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Dec. 29, 1968 – Aug. 12, 2013

Julie K. Masterman, of Springville, the founder and driving force behind Sadie’s Safe Harbor Canine Rescue, died Monday after an unexpected illness. She was 44.

Employed as a finance manager for an engineering firm, she dedicated her life to the rescue group she named for her beloved beagle, Sadie.

She worked with Buffalo Pug and Small Breed Rescue before starting Sadie’s Safe Harbor Canine Rescue in 2003. During her years working in dog rescue, she was responsible for saving the lives of hundreds of homeless and critically endangered dogs from high-kill shelters and finding them good homes.

When Ms. Masterman was interviewed in May for a story about a rescued puppy that needed heart surgery, she said, “Sadie’s is an all-breed, all-circumstance, anything-goes type of organization. We help when needed, wherever we are needed. We accept local surrenders, help local area shelters, as well as out-of-state, and have several relationships with Southern shelters who are so desperately in need of assistance.”

Although Ms. Masterman had a special place in her heart for hounds, her group saved dogs of every size, shape, age and type, said her life partner, David Seider.

“She was dedicated to dog rescue and believed in it wholeheartedly,” he said. But while she accepted any dog into the rescue, even older ones or those needing veterinary care, she was picky about adoptive homes, he said.

“She was very careful to make sure the dogs went to good homes,” Seider added.

During her years as a well-known and respected dog rescue organizer, Ms. Masterman assembled a corps of dedicated volunteers to foster the dogs who were brought to this area from shelters where they would have been euthanized.

The last rescue trip organized by Ms. Masterman brought 39 dogs to Western New York from three shelters in North Carolina in late July. The dogs were placed in foster homes and posted on petfinder.com to await adoption; many have found homes.

Born Julie Buss in Lackawanna, she graduated from Orchard Park High School, then completed several online college courses.

Besides Seider, Ms. Masterman is survived by her mother, Helen Buss; a brother, Richard Buss; and two sisters, Nancy Glair and Colleen Wooliver.

Her funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Orchard Park United Methodist Church, 3700 N. Buffalo St.

Donations can be made to Sadie’s Safe Harbor Canine Rescue, 11381 Trevett Road, Springville, NY 14141. — Anne Neville