Sara Alize Cross

Photo: Donna Alberico

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Sara Alize Cross, Age 37 (Before)
Founder, Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue

Her Rescue Mission: When Sara volunteered to foster a rescue dog in her one-bedroom apartment in 2011 she never imagined it would lead her to found an organization, Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue, responsible for saving about 1,000 dogs from high-kill shelters in the rural South. But one dog led to another, and the work became all-consuming. Many shelters give stray dogs a 72-hour window to be rescued, "so I'm always jumping from emergency to emergency," says Sara, who spends her days frantically coordinating with shelters, vets, and potential foster families. The stress has taken its toll. "I've gained 25 pounds and have thousands of dollars in credit card debt," she says. But she has no regrets: "Being able to alleviate suffering is incredibly empowering."

"I didn't set out to start a dog rescue, but when you see suffering and you know you can do something about it, it's very hard to turn away," says Sara, who has been responsible for as many as six dogs at a time.

To learn about the Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue foster program, go to