City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

When a Hero Offers a Home

Street Dog Hero – A Homecoming Story

Article by Donna Burklo

Photography by Photos contributed by SDH

Originally published in Bend Lifestyle

The circumstances were such that Marianne Cox couldn’t ignore the signs. In December of 2016, she and her 11-year-old daughter, Bella, were volunteering at the Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO) when 40 dogs rescued from a South Korean meat farm were brought in to be cared for and rehomed. Memories of a trip to Mexico with her then boyfriend – now husband – Chris Cox swarmed in her mind. The street dogs. There were so many. She had bonded with them then and continued to bond with them on return trips to favorite Mexican vacation destinations over the years.

Looking at those dogs from South Korea, she knew. She had to help. She had the time.

Lynne Ouchida, the Community Outreach Manager at HSCO, was her guide, coaching Marianne in the ways of managing animal welfare and connecting with like-minded people and organizations.

By March of 2017, her 501c3 filing was final. In April that year, Street Dog Hero (SDH) was an official, hit-the-ground-running, nonprofit organization.

That Spring Break in Sayulita, Mexico, Cox met with the team at Sayulita Animals and they hit it off. Unplanned, she and her family took home their first rescue. “The whole trip home was horrible. Everything went wrong. We learned a LOT,” Cox recalls. Yet, a friend stepped in to foster the pup and within a week, “Casey” was adopted into his forever home.

Flashing forward in her hero’s cape of compassion and Cox has, to date, rescued and rehomed 3,000 dogs. Most are at home in the Pacific Northwest, yet some are in other parts of the United States and Canada. They come from all over the world on “angel flights” and are met at the Redmond airport by their foster home representatives. 

Cox understood immediately that rescuing was not the complete solution to improving the lives of street dogs. There simply had to be fewer of them to start with. Within the first year, she began including education and spay and neuter clinics in Mexico and Central Oregon in the mix of services offered. Focusing on low income and underserved areas, thousands of unwanted litters have been avoided due to SDH efforts.

Alyson Campbell is a recipient of not one, but two, rescued SDH dogs, Chance and Juneau. She is also a foster home provider. Chance was rescued from South Korea four years ago and Juneau from Warm Springs a year and a half ago. Alyson laughs, “Juneau was a ‘foster fail’. I fostered him and couldn’t let go.”

The process of becoming a foster home provider is simple and the requirements are not difficult, yet they are specific and essential. “Time and patience,” Campbell says. “Time and patience are the two most important components of being a helpful and successful foster home. Some of these pups have never been indoors. Time spent in the transition from rescue is critical.”

Cox is also the proud pet parent of two SDH pups, Frank and Coco. Everyone in her family, husband Chris, daughter Bella and son Colton, are involved in the mission of “serving dogs in need around the world and their communities through rescue, adoption, wellness, spay/neuter, and education.” It’s a labor of love and nothing makes Cox’s heart swell more than when she hears from a new SDH recipient, “I didn’t save that dog, that dog saved me.”

  • Marianne Cox, founder of Street Dog Hero, speaks at a SDH recent fundraising event.
  • Street Dog Hero

How to get involved:

•  Open your home. Without foster homes, SDH cannot rescue dogs whose needs dictate a complete change in environment.

•  Volunteer at the site. Puppies are kept at the SDH headquarters and need socialization, exercise and more!

•  Act as a Flight Angel. Check in with Becca Cohen via SDH website if you’ll be traveling and are willing to accompany a rescued dog.  

•  Provide financial support. This work comes at a cost and there are many ways to offer financial support. 

Since 2017 SDH has flown hundreds of dogs from around the world to loving homes in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. SDH has saved dogs from Mexico, India, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, China, South Korea, Albania, and dogs from overcrowded shelters in Texas, Ohio, and California. SDH always strives to continue “Serving dogs in need around the world and their communities through rescue, adoption, wellness, spay/neuter and education.”