BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — “I want you to be a success story. I want you to come to me in six months and say to me, 'I fixed my problem,'" said Sundee Martineau, director of Bakersfield Boxers and Bullies Rescue.
The nonprofit stems from Sundee’s love and concern for pit bulls and boxers - two breeds she said need extra help in Kern County.
“There’s a lot of rescues out there that can help the cute and fluffies, but the pit bulls, it’s a mess," said Sundee.
She said people oftentimes adopt pit bulls as puppies but can no longer handle them when they grow up. This leads to an excessive number of pit bulls in shelters or abandoned on Kern County streets.
“They’re just out running around all the time, getting hit by cars [and] having puppies everywhere," she said.
When animal services or shelters can’t help, Sundee steps up. She connects stray dogs with people who are truly ready to take care of them.
“I don’t just throw them out there. I make sure they’re ready for the commitment because there’s a commitment when you take on a strong breed," she said.
Sundee said she also wants to help people keep the dogs after welcoming them into their homes. This is done with proper training and preparation.
“If we can help people keep their dogs, then we don’t have to worry about them going to shelters or being re-homed so [I’m] just trying to get to the root of the problem," she said.
Sundee connects pit bull and boxer owners with affordable and effective trainers in the community, giving them confidence to build lasting relationships with their dogs.
Preparation can’t always prevent medical issues, so the organization also helps dog owners financially.
“I do raffle baskets for people. Here's a raffle basket. Go make some money. Raffle off these goods. Let’s pay that bill," she said.
Entering the new year, Sundee hopes COVID-19 restrictions will ease up enough to allow in-person adoption events and fundraisers. She wants to help dog owners feel supported and confident in having pit bulls and boxers as permanent family members.
“I want it to be where everybody sees themselves as a success story. They start to see the importance of keeping their dogs and don’t give up, just like you wouldn’t with your kid," said Sundee.
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