Vizsla rescue of texas

Introducing: Vizsla Rescue of Texas

By Kate Payne

This short history of Vizsla Rescue of Texas (VRT) is being presented to introduce and clarify any confusion about our newly formed 501(c)(3) Vizsla rescue in Texas. While it is definitely the case that our not-for-profit status is only a few months old, purebred Vizsla rescue in Texas has a history of 25+ years.

In the beginning... well, actually from the mid-late 1980s, Vizsla rescue was handled by individual club members who, out of a personal generosity and concern for the breed, helped care for and re-home Vizslas in need. In the early 1990s, many breed clubs became more organized in their rescue efforts. The Vizsla Club of America (VCA) was among these, as well as the Texas Gulf Coast Vizsla Club (TGC Vizsla Club). A few years later North Texas Vizsla Rescue was started in the Dallas area by Janet Simer, after the Trinity Valley Vizsla Club went dormant.

While many of us worked together to make Vizsla rescue in Texas a reality in those early days, we owe a huge debt to one remarkable woman: Rosa Lee (Roni) Phillips. It has been so many years ago that I cannot remember why I got that fateful phone call from Roni, but she called me one day in the late summer of 1991 to say that she had two Vizslas in her garage that needed to be rescued. They were found on an island in Lake Travis (near Austin) - emaciated and heartworm positive - and were rescued by a kind couple who loaded them into their boat. Having no food on board, the dogs were offered the only calories the couple had on hand: beer. The dogs were so hungry they drank it. Roni thought it was about high time that the TGC Vizsla Club formed an official rescue group, so she provided the seed money to start paying the vet bills on these two dogs. The club scrambled to find foster care, and I drove to San Antonio to bring them from Roni’s home to Houston. Later that fall, TGC Vizsla Club staged a Fun Day of dog games and fund raising to benefit our newly founded rescue group. The event was open to all breeds and was held in Judy Richey’s backyard. Sadly, Judy is no longer with us, but Jan Nuzzo and Peggy Ross are still active in Vizsla rescue. Jan is Treasurer of VRT and Peggy is our rescue coordinator for the southern part of the state. Roni continued to support us financially with generous donations.

Fast forward to 2008. Hurricane Ike was closing in on Houston when I received a call from Roni asking what my evacuation plans were. I told her that we were in the process of boarding up and getting ready to hunker down. She would not hear of it and insisted that I should load up my husband and the three dogs and head for safety with her in San Antonio. I will always remember what a wonderful visit we had with Roni, despite the knowledge that our neighborhood took a hard hit from Ike and that we were to be without power for two weeks. About six weeks later, Roni called to say that she had just been diagnosed with cancer and that she had elected to proceed with chemotherapy. She had scheduled an appointment with her attorney the following day to finalize her will and wanted to know how she could best provide for Vizslas in Texas. Specifically, she wanted to know how the bills were being paid and how her bequest could best benefit purebred Vizsla rescue throughout the state. I was VCA rescue chair at that time and explained that the TGC Vizsla Club’s rescue fund was holding its own at that time, and that North Texas Vizsla Rescue was partly self-supporting and relied on reimbursement from the Vizsla Welfare Foundation (VCA’s non-profit established to fund health studies and rescue) for the balance of its needs. My suggestion was to split her bequest between the two organizations. Roni lived only a few more months, but settling her estate was quite a lengthy and complicated process.

Meanwhile, the face of rescue had undergone many changes. Vizsla rescue groups that were not affiliated with any local club began to spring up around the country. In many cases these groups also rescue suspected Vizsla mixes, a practice that has never been mandated by the bylaws of the TGC Vizsla Club, North Texas Vizsla Rescue or VRT. The Vizsla Welfare Foundation no longer directly funds Vizsla rescue by paying vet bills and, instead, makes grants to deserving rescue groups on an as needed basis. When Roni’s bequest was finalized the check was made out to the VCA. In order for purebred Vizslas in Texas to receive the funds it was necessary to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) organization. The TGC Vizsla Club and the resurrected Trinity Valley Vizsla Club (Dallas/Fort Worth area) worked together (with guidance from the Vizsla Welfare Foundation) to establish a Vizsla rescue organization that would cover all of Texas. Not-for-Non-profit status was granted in the fall of 2015, and Roni Phillips bequest was turned over to the VRT in January of 2016. There is still work to be done, but with 25+ years of experience and hard work behind us, VRT is well equipped to provide for medical care, fostering and placement for Texas Vizslas in need of forever homes. VRT has a web page at (insert web page address) and a Facebook page (insert FB address) to provide updated information about our organization and the dogs in need of care and adoption. 

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