These Humans Created A “Summer” Camp For Homeless Special Needs Dogs

Written by: Kellie Stevens

March 23, 2016

***UPDATE: 07/25/16***

Thanks to everyone’s incredibly generous donations, Camp SCR was able to get their backyard refinished with K–9 Grass (courtesy of TechGrass NYC) to make their rehabilitation center a safer, healthier environment for all their special needs pups.

They held an intimate ribbon cutting ceremony featuring some of their adorable (and adoptable!) dogs, like Baby Joey and Big Mama Darla.

The only thing that could make these “campers” happier would be finding their forever homes, but until then they are well taken care of and loving all of their playtime on the clean turf with their new pool and toys. Here are some photos of them enjoying the set–up:

SCR yard

Camp SCR with fresh K–9 Grass!
Bryce Darla

Bryce enjoying the agility course and Big Mama Darla playing with a rope toy

Jody pool SCR

Jodi going for a swim in the brand new pool

dogs new camp scr

Baby Joey (far left) and some other pups romping around
Darla Joey collage

And last but not least, Suzi going crazy for the hose:

Many thanks to all of the supporters who made this rehabilitation center possible! Be sure to follow Camp SCR on Facebook for more pics and videos, and check out Second Chance Rescue for ways to help and all of their adorable adoptables.

***Original Story***

With spring finally upon us, many hoomans are already looking forward to summer… which makes some of us think: SUMMER CAMP!! And there’s a special camp just for dogs that really needs our help right now.

Second Chance Rescue launched Camp SCR last summer to create a sanctuary where many of the special needs cases that they take in can heal and rehabilitate. Though they typically take in 8-10 dogs at a time (and up to 15 during the summer months when they have more volunteers), Camp SCR has helped over 120 dogs so far.

We spoke with camp director Regina Mendoza, who told us:

“At some point you just can’t keep track of the count anymore.”

Camp SCR Dog Cart

Mendoza told BarkPost the story of how she got involved with Second Chance Rescue, her first experience with volunteering, and what would eventually become Camp SCR.

“It was a few years ago that I was sitting in my kitchen, reading through story after story about these poor dogs that needed homes, and I came across a story about pregnant moms being given heart stick euthanasia in shelters. I sat there and I thought about those little puppies in their mom’s belly, and the mom trying to protect her babies, and the slow death, and I just cried for three days straight. That’s when I knew I had to do something.”

And that’s exactly what she did. Regina started volunteering, doing things like transporting dogs and home visits, but that wasn’t enough. She wanted more hands-on work, so she started visiting the vet partners where they had SCR dogs recovering and did walks with them. A little Terrier really sunk into her heart and she thought to herself, “Why is this dog here in a crate when he can be at my home?” And sure enough, she took him home and fostered him for the next six weeks until he was adopted into his forever family.

Regina Mendoza dog

Regina Mendoza, the director of Camp SCR, with Abbott – a pup saved from being euthanized because he had a spinal injury

Then there was a Chihuahua that she fostered. And another dog, and another. One turned into two, two turned into four, and before she knew it, Regina was running a rehabilitation center right out of her home in Flushing, Queens. This all started in November of 2014, and by the summer of 2015 it had been dubbed Camp SCR.


It started as a place where litters of puppies so young that they needed to be bottle-fed were cared for as they grew – which is around the clock care and a lot to take on. Mendoza told us that she would feed each one, clean them up, and have twenty minutes to wash bottles and prepare formula before it was time to do it all over again.

Camp SCR Bottle

More recently, Camp SCR has been a haven for severely abused or injured dogs that require intensive healing. Some of these dogs currently include Bodhi, a tri-pod pup with a broken front leg, and Carmella, who is fresh out of a hip surgery.

In December of 2014, when California shelters had a major overcrowding problem and they had to send 90 dogs out to shelters across the country, Second Chance Rescue and Camp SCR took in nine. They frequently get transports of 8-10 dogs at a time from shelters in the south that had them on the euthanasia list.

Camp SCR Bohdi

Bodhi needs safe, even ground to play on since one of his legs was amputated and another is healing from a break

Regina, a single mom and licensed massage therapist, hasn’t been doing this all on her own. Since the success of Camp SCR and the growth of going from one or two dogs to 10 or 15, volunteers have created shifts to help with daily care of the pups, including everything from training to play breaks to cleaning and dressing wounds. These wonderful folks do it all.

Mendoza told BarkPost:

“We really are Ground Zero for rescue dogs. We get these dogs who have had very little exposure to people and basically have to learn how to be around them. They wouldn’t have the same chance at adoption success if they went straight from where they came from to a home without the transition that we provide at Camp SCR.”

But there’s one major problem that Camp SCR is facing and that is the state of their outdoor play area.

The backyard is devoid of grass and any amount of precipitation turns it into such a mess that it’s unusable for days. There any many uneven surfaces and holes that make it dangerous for some of the recovering pups to use. Even the healthy pups are at risk for falling and injuring themselves, and worse, the soil is loaded with all kinds of bacteria that can potentially make the dogs sick. What was once a backyard full of grass has now deteriorated due to the natural conditions of having hundreds of dogs do what dogs do over time.

Bohdi the tri-pod pup with a broken leg and Carmella are at risk for falling into these holes and re-injuring themselves. Baby Joey, a puppy who came to Second Chance with his two back paws completely severed, has to wait for his specially-fitted orthopedic shoes before he can enjoy romping around in some fresh air back there. A lot of the Camp SCR pups are at a high risk for flight and need that fenced in area to be free to run and play while they’re learning to walk on a leash outside of the facility.

Camp SCR Baby Joey Paws Missing

Baby Joey wants to play outside too!

Carmella Camp SCR

And so does Carmella!

Second Chance Rescue has set up a fundraiser to fix this situation and have calculated they will need around $25,000 to complete their vision.

This will include putting down K9 Grass, which is a “safe, drainable, cleanable, and durable” type of synthetic grass made specially for dogs. They dream of having a large, grassy space with play equipment where all these dogs that have suffered so much hardship and abuse in their life can just be, well… DOGS!

Camp SCR Dream Backyard

Second Chance Rescue’s vision for their backyard renovations is pretty great, right?!

Since starting the fund a few weeks ago, their many supporters have already raised over $21,000 and they’re so close to their goal! Imagine if we can meet that and beyond, there are so many more dogs that can be rescued and rehabilitated. These dogs deserve a taste of the good life that extends beyond this amazing couch cuddling session.

Money can be donated to the cause here, and of course Second Chance is always in need of additional funds to continue doing the wonderful work that they do.

Camp SCR Dogs Backyard

As always, if you are considering adding a furry friend to your family, please check out the many dogs and cats Second Chance Rescue has waiting to find a warm, loving home. Follow Second Chance Rescue on Facebook for more updates and hopefully some videos of the new backyard once it’s completed!

Featured Image via Second Chance Rescue

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Written by: Kellie Stevens

March 23, 2016

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