D.E.L.T.A. Rescue: Ahead of the Pack in Its Devotion to Animals

This no-kill shelter has remarkable veterinary facilities for its residents — and it desperately needs help from those who can give to sustain its mission

For Leo Grillo, the founder and president of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, the inspiration for his life’s work — a dog he didn’t know — appeared to him nearly 40 years ago in a series of dreams.

Soon after, Grillo spotted a tired and very skinny black Doberman hobbling along a ridge in the Angeles National Forest in Los Angeles County. The sight broke his heart. Grillo promptly rescued the dog and named him Delta — which means “change” in Greek.

At that moment, an incredible new life-saving mission for countless other desperate animals was born.

Look at this tiny sweetheart — he’d be nowhere if it weren’t for D.E.L.T.A. Rescue. Can you help him and others like him?

Today, Grillo oversees a permanent home and haven for some 1,500 dogs and cats at any one time. These are animals abandoned or born in the wilderness and who otherwise would have suffered for years or even their entire lives if D.E.L.T.A. hadn’t stepped in to help them.

The largest care-for-life animal sanctuary of its kind in the world, D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is perched in the high desert area of Los Angeles, California, and spread across a mountaintop ranch of more than 100 acres. D.E.L.T.A. stands for “dedication and everlasting love to animals.” And Grillo, a former movie actor, has never strayed from his original desire to help desperate animals.

Still, one must see the super sanctuary up close in order to understand its almost sublime grandeur and magnitude — a kingdom all its own. It’s not merely the idyllic location and the vast number of animals who are well cared for that separate D.E.L.T.A. from other shelters.

It’s the fastidious attention to every single detail. It’s a mission.

“The animals come first. In everything we do, we ask ourselves, ‘What is best for the animals?’ My life is guided by that principle,” said Leo Grillo, whose passion for his dogs and cats shines through his every word and deed.

But none of this is easy. And D.E.L.T.A. Rescue receives no government money or public financial support at all. D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is funded solely by private donors — by people who want to make a difference in the lives of precious animals who were cruelly abandoned in the wild by others, and who deserve a shot at a decent life where they are loved, cared for, and treated well for the rest of their lives.

To make a donation to D.E.L.T.A. in the month of August, which is National Make a Will month — and to learn more about the extraordinary work this animal-focused organization is doing — please visit its website here.

At D.E.L.T.A., specially made straw-bale dog houses that are covered with stucco provide hundreds of dogs of all breeds and sizes comfort and relief from both the summertime heat and the cold of winter.

This is just one of the many ways this extraordinary facility demonstrates its devotion to all residents of its care-for-life shelter.

This poor thing — so gorgeous! — was given a new lease on life by D.E.L.T.A. Rescue.

Two veterinary hospitals right on site are staffed full-time seven days a week — another important manifestation of the group’s devotion to its beloved animals.

The state-of-the-art veterinary hospitals are equipped with intensive care units for dogs and cats, surgical suites, a diagnostic lab, X-ray equipment, and a cold laser unit, which has already given one totally paralyzed dog the full use of his legs again.

Dr. Larry D. Cowgill is a professor in the department of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, one of the top such schools in the United States. For decades he’s known of Leo Grillo’s devotion to animals and his work on their behalf.

“Leo Grillo has meaningfully impacted the betterment of animal health through his dedication to his dogs and cats and their health and welfare,” said Cowgill.

Grillo, said Cowgill, was particularly visionary in his desire to develop veterinary hemodialysis and other therapies for suffering animals years ago. Once the techniques were established at UC Davis with his support, he wanted to share that knowledge with other vets wherever they were — for the benefit of as many animals as possible.

All of this is why, in 1997, Grillo received the El Blanco Award from UC Davis for establishing the world’s first kidney dialysis center for dogs and cats. Since then, D.E.L.T.A. Rescue has continued to help animals from all over the world.

This healthy, happy dog knows love, devotion and care for life, thanks to D.E.L.T.A. Rescue.

D.E.L.T.A. even has a helicopter pad for crisis situations, a large reservoir of emergency water, and a brigade of eight fully equipped fire engines.

“The nice thing about doing work for D.E.L.T.A. is that you can think on a completely different plane,” noted veterinarian Dr. Gaylord Brown, who has assisted at D.E.L.T.A. under Grillo’s direction. “You can see a veterinary patient without having to explain to a client the various cost options and risk factors. You actually decide on the best course of action for the animal, no matter the financial situation. If a patient needs to see a specialist, that animal goes to see a specialist.”

Make no mistake: The animals that reside at D.E.L.T.A. Rescue receive a quality of care that is unsurpassed.

“At D.E.L.T.A,” said Grillo, “the staff are highly motivated to provide a level of care that goes beyond working in a vet hospital. They know the backgrounds of these animals — and they know that here at D.E.L.T.A., these animals have a home and a family for life.”

There is even a hospice at D.E.L.T.A. “Everyone here gets extra-special attention,” he added.

D.E.L.T.A. is right now compassionately caring for some 800 lucky cats and 700 dogs. For the residents with cancer, the super-sanctuary continues to explore alternative therapies for both palliative and definitive cures for its geriatric patients.

In private practice, where the cost of medical intervention for animals can be prohibitive, “euthanasia is very often the treatment of choice,” said Grillo. But at D.E.L.T.A., treating animals with a long-term prognosis that might include such interventions as surgery and chemotherapy is commonplace.

Related: D.E.L.T.A.:  A Dog Rescue Outfit Like No Other

Beyond treating cancer, D.E.L.T.A. is known for its rehabilitative medicine. It was one of the first facilities to use magnetic resonance, therapeutic ultrasound, and cold laser therapy to treat orthopedic degeneration and injuries. And it’s always looking for cutting-edge treatment modalities to treat its dogs and cats.

“If you asked me at the pearly gates, ‘What is your biggest contribution to medicine?’ I would say kidney dialysis,” emphasized Grillo. “Early on, human medicine was forever changed by our work with the animals, and our disposable artificial kidney replaced the glass one that was cleaned out with carcinogens.”

All those who appreciate the importance of this remarkable mission that is D.E.L.T.A. — and who understand that it is saving animals’ lives every single day — can make D.E.L.T.A. a part of their estate planning. They can leave assets to D.E.L.T.A. Rescue in a will or trust by making a bequest.

“Many people are looking for an organization to which they can leave a meaningful legacy gift, a mission that is old enough to be around long after they are gone, and an organization that is not so rich that their legacy will not be impactful,” said Grillo.

Individuals can name D.E.L.T.A. Rescue in a variety of ways — as a direct beneficiary of specific assets such as real estate, art, jewelry, certificates of deposit, cash, etc., or as a beneficiary of a percentage or lump sum of assets.

The details and process are clearly explained here, on D.E.L.T.A.’s own website.

Warren Eckstein, a pet behaviorist, animal trainer, and animal rights activist, himself made a bequest to D.E.L.T.A. Rescue along with his wife, Denise, as part of his personal estate planning. “Leo Grillo is on the right track in his work,” said Eckstein in a video he made about D.E.L.T.A. “I want to make sure that these furry angels abandoned across the desert and forest and saved by D.E.L.T.A. Rescue are cared for long after I cross the rainbow bridge,” he said.

To make a donation to D.E.L.T.A. in the month of August, which is National Make a Will month — and to learn more about the extraordinary work this animal-focused organization is doing — please visit its website here.