Small Dog Rescue of Minnesota (SDR), founded in 2002 by Mary Roubinek, is an all-volunteer group committed to the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of dogs 20 pounds and under. Dogs are fostered in volunteers' homes so they can be loved like a family member until they are placed in a suitable adoptive home, determined by a review of a written application, a criminal background check, several reference consultations, and a home visit. SDR is a no-kill rescue, resorting to euthanasia only when a dog is either suffering from an untreatable medical condition or considered dangerous and not responding to rehabilitative training efforts. SDR is a 501(c)(3) Federally Tax Exempt Organization and Non-Profit Tax Exempt Incorporated Organization.
Erin Underbakke has been with SDR since the spring of 2009. Not knowing anything about rescue or adoption or puppy mills, she got her first two dogs from a breeder. She wanted to do something more with dogs, and came across an ad on Craigslist for SDR. This opened her eyes to the whole world of rescue, and she jumped in head first, devoting much of her life to saving dogs' lives and educating the public. Erin is wife, mom of two, and also runs a child care that includes some of SDR's youngest advocates. She involves her family and daycare children with SDR as much as possible, doing fundraising and increasing awareness of rescue. Erin has three dogs, Livvy (a Maltese Shih tzu), Gabby (a morkie), and Looley (a toy poodle she adopted from SDR).Tammy Matson
Tammy has been volunteering with SDR since winter of 2007, holding numerous positions within the group during that time. She came to Small Dog Rescue after her doxie passed away - not sure if she was ready for another dog. She decided to start with fostering and adopted her first foster dog - she and her daughter and their beagle all loved him. She has lost track of how many dogs she has fostered to date. Tammy's mom adopted one of our special needs chihuahuas and she is passionate about the work SDR does. When asked why, Tammy says, "The volunteers all show so much dedication and love for these rescue dogs. I'm always amazed at how everyone works together to get them from one place to another and to find these dogs their forever homes. To receive pictures a month after a dog has been adopted out and see the happiness in that dog's eyes is the best feeling in the world for me."Leisa Luis-Grill
Leisa Grill moved to Rochester in 2001 when she married her husband Rob (also an occasional volunteer). Leisa joined SDR after adopting a feisty, funny little 12 lb. Chiweenie which she and Rob named "Pico" (short for "Picasso"). Pico is the center of Leisa and Rob's "home universe" and has raised their Happiness Quotient to an all time high! Leisa is a Registered Nurse with a background in Neurology/Epilepsy and Research. She does not currently practice, but devotes her time to her lifelong passions of painting, theatre arts, and volunteering for several non-profits in Rochester. Leisa exhibits in several galleries in southeastern Minnesota and Wisconsin, performs and costumes for local theatres, and recently became a "foster parent" to one of SDR's many dogs in need. This experience, as well as adopting Pico, has convinced her that SDR will be a big part of her life for years to come. Leisa is proud to belong to such an upbeat, caring group that does truly amazing work - particularly for animals that have been overlooked or rejected by other shelters. Her volunteer time at SDR remains a life-changing experience for her, Rob, and of course, the doggies.Leah Scholl
Leah began volunteering for SDR in 2009 after seeing a news segment on a local station. She eagerly took in her first foster dog and since has fostered 7 dogs, including her own adopted dog, Onyx. Leah loves the feeling of seeing a scared puppy mill dog turn from frightened and scared to licking its guardian hand and a foster dog finding its forever home with the perfect family. Leah works as a Quality Assurance Assistant for Mayo Medical Labs, but loves her work with SDR. Leah knows that she has helped dogs become more confident and learn new behaviors, but feels the dogs have taught her more than anything she could ever teach them--unconditional love, trust, and patience.Dan Bassett
Dan has been volunteering with SDR since 2008, when he and his girlfriend Nicki adopted Skittles the beagle. In addition to Skittles, Dan and Nicki also belong to Elvis the pug and Neely the puggle. Dan provides IT support for Small Dog Rescue, and also built and maintains SDR's website. Dan's "regular job" is technical advising at ProVation Medical in Minneapolis. When not dutifully petting Skittles every time she demands it, Dan spends much of his time chasing Neely the sock thief, and acting as the "lap" for Elvis the lap dog.Sarah Lindquist
Sarah joined SDR in 2011. She has been involved in rescue over the years with the City of Boston Animal Shelter, A Rotta Love Plus, and Minnesota Pit Bull Rescue, and has been a volunteer at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota since 2004. She graduated from Suffolk University Law School in Boston in 2001 and, in her spare time, loves hanging out with family, friends, and her rescued pit bull, Rose.