Downeast Dog News

Rescue of the Month: Buddy Up Animal Society

Giving Hope to At-Risk Shelter Dogs
By Susan Spisak | Jun 01, 2018

Founded in 2011, the 501(c)3 Buddy Up Animal Society’s (BUAS) mission is to rescue dogs and cats that are out of options, often in high-kill shelters, because they have health or behavioral problems. These “last-chance” animals are in luck when this all-volunteer foster organization based in southern Maine (and with a small west coast “branch”) takes them in and addresses their needs with the aid of behaviorists and veterinarians.

Board member Jaime Cefalu reiterated that they’re different because they’re not rehoming “cute” little puppies or owner relinquishments (although they will connect owners with resources for resolving issues or refer to other rescues). And their dogs “come from anywhere.” Hurricane victims have arrived from Florida and Texas, and they’ve even taken in a blind dog from New York. She detailed a few specific cases they’ve gladly undertaken.

Homer was “dumped in [BUAS board member] Frank Billings lap” at his Happy Tails Inc. Daycare, Lodging and Dog Walking studio in Portland. As a former bedbug sniffing dog, Homer was super energetic with a prey drive, making it hard to find him the perfect home. This past January, after a year in BUAS’ care, he hit pay dirt with soulmate Dylan Banden of Belgrade.

Unfortunately, that prey drive proved disastrous. Homer snuck out a screen door to chase a squirrel and was soon lost. Flyers were posted, social media was put to good use, and he was eventually found--covered in porcupine quills, externally and internally. Because he needed life-saving surgeries and extensive medical needs, BUAS took him on financially to ease Banden’s burden and began raising funds for the dog they all had come to love. He recouped with Billings, so he could be close to his vet--but Banden traveled down daily for visits and also fostered another BUAS dog while Homer recovered. Quills continue to migrate from his body, vet visits will continue, but he’s better and is home with Banden. (Costs are expected to run close to $15k. To donate to their Homer fund,

Gunnar McHuddleston came under their wing last year from Houston--a facility there asked BUAS to rescue him. “We couldn’t say no,” said Cefalu. He had been a stray, shot numerous times (with one in his spine that left his back end paralyzed), and left for dead. The Lab mix was named for the sources who helped save him: Dr. Huddleston performed his surgery in Texas, Gunnar’s Wheels Foundation donated a custom wheel cart for his back legs, and the Lance McCullers Jr. Foundation medically sponsored him.

McCuller’s non-profit along with Cloud Nine and Pound Wishes provided transport to his temporary foster home in California with BUAS President, Chrissie Emmons. He’s doing amazingly well with his acupuncture and hydrotherapy, has wagged some, but they haven’t found an adopter in California. So he’ll be transported to Portland so Billings can foster him with the hopes of finding a loving, permanent home in Maine. Cefalu ended the story of Gunnar with this thought, “He’s so sweet…such a fighter and has come so far.”

For more on BUAS, including how to donate, volunteer or foster, and to see all their adoptables, visit