Hearts & Bones Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dog rescue organization based in Dallas, Texas and New York. Our mission is to build a nationwide network of fosters, volunteers, rescue partners and adopters in an effort to save the lives of thousands of shelter dogs in need and unite them with loving forever families. As a foster-based rescue, we focus on providing all of our dogs with secure and loving foster homes while they wait for their forever families.
Hearts & Bones was founded in 2017 by Whitney Fang and Anna Blumberg, who met in 2012 through their mutual love of animals. Through the experiences of fostering, volunteering, and visiting shelters across the country over the years, they developed a deep understanding of the incredible importance of dog rescue and adoption advocacy. Hearts & Bones is the realization of their dream to bring people together across the country to rescue dogs in need and find their forever homes.
Why the "Hearts & Bones" name? Rescue requires not only the heart - the compassion and love - for the animals that are in need, but also the bones - the grit, strength and persistence to rescue these dogs from their former lives and give them a second chance at a great forever family.
Get To Know Us!
We are committed to transparency in all aspects of our operations, including gathering and sharing accurate data, open discussions surrounding our policies and procedures, and acknowledging and correcting mistakes in a timely manner. We have committed to transparency as part of our larger commitment to organizational professionalism and our values.
Because partnerships may give the appearance of an organizational endorsement, we make an active effort to partner only with companies and organizations that align with our mission, core values, and positions. This practice applies to partners of any nature, including corporate, sponsorship, pet care industry partners, public relations and media opportunities, and animal shelters and rescues.
Responsible Dog Ownership
Hearts & Bones Rescue believes dogs are part of the family and should be treated as such. Everyone who cares for a dog has the ultimate responsibility to lead by example and ensure that the animal they care for is well-behaved and appropriately managed. We believe that it is the caregiver’s responsibility to ensure that their pet’s Five Freedoms are also met: freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behavior, and freedom from distress.
While we always hope that each well-matched placement lasts for the duration of the dog's life, we understand that unforeseeable life circumstances may not make this possible for everyone. In these cases responsible rehoming should always be prioritized when possible.
Spay / Neuter
Hearts & Bones Rescue supports spay/neuter whenever medically possible in order to reduce animal overpopulation, homelessness, and euthanasia. Provided they are medically cleared and of age, all dogs who are placed in Hearts & Bones Rescue’s care are spayed or neutered. In cases where the dog is not of age, we require a spay/neuter deposit for puppies which is returned with proof of spay/neuter. We also conduct appropriate follow-up to ensure that all dogs adopted intact have a scheduled spay/neuter appointment in the near future.
Rather than alienate those with differing viewpoints, questions, or concerns related to the procedure, we educate our community about the importance of spay/neuter. We encourage and welcome discussions about spay/neuter in order to build trust and unity within our community.
We believe that pregnant and nursing dogs should be placed in foster care until the puppies are old enough to be vaccinated and placed for adoption; however, we support pregnant spays as a means to reduce both overpopulation and animal homelessness, and to prioritize care and allocate resources first to those already born.
If a pregnant dog enters our care, we will consult with a veterinarian to determine how far along the pregnancy is and will perform a pregnant spay if the dog is in the earlier stages of pregnancy. If a dog is in the latter stages of pregnancy and a spay would put the health of the dog at risk, we will assess our capacity for care and identify an appropriate foster home to care for the mama and puppies until they are able to be placed for adoption.
Hearts & Bones Rescue considers the health and well-being of our dogs to be our highest priority and believes that no healthy or otherwise treatable animal should be killed when alternatives exist to save them.
If a dog in our care is suffering from an irreparable, debilitating condition and veterinarians advise that there is no chance of recovering an acceptable quality of life, we consider medical euthanasia as a a humane and compassionate option. While this is a difficult choice, we approach this decision from the perspective of what is in the best interest of the individual animal.
Euthanasia may also be pursued in rare cases of irreparable animal aggression in which (1) a veterinarian has eliminated medical treatment as a solution; (2) rehabilitation efforts by canine behavior specialists have failed; and (3) staff and public safety cannot be reasonably assured, or other management protocols would seriously compromise the pet’s quality of life, as described in our position on aggressive animals.
In all cases, the only method of euthanasia that Hearts & Bones Rescue finds acceptable is the use of veterinarian-prescribed sedatives and FDA-approved euthanasia solutions administered in as comforting and loving a situation as possible, as recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Giving Pets as Gifts
We want adoption to be the first choice whenever someone decides to bring a dog into their life and do not believe in forbidding giving dogs as gifts. Turning away someone interested in adopting a dog as a gift encourages them to turn to other methods to obtain the dog such as commercial breeding. Additionally, research shows pets adopted as gifts aren’t any more likely to be relinquished or any less loved than those adopted through more traditional means.
That said, we do recommend the following guidelines for these situations:
The recipient should always be aware of and prepared for the responsibility of caring for a dog.
If a parent or guardian is thinking of adopting a dog as a gift for their children, they should be prepared to be the responsible party in ensuring the dog is well cared for, whether they or their children are expected to be the primary caregiver.
If you’re considering gifting a dog to someone outside your immediate family, we recommend that the recipient is involved in the selection process so that they can connect with the dog and ensure the dog is a good fit for their lifestyle.
Dog Training Methods
Hearts & Bones Rescue recognizes that training is an essential tool in helping to achieve our mission. Training is used to modify behavior to help dogs succeed in foster homes, increasing their adoptability and giving them the tools to be successful in an adoptive home. It is also used to help owners understand how to communicate better with their dogs, increasing the likelihood of dogs staying in their adoptive homes.
We also recognize that there are many methodologies and philosophical approaches to training, and believe that the approach taken should be tailored to the individual dog, his/her history, and current circumstances. For example, the approach and tools needed for keeping a dog safe on- or off-leash may be very different from the tools and techniques used to help a dog learn to sit on cue. As such, Hearts & Bones does not exclusively practice or endorse one specific methodology. In our support of adopters, foster parents, and our animals, we engage trainers who use a variety of methods to achieve positive results. In every instance, our primary goals are to keep dogs safe, get them adopted, and keep them in loving homes.
Hearts & Bones does not stand behind training methods that use excessive force or cause pain. We acknowledge that there are techniques that cause mild temporary discomfort that may be acceptable in some scenarios. We recognize that there are risks that come with some training techniques, such as aversion, and to minimize those risks, these techniques should only be used in certain situations with well-vetted, professionally certified dog trainers and behaviorists.
Hearts & Bones Rescue believes every animal is an individual and deserves to be treated as such, to the extent that is reasonably possible while maintaining a safe environment for other animals and the public. No matter what the animal’s history is, every animal deserves an opportunity to be evaluated and given the opportunity to overcome any undesirable behaviors.
If a dog poses a safety risk to humans or other animals, the dog should be managed appropriately to protect the public and other animals while possible outcomes for the dog are discussed. Such management might include confinement to a qualified home, shelter, boarding facility, or veterinary office, muzzling while in public if appropriate or necessary, behavior modification training, and other non-lethal means to protect the public during any attempts at rehabilitation.
Hearts & Bones Rescue believes that every effort should be made to rehabilitate any dog who has aggression issues. There are a myriad of reasons why a dog can become dangerous, including abuse, neglect, under-socialization, aggression training, or medical issues. When considering outcomes for these dogs, several factors must be considered, including but not limited to:
The dog’s history in regards to aggressive and/or dangerous behavior and the severity of any bites (using Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Bite Scale).
Any medical concerns that might contribute to this behavior
The circumstances in which the dog has displayed the behavior
The time and resources previously invested in behavioral rehabilitation or training with a certified professional and whether these attempts have been aligned with HBR’s dog training position statement
The existence and availability of a caretaker and housing for the dog whether temporary or permanent that will provide the greatest opportunity for success
The resources currently available to the rescue as well as any other current demands on resources that must be taken into consideration
It is Hearts & Bones Rescue's position to not euthanize animals solely because of aggressive behavior. We prefer instead to find or create an environment and management protocol that will protect the dog and his or her human handlers while offering the dog a reasonable quality of life.
If, however, after considering the above points, appropriate care for a dangerous dog cannot be secured, then euthanasia may be considered. A behavioral and veterinary consultation should be obtained to ensure that experts in care and behavior are helping to make this decision.
In the event that the aggression is so severe or has unrelievable physical suffering as its underlying cause, and/or the necessary management protocol is so restrictive as to seriously compromise the dog’s quality of life, then Hearts & Bones would consider euthanasia an acceptable option for relieving that animal’s suffering and poor quality of life. Such a decision would be made by animal care management and a veterinarian, after careful consultation with the dog’s caregivers.