About us

Rica Powell

Rica Powell with a rescue dog

Smiling Dog Rescue (SDR) began in January of 2007 when Rica was asked to help rescue a smiling pit bull set for euthanasia at a kill shelter in Southern Arizona. Getting involved in saving this one endangered and innocent life led to a greater awareness of a sad reality across the country – the enormous number of pit bull and pit bull-type dogs whose lives end in high kill shelters – merely because of the way they look. Never looking back, SDR has rehabilitated and re-homed over 4000 unwanted, stray and abandoned pit bulls, bully type dogs, as well as many other types of dogs from all over the southwestern United States.

SDR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity organization.  We are committed to reducing the number of homeless, relinquished, abandoned and needlessly destroyed dogs both in Tucson and neighboring communities. This commitment has been directly dependent upon the great generosity of a system of foster homes as well as veterinary clinics, shelter workers, other rescues and volunteers who all work with SDR to create a nationwide network that enables as many adoptable dogs on death row to be saved as possible.

We are convinced that overall responsible dog ownership is the key to changing perceptions of these dogs back to the all American family dog reputation they once enjoyed.


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