ABC 10News Leadership: East County non-profit helping reunite missing dogs with owners

Posted at 3:00 PM, Feb 03, 2023

JAMUL, Calif. (KGTV) — An East County non-profit is helping pets find their way home.

"We have basically a combination of social rooms, outdoor yards, kennels," Babs Fry said.

Fry, a Pet Recovery Specialist, has turned her property in Jamul into a safe haven for dogs.

In 2021, she started the non-profit, A Way Home For Dogs, to help owners find their missing pets.

"A lot of what we do is on the phone, guiding them [owners] through the first steps to avoid making mistakes," she said.

Fry got involved with recovering pets after learning what not to do when she lost her dog several years ago.

She said the hardest part of her job is helping people control their emotions while their pet is missing. It's important to not panic and instead, focus on the dog's behavior.

"I help people understand that you don't find the dog looking for it. What you do is work the leads based on the experience of the dog's behavior, based on the dog's pattern, routine [and] schedule," Fry said.

"She [Fry] just gets dogs. She understands," Lauren Botticelli said.

Botticelli is the Executive Director of The Animal Pad. She's seen Fry in action many times as they worked to capture dogs that escaped the facility.

"There's a lot of sleepless nights when a dog of ours is out on the streets and Babs feels that same stress and she's there every step of the way," Botticelli said.

Not only does Fry reunite dogs with their owners, she also rescues strays and rehabilitates them, giving them a second chance at finding their fur-ever home.

"Because of my history in rescue, because of my understanding of dog behavior in an instinct sense, we are able to take a lot of dogs that other rescues would not be able to do," Fry said.

To many, Fry's non-profit is a lifesaver.

But, if you let Fry tell you, she's no hero. She's just a person using her love for dogs to guide them home.

"Honestly, I started this to pay it forward with no idea what it was going to look like for my future," she said. "It's turned into my passion. It's turned into my journey. It's turned into my purpose."

Fry's work has made such an impact in the community that ABC 10News and Lead San Diego are proud to select A Way Home For Dogs as the 10News Leadership Award winner for the month of February.

The non-profit is always in need of volunteers. For more info on how to volunteer, you can contact Fry at 619-249-2221 or

To nominate someone for the 10News Leadership Award, visit here.