Misha May Foundation

A nonprofit organization


Misha May Foundation is a unique, rescue organization that seems to find the dogs and cats that need TLC. I've witnessed many rescues where an animal was found when it seemed there was no hope for them.
We adopted Grey from Misha May. He was left at an animal shelter because his owners could not afford an expensive heart procedure for pulmonary valve disease. The Misha May Foundation rescued Grey and had fund raisers to pay for the heart procedure he desperately needed. Misha May fostered him for about a year while waiting for his heart surgery, neutering and training. Now, about four years later Grey lives with us, his adoptive family. He is a happy, Frisbee dog that runs and runs and runs. He has brought a great amount of joy and laughter to our home, and is my daughter's best friend. What more can be said about such a great organization?
Dana Risberg, adopter and volunteer

I have fostered two dogs for Misha May over the past several months. Both dogs had been on Death Row in shelters and would certainly have been killed if it were not for Misha May.
I have been a foster volunteer for almost twenty years, and I have volunteered with several rescue organizations. Misha May is by far the best. Misha May treats its foster families magnificently and provides all the support and tlc we and the foster dogs in our care could ever hope or ask for. I am honored and privileged to be a part of the Misha May team.
One of the dogs, Wallie, a 2-year old mixed breed terrier, was discovered, after he arrived in Misha May's care, to have both Parvovirus and Distemper. Saving his life would require thousands of dollars which Misha May and donors raised. Wallie is now healthy and happy and flourishing in his new home.
Margaret Couch, foster

By attending the Understanding Dog classes I have gained a greater understanding of the behaviors of the rescue dogs that we work with. Some of these animals have been treated very poorly by their previous owners and I have found that by applying the positive reinforcement techniques I have learned we are making a difference in their lives. Instructor Lorraine May's knowledge and quick adaptation to the circumstances was very impressive.
I enjoyed the subject matter, learning materials and the atmosphere of the class and would recommend it to anyone looking for help in understanding their relationship with their canine friends.
As a Misha May Volunteer I have seen the great work that has been done for both the animals and their owners through the training and activities of the organization.
I am proud to say that I am involved with the Misha May Foundation.
Bill Yeager, volunteer and student

I learned so much from your class. I learned that dogs behave a certain way for a reason, not just to annoy me. I learned to pay more attention to the "why" of their behavior. I have learned to calm down my dog by being calm myself. Who knew it was that easy? Thank you so much for a fantastic learning experience!
Trish Bonnell, student

As a foster of 2 dogs thus far for The Misha May Foundation, I am grateful to them for not only saving two healthy and wonderful dogs from euthanasia, but also with advice, supplies and help in fitting two dogs into my household and publicizing them for adoption to their utmost capacity.
Terry Chriswell, publisher, Natural Awakenings magazine, DenverBoulder, foster mom

I thoroughly enjoyed the classes I attended. I use several of the techniques you taught and find they work wonderfully with my new charges at Pheobe's Place, the new home of Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies. I hope someday to be able to attend another 6 week session. The now and future residents of Pheobe's and I thank you, for opening my eyes to a gentler mind set of training.
John Bowman, rescue animal caregiver and student

I found the discussion on desensitizing most helpful. For a dog who has issues, to try and minimize or eliminate the fear of certain triggers is extremely important. (e.g., the sound of another dog's tags rattling). It makes sense but I would not have thought to do that on my own!
Jenny Gentry, adopter, volunteer, former Board Member, student

I thought the class I went to was great! Everybody was totally interested and involved, which impressed me. It's a great format.
Barrie Finger, owner, Mindful Dog Training

Volunteers and participants feel welcomed, valued and appreciated. I am so proud to be a supporter of Misha May Foundation as they promote human and animal welfare within the community in so many ways.
Understanding Dogs uses an integrated approach presented in a case study format that focuses on one dog each week. The lesson materials relate concepts, approaches and techniques to the issues at hand...


In order to create a society in which dogs are rescued, rehabilitated and remain in forever homes, Misha May Foundation Dog Training and Rescue provides FREE dog training to foster dogs with any rescue or shelter organization. Misha May, utilizing positive, force-free approaches, has successfully worked with all ages, issues, breeds and mixes.

Mission and Purpose

*To provide options, training and rehabilitation

for homeless mixed-breed dogs, or any

dogs who need us, until they find a permanent


*To design creative foster partnerships and

innovative programs which maintain or improve

the health, social skills and overall

well-being of these dogs as they wait for their

perfect people.

*To consistently support other non-profit

organizations that aid and benefit animals.

Our Commitments

- We believe that each individual dog, regardless of breed or mix, age or issue, or amount of time needed, deserves the opportunity to find a forever home. We rehabilitate medical and behavior problems, and facilitate healing. We are committed to the forever placement of each animal for whom we assume responsibility.

- We are committed to creating a compassionate society where euthanasia, or a 'good death', is reserved for those animals who are suffering without hope, as well as for those animals whose dangerous behavior is truly beyond rehabilitation.

- We are committed to using healing, compassionate methods, not force, with the animals we rescue as well as any animals we help.

- We are committed to educating ourselves and others in canine behavioral science, relying upon teaching and communicating with dogs, rather than on frightening, dominating or intimidating them.

- We are committed to each individual dog, and we celebrate the mutually beneficial bond that they share with humans

Background Statement

In The Beginning:

The Misha May Foundation was founded by Lorraine May in memory of her black Labrador Retriever mix Misha, a typically sweet and bright, but exuberant adolescent dog, who was rescued as she was being taken to a shelter. May recognized Misha and her precarious situation in many of the shelter dogs she worked with when volunteering at local shelters. May decided to create an organization to help the at-risk shelter dogs who were falling through the cracks and being euthanized for medical and behavior issues, and for lack of space and time. There would also be an emphasis on education and networking with the community.

Rescue Community:

As the organization formed, and previous to having foster homes, Misha May raised funds, hosted adoption fairs and provided training advice for rescues such as Ho-Bo Care Boxer Rescue, Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies, Front Range German Shepherd Rescue, and Great Dane Rescue.

Rescued Dogs: Misha May's first rescued dogs were those deemed by Denver Municipal Animal Shelter to be out of time or unadoptable. They would have been euthanized if a rescue could not have been found to take them. Each dog went into a Misha May foster home and was soon adopted. Young Joseph was a brindle mutt who had run out of time at the shelter, but found a new home with Misha May in just seven days! Elder Baby Bear had a cancerous growth on his foot. He received non-invasive treatment, which his adopter continued, stretching his life by years. Tomo, a pure bred German Shepherd with anxieties and allergies, found a new family to love and care for him, most likely more than he had ever anticipated. Sydney, a young Rotweiller mix, was mourning the loss of her first litter of puppies. She was adopted by an adoring woman and her two dogs.

During the next years, Misha May continued to grow, to yearn for a home of our own, and to provide care and new homes for any breed or mix of dog, who would otherwise have been euthanized in shelters. There were also dogs surrendered to us who were incompatible with certain children, dogs, cats, situations or people, instead of being surrendered to shelters where they may not have been easily adopted. We saved strays, dogs offered for free on Craig's List without a thought to their safety, and dogs freed from abusive or neglectful situations. Each dog received the care and training needed, and was adopted to a new home.

Hurricane Katrina:

In 2005, Misha May was the only rescue from Colorado to make two trips to save Katrina animals. Funded solely by individual donations with a volunteer crew, we collaborated with Louisiana shelters to target 80 homeless animals with little chance for survival because they would soon be euthanized to accommodate the arrival of displaced owned animals. Each animal was vetted, including dozens of heartworm treatments, and then adopted out.

Many of the animals required special care and adequate time to heal. Priscilla and Peanut were among the most traumatized. Both heartworm positive, it took them each multiple foster and adoptive homes before they were accepted, and accepting. Frosty, blind and needing medication, elicited tears from many volunteers as they considered how much pain he had suffered. Curly and George, stunning but traumatized brothers, growled the entire trip to Colorado. We had our doubts about their capacity to recover, but, recover they did. They are together in a wonderful home.

Twelve of the animals rescued were cats, who promptly became deathly ill upon our arrival in Colorado. All were treated, survived and were adopted.


Misha May and our Katrina rescues received help from hundreds of volunteers, vets and vet hospitals, foster homes and adopters, holistic practitioners and donors. It was at this time of greater visibility due to our Katrina rescues, that we experienced expanded interest from prospective Board members, from shelters and individuals needing help with their animals, and from donors and volunteers. The organization was maturing and realizing we could play a larger role in our community. We examined our sustainability, our dependence on an all volunteer staff and our heartfelt commitment to education.

We received greater and greater numbers of requests to accept animals who needed help as the community heard of our ability to successfully rehabilitate dogs and our commitment to keep them as long as was needed. We collaborated to the best of our ability with every group that asked. Abbey, from Broomfield Animal Control, needed immediate emergency care as she was carrying a deceased litter, and suffering from a potentially fatal infection. Bruiser, a tiny puppy purchased from a local pet store with unhealthy dogs and a no-return policy, was not only sick but no longer wanted, so he came to us. Chyna and her eight puppies found a foster home with us after being left at the Mesa County Shelter. Koh-Koh, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who spent a year with us, came from Wyoming after being attacked by local dogs. Lila, a Black and Tan Coonhound, was released to us by Table Mountain Animal Shelter as unadoptable due to food guarding. Max, a runaway intact Dachshund, came from Brighton Animal Control. Roxi, an older lab mix, came to us from the Adams County Shelter. We saved Wendall after he was abandoned in a Utah desert and left to die. Each of these dogs was rehabilitated and adopted.

Nineteen Puppies:

In 2007, we were suddenly alerted to the situation of nineteen puppies who needed to be rescued. We raised funds, found foster homes, and arranged to accept all nineteen! Most of them needed medical care well above and beyond what we had planned for. One litter, in particular, was very sick, and eventually Oggie lost his battle to parvovirus. The other eighteen puppies survived, thrived and were adopted, but Misha May had extensive bills to pay. We never considered euthanasia as an option. We spent the next three years, paying off the debt while continuing to operate the rescue. With the added slowing of the economy, we saw our donations, volunteers and foster homes dwindle. It was a time of reflection, reorganization and recommitment to address the underlying problem of discarded pets, at its core. We renewed our emphasis on community education.

Sanctuary, Training and Adoption Lodge:

We believe that when we are able to create our home-like facility, we will make an even bigger difference for dogs and their people. We would have a stable, healing environment within which to teach classes, and rehabilitate those dogs who need more time or who do not fit well into available foster homes. Dogs from other rescues and shelters would still be welcome in our classes, as would the community as a whole.

We see the public as our partner and believe that in partnership we can succeed. The problem is not that there aren't enough good homes, as pet stores and puppy mills continue to make a profit from their customers. The problem is more complicated and definitely relates to a common belief that pets are disposable. Just today someone told me that his son was choosing a sport instead of his dog, so the dog needed somewhere to go. I was heartbroken for the dog, but also greatly concerned for a child who is not taught the value of commitment and caring for a living being who was entrusted to him and depends on him. He might someday be someone's father. I wonder what type he will be?


Misha May currently needs board members with a commitment to our vision, volunteers willing to work towards it and foster homes to save as many animals as possible. The futures of their paws are in our hands. Please join us as partners in compassion and education.

Organization Data


Organization name

Misha May Foundation

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)




Organization Size

Small Organization


P.O. Box 151166
Lakewood, CO 80215

Service areas

Jefferson County, CO, US



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