Fosters Urgently Needed at Dogtoli Dog Rescue in Hollywood, FL

by Denise Carey-Costa

Animal rescue, it’s not for the faint-hearted. Every day you are dealing with the forgotten ones, healing broken bodies and broken spirits, staying up all night nursing the sick and the newborn. It takes a special person to do this, all without fame, fortune, or any material gain.

Melissa Bartoli runs Dogtoli Dog Rescue, a 501(c) (3) rescue in Hollywood, Florida in Broward County.

According to an article in the Sun Sentinel on March 3, 2018, Broward County is still killing 52% of their dogs and cats each year despite promises in 2012 to become a no kill shelter that rarely resorts to euthanasia.

Broward County made a lot of cat and dog lovers happy by embracing the “no-kill” animal shelter goal, but it was only “aspirational,’’ they said. Since that April 2012 vote, county records show that thousands of dogs and cats have been put to sleep, even when the shelter isn’t full. “ 

So, Broward County rescue groups such as Melissa’s definitely have their work cut out for them. Melissa’s rescue, known as Dogtoli Dog Rescue Inc. takes in the more difficult dogs, the dogs who are unsocialized due to living in backyards for years. Many of these dogs have a history of aggression towards other dogs and would be the first ones killed at the county shelter.

Dogtoli Dog Rescue is their only hope for survival. As everyone in the animal rescue network knows, rescuing dogs with behavioral problems is just the first step in a very long road. All of Melissa’s rescues have had to go through extensive training to overcome some of their early habits and behaviors. Unfortunately, even with extensive training, these dogs still have to go to homes where they are the only dog or where the owner has experience handling multiple packs of dogs; no easy task for any rescuer, yet not impossible.

In the past year and a half, five of Melissa’s dogs have found their way back to her because, as a responsible rescuer, she clearly states in her adoption and foster contracts that all dogs must be returned to her if it doesn’t work out. No questions asked.

Melissa had to take the dogs into her condo to avoid having them go back into boarding. Not only is it highly cost prohibitive at $15 per dog per day for six months, for a total of $14,000.00, but the dogs will revert to their old behaviors being confined to a kennel. It would be quite tragic, after all the money donated, to get these dogs medical treatment, and expensive and extensive training, to have them go into boarding again.

Although the five dogs have been with Melissa for a while now, the condo association where she lives has voted that all the dogs need to go. The association gave a 90-day notice with April 1, 2018 being the deadline.

Melissa is working to find a new living situation which is not something that will happen quickly. She owns her own condo so it is not that easy to sell it. If she rents a place, she will have to pay rent and mortgage. Realistically, it will take about six months to get into an ideal situation for herself and the dogs.

What is desperately needed now are fosters to step up for the five remaining dogs. Everyone came together to save these dogs once, they are in a different kind of jeopardy now and need saving again.

To view the five dogs needing placement, watch their two videos.

If you can help Melissa by fostering one of the dogs, please call 954-243-7336. Or message her on the Dogtoli Dog Rescue Facebook page.

According the words of “The Shelter Dog’s Prayer”:

Please Lord, can you help?

I am all alone.

I heard them say, 1 more day.

So, I plea, can just ONE help me?

Whisper in a rescuer’s ear God.

Tell them to be ONE.

Cuz, that’s all I need is One.


Melissa was the “ONE” to save these dogs when their time ran out. Now she needs “ONE” for each dog before their time at her condo runs out.

*This story first appeared in Pet Rescue Report and is reposted here with the author’s permission.

About the Author

Denise Carey-Costa is a screenwriter, journalist, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her most recent work includes the role of screenwriter and associate producer for the Hallmark channel’s upcoming feature film Keeping Christmas (Christmas 2017). She was awarded the Best Producer Award from the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards for her latest documentary Growing up with Hollywood (January 2016). Her first documentary film Tony’s TaleTragedy in Arizona (August 2014) was the winner of eight national film festival awards including several Audience Choice Awards. She has also written numerous children’s books promoting kindness and compassion for all creatures. Among her children’s books are: A Tale of Three TailsEdwin’s FlightLucky, and Angelina’s Angel, and her non-fiction piece, Tony’s Tale Tragedy in Arizona.  She lives in Orlando, Florida, where she works with local rescue shelters.


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