Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab

Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab takes in animals of all ages – including litters of young pups! In most cases, puppies and adult dogs are given the veterinary care they need before being taken in by fosters until they find their forever homes.




Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab has two different kinds of staffing — ranch and office. The six members of the ranch staff live onsite and do all the feeding and cleaning. The six office staff members facilitate grants, fundraising, adoption coordinating, matchmaking and procedure protocols. “We have a lot of amazing volunteers but about 15 who continuously help out whenever we need them,” says Cheyleen Payson, the rescue’s Fundraising Coordinator. “We have 400 fosters. A lot of our fosters are only here for short periods, but we have about 50 we can always depend on.”


Underdog Animal Rescue and Rehab is the only organization in Utah that exclusively serves stray companion dogs on Native American Reservations. “One hundred percent of our dogs are ‘res’ dogs,” says Cheyleen. “There are approximately 250,000 stray dogs living on the Navajo and Ute reservations. Life expectancy for these dogs is about two years without intervention.”


As a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, fundraising is a massive part of the organization. They host a yearly “Dog Paddle” and hold “puppy showers” and garage sales, as well as monthly spay/neuter/vaccination clinics that are free of charge to residents of the reservations. “We often get a good amount of donations during these clinics,” says Cheyleen. “We also work with other organizations that share the same interests and morals as we do. For example, we’re currently running a fundraiser with Hugo Coffee roasters. For one week, a portion of their proceeds go to us.”


“We were contacted one day by a tourist driving along a highway on the Navajo Nation, north of Monument Valley, AZ, who had made a startling discovery — a dog sitting at the side of the highway next to a cardboard box with cars and trucks whizzing by. The tourist turned around to see if the dog was okay, and was surprised to find several tiny pups, one or two days old, in the cardboard box.

“The heat of summer would have killed those tiny pups in just hours had they not been rescued. The Good Samaritan scooped them up and changed their vacation plans to bring the little family directly to Underdog. Kele, the mom of the pups, is a beautiful dog with a beautiful spirit and we are so happy to have been part of her story.”

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