The Rescuer – Feature film about animal rescue

Sometimes wonderful and unexpected things happen when you set out to make a documentary, and this is very much the case with The Rescuer, which began as a 27-year chronicle of the activities of Leo Grillo, a man who loves animals, perhaps too much.

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A note from Leo — In 2012 this documentary was entered in a number of film festivals where it won many awards. Rather than playing to small audiences and charging for admission, or selling DVDs, I want everyone to see it so we are letting you stream it here for FREE. This would be a wonderful classroom video for teachers to play, for nursing homes and hospitals, as well as being interesting to reality show audiences across the world.     ~Leo Grillo


In 1979, Grillo, an up-and-coming young Hollywood actor driving to a location shoot, spotted a bedraggled abandoned dog wandering under the broiling desert sun. Leo couldn’t resist stopping to pick up the animal and subsequently nursing it back to health.

This experience opened Leo’s eyes to a shocking problem: annually, millions of pets are tossed out and simply left to die in America’s wilderness. Almost before he realizes it, Leo has found and taken in 35 more abandoned dogs, saving them from certain death.

Leo formed a nonprofit organization called D.E.L.T.A. (Dedication and Everlasting Love to Animals), which eventually grows to include a 115-acre ‘supershelter’ housing over 1500 abandoned dogs and cats, the largest organization of its type in the world. A controversial figure, Leo Grillo in The Rescuer becomes obsessed with the tracking of one specific dog and her family over a 2 year period which changes his life in an unexpected way.

Delta Rescue resident Hercules and his story

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  1. Laurie Mahar on April 2, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Expressing the right words to describe the D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is not easy, there are so many. Inspirational, caring, loving, determined and I could go on. If you love animals do yourself a favor and go to D.E.L.T.A. and see for yourself the work done by the largest rescue in the world, that allows animals to live out their life while these special people see to all of their needs. Thank-You to all for the amazing things you do for animals who without you would not survive.

  2. Patricia Crowe on May 6, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Mary and I have been making monthly donations to DELTA for several years now and have also designated DELTA as a recipient of part of our estate, in our living trust. We were invited out to and did in fact visit the facility, so we know that it really exists. We will never cease to be amazed at the dedicated love that Leo has for his mission in life. We are so glad that you chose this over acting!! Keep up the good work!