Since its founding in October 2007, MidAtlantic Bulldog Rescue in Belmar, New Jersey, has helped nearly 1,000 bulldogs in need find permanent, loving homes.
The dogs fostered and adopted through this nonprofit rescue group come from heart-wrenching, and often dire, circumstances — but the organization's dedicated volunteers, fosters, and adoptive families are determined to give these dogs a second chance.
"Bulldogs have the absolute best personalities and cutest faces," says Belmar resident Cathy Kittell, who co-founded MidAtlantic Bulldog Rescue (MABR) and serves as its treasurer and secretary. "When we bought our first bulldog puppy, I realized this breed can be high maintenance and not for everyone. That’s one of the reasons so many are surrendered to rescue."
According to the American Kennel Club, French bulldogs and bulldogs are the second and sixth most popular dog breeds, respectively, in the United States as of 2021. Kittell and her husband adopted their bulldog, Brenner (pictured below, left), in October 2019, after their beloved rescue, Monty, crossed the Rainbow Bridge in January 2019 after battling some health issues.
"We strive to educate the public on the bulldog breed," she says. "We understand that not everyone is equipped to take a rescue dog, as some are elderly and may have ongoing health issues. It’s important that people who are getting a pet understand it’s a long-term commitment. Yes, peoples’ lifestyles and situations may change, but we have had dogs surrendered to us in poor health, and sometimes we are unable to save them due to neglect."
Michelle Fontanez and her family adopted their rescue, Rocky (pictured below, right), in December 2016 after agreeing to foster a puppy for MABR. Rocky was saved from abusive home, where he was kept in a crate and never allowed outside.
"Once I got him, I said I was keeping him. My kids love him. He is the king," says Fontanez, who owns Surf's Up Candles in Belmar and Salty's Beach Bar in Lake Como. "Working with Cathy and her rescue group was a wonderful experience. I recommend them to everyone. They obviously have the best interest of these dogs at heart."
"Adoptions like Rocky’s are our happiest days," Kittel says, "and Surf’s Up Candles has been a great supporter of our rescue, not only adopting a dog from us, but also donating candles for our raffle baskets. We also appreciate the support we receive from Purr-fect Partners Pet Grooming in Belmar, which hangs our posters and trimmed Monty's nails, and from The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, which hosts our Bully Pallooza and Bully Bash fund-raisers every April and October."
For more information about the Bully Bash, becoming a foster family or adopting a bulldog from MABR, please contact Cathy Kittell at 732-939-4445, or visit the MidAtlantic Bulldog Rescue website.
Support MidAtlantic Bulldog Rescue during its Bully Palooza at The Wonder Bar from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, 2022 (rain date April 23). Proceeds from the $10.00 admission fee will be donated to the medical care of MABR bulldogs. The Wonder Bar is located at 1213 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Dogs of any breed are welcome into the event — must be healthy, spayed/neutered, well-behaved, and leashed. For more information, call 732-939-4445.
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Photos and images courtesy of MidAtlantic Bulldog Rescue, Cathy Kittell, Mladen Scekic, and Michelle Fontanez. All written content © copyright by Christine Cardellino owner of www.VacationInBelmar.com and publisher of the award-winning Belmar Beachcomber Blog, a travel and tourism guide to the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.