The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Dogma Animal Rescue for pregnant dogs


Dogma Animal Rescue for pregnant dogs

Six years ago Duane Ledward fostered a pregnant shelter dog and he’s been rescuing dogs ever since. Ledward founded his non-profi t program, Dogma Animal Rescue, to save pregnant, nursing and injured dogs from euthanasia. 

The Monte Rio resident has always been an animal lover, but when he realized that pregnant dogs and nursing litters were routinely euthanized at high-kill shelters across the state he took action. According the Ledward, “What I learned doing rescue is that we live in a fairly wealthy county and our shelters take better care of their animals than other parts of the state. Some of the Central Valley shelters we take dogs from have upwards of an 80 percent euthanasia rate. Only when I started going behind the scenes, in areas where the public is not allowed, did I see how many endangered pregnant dogs were out there. Pregnant dogs never make it to the adoption fl oor.” Ledward’s solution was his innovative rescue program.

Dogma places dogs in foster homes where they deliver and raise their puppies until they are ready for adoption. It’s not uncommon for volunteers to be up all night with a laboring dog or out trying to trap a pregnant stray living on the streets. Santa Rosa based Northtown Animal Hospital, Guerneville based Russian River Veterinary Clinic and Petaluma veterinarian Dr. Russ Gurevitch provide veterinary care for the group. Ledward said that not all vets are willing to work with rescues because they often can’t aff ord full vet cost. “Rescues survive on adoption fees and donations. In order to continue, we have to work out pricing agreements with vets. We also sometimes have emergencies arise that need immediate attention. Some hospitals aren’t prepared to do a procedure, such as an emergency c-section, without prior notice.”

Ledward also believes in great relationships, like the one he forged with Petaluma Animal Services Foundation. PASF off ers space for rescued dogs, and helped place several Dogma dogs in 2015. “Duane is a perfect example of rescue done right,” said Valerie Fausone, Director of PASF’s training and behavior department. “Duane follows up on his dogs, he’s all about great outcomes and he’s totally committed to his rescued animals. We are happy to assist Dogma where we can, and support Duane’s eff orts to place wonderful dogs in loving homes.” Dogma and PASF cooperate on placement, and PASF has been able to support Dogma with extra donations on hand – like much needed puppy food. 

One of Dogma’s long-term goals is to establish a free program for low-income residents of Sonoma County to alter their pets. “Altering and microchipping your pet is important for the overall health and safety of the animal. When we get out in the public we just try to educate people as much as we can to have their pets spayed or neutered. Our goal is to fi nd funding for a program that can specifi cally tackle the problem.”

 When asked how people can help Ledward off ered these suggestions. “It’s easy to support animal rescue. Most importantly we need foster homes, but people should realize fostering is hard work. Also, sometimes dogs don’t get adopted right away, so there is a time issue to consider. If an individual isn’t in a position to foster there are other ways to help. Donations are vital to our cause. Because we take pregnant and injured dogs we have them in our system for a longer period of time. Medical expenses and food cost add up quickly. The biggest challenge we face is funding. It’s a constant struggle. We also often need administrative support such as data entry, marketing, and promoting the dogs online.” 

Donations to Dogma Animal Rescue can be sent to PO Box 151, Monte Rio, CA 95462 or through their website donate page, You can also follow them on Facebook,