Nonprofit Bullies and Buddies Seeks Forever Homes for Pit Bull Terriers and Other Dogs in Need
You’ve got a friend.
- Written byQuinn Roberts
- Photographed byLauren Pressey
Bullies and Buddies founder Jen Rosen calls him the miracle dog. Clancy, a red-nose pit bull terrier, was rescued by a volunteer after he spent two years in a local shelter. Then two weeks into his foster care, he was stung by a bee and went into anaphylactic shock.
“He was rushed to the hospital and died on the table,” says Jen. “Somehow they were able to revive him, and the whole team worked on him for over two weeks. He had a will to live.”
Clancy’s is one of the most unique and powerful stories since Jen founded the nonprofit in 2009. However, he is only one in a line of amazing rescues over the last 13 years.
When Jen started a family, she and her husband—a huge pit bull advocate—decided to get a pit bull named Lady. That dog became a part of their family, especially as their daughter began to grow up. When Lady eventually passed away, the family was devastated.
“We all went through depression, but I actually was hospitalized,” Jen says. “During my recovery I went to a shelter for the first time. Seeing how many bullies were there was crazy. I ended up taking a dog home, and that was the first official Bullies and Buddies dog.”
While Jen is trying to change the stigma associated with pit bulls, the organization isn’t limited to just that breed. It takes in all kinds of dogs, young and old, shy and outgoing. Bullies and Buddies fosters between 10 to 20 dogs at a time.
“It is amazingly rewarding when older dogs are adopted,” Jen says. “You are giving them a safe place for the last part of their life. They go knowing love, and that is so important. It is the most rewarding.”
A big reason why Jen has chosen to foster that number of dogs is that it allows everyone involved to be more hands-on. The nonprofit works with trainers and animal hospitals so the dogs can be evaluated, assessed and trained to have the best chance at adoption.
“I knew nothing about starting a rescue, but little by little it started to grow thanks to social media and volunteers having connections that would spread the word about what we were doing.”
“I decided to make this my life. I am super passionate about it and wanted to make a change because I knew the dogs needed help,” Jen says. “I knew nothing about starting a rescue, but little by little it started to grow thanks to social media and volunteers having connections that would spread the word about what we were doing.”
Jen’s passion comes across immediately at adoption events or when she aids those who are volunteering, fostering or adopting a dog. Tim Kastagir saw that immediately. He lives in Redondo Beach and adopted Clancy in September 2021. He was a bit overwhelmed the first few days, but he stayed in contact with Jen and she helped guide him in the right direction.
“Jen is so good at what she does. She gave me tips, and I felt this amazing sense of support. I knew I could call her with any questions I had, because the first few days I was a bit overwhelmed,” Tim says. “It didn’t take Clancy too long to settle in, and before I knew it he was a lap dog. He knows this is his home.”
The nonprofit is at Rock & Brews in Redondo Beach three Saturdays a month from noon to 3 p.m. with the dogs and often a core group of about 10 volunteers. Jen and the rest of the team hope the dogs will be adopted at these events. Another goal is to find people to foster dogs. If Bullies and Buddies can’t do that, it can’t save the dogs.
What has changed so much from the time Jen began the organization is social media. While Bullies and Buddies used mostly word of mouth and Facebook to promote itself in the beginning, other social media platforms—especially Instagram (@bulliesandbuddies)—have been a big help. The nonprofit currently has 20,000 followers.
All of that has contributed not just to more dogs being fostered and adopted but to donations being made. Some people contribute monthly, while others make one-time donations. The money doesn’t just go toward the basics of caring for the dogs; it also contributes to medical expenses, which can be thousands of dollars depending on the state of the dog.
“Social media has been huge. All it takes is one person to do something or say something. Whether we do donations or a foster, it is all about sharing—even if you can’t donate time or money,” says Jen.
Thanks in large part to social media, the dogs are adopted by people in the South Bay as well as all over Los Angeles, Orange County and other parts of Southern California. Travis Twining and his family adopted Walter, a 120-pound pit bull, in August 2020. They lived in Santa Barbara and found out about Bullies and Buddies by chance. Looking to adopt after the family’s 11-year-old pit bull died, Travis randomly searched for pit bull rescues and came across the organization.
Before they adopted Walter, Travis and his family followed his journey on social media and donated money when he needed elbow surgery. From there, the bond was made. Jen continues to stay in contact with the family to see how Walter is doing. As Travis says, “The relationship didn’t stop once we adopted Walter.”
The Bullies and Buddies team is doing this simply because of their love for dogs. Plenty of times throughout the last 13 years Jen has gone on just a few hours of sleep, assisting dogs when they need special attention at the hospital or when other pressing issues come up.
“Honestly, I think Jen is a hero and you can tell how much the organization loves dogs,” says Tim. “Their job never ends, and I know there is nothing Jen wouldn’t do for these dogs.”