Founder Interview - Sasha Abelson from Love Leo Rescue

The creation of Love Leo Rescue was inspired by one sweet Pitbull – Leo. Even though Leo has now passed, Love Leo Rescue continues to honor him through every animal they save.

Sasha Abelson is the hero (and founder!) behind this rescue. Inspired by her late pup Leo, Sasha is determined to save as many animals as possible. Not only does Love Leo rescue dogs in need, they focus on aiding those who are often overlooked – dogs with special medical needs. Located in Los Angeles, Love Leo is a foster based rescue with a “soft spot for dogs who need special medical care.” A lot of interested adopters may not have the time or resources for costly procedures or medical expenses. By providing medical care and training (as well as lots of pets and treats), these dogs are ready to find their forever homes. Love Leo also provide spay and neuter services (over 1000 dogs and cats!) to aid in the pet overpopulation crisis. 

Love Leo Rescue believes every dog deserves a second chance, and we couldn’t agree more. Through all of the lives they have saved, Sasha and her rescue continue to make Leo proud. Please meet Sasha Abelson, the hero and founder behind this rescue.

MB: First of all, thank you for doing the interview!  We know you are incredibly busy, so this means a lot. What drew you to begin working with animals?  

SASHA: I got involved in rescue sort of by accident.  I found a stray dog on the streets of Venice and long story short - a local rescue helped me get him neutered, vaccinated etc..... I started volunteering with them and once I learned what a rescue does - I knew I wanted to be involved.  Several years later I founded Love Leo.

MB: How did you start Love Leo Rescue? Was there a moment when you know this was your calling? Give us a little history!

SASHA: My late, great rescue dog Leo was the inspiration for Love Leo Rescue.  He passed away too young at the age of 6 from lymphoma.  He was a big, loving rescue Pitbull from New Jersey.  He was my first rescue dog as an adult and he taught me so much about dogs. I wanted his memory to live on. Every time someone says "Love Leo" he is remembered.  Each dog we save gets their second chance thanks to my boy Leo. 

MB: Do you currently have any beasts of your own? Are there any special rescues that have stuck out to you?

SASHA: I have 3 dogs now: Earl, Wyat and Bixie.  They are all rescues from different shelters and as it happens - they are all black and white. Two are Pitbull mixes and one is a black Shih Tzu mix who came to me with a horrible skin condition.  They are a funny little family and I am so lucky to have them. 

Many of our rescue dogs hold a special place in my heart.  We do rescue a lot of medical dogs that require major medical care, surgeries, intensive care etc.... It’s always heartwarming to see their transformation and we have had a lot of medical come back from the brink of death including Carl - a 1.5 lbs. pit puppy who was found starving on a construction site. He spent 5 days in the hospital, needed a feeding tube, IVs and round the clock care.  He made a full recovery and is happily adopted now.  Sparticus was a dog we rescued from Mexico.  He had a horrible case of mange and a broken leg, he was emaciated and could not stand.  He too made a full recovery and has been adopted.  Each one has their own special story to tell.

MB: What is the best part of working at Love Leo Rescue? What is the most challenging part?

SASHA: The best part of running a rescue is being able to make so many second chances possible.  It’s incredible to see these dogs transform from hopeless and rejected to loved and adored. In addition to rescuing one dog at a time - we also run a free and low cost spay and neuter clinic both here in LA and in Tijuana.  It’s such important work.  These clinic help cats and dogs lead happier, healthier lives AND prevent them from contributing to the pet overpopulation crisis.  To date we have spayed and neutered over 1000 animals in LA and around 800 in Tijuana. 

The hardest part is seeing the endless requests for help.  We sadly cannot help them all - just too many animals in need and not enough resources.

MB: We LOVE your Instagram feed! We can’t get enough of the rescue pups you post. Why do you think social media is so important for Love Leo Rescue?

SASHA: Social media has been such an important tool to help our pets be seen by a large audience.  Many dogs sat in the shelter unnoticed - then one great pix and a post and they can find their forever homes.  It also helps people understand what the reality is for so many neglected animals.  We posted a photo of a litter of Pitbull puppies infested with ticks. Most people had never seen anything like that in their lives.  Through our photos and posts we are able to explain what rescues do and why we are needed.

MB: How can people help or get involved with Love Leo Rescue? Do you have any big plans in the work or are there any upcoming events we should know about?

SASHA: Every month we hold a spay neuter clinic in El Monte.  And 4 times a year we hold a clinic in Mexico.  We are always looking for people to help sponsor these clinics.  If they want to sponsor one dog - or an entire clinic - donations are always appreciated.  We are also in need of large dog fosters.  Smaller dogs tend to be adopted pretty quickly but the larger dogs tend to take longer and need experienced fosters to house them until they find their forever homes.

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