Ridgebacks & Friends

Dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Ridgeback mixes in California. Potential adopters must meet the dog(s) prior to adoption.

The purpose of Ridgeback & Friends is to save Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Ridgeback mixes in California and place them in suitable homes. While the focus remains on saving dogs from California's high-intake shelters, some of the dogs come into rescue as owner surrenders or homeless strays. All dogs are carefully screened for good behavior and receive proper veterinary care, including spay/neuter surgery and vaccinations, before being matched with appropriate adopters. The group provides sanctuary to a limited number of sick and/or under socialized dogs.  

We are 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity. 

1-818-406-4877

www.facebook.com/ridgebacksandfriends

Cover photo courtesy of Andrea Altman. 

March 14, 2016: In August 2015, we pulled Oso from East Valley shelter (Los Angeles) where he found himself when his longtime owner fell sick and could no longer care for him. After much love and networking from shelter volunteer, Toni, Oso came to live with dedicated Ridgeback rescuers Mary & Nick Isaac for many months. Oso was a sweetheart but not fond of little dogs or dominant dogs, so when things got a little stressful for the pack the Matthews family, stepped up to foster him.  We enlisted the help and networking power of Senior Pets for Senior People and Susie's Senior Dogs and thanks to them, 2.5 weeks ago Oso went to his Forever Home with Nicole and her husband and their 10 year old pit mix, Daisy.   Just as we were all about to rejoice and do happy dances, Nicole reported that Oso wasn't himself -- he seemed very lethargic, mopey and everything about him was off.  Nicole set up an appointment to take him to her vet today at 3:00 but when she came home for lunch, she found Oso lying unresponsive and rushed him to the vet. X-rays showed a very enlarged heart and the doctor said he had hemangiosarcoma and was suffering. We made the difficult decision to help him to the Rainbow bridge. After months at the shelter and seven months in rescue, Oso was FINALLY getting his dream: a family who posted cute Instagram pictures of him every day, who snuggled him while watching TV, who was dedicated and committed to making it work. A young family who explicitly wanted to adopt a senior! As Nicole wrote us just yesterday "he loves to go on walks, loves to eat. He has a wonderful heart. He is patient when you leave the room and is excited when you come back. He is very much a lover." Nicole held him and loved him till his amazing soul was able to leave behind his broken body. She let us know when he had made the transition: "He has peacefully crossed the rainbow bridge and will get to play with my Lucky dog and all the other wonderful dogs in heaven. The doctor said he was suffering and that it was good that I brought him in.  I am just so thankful to have had the two weeks with him and been able to love him like we did.  He can now chase all the little dogs he wants. Thank you for your kindness and for allowing us to love him in his last days.  I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.  He was a wonderful amazing loving pup."   Rest in peace, dear Oso. You were loved immensely by your owner, the East Valley shelter volunteers, and the THREE families who got to spoil you and love on you. Bask in the sun, watch birds, smile your gorgeous smile. We love you.

March 14, 2016: In August 2015, we pulled Oso from East Valley shelter (Los Angeles) where he found himself when his longtime owner fell sick and could no longer care for him. After much love and networking from shelter volunteer, Toni, Oso came to live with dedicated Ridgeback rescuers Mary & Nick Isaac for many months. Oso was a sweetheart but not fond of little dogs or dominant dogs, so when things got a little stressful for the pack the Matthews family, stepped up to foster him.  We enlisted the help and networking power of Senior Pets for Senior People and Susie's Senior Dogs and thanks to them, 2.5 weeks ago Oso went to his Forever Home with Nicole and her husband and their 10 year old pit mix, Daisy.   Just as we were all about to rejoice and do happy dances, Nicole reported that Oso wasn't himself -- he seemed very lethargic, mopey and everything about him was off.  Nicole set up an appointment to take him to her vet today at 3:00 but when she came home for lunch, she found Oso lying unresponsive and rushed him to the vet. X-rays showed a very enlarged heart and the doctor said he had hemangiosarcoma and was suffering. We made the difficult decision to help him to the Rainbow bridge. After months at the shelter and seven months in rescue, Oso was FINALLY getting his dream: a family who posted cute Instagram pictures of him every day, who snuggled him while watching TV, who was dedicated and committed to making it work. A young family who explicitly wanted to adopt a senior! As Nicole wrote us just yesterday "he loves to go on walks, loves to eat. He has a wonderful heart. He is patient when you leave the room and is excited when you come back. He is very much a lover." Nicole held him and loved him till his amazing soul was able to leave behind his broken body. She let us know when he had made the transition: "He has peacefully crossed the rainbow bridge and will get to play with my Lucky dog and all the other wonderful dogs in heaven. The doctor said he was suffering and that it was good that I brought him in.  I am just so thankful to have had the two weeks with him and been able to love him like we did.  He can now chase all the little dogs he wants. Thank you for your kindness and for allowing us to love him in his last days.  I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.  He was a wonderful amazing loving pup."  

Rest in peace, dear Oso. You were loved immensely by your owner, the East Valley shelter volunteers, and the THREE families who got to spoil you and love on you. Bask in the sun, watch birds, smile your gorgeous smile. We love you.

April 11, 2016. Lola lived the last 6 months of her life being loved and doted on by her Fospice mom,  Erin, and spoiled by her Ridge Angels who showered her with food and toys. To all, we are so grateful. We rescued Lola from the Inland Valley Humane Society in October 2015. We were told that she had kennel cough, which most dogs leaving shelters do. Unfortunately when we brought her to our friends at Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital, tests revealed that she actually had advanced lung cancer. After we all had our little cry we made it our mission to keep her as happy as we could for whatever time she had left. One of the things that gave Miss Lola great pleasure (besides moving all her toys around) was watching out for her self-proclaimed 'ditzy' foster mama and making sure she knew how to find her way back from adventures. She also tried to teach Erin that toys DO NOT GO in the washing machine, because she worked very hard to get them the perfect amount of mushy and dirty. We think Lola’s proudest moment was when she was wrongly singled out as a "vicious pit bull" in the neighborhood which required a visit from an Animal Control officer who took one look at our sweet, terminally ill, playful girl and burst out laughing. Erin writes: She loved to be outdoors and waggled on her walks. She would never be or go anywhere unless explicitly invited and could hop like a pygmy goat if she got excited enough. Her sweet nature could charm the harshest critics but in another moment she could give you the dirtiest of looks if you didn't appreciate her barking or her need to beg the neighbors for carne asada. Thank you to:  Mohawk Animal Hospital, Eagle Rock Emergency Pet Clinic, Amanda Taylor for being Lola’s first foster home and Tonya for alerting us to her and helping us pull her from the shelter.

April 11, 2016. Lola lived the last 6 months of her life being loved and doted on by her Fospice mom,  Erin, and spoiled by her Ridge Angels who showered her with food and toys. To all, we are so grateful. We rescued Lola from the Inland Valley Humane Society in October 2015. We were told that she had kennel cough, which most dogs leaving shelters do. Unfortunately when we brought her to our friends at Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital, tests revealed that she actually had advanced lung cancer. After we all had our little cry we made it our mission to keep her as happy as we could for whatever time she had left. One of the things that gave Miss Lola great pleasure (besides moving all her toys around) was watching out for her self-proclaimed 'ditzy' foster mama and making sure she knew how to find her way back from adventures. She also tried to teach Erin that toys DO NOT GO in the washing machine, because she worked very hard to get them the perfect amount of mushy and dirty. We think Lola’s proudest moment was when she was wrongly singled out as a "vicious pit bull" in the neighborhood which required a visit from an Animal Control officer who took one look at our sweet, terminally ill, playful girl and burst out laughing.

Erin writes: She loved to be outdoors and waggled on her walks. She would never be or go anywhere unless explicitly invited and could hop like a pygmy goat if she got excited enough. Her sweet nature could charm the harshest critics but in another moment she could give you the dirtiest of looks if you didn't appreciate her barking or her need to beg the neighbors for carne asada.

Thank you to:  Mohawk Animal Hospital, Eagle Rock Emergency Pet Clinic, Amanda Taylor for being Lola’s first foster home and Tonya for alerting us to her and helping us pull her from the shelter.

February 27, 2016.:"Miss Odie" and her sister Honey had been left behind at the Orange County shelter by their family. Honey was adopted and Miss Odie was left behind again. We rescued her on December 11, 2015 knowing that she had mammary masses and ear infections. Her post-shelter vet appointment confirmed what we feared - Miss Odie had breast cancer. We got opinions from two of our trusted vets, who both felt that she would have a very good prognosis after a radical bilateral mastectomy. We took a deep breath and asked our family of Facebook fans and supporters to help us because we felt that this 8-year old girl had a lot of living still to do....and you guys came through in a big way, raising the $3000 needed for her surgery in a matter of days. The surgery went well and she received excellent care at Sharp Pet Hospital, Stonecreek Animal Hospital, and aftercare at VCA Animal Hospital in El Cajon (who got a nasty foxtail out of her ear!).  Although her margins were too big after surgery and her cancer spread, all was not lost ...our fundraising campaign had the *wonderful* consequence of bringing her mom into her life! Denise Mallos, an OC shelter volunteer who used to visit Miss Odie there, found her way to us online and offered to be her foster mom. When we told Denise that she was terminally ill, Denise said the offer still stood. We brought Miss Odie, now called "Miss Jodie" to symbolize her new beginning, to Denise on New Year's Day. She started off with a bang by pooping all over the rug as soon as she walked in ("sorry, mom!"). Denise proved to be a wonderful foster mom and Miss Jodie thrived under her care until just a few days ago when she stopped eating and wagging her tail and was in obvious pain....and we all knew the time had come. Her mom, Denise, writes: "I never wanted her to be alone if she only had a short time to live, so when I went to work I always had my mom (Barbara) watch her. She was a great dog, and it was a tragedy I had her such a short time. I definitely loved her and miss her, and it was a privilege to have gotten to know her, spend time with her, and have her in my life." It takes a special person to welcome a terminally ill dog into her life. Denise and Barbara, you will see her at Rainbow Bridge and she will be there with her big grin, bright eyes, and wagging tail. Thank you for loving Miss Jodie.

February 27, 2016.:"Miss Odie" and her sister Honey had been left behind at the Orange County shelter by their family. Honey was adopted and Miss Odie was left behind again. We rescued her on December 11, 2015 knowing that she had mammary masses and ear infections. Her post-shelter vet appointment confirmed what we feared - Miss Odie had breast cancer. We got opinions from two of our trusted vets, who both felt that she would have a very good prognosis after a radical bilateral mastectomy. We took a deep breath and asked our family of Facebook fans and supporters to help us because we felt that this 8-year old girl had a lot of living still to do....and you guys came through in a big way, raising the $3000 needed for her surgery in a matter of days. The surgery went well and she received excellent care at Sharp Pet Hospital, Stonecreek Animal Hospital, and aftercare at VCA Animal Hospital in El Cajon (who got a nasty foxtail out of her ear!).  Although her margins were too big after surgery and her cancer spread, all was not lost ...our fundraising campaign had the *wonderful* consequence of bringing her mom into her life! Denise Mallos, an OC shelter volunteer who used to visit Miss Odie there, found her way to us online and offered to be her foster mom. When we told Denise that she was terminally ill, Denise said the offer still stood. We brought Miss Odie, now called "Miss Jodie" to symbolize her new beginning, to Denise on New Year's Day. She started off with a bang by pooping all over the rug as soon as she walked in ("sorry, mom!"). Denise proved to be a wonderful foster mom and Miss Jodie thrived under her care until just a few days ago when she stopped eating and wagging her tail and was in obvious pain....and we all knew the time had come. Her mom, Denise, writes: "I never wanted her to be alone if she only had a short time to live, so when I went to work I always had my mom (Barbara) watch her. She was a great dog, and it was a tragedy I had her such a short time. I definitely loved her and miss her, and it was a privilege to have gotten to know her, spend time with her, and have her in my life."

It takes a special person to welcome a terminally ill dog into her life. Denise and Barbara, you will see her at Rainbow Bridge and she will be there with her big grin, bright eyes, and wagging tail. Thank you for loving Miss Jodie.

May 12, 2017 - As you remember, we pulled Ivy from Baldwin Park shelter in early February - her sister, Jambalaya, had been privately adopted. As soon as we pulled her we realized that there was something wrong with Ivy's back leg and after several tests it was determined that she had a fungal infection and osteosarcoma. We consulted with a several specialists and it was decided since the cancer hadn’t spread and she was otherwise in good health, we would amputate and start the chemo.  We’re very sad to have to tell you that we lost our beautiful Ivy. We are grateful to all who donated towards her medical care. Thanks to you we were able to give her a fighting chance but, ultimately, the osteosarcoma was too aggressive for her body to overcome.  No one gave her more of a fighting chance than her extraordinary foster mom, Melinda, who along with Dr. Adams, loved her from the beginning and held her at the end. Ivy had many angels, two of whom were Jerry and Laura Hendrickson who, when the test results came back, were not deterred by her prognosis (despite just having lost a dog to bone cancer) and became her forever family. While this is not the happy ending we had hoped for, we are so gratified that Ivy had the greatest 4 months in our care. We send our deepest condolences to Melinda and Jerry and Laura. You can run free again sweet Ivy.

May 12, 2017 - As you remember, we pulled Ivy from Baldwin Park shelter in early February - her sister, Jambalaya, had been privately adopted. As soon as we pulled her we realized that there was something wrong with Ivy's back leg and after several tests it was determined that she had a fungal infection and osteosarcoma. We consulted with a several specialists and it was decided since the cancer hadn’t spread and she was otherwise in good health, we would amputate and start the chemo.  We’re very sad to have to tell you that we lost our beautiful Ivy. We are grateful to all who donated towards her medical care. Thanks to you we were able to give her a fighting chance but, ultimately, the osteosarcoma was too aggressive for her body to overcome.  No one gave her more of a fighting chance than her extraordinary foster mom, Melinda, who along with Dr. Adams, loved her from the beginning and held her at the end. Ivy had many angels, two of whom were Jerry and Laura Hendrickson who, when the test results came back, were not deterred by her prognosis (despite just having lost a dog to bone cancer) and became her forever family. While this is not the happy ending we had hoped for, we are so gratified that Ivy had the greatest 4 months in our care. We send our deepest condolences to Melinda and Jerry and Laura. You can run free again sweet Ivy.

April 24, 2017 - We are devastated to report that we lost our beautiful Matisse (formerly Knox, rescued from Apple Valley shelter in January 2016).  His devoted mom, Meg, who adopted him in June 2016 let us know: "Very gently and peacefully he went on his journey surrounded by love. Matisse developed a neurological problem a month ago (came out of nowhere) and exhibited signs of heptic encephalopathy. After a hospital stay to stabilize him, the neurologist put him on a regime of antibiotics and steroids and he seemed to rally around the first week and a half but never fully regained his eyesight and coordination on the left side of his body. We discussed other invasive procedures like a spinal tap etc., but the risk was too great that he wouldn’t survive in his weakened state. He would walk in circles and press his head into corners and walls. We needed to constantly supervise him to keep him safe from harming himself. He really put up a gallant fight but in the end it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t bear to watch him suffer anymore, particularly after all he has been through. These past two weeks his appetite started to wane and he would not settle down to sleep until late into the night." "I think this condition may have been congenital or perhaps his early environment? It may have been there but his previous owner never addressed it when he was young? I just don’t know. He seemed to tire easily for being such a young dog and I noticed last month (in retrospect) the first signs of this were occasionally he would just stare right through me when I called him. Even looking back when I first got him, he seemed to stumble over things and not be sure footed in what would be normal circumstances for other dogs. "Tragically, Matisse was really coming into his own, playful and that sweet nub of a tail wagging. He brought such joy to everyone he met and in particular to our household. We loved him so much and needless to say will never, ever forget him. It’s a tremendous loss we won’t get over any time soon. It pains me that he will never lead that long life I had wished to share with him as we grew old together." "In the Buddhist tradition, life and death are seen as one whole, where death is the beginning of another chapter of life. Death is the mirror in which the entire life is reflected. In September 2014 I found a picture of a Ridgeback that I saved to my laptop. This was the dog I was searching for. The similarities are striking. Such a handsome and dignified fellow and that’s how I’ll remember Matisse. Calm, quiet, steady and patient except when you put food in front of him! Matisse was an extraordinary dog, precious and learning to trust. He taught me mountains about myself and about how to let go. We’ll feast on memories now, walks at the beach, chasing squirrels in the park, riding in the car and smiling into the wind. We hung out a lot during those rainy days last winter, curled up on my bed, snoozing. People gravitated toward Matisse. He was just zen and people wanted to touch him, find out his name and story. I’m humbled yet proud to have been his mum on this journey. What I’ll miss most is the kissing and hugging him all the time. Alex, my daughter couldn't walk by him without many huge hugs and kisses. He loved the closeness and familiarity. He had his routines and favorite spots. He was finally home and he filled up the house with his august presence. His bed is still in the living room. I feel his spirit. I will cherish him always and we will never forget him." Ridgebacks and Friends is deeply indebted to Meg for loving him so dearly... as well as THE ZEN DOG for the first leg of his rehab, his foster family Kristie, Nathan and Bodie, who did so much work to teach Matisse (fka Knox) how to be a dog. They are currently working their patient, therapeutic magic with Huxley and we know he also has a perfect home out there just waiting for him. Please Join us in sending condolences to Meg as well as his foster family. RIP Matisse. You were loved. And you taught us so much in your short life.

April 24, 2017 - We are devastated to report that we lost our beautiful Matisse (formerly Knox, rescued from Apple Valley shelter in January 2016).  His devoted mom, Meg, who adopted him in June 2016 let us know: "Very gently and peacefully he went on his journey surrounded by love. Matisse developed a neurological problem a month ago (came out of nowhere) and exhibited signs of heptic encephalopathy. After a hospital stay to stabilize him, the neurologist put him on a regime of antibiotics and steroids and he seemed to rally around the first week and a half but never fully regained his eyesight and coordination on the left side of his body. We discussed other invasive procedures like a spinal tap etc., but the risk was too great that he wouldn’t survive in his weakened state. He would walk in circles and press his head into corners and walls. We needed to constantly supervise him to keep him safe from harming himself. He really put up a gallant fight but in the end it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t bear to watch him suffer anymore, particularly after all he has been through. These past two weeks his appetite started to wane and he would not settle down to sleep until late into the night."

"I think this condition may have been congenital or perhaps his early environment? It may have been there but his previous owner never addressed it when he was young? I just don’t know. He seemed to tire easily for being such a young dog and I noticed last month (in retrospect) the first signs of this were occasionally he would just stare right through me when I called him. Even looking back when I first got him, he seemed to stumble over things and not be sure footed in what would be normal circumstances for other dogs.

"Tragically, Matisse was really coming into his own, playful and that sweet nub of a tail wagging. He brought such joy to everyone he met and in particular to our household. We loved him so much and needless to say will never, ever forget him. It’s a tremendous loss we won’t get over any time soon. It pains me that he will never lead that long life I had wished to share with him as we grew old together."

"In the Buddhist tradition, life and death are seen as one whole, where death is the beginning of another chapter of life. Death is the mirror in which the entire life is reflected. In September 2014 I found a picture of a Ridgeback that I saved to my laptop. This was the dog I was searching for. The similarities are striking. Such a handsome and dignified fellow and that’s how I’ll remember Matisse. Calm, quiet, steady and patient except when you put food in front of him! Matisse was an extraordinary dog, precious and learning to trust. He taught me mountains about myself and about how to let go. We’ll feast on memories now, walks at the beach, chasing squirrels in the park, riding in the car and smiling into the wind. We hung out a lot during those rainy days last winter, curled up on my bed, snoozing. People gravitated toward Matisse. He was just zen and people wanted to touch him, find out his name and story. I’m humbled yet proud to have been his mum on this journey. What I’ll miss most is the kissing and hugging him all the time. Alex, my daughter couldn't walk by him without many huge hugs and kisses. He loved the closeness and familiarity. He had his routines and favorite spots. He was finally home and he filled up the house with his august presence. His bed is still in the living room. I feel his spirit. I will cherish him always and we will never forget him."

Ridgebacks and Friends is deeply indebted to Meg for loving him so dearly... as well as THE ZEN DOG for the first leg of his rehab, his foster family Kristie, Nathan and Bodie, who did so much work to teach Matisse (fka Knox) how to be a dog. They are currently working their patient, therapeutic magic with Huxley and we know he also has a perfect home out there just waiting for him. Please Join us in sending condolences to Meg as well as his foster family. RIP Matisse. You were loved. And you taught us so much in your short life.