000 over the next 40 days through $40 (or more) donations. The Mark and Carol Zemmel Fund for Human/Animal

Connection has generously pledged to match every dollar raised, dollar for dollar, up to $40,000. Please consider donating $40 or whatever you can afford. All donations help and are appreciated, no matter the size.

Due to the pandemic, last year’s annual fundraiser and primary source of income was cancelled, resulting in overdue veterinarian bills and delayed maintenance of our grounds and kennels.

Born Free Pet Shelter thanks the Mark and Carol Zemmel Fund for the Human/Animal Connection for their generous support; please help us celebrate our 40th anniversary of saving abandoned or orphaned dogs by clicking on the donate button below or use our Venmo or PayPal QR codes below or click here to go to our donate page. Thank you.

Everyday Angels

Key Biscayner and founder of Born Free Pet Shelter, Alicia Aballi has saved hundreds of animals since 1981. Now living at her 5 acre property in

Homestead, she and her team of dedicated volunteers continue to care for rescue dogs in a humane, open environment where they can exercise and maintain a healthy life while awaiting adoption or in which to live out their remaining years happily when adoption is not an option.

In 1981, after moving to Key Biscayne while working in NW Dade as a teacher Alicia Aballi began rescuing dogs from the streets of Miami and Key Biscayne. The number of dogs grew to over fifty. In 1993 upon the passing of

her physician husband, Alicia took her grassroots efforts to the Redlands where she stills cares for dogs at the age of 92.

“I’ve taken care of animals since I was a little girl growing up in Cuba,” she says. “I love helping anyone in need, whether it’s animals or people; it makes me feel good. I just wanted to find a way to continue to do that.” To read more, click here.

Upcoming events in June

-Take your dog for a stroll in Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens every Sunday 8-10 am. Look for us, meet our dogs, say “Hi!” For more info click here .

To learn more about how to Adopt, Foster, Volunteer, or Donate to Born Free Pet Shelter, please click on the photos below.

June 2021 Newsletter


Did you know Born Free Pet Shelter has been rescuing dogs since 1981? Help us celebrate 40 years of saving dogs by donating to our upcoming fundraiser!


Experience the joys of volunteering this summer with Born Free Pet Shelter!

Do you love animals? Do you have some free time this summer? Have you considered volunteering at an animal shelter or animal rescue organization? Consider Born Free!  You will be helping our dogs and you get to spend hours playing and working with wonderful dogs. What could be more fun?! Going to a shelter even just once a week makes a huge, positive impact on any animal waiting for a forever home, and there is nothing more rewarding than approaching a dog pen and seeing the dogs smiling and wagging their tails anticipating a much-needed walk or waiting for some love and affection.  To find out more about volunteering with Born Free, click here.

We, at Born Free, loved and cared for Kisses for 6 years at the shelter, but family after family overlooked him.  Then last month, Kisses’ luck changed…he was fostered!  When Tim and Holly saw him on Susie’s Senior Dogs, the fosters could answer all their questions to insure they were the right match for each other.  He fits great into their home with 3 other dogs and is happy and loved. Fostering works!  You can change a dogs life!  Click here for more information about fostering.

URGENT

Mustafa, at 12 years old, is our oldest resident at the shelter and he is in a desperate need of a loving home. He’s a very gentle and affectionate German Shepherd that loves his slow walks even though he has difficulty walking. He’s happiest when you sit with him scratching his head and neck and giving him treats. Because of his weak legs, he sometimes has problems getting up for his bowel movement and will require assistance This sweet soul deserves to spend the rest of his life in comfort and love. If you would like to open your heart and home to this handsome boy, please contact Maria at 786-205-6865

Upcoming Events in June

  • Take your dog for a stroll in Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens every Sunday 8-10 am and Thursday 5-7:30pm.  Look for us, meet our dogs, say “Hi!”  For more info click here .
  • 40th Anniversary Fundraiser starts June 21st!  Celebrating 40 Years, over 40 days, asking $40 donations to reach our goal of $40,000.  All donations matched $ for $!  To find out more, visit our Donate page

To learn more about how to Adopt, Foster, Volunteer, or Donate to Born Free Pet Shelter, please click on the photos below.

How 4 Shy Dogs Became Family Dogs

Entering a shelter, rescue, or animal control looking for your special 4-legged new family member is a great feeling. There are so many to choose from that need forever homes! The dogs that always appeal to people are the excited, smiling ones who come to the front of their pen and greet you, whether it be with a wagging tail or a welcoming bark. Those are the happy, socialized dogs that always get adopted. Dogs who cower, hide, or hunker down in the back of their pens are sometimes overlooked and are deemed “unfriendly.” Nothing could be farther from reality. Those dogs need love too and most are quick to overcome their shyness or fear once they have the security and love from their new human.

Please, don’t ever let the fact that a dog is shy prevent you from adopting him or her. At Born Free we have had shy, scared dogs of all breeds and sizes. Some have had a rough start in life and that is why they are skeptical of humans. Some are just born that way; dogs, like humans, all have different personalities and comfort zones. Anyone who has adopted a shy dog rarely regrets it; they all say once the dog gets comfortable in their new life, they are happy!

So, the next time you’re browsing the shelter for that special dog, don’t discount the shy “unfriendly” ones – go in and meet them, because they may be exactly what you were looking for.

Below are some shy dogs adopted from Born Free:

Matilda

“Ask anyone to name one person, including themselves, who at some point in their life hasn’t been either frightened, confused, or anxious, and I am confident that they would be unable to do so. Now think of the love and respect that you felt, or ever still feel, for the person who accepted you or adorned you with patience and presence, or encouraged you towards a better way while allowing them to see you at your worst. There is an unmistakable bond formed in this type of cultivation of a vulnerable relationship, and it is no different than with a misunderstood animal, such as my girl, Matilda. Some might even say that the best friendships are ignited in this way!”

~ Nicole

Leia

“We were looking for a dog for two months. We didn’t know what kind of dog would be a good fit for us and our lifestyle. At first, we were looking for a specific breed, then the next day for a younger dog, the next day for a puppy, the next day for a high-energy dog.

We were looking at the shelter’s website and when we saw Leia, it was a love at first sight. We called immediately so we could get to know her as soon as possible. When we met Leia, she was scared, stressed, distant and she had sad eyes. Her ex-owner left her at the shelter, and she had a broken heart. After one hour talking to her to gain her trust, we finally gave her a treat and we made a connection. In that moment, we realized that we were looking for a dog we could help and give a second chance to, and to support her so she could heal and become a happy dog.

The next day we filled out the papers for the adoption and we brought Leia to our home. She stayed in the opposite room from us, she was scared, and she didn’t understand where she was or who we were. At night when we went to bed and the lights were off, she woke up and started walking around to discover her new home. This gave us the signal that the walls were broken down.

After 3 months, she still is shy with strangers, but once she knows you, she is excited to see you. She wags her tail and walks faster to say hi to her friends. She loves being in the same room where we are. She loves her first walk in the morning and is comfortable to follow her routine and at the same time taking new adventures that challenge her. Every day increases her confidence. She is doing better, and she feels better.

It’s a long way for Leia to learn how to play with a toy again, to have confidence around our apartment, and to jump on the sofa – it will take time, but we will do it with love.

This is something important that you should know if you are going to adopt a young or adult pet: They come with their own personality just as you have yours, so this is a partner journey where both of you are going to start a beautiful relationship, a new friendship for the rest of your lives, where they’ll never let you walk alone, they’ll love you unconditionally, and they’ll take care of you while expecting nothing but a lovely word or warm cuddle.”

~ Paula & Jose

Ginger

“Because Ginger was so shy and scared when she was surrendered, I agreed to foster her rather than having her stay at the shelter. Ginger’s whole body quivered as I held her. The drive home scared her. My home scared her. The yard scared her. Wind scared her. Grass scared her. My cats really scared her. She was a very shy, scared little dog.

Ginger wouldn’t come out of her open crate for 2 days; she never barked or made a sound. Then, slowly, she started coming out, coming over to sniff me, and eventually she jumped in my lap, which was such amazing progress, it made me cry. It was hard not to love this shy little dog who had stolen my heart. She quickly learned that she’d never be told “no”, she’d never be yelled at, and she could get on any piece of furniture she wanted, which included sleeping with me. Every day was something new for her, and she eventually overcame her most of her shyness. She made so much progress quickly and now is a very happy, well-adjusted, cat-chasing, wonderful dog; only fireworks and thunder scare her (they scare me too).

Ginger goes on vacation, she loves hotel-life, is a great little watchdog, and has been in more National and State Parks than most people! Her favorite place is Everglades National Park where she sits by the Bay, hoping to see manatees come up for air! She even got a “Bark Ranger” tag from Biscayne NP for being a well-behaved canine visitor. As long as she is with one of us, she is happy. During these virus stay-at-home months, Ginger has brightened our existence. She gives so much love and asks for nothing in return except to always be with us.

When I took Ginger to foster, they insisted I take her crate so she would have a place to feel secure; I reluctantly took it. Soon, she would go in it less and less. After she was completely at ease, I put it out in my shed and bought her a cushy bed instead, which is now her happy, secure place. I’m telling you; shy dogs quickly learn they are loved and no longer have to be shy or scared. Of course, I was a foster fail and ended up adopting Ginger! I was always a big-dog person (big sturdy breeds), but this little 16-pounder has brought far more into my life than I ever thought possible, so I guess I am a little-dog person now! We just love her so much and wonder how we ever got along without her!”

~ Julie

Ace (formerly Nico)

“Ace has been home for two weeks now. He came home the day of adoption and wouldn’t leave the bathroom after we bathed him – he was so shy. He slowly made his way out as the day passed and by the next morning, he started to realize this was home. Although he still is shy meeting new people, he is definitely more open than when he first came home. He cuddles, plays and enjoys runs and the dog park. Fairly quickly he opened up to us and he makes our home complete. Special thank you to all at Born Free Pet Shelter for taking such good care of Ace and blessing our family with him.”

~ Kamila

Happy Father’s Day to All You PAW-Some Dads Everywhere!

Father’s Day is approaching and it’s time to recognize all the wonderful fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, adult brothers, and other father figures that have positively impacted our lives. It’s also time to celebrate all the amazing dog dads that have opened their hearts and homes to shelter animals. For all those late-night walks, car rides to the park, endless games of fetch, belly rubs, occasions of picking up poop and lazy afternoons on the couch – we say THANK YOU! You all have truly made a huge difference in the lives of the animals you have adopted. For this, we dedicate June 21st to you!

In honor of Father’s Day, we wanted to share a few heart-warming adoption stories from Born Free dog dads. Here’s what they had to say.

Lina (Boxer/Hound Mix)

“I had been thinking about adopting a dog for a few months… looking around online for “big” dogs that were currently in a shelter. I had noticed that Born Free had many amazing dogs, so I figured I’d give it a shot and visit in-person. I visited many great dogs that day, but there was one that I just instantly connected with. I asked Maria if I could have a week or so to think about actually adopting, and she happily obliged.

The following days provided me plenty of time to think, and it became obvious in my heart and mind that I had found the right dog. I adopted her the next weekend. Lina – my 75lb boxer/hound mix with a unique back leg (due to prior injury)! Lina has been such a source of joy for me and I can’t really imagine not having her around now. I’ve had her since January 2019, and the past 15 or so months have been so much fun! One unexpected benefit of having a dog was all the new people I would begin to see and interact with much more often… because they have dogs too! Living in an apartment in Brickell, Lina met many dogs, but never had a lot of space to play. Now that we’ve moved to a house in Jacksonville, she has a huge yard and plays out there all day!

It is strange to me that I get so much joy from knowing she is having fun and enjoying life. I guess that is how parents feel about their human kids! Lina has definitely changed my life in a positive way. Adopting her has made me more aware of something other than myself… and has shown me how personally rewarding it is to care for another being. Considering the meaning of Father’s Day, caring for and loving Lina has definitely shed light into the highs, and lows of fatherhood, yet also how fulfilling the entire process is. She is truly special… and my Queen! ”

~ Jake, Lina’s Dad


Bosch (American Bulldog Mix)

“We first met Bosch at a farmers market in Pinecrest. My wife was the first to spot him and I must say, we were immediately drawn to him. He was a gentle giant. We wanted a big dog again, after the loss of our American bulldog Zach, but wanted to make sure Bosch would be a good fit. After all, we have the resident queen, Zippy, our seven- pound Dachshund who runs the house. We set out a couple of times to visit the shelter with the kids and it was a hit. We decided to adopt Bosch and finally brought him home. 


He is such a good dog. He loves to play catch and is very playful for such a big boy. It’s great to watch him run around in our backyard, and I love when he comes to sit by me to keep me company. Bosch seems to be a mix breed with part American bulldog. This is our second and I love the breed. They are warm and caring – not something you would expect from such a big and intimidating dog. We love having Bosch at home and couldn’t be happier with him.”

~ Jose, Bosch’s Dads Dad


Jojo (Boxer Mix)

“JoJo has been nothing but an amazing girl. She is so smart, friendly, and always down for a good game of fetch! She has brought so much joy to my life in the month I’ve had her, and I now can’t imagine my life without her. She loves walks, belly rubs, and cuddles. She has also turned into my alarm clock, which is definitely a good thing haha!”

~ Jacob, Jojo’s Dad


Summer Is Coming! Keep Your Dogs Safe in the Heat

The hot summer months are approaching, especially here at Born Free Pet Shelter in Miami.  While Summer can be a lot of fun in the sun playing and swimming with your pup, the heat can also be dangerous.  We can help you keep your pets safe and cool this summer.

Dog Belly Rub

Never leave your dog in the car.

Not even for a second.  Not while you run inside to grab something real quick.  Not ever.  Even on a cool day, it can get hot really fast in a car, windows up or down.

When it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 within an hour.  When it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 100 in 10 minutes.  Rolling down the windows has been shown to have little to no effect on the temperature in the car.

Your pet can quickly suffer brain or organ damage within a couple of minutes in a hot car.

If you want to take your dog with you, make sure you go places where you can bring it inside.  If you come across a pet in a car that appears to be in distress, take action.  In Florida, it is legal to rescue a person or domestic animal that is in danger in a locked vehicle.  According to the bill,  it provides immunity from civil liability for damage to a motor vehicle related to the rescue of a person or domestic animal under circumstances.  Call 911 immediately after rescuing the child or animal and make sure to wait for first-responders to arrive.

Watch your dog during exercise for signs of distress

On hot summer days, try to keep outdoor exercise to the mornings and late afternoons.  Try not to be out during the hottest time of day.  If you are outside, ensure you have plenty of fresh water available and take moderate breaks.  Heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue are all signs of heat stress.

If your dog shows any of these signs, be sure to gradually lower his body temperature with cool (not cold) water.  Try soaking him in a bath or pool.  At Born Free Pet Shelter, we have a kiddie pool for all of our dogs that they love to sit in on hot days.  Check out Mickey below relaxing in his pool!  If you do not have a pool or bath available, take a wet washcloth or paper towel and wet the ear flaps and paws.

Make sure to offer your dog fresh water but do not force them to drink.  If your dog shows these signs of heat stress, you should take them to the vet after you can cool them down.

 mickey in pool

Don’t let your pooch get burnt

When walking, watch out for hot surfaces.  Try to stay off hot surfaces in the middle of the day.  Test it first with your hand, if it’s too hot for your hand, then it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.  Hot surfaces like asphalt can burn your dog’s paws, try walking on the grass.  You can also look into booties for your dog in the summer but be careful that they aren’t wearing those for too long on hot days.

Dogs can burn in the sun just like you and me.  Watch out for the sun, especially for white, light-colored and thin coat dogs.  Sunburn will cause pain, itchiness and other problems for your dog.   Use waterproof baby sunscreen on days in the sun on your dog’s ears and nose.

Dog at beach

Hopefully these summer tips will help you and your dog have a great summer!  While these are good general tips, just make sure to use common sense with your dog.  No one knows your dog better than you.  Don’t be afraid to let your dog enjoy summer and run in the sun, just use precaution and everything in moderation.

Let us know what your favorite thing to do in the summer is with your dog!