Rocket Dog Rescue

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For the Bay Area shoe company, see Rocket Dog

Rocket Dog Rescue
Motto Leave no dog behind[1]
Formation 2001; 16 years ago (2001)
Founder Pali Boucher
Founded at San Francisco, California, U.S.
Legal status Nonprofit corporation
Purpose pet adoption, animal rescue
San Francisco Bay Area, California, U.S.

Rocket Dog Rescue is a volunteer nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California, devoted to pet adoption and animal rescue. It is the most prominent of several local private organizations that save dogs from euthanasia by caring for them and finding new families.[2] The program places dogs from animal shelters in the San Francisco Bay Area into foster homes while awaiting adoption. It also treats medical and behavioral problems such as socialization issues, neuters and spays the animals, and provides vaccines, so as to make their animals adoptable.[3]


The organization was founded by Pali Boucher, daughter of a hippie mother and Paul Boucher, a program director of San Francisco radio station KSAN (formerly "Jive 95"; now 107.7, "the Bone").[4][5] Pali is an HIV victim and former foster child and drug addict whose mother died when she was ten.[6] After being homeless for more than ten years, she adopted an abandoned coonhound puppy from the local dog pound. She named him Leadbelly[6][7] and lived with him on the street for several more years. After spending six months in jail[8] she then entered the Good Shepherd Gracenter,[7] a women's residential recovery program run by the Roman Catholic order, the Good Shepherd Sisters.[9][10] She credits the program and her dog with saving her life.[11]

In the late 1990s Boucher began working for Hopalong Animal Rescue, based in Oakland, California.[7] In 2000, while she was a client at the SF/SPCA Animal Hospital, she inspired her veterinarian, Dr. Ilana Strubel, to found Veterinary Street Outreach Services (VET SOS), a Project of the San Francisco Community Clinic Consoritum's Street Outreach Services Program, a private not-for-profit human healthcare agency, where Pali had received care while homeless. VET SOS is mobile clinic that helps homeless people who are unable to care for their pets.[12]

In 2001, the year after Leadbelly's death, she started Rocket Dog Rescue and won a Points of Light award for volunteerism.[11] She claims to have rescued 150 dogs in the first year.[11] In 2006 the organization was profiled on Discovery's Animal Planet network in a one-hour documentary, Rocket Dogs.[13] By 2007 the organization had saved approximately 3,000 animals, and was spending $150,000 per year of donated funds on veterinary bills for sick animals.[6]

In December 2007, Boucher's home in Bernal Heights burned in a fire, making her homeless once again and killing three dogs, a parrot, and a pigeon for which she was caring.[6][14][15] The group has housed most of their dogs in foster homes,[16] and an emergency fund was proposed.[17]

In 2014, Rocket Dog Rescue opened its Urban Sanctuary and Adoption Center in East Oakland.[18]

In 2017, Boucher and Rocket Dog Rescue were featured in an episode of Cesar Millan's TV series Dog Nation.[19][20]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Hank Pellissier (March 3, 2003). "Saving Pit Bulls from the Death Chamber". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  3. ^ "About Us". Rocket Dog Rescue. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  4. ^ Fong-Torres, Ben (August 13, 2006). "Radio Waves". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Where are they now". KSAN. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  6. ^ a b c d Tucker, Jill (December 23, 2007). "Dog rescuer loses her home in a fire:3 canines she was fostering are killed in destructive blaze". SF Gate. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  7. ^ a b c Erica Kohnke. "Homeless Dogs Find a Pal in Pali Boucher". The Noe Valley Voice. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  8. ^ Sally Stephens (January 2006). "For the Love of a Dog" (PDF). The Woofer Times. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  9. ^ "The Sisters of the Good Shepherd". Good Shepherd GraceCenter. Archived from the original on August 29, 2007. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Gracecenter". the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  11. ^ a b c Lord Martine (November 29, 2002). "Saving dogs helped her save herself". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  12. ^ Suzanne Pullen (January 7, 2006). "Jefferson Award: Ilana Strubel, vet for pets of homeless". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  13. ^ "Rocket Dogs documentary". Studio B Films. 
  14. ^ "3 Dogs, 2 Birds Die In SF Animal Foster Home Fire". CBS Broadcasting. December 21, 2007. Retrieved December 28, 2007. [dead link]
  15. ^ "The Bay Area Reporter Online - Rocket Dog founder regroups after fire". Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  16. ^ "News From Near and Far, March 2008 — BayWoof". Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  17. ^ "SFGov". Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Desk, TV News. "Nat Geo Wild to Premiere New Series CESAR MILLAN'S DOG NATION, 3/3". Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Cesar Millan drops in to Oakland shelter for "Dog Nation" filming". Retrieved April 27, 2017. 

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