Three years ago, a shepherd mix named Sugar and her three week-old puppies were dumped at a “high-kill” shelter in Riverside. The dog family was just hours away from joining the approximately 670,000 dogs euthanized in shelters each year in the U.S. when The Furgotten, an L.A.-based nonprofit dedicated to saving dogs, stepped in and found a foster family for Sugar while she raised her puppies. The puppies were quickly adopted, but Sugar was not. She spent the next two years being shuffled from one foster home to another.
Last year, Kimberly Goodman and Chris Emerson, who had fostered and placed numerous dogs on behalf of The Furgotten, agreed to host Sugar until a forever home was found. But Sugar’s story took a turn. Emerson and Goodman discovered that the closer they got to finding her a home, the less they wanted to let Sugar go. Today, Sugar is an award-winning dog in Hallmark’s “The American Rescue Dog Show,” the only show of its kind to spotlight rescue dogs.
Hundreds of rescues from all over the country compete in the two-night televised event in Santa Monica, with the winner in each category facing off for the title of “Best in Rescue.” Sugar, a lover of belly rubs, won the “Best in Belly Rubs” division, then advanced to win the “Best in Rescue 2020” in February, earning a $35,000 donation for The Furgotten.
Emerson and Goodman are using this newfound fame to help educate people who are ready to bring an animal into their home through adoption or fostering. They hope to shine a spotlight on older dogs like Sugar who get left behind as people search for puppies.