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Filling a vital need by rescuing and rehabilitating dogs

Community ProfileFilling a vital need by rescuing and rehabilitating dogs

For over ten years, Cassia Bryden and her dedicated network of volunteers at the ‘Sato Saved End of the Line Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation’ have been committed to providing injured, abused, or abandoned dogs a second chance.

Bryden, who was one of the founders of the rescue, explained her early beginnings.

“It started fairly small. I used to manage Pet Valu when I was a teenager, and then I got into dog training where I got a little bit more interested in the training and rehabilitation side of dogs. I then went back to school as an adult [and] ended up in a Co-Op placement at a clinic. When I finished the placement, they offered me a job because of the experience that I brought to the table,” said Bryden.

Bryden would further develop her knowledge by working in a veterinary clinic for several years and from there would discover her calling for rescuing hurt or unwanted dogs.

“I started doing a lot more rescue after working at the vet’s office because there were a lot of cases where people would bring in dogs that had mild behavioral issues, or [the families] maybe had children and couldn’t handle the dog anymore. So, they wanted to give it up. And they were considering putting the dog to sleep. And I would tell them, ‘If you want to make a small donation [with] the same amount that you would pay to kill the dog, let me take it, and I will see if I can get some training and find it a more suitable home,’” Bryden explained.

Since she founded Sato Saved End of the Line Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation in 2016, Cassia Bryden has focused on helping rescue dogs throughout Brantford, Brant County, and Six Nations who have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or injured. The organization, with the help of vets, helps heal and rehabilitate these dogs and put them into foster families until a suitable home can be found. Photo courtesy Sato Saved End of the Line Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation.

Bryden then described the start of ‘Sato Saved End of the Line Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation.’

“At the time, it was an end-of-the-line dog rescue, and I focused mostly on dogs that were at risk of being put to sleep. And then with the Six Nations reserve being so close to Brantford, I started getting a lot of requests from people wanting me to take in litters of puppies that were abandoned or weren’t being properly taken care of and a lot of them had parasites and they knew that I was working in the vet office and I was able to get them immediate care,” Bryden continued. “I started getting involved in doing a lot of their reserve rescues at that time, which we’re talking about 10 years ago now.”

Bryden has also continually fostered and developed a strong network of organizations and individuals throughout Brantford, Brant County, Six Nations, Norfolk, and beyond.

“I’ve teamed up with a few local shelters and have taken dogs that are at risk. I’ve worked with Six Nations Animal Control on several occasions,” she explained. “We’re primarily foster-based, so I do all the intaking of the dogs myself, but then I have probably close to 60 foster homes across Ontario [and] depending on what the dog’s needs are, we put them in appropriate foster homes and then I oversee all of their bedding, medical, food and supplies. From there, I make sure that they have everything they need to get set up for success with a new family.”

Bryden along with several dedicated volunteers has successfully grown a strong online presence on social media and an active website to help promote their cause, raise needed funds, and reach out to potential adoptees. Photo courtesy Sato Saved End of the Line Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation.

Bryden, however, continues to rely on the support of the community who understands her unrelenting passion for what she does.

“I have a lot of really great followers and supporters that have known me for the last 15 years. And so that core group of volunteers, fosters, and supporters that make donations and supplies [have] kept the rescue going. The community itself is great [and] I would say that the local businesses have been very welcoming. We have good relationships with most of the pet stores [including] the Pet Valu on Market Street [which] has a donation bin right inside the front door where people can drop off or donate [items like] open bags of food, supplies, collars, leashes, and stuff they no longer need for their dogs. And then we also have donation boxes at several other pet stores like Ren’s as well,” explained Bryden. “We’ve worked on building these relationships…but unfortunately at this time, I haven’t been able to establish that great of a relationship with vets in Brantford. So, I go to Queensway Veterinary Hospital in Simcoe for the dogs that are sicker or injured. I do have a great working relationship with Shellard Lane Animal Hospital as well. I also utilize a low-cost clinic out in Kitchener that works primarily with rescues and low-income families. There’s another one in Hamilton and one in London as well.”

The picture is of Dana (since renamed Bourbon) who like Apollo endured abuse. This is Bourdon before and after recovery. Photo courtesy Sato Saved End of the Line Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation.

Nevertheless, Bryden’s work is vital in helping dogs have a fresh lease on life within the community pointing to several cases that resonated with her. 

“We’ve taken in quite a few medical cases [and] a lot of them can be really sad initially but there are quite a few success stories. About eight months ago we took in a dog [and] her name was Dana initially, but her adopter has renamed her Bourbon. She came in full of mange and she barely had any fur, she was very skinny. She was picked up as a stray and brought into a shelter. She was in a six to seven-month recovery. She was adopted by a vet tech. She now has all her hair back now [and] looks like a whole new different dog,” Bryden continued. “We had another one, Apollo, a German Shepherd. We’re still kind of working on his medical [issues] but he has come full circle since he came in being skin and bones and having no hair. A lot of [these dog’s] problems are either mange, mite-related, or allergy-related. Once you get the dog into the vet, and on a good plan, it’s beautiful to see the transformation. And also, it’s nice for the foster families to get to see the success of the dog. [In fact] a lot of the times when I have these big medical cases, the fosters end up falling for the dogs and keeping them, which I don’t mind at all because it means that they’ve got a good home.”

Sato Saved End of the Line Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation has rescued many injured and abused dogs over the years, one of which has been Apollo. Cassia Bryden, with the help of her network of volunteers and vets, has given Apollo a second chance. The picture is of Apollo before and after recovery. Photo courtesy Sato Saved End of the Line Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation.

Along with the fosters being the adoptees themselves, many adoptions, however, come through many people and families throughout the community who typically utilize the organization’s very active Facebook page which boasts over 23,000 followers. However, Bryden maintains a rigorous process to ensure the dog is adopted by responsible owners.

“We try to keep the website as up-to-date as we can, but Facebook is the most current [where] we post all of our available dogs online. I go through all of the applications that come in on the dogs and then contact everybody with requests on certain things like asking for pictures of their backyard or references depending on the dog’s situation. I always ask typical questions like, ‘Do you have other pets? Do you have kids in the home? What’s your work schedule like’” said Bryden.

The year has started strong for the organization, already reaching 50 adoptions by March where it was at around ten the same time last year. However, Bryden maintains that online auctions as well as donations are key to its current and future success.

“The biggest need right now [is] financial donations. Even five-dollar donations go a long way. We have an initiative on Facebook, where every Friday we do a ‘Five-Dollar Friday,’ and we encourage people to donate or to purchase something off of our Amazon Wishlist, which is also posted on Facebook. Every Friday, we also feature a new dog or a new case,” continued Bryden. “We also do online auctions which is a lot of work, but when we do it, we can usually raise $3,000 to $5,000 each time [and] we try to do those quarterly, and then use that toward one of our big medical cases. We have accumulated quite a bit of debt over the last two years because we do take in some pretty high-needs dogs. We don’t skimp, we have to do it because we want the dog to have the greatest chance of recovery and success.”

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