Johnjay Van Es, a nationally syndicated radio host, uses his celebrity for a good cause: he and his family take in stray dogs from all over the Phoenix area and give them the love and care they need before finding them forever homes. In just the past couple of years, they’ve adopted out over 500!
Van Es is a host for KISS FM’s Johnjay and Rich Morning Show, but his free time is devoted to running a rescue group out of his home along with his wife, Blake, and their three sons, Jake, Kemp, and Dutch.
“Rescuing dogs is something my wife and I have done pretty much our whole marriage,” he told PEOPLE.
So now Blake has spent the last 2 hours (and about to spend probably a lot more) with Cookie — get this, she needs a BLOOD TRANSFUSION and a Greyhound has so kindly donated some blood, so that’s happening today! #LOVEPUP. **** Update—-She’s actually going into a Hyperbaric Chamber first. If that doesn’t work they will do the blood transfusion. Poor baby! **** #LovePup
“So the next morning I went on the air to share that I had found a home for the dog, and the next thing you know I had all these people reaching out to me saying, ‘I found this stray dog,’ or ‘I’m moving and can’t take my dog,’ before you know it, I had all of these dogs,” he said.
“I would post pictures of them up on my Instagram and I would find homes for them right away. It just started evolving from that. It was never a burden. It was always fun and passionate and organic and real.”
Since creating the rescue network, the Van Eses have saved and rehomed over 500 dogs, receiving support from celebrities like Selena Gomez, Enrique Iglesias, and Zedd.
This was VERY FREAKING COOL! #Zedd was in town today, he had heard about the puppies that were left in a box on the side of the road and wanted to meet them and thought maybe he could get the word out about them! Check out some pics of @zedd and me hanging in his hotel room playing with the #LOVEPUP puppies!! – BTW he has the number one song in the world right now with Alessia Cara #STAY – All puppies are now healthy and ready for new homes and Zedd is helping Spread the word! #Hangingwithmydogs – wait till you see the cool interview!!! ?❤️?
“We’ll take any dog,” Van Es said. “Every dog deserves to find love.”
He knows that social media has the power to do good in the world, and that’s how he’s been able to help so many dogs find homes.
“Traditionally, a rescue goes and they go to someone’s house and see if they’re good people to take the dog,” Van Es explained. “With me, I go to their social media and I scroll through their life. I can tell if they’re party animals, bad people – if I don’t like what I see, then they don’t get the dog. It really works really well.”
He says that much of the inspiration for doing what he does is his sons.
“I love seeing my boys love animals. We’re a very loving family – we hug each other and kiss other and I love seeing the animals kiss them back. I also love seeing them let go of love. When they watch puppies be born, they feed them, they love them, they take them for walks and then they help me pick out the homes for them. They watch the puppies go to their new homes and we get updates from their families to see how happy they are. I feel like it helps them to grow up to be well-rounded young men, in my own little way. That’s just my way of trying to be a good father and help my kids to grow up to be men with morals and integrity.”
He hopes that #LovePup will gain even more momentum so more dogs can be saved.
“I have all these people that want to volunteer but I don’t have the money to fund anything yet. It would be great to get to the point where, I’d like to have a building and have a staff. I’d like to have a ‘no kill’ policy. I want to save as many dogs as I can. I would like there to be a #LovePup chapter in every city. I just need the proper funding. I think it can happen!”