There is a saying about dogs that goes like this, “Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” Lorree Levy Schwartz has changed the world for thousands of dogs, and she is someone you should definitely get to know. Loree, along with her veterinarian husband Monte, has worked countless hours, donated numerous supplies and changed the world forever for rescue dogs.
Rescuing dogs since 1978, Loree is the Director of Toy Breeds Rescue out of San Jose, CA, USA, where she and Dr. Schwartz also run The Boulevard Pet Hospital. The Schwartz’s dedicate nearly every waking hour to helping animals. “Being brought up in Brooklyn, in city housing, we were not allowed to have dogs or cats. Of course I did sneak my cat in and brought her to California when I moved here in 1978,” Loree recalls as she relayed how she became involved in animal rescues. “At that time there was a Shih Tzu named CoCo who needed a home and I was in the position to take her so she was my first dog.”
Loree is a Shih Tzu lover and a lot of what she does through her rescue benefits Shih Tzu’s and all toy breeds. In addition to her other duties, Loree is the coordinator for the Bay Area Shih Tzu Rescue, and the Chairman of The American Shih Tzu Club’s rescue committee. Through all of her connections, Loree is often called upon by other rescuers wanting to collaborate, and receives calls from people who, for whatever reason, can no longer care for their animal. “This year alone we’ve taken in many individual rescues. We’ve also saved 17 Shih Tzus from a hoarder situation and within two weeks we went to 24 because three were pregnant,” offered Loree when asked for the number of dogs she’s rescued. “The numbers of rescues have varied over the years but even one rescue is too many!”
Taking care of the dogs post rescue is, in part, what makes the Schwartz’s a unique and powerful twosome. Dr. Schwartz using his advanced schooling to provide care for each and every rescue dog that Loree, and the vast number of Toy Breed Rescue volunteers, save. The goal is to ensure that each dog receives the proper healthcare, vaccines, identification chip, dental, grooming and spay and neutering; and yes, even pregnancy care. Re-homing all rescued dogs, in good health, is the goal for Loree.
But with rescue volumes of between 200 and 400 dogs a year, the need for veterinary care can be quite daunting. That’s why Loree and Dr. Schwartz decided to create the Schwartz Family Foundation. “When we were doing our estate planning,” said Loree, “we decided we wanted to be able to enjoy the rewards of giving while we were here and set up a guideline for how we’d like our foundation run when we are gone. Since Monte is a veterinarian and the cost of schooling has risen, he wanted to assist future veterinarians to realize their dreams. This approach incorporates both of our passions, rescue and vet care, and it equals success for animals and people alike!”
The Schwartz Family Foundation, is a 501C3 charity established to provide financial assistance to future veterinarians and assist with the care and needs of animals and animal welfare groups. By creating this tax deductible arm, the Schwartz’s are able to stay focused on creating a future generation of veterinarians and caring for dogs, that are in many cases considered less than ideal. Loree accepts some medically challenged dogs whose needs extend from orthopedic surgery to liver shunt surgery and more; and senior dogs are also received into the rescue program. Loree, her team of rescue and foster volunteers along with Dr. Schwartz’s selfless clinical treatment, transforms the dogs in their care and gets them ready for “the best rest of their lives!”
After all these years of helping dogs, Loree is clear on her fondest rescue memory, “My favorite placement is all placements. Any dogs that we can rehabilitate and re-home give me such a warm feeling. One of the best is actually the story about Mai Tai. His owner came in with two Shih Tzu to surrender. Mai Tai was, at 14, the older of the two and the more medically challenged. Mai Tai was deaf, had limited vision, was overweight, had a heart condition, chronic infections and needed a lot of care. Out of nowhere I received a telephone call from two ‘angels’ from Seattle. They wanted to adopt him! They gave him the absolute best rest of his life. His picture hangs above my desk and I smile at him daily.” The little dog Loree calls Mai Tai changed my world. Why? Because we adopted him–my parents took Mai Tai in and renamed him OD. He lived another three years and was such a big blessing in our lives. You can read about OD here.
If you’d like to support the Schwartz Family Foundation and help create a safety net for animals, you can spread the word about the website, read and comment on their blog; and of course donations are always welcome and needed. If you are in the Northern CA area and want to help Loree either with rescuing, transporting, fostering or rehabilitating dogs please contact her. Also, Loree asks that you please spay and neuter your animals pets and to consider adopting a rescue dog instead of purchasing a puppy. Remember: it is saving one pet at a time that means the world to that animal!
If you are a veterinarian student in your second year of school you are invited to fill out a Schwartz Family Foundation application. For information simply click here, and good luck! To read the inspiring stories from current and former Schwartz Family Foundation veterinary student grant recipients, check out their website and be sure to read about Mehnaz Aziz and how he used the support that he received from the Foundation to address humane dog population control in Bhutan.
On behalf of Loree and Dr. Schwartz, a large thank you to all of their supporters, donors, adopters and to the students–without all of you the Schwartz Family Foundation could not do all that it does to address dog health and adoption.
Originally published in Anipal Times: October 2015, MattieDog’s Rescue Me column.