About Us


Our Mission

Many veteran rescuers will tell you that the years following the pandemic have been the worst years in animal rescue they’ve ever experienced. It is a vicious cycle: Shelters are overflowing and rescues are full, thus unable to take in more dogs. This results in people abandoning dogs at a very high rate. When stray or surrendered dogs are brought into already full shelters, sadly, shelter workers are often forced to euthanize dogs for kennel space because in most cases, they cannot turn those new dogs down. It is not only friendly adult and senior dogs at risk of euthanasia, but puppies as well. The concept of “no kill” shelters has almost become a thing of the past, yet people continue to breed dogs faster than rescuers can save them. Founders, Mara and Ciara, sought to make a difference in the Central Kentucky area.

Saved By Fate Dog Rescue was founded to be a community resource for Kentucky animal shelters and residents. We see two possible solutions to help alleviate the dog overpopulation issue: Maximize the number of dogs pulled from Kentucky animal shelters into our foster homes and provide spay and neuter resources to Kentucky residents who cannot afford to do so on their own.

Our primary objective is to reduce the need for Kentucky animal shelters to euthanize dogs by specializing in pulling dogs at high risk before they are euthanized. Bully breeds, specifically pit bull type dogs, hold a special place in the hearts of the SBF founders and will be prioritized by our Intake Team.

In an effort to break the cycle of more dogs ending up in shelters, Saved By Fate offers a completely free Spay & Neuter Assistance Program to Kentucky residents. At the end of 2023, we started to extend our S&N assistance to our rural KY animal shelter partners in need of additional resources as to avoid dogs being adopted out unaltered. For more information on this program, please visit our Resources tab.

Additionally, Co-Founder, Ciara Hagedorn, regularly visits local schools to educate Kentucky youth on the importance of spaying and neutering, professional dog training, and adopting from animal rescues and shelters.

Behind The Name

There is a common phrase amongst those who have adopted pets from a rescue organization, shelter, or humane society: “Who rescued who?” The phrase applies to how Saved By Fate President and Co-Founder, Mara, ended up with her oldest dog, Sugar (the dog in the rescue’s logo). Mara’s home was burglarized in 2013, which was a horrifying experience for her. She was not able to sleep in her own home for weeks. A family member suggested adopting a dog. After meeting a few dogs, Mara determined that none were the right fit, and halted her search. Weeks later, Mara’s boss mentioned a small pitbull mix who would be taken back to the local shelter the next day if nobody took her due to her owners moving to Texas. Mara went to meet this dog, “Brown Sugar”, that evening. Sugar sat right on Mara’s feet and asked for pets. Her ears and skin were infected; She hadn’t been taken to a vet at all in the year that her previous owners had her. Sugar also had behavioral issues. Mara feared that Sugar might be euthanized if she returned to the local shelter due to her breed and reactivity with other dogs. Mara adopted Sugar the next day. It felt like Fate.

Sugar quickly changed Mara’s perspective on pitbull-type dogs. Sugar is a protector, a source of comfort, and Mara’s best friend. Mara had to learn the hard way that sometimes, owning a pitbull-type dog means needing to make lifestyle changes and experiencing unfair judgement, but that doesn’t make those dogs any less worthy of love.

Since being involved with animal rescue, our Founders have experienced many other situations that felt like Fate, including multiple shelter intakes that saved lives. Oftentimes, we’re asked to pull dogs who only have days, if not hours, before they’re euthanized, and miraculously, a foster family will happen to see our plea and step up just in time.

About Our Founders

Mara and Ciara worked together on the board of another bully breed rescue in Kentucky for over 3 years. They bring a combined 15 years of rescue experience to Saved By Fate. During their previous collaboration as Adoptions Coordinator and Intake Coordinator, they observed a dire need for a specialized dog rescue that could assist their shelter partners in saving the lives of puppies and dogs at high risk of euthanasia.

Mara DeLaus

Mara DeLaus


From an early age, Mara was always an animal lover! Although originally from Western New York, Mara currently lives in Central Kentucky with her boyfriend, Bennett, her 4 dogs (2 foster fails), and multiple cats.

Unable to foster adult dogs due to her own dogs’ preferences, she developed a special love for fostering puppies. Since 2021, she and her boyfriend have fostered over 40 dogs.

Rescue can be difficult at times, but match-making rescued puppies and dogs with their forever families is what’s most fulfilling for Mara. If an acquaintance, friend, or family member mentions that he or she is looking for a specific type of dog, Mara will be scouring Facebook and adoption websites to find them the perfect fit!


Ciara Hagedorn


Ciara has never gone a day without a dog in her life. She is originally from Irvine, a small town in Kentucky. Although Ciara is very much a people person, she always had a dog in tow everywhere she went. Ciara came into pitbull rescue in 2016 when she came across a Facebook post about a dog named Luna. Luna was an adoptable pittie with Lexington Pit Crew who was unable to be placed in foster care because of her aggressive tendencies with other animals. She was instead placed at a boarding facility until an adopter or foster stepped up. Sadly, she was starting to decline in that high-stress environment.

Ciara and her husband, Brad, fostered Luna, and then almost immediately adopted her. Ciara has grown to truly love the bully breed and has dedicated her time to help as many as possible. She is mother of two toddlers, owner of 3 dogs, and a local Real Estate agent.