English Springer Rescue America, Inc. (ESRA) is a national referral and foster care purebred placement organization and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. ESRA's mission is to provide foster care to English Springers impounded by humane societies, private shelters, and animal control facilities nationwide, as well as to offer adoption referral services for those agencies. There are no paid staff, and all our members do what they do on a completely voluntary basis.

English Springers are as susceptible to impoundment as any dog. They are picked up off the streets as strays or relinquished by their owners because of a move, illness or death, financial crisis, or other troubled circumstances. Adoption referral assistance is also available to those owners who can no longer care for their Springers and must give them up for adoption. Through the compassionate efforts and commitments to help, ESRA's volunteer members have successfully placed thousands of Springers in new loving homes.

To be considered for placement in ESRA's database of prospective adopting homes, click here for the adoption application. When received, and after the approval process, we will enter you in our database of homes preliminarily approved to adopt available dogs. These listings include dogs in shelters and foster homes and those being relinquished by their owners.

The people who began it all

In March 1998, ESRA began with the development of a friendship between two ladies from opposite sides of the country who shared a passion for English Springer Spaniels. In 1984, Jan Flagg, a southern California resident, adopted a five-week-old puppy from a shelter in Carlsbad, California. This adoption brought the awareness of a rescue operation needed for these loving Springers. Judy Manley, an Ohio resident and breeder since 1979, was pursuing a project to form a rescue committee for the national breed club, the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association. These two kind-hearted ladies met, and a partnership began to rescue English Springer Spaniels, out of which ESRA was born.

English Springer Rescue America, Inc. was incorporated in August 1999 in Orange County, California. On September 10, 1999, the organizational meeting was held in Oceanside, California, where a group of five people gathered (among them were Marie Devaney, Barbara Ellerbrock, Jan Flagg, and Christina Santos) to officially organize the rescue and served as the first directors of ESRA. In turn, the directors elected the first officers of ESRA, which included Jan Flagg (president); Judy Manley (vice president); and Christina Santos (chief financial officer/treasurer). The directors then identified 26 people who wanted to become members of the corporation and named them to membership. Among the 26 founding members of ESRA, four are members today: Marie Devaney, Judy Manley, Lillian Seldeen, and Denise Skonieczny.

Jan Flagg, the founding president of ESRA, passed away in November 2002. Judy Manley served as president of ESRA for several months in late 2002 and as director emeritus from 2006 to 2009. From December 2002 to June 2016, Caryn Pola served as president of ESRA.

From 2001 to 2015, ESRA assisted 19,251 dogs in need.

Join us in changing lives

Would you like to Join ESRA? If so, please click here for the membership application. Membership to ESRA costs you nothing, and the rewards of rescuing Springers in need will enrich your soul.

The original "Angel Sammy"

Posted by Jan Flagg on March 15, 2000

"…Along with this all, my heart was really touched by the mention of my pound dog Sam and the consensus of you all to name our mascot dog after him. It was because of his loss that I began to shelter hop looking to adopt another. I wanted to find another just like him. We all know it's really not possible to replace exactly what we lost, but you don't realize that at the time of the loss.

"But I did find Sam's double, impounded in Oceanside. Although female, she was his color, his size, his markings, his age, it was Sam. When I saw her first, she was not yet shelter property (she came in as a stray). She was in deplorable condition, ears matted to the leather, bleeding sores on her muzzle and feet. The office staff there at the shelter never told me to put a hold of her. They never gave me a reservation slip to fill out. They never told me she would be put down the next morning if I was not there at 9 am. When I did go back for her, she was gone, euthanized because of ear infections. It was this very incident that put me into rescue. How dare this shelter decide that a dog in this condition had no worth and that no one would be interested in it. They couldn't be farther from the truth, as many of ESRA's own rescue dogs with special needs and such have proven.

So, I am honored that all of you will also remember my Sam. He was a great dog; you all would have loved knowing him.

By the way, the dog I did adopt thereafter was Samantha (named after you know who!). She's a far cry from the looks of him!…"

Jan has now left this life, a victim of illness that took her far before her time. We remember her, in part, for sharing with us her favorite version of this famous poem, "The Rainbow Bridge".

The Rainbow Bridge

Inspired by a Norse legend

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still,
Where the friend of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their heath renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over … together.

© 1998 Steve and Diane Bodofsky.
All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted by Permission.

Though Jan is now gone, it is in her memory that we do what we do. See for yourself: