Underdog is a group of dedicated animal care professionals who, between all of us, share expertise in all areas of animal care. From professional shelter settings to grooming, to veterinary hospitals and clinics, we have the know-how to do things right.
We are a registered 501c3 non-profit. For more information on the nitty gritty of our non-profit operations, you may download our PDF here with info about our logistics (coming soon).
Underdog was founded at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020. It has not been an easy time to start a rescue, as the animal industry was (and still is) seeing a massive decline in available services.
Despite it being a challenge, Underdog has continued to function for one reason: because animals and their people need us.
Underdog is made up of a group of animal rescue professionals who met while working at a large, profitable shelter. This is where we saw firsthand the needs that these traditional types of shelters weren't meeting, and decided to create a group to supplement this rescue environment. We try to provide the dedicated resources and time that shelters and rescues operating on a large scale might not be able to accommodate, as they're looking more at the big picture. Every single case matters to us, and we seek to provide uncompromising quality care. We can never lose sight of those details, because each of those details is a dog needing a bit more time, a cat needing a quiet home, a person needing time to get back on their feet.
Our mission is to provide support to over-burdened shelters, other rescues, and directly to our community by providing a space for the more time-intensive cases. But, even moreso, our mission is to always do the right thing, even when it's not easy (like during a pandemic). We try to remember that at the end of the day, what matters is how every animal and person we cross paths with feels at the end of our interactions.
How we work and FAQ
Underdog is a foster based rescue that operates across the Seattle area. This means that we do not have a physical shelter location (yet). We rely on our amazing foster parents to open their home to our animals requiring more behavioral and time support.
Our area of expertise is behavioral rehabilitation, with a huge focus on community safety. Our goal is to catch behavioral issues before they have a chance to worsen, and often take in animals that either would fail in a shelter setting, or are struggling in their current environment. This way, we hope to prevent pets from reaching a "breaking point" in which they may no longer be able to integrate into our human-centric environment.
We primarily take in owner surrenders to help defer intake to larger shelters. This helps keep their shelter populations more manageable, as well as keep these animals who may not do well in a shelter environment from experience that stress. We also offer long term emergency foster- one of our new projects for 2022 is to develop an emergency network in conjunction with human social workers for people needing help leaving domestic violence or other sensitive situations. (If you are interested in learning more about this project, feel free to email us for details).
We do also do "shelter pulls" or larger volume transfers from overburdened shelters, typically at their request. This often comes up for cats during kitten season, or dogs from Easter Washington. We have several partner shelters across Washington ranging from Cowlitz County to Yakima.
While we would love to offer more dog intakes, unfortunately we are often at capacity, as dogs are more time and resource intensive.
We have several vet partners whom we adore and are so grateful to that provide us with diagnostics, surgery, and what we can't do ourselves.
Underdog has stringent adoption policies that are not first-come-first-served; instead, we focus on fit. All adopters undergo a matchmaking process to ensure both the animals and people are set up for success. It may seem stringent, especially with the direction many shelters are moving towards "interview style" adoptions. But rather than view it as a strict process, we view it as a service. We are going out of our way to make sure the animal you adopt will fit your lifestyle and your needs, and hope you know we want to work with you to make sure you and our animals are as happy as possible.
We will always take our pets back for life.
Our 2022/2023 goals:
To open a physical location which will allow us to increase the number of services we provide and centralized adoption and community resources
To expand our already incredible foster network (we ♥ our fosters!)
To create further vet relationships, including a volunteer vet (if you are a DVM interested in volunteering with Underdog, please don't hesitate to reach out! We'd love to connect).
I have an animal in my care that I cannot care for. Will you take them in?
Please visit our Intake page for more information on surrendering an animal to our care. At this time we are at maximum capacity for dogs, though may be able to consider on a case-by-case basis.
Can I volunteer for Underdog?
Thanks for your interest! At this time, we do not have volunteer opportunities that work with the animals aside from fostering. If you still wish to help out, the areas where we need support are:
Fundraising and donation drives
Medical support (LVT and DVM volunteering)
If I donate, how much goes to the animals?
Underdog is 100% volunteer driven, so ALL money goes directly to animal care.
Is Underdog a "no kill" organization?
Underdog does not euthanize for time, resources, or space. We will always do what's right, regardless of the time or monetary commitment. We will euthanize when it is no longer humane to ask the animal to keep fighting, be it from medical conditions or in some cases, extreme behavioral distress where reasonable intervention cannot help.
What is a “behaviorally needy” animal?
We use this term to refer to any animal that needs more support and experience to work with than your typical pet.
How do you know a dog is safe to put back into the community?
Underdog has developed an evaluation rubric that allows us to take an objective, fact-based evidence about a dog and allow us to make case-by-case decisions on the animal’s trainability, safety, and comfort. Underdog avoids human bias of things like “that dog is scary”, and instead focuses on the context surrounding any behavioral history that pet may have. Using science-backed methods of rehabilitation and individually crafted plans, Underdog will work to give confidence, support, and guidance to both animals and their owners, even after adoption. And if we take an animal into our care that we later deem is unsuitable to return to the community, we will seek alternatives such as sanctuary when appropriate.
I got my pet from another shelter or rescue, can I surrender them to you?
Many shelters and rescues (Underdog included) requires that animals you adopt be returned to their original source if you no longer can care for them. Should you need to return them, please reach out to where you adopted them from.