*Sent to us by a BHRR reader & Posted with Permission from Kathi @ Adopt-a-Pet Rescue
What Rescue IS and what it ISN’T And How to Get The Best Results from Your Rescue Experience
The following information may seem harsh, rude, and perhaps even ignorant. If you plan on pursuing adoption please continue to read no matter your opinion, as these are simple truths that we want you to be aware of. We will spell this information out as plainly and distinctly as we can, so that hopefully it cannot be misunderstood or read incorrectly. You may not agree with some of the things said on this page, but please understand that these are the realities of our rescue, if not many rescues. You may have encountered rescues who didn’t ever reply to your emails, never returned your call, never contacted you about your application, wouldn’t let you adopt a dog, wouldn’t let you foster a dog, or a rescue person who was impolite to the point of being rude. As you read the following page you will be given an insight to a rescuer’s day/week/month, and perhaps you will begin to see why so many rescuers are hardened, snippy, crabby people who don’t seem to be living in the same world as everyone else. When you are finished reading this you still may not agree with how they handle themselves (and even many rescuers feel this way) but hopefully you will at least understand a little better WHY they are like that. Our only goal is to help educate you about rescue … what it is and what it isn’t.
We’ll start with the most important one for you to understand, Rescue is not a service for YOU … PERIOD. Not for you to find a dog, or to get rid of your dog. Rescue is a service for the DOGS. We care about them. The dog is who we are here to help. Helping you is just a byproduct of helping them.
Rescue is NOT a shelter that you can just stop by to visit, pick out a dog, and take it home with you whenever the mood strikes you. There is no place to drop by and window shop, no business hours, and no times we are open. Rescue is a group of people that love the breed. These people open their homes and hearts to the dogs, give them a place
to live, and love them until they find a loving home. We take applications, screen them, and then have the people come and visit with the dogs in our homes … see … no shelter involved. There is a volunteer’s home on the end of any phone number you are given.
Rescue is not Dial A Dog, Dial A Person that wants to hear about my troubles, Dial A Person to unload my dog on after I’ve had it for 10 years and it simply doesn’t match the furniture anymore. Rescue is a phone number that reaches right into the home of a volunteer who has little time to deal with your guilt trip over tossing “Chi-Chi” out like last night’s leftovers, and even less time to deal with you see-sawing back and forth between keeping the dog and giving it up. If you’ve taken the trouble to write an email or call, then 99% of people have their mind set on getting rid of the dog… Don’t lie to us or to yourself. Simply tell us the reason you are giving the dog up, and answer the questions we ask. If we’re going to help you, the least you can do is help us speed the process along by not crying on our shoulders. We’ve heard it all before … from allergies, moving, housebreaking, money, new baby, too hyper, barking, sick, injured, nasty, uncontrollable, landlord doesn’t allow, parents said no, owner died and nobody wants, divorce, marriage, too many animals, doesn’t like new dog, doesn’t like old dog, chases cars, chases cats, sheds, too much trouble, new job, wants attention, to it’s cross-eyed, its ears don’t stand up, it doesn’t match the new couch, it looks at me funny, he told me he’s not happy.
We’re not cold hearted. We simply have too many things to do and not enough time to listen to how sorry you think you are about getting rid of your dog. Rescue should be one of your last resorts. Try obedience training, try crate training, try everything you can before you make the decision to give up your dog. When you’ve done all you can, then call us and let us know why you’re giving up the dog in the least amount of words you can. We’ll ask questions, you answer them. Quick, simple and honest.
Rescue is not a person sitting at the computer or phone all day, just waiting for you to call or email. We’re also not running home daily, hoping we’ll have lots of email and answering machine messages. We’re not rushing to return your call or email. Rescue is a group of people who already have a life, a family, a full-time job, their own dogs, foster dogs, 30 requests and 2 give-up emails a day average, 20 request and 1 give up phone messages a day average, not to mention processing applications and vet appointments. Oh yeah … and God forbid we sleep, eat and have a life … I almost forgot.
Rescue is not a way for you to find a purebred dog for little or no money. Rescue is a safe haven for dogs of a specific breed, with people that know and understand the quirks of that breed, and have the knowledge needed to handle that breed.
Rescue is not a baby-sitting service for your dog, a kennel, or a place that will train you dog. Rescue is a situation that dogs who are homeless, or about to become homeless, come into where they will receive the medical attention, physical attention, and behavioral attention they need.
Rescue is not a place you can pick up a “girlfriend” for Butch or “boyfriend” for Fifi so that you can irresponsibly mass produce puppies, sell them to homes that very well would want them for pitbull bait, toys for the children, something for the kids to take responsibility for, something to neglect and later abandon. Rescue is responsible about the reproduction of their breed. In fact, rescues believe that the only breeding that should be done is by the few responsible breeders out there, and only to improve the breed. Breeders are not those folks you see with “Free Puppies” ads either … breeders are folks that care about their product and take pride in placing them in loving homes where they will be cared for. All rescue dogs are spayed and neutered before adoption so that no “accidents” happen. You won’t get a dog unaltered … don’t even bother to ask.
Rescue is not a place that will take the most vicious, nasty, aggressive dogs and keep them for the rest of their lives, living happily ever after in their owner’s mind while the dog is miserable.
Rescue is a place where the nasty dogs that are not safe for anyone to own, handle, or be within 5 feet of are humanely put to sleep, where they will be happier and people will be safer. If you don’t want to deal with your dog, whom you’ve loved for 6 years, that bites, what on earth makes you think that someone else would want it biting them and their family? We do work with every dog to see if they are just frightened or truly nasty. Those who are scared we allow time to adjust and overcome rear. Those who are nasty are put to sleep, period. Some people think us horrible because of this, and that’s fine, but let me fill your house up with dogs you can’t sneeze around without getting bit, and let me see you live your life and still save the lives of 60 dogs a year.
Rescue is not a mail order service to find the dog of your dreams, the dog that loves kids, cats, everyone, doesn’t bark too much, is perfectly housebroken, is the ‘ideal’ weight, does tricks on command, and knows how to act in every situation. Rescue is the place that gets calls from shelters and owners who have a dog in need. Sure, we may come across dogs like the one described above, but chances are it will be adopted quickly and it will be a long time before we see another one like it. We work with each dog to make them better pets than they were when they entered rescue, but we aren’t miracle workers. Every dog has his own personality, and that is what matters. If you want a dog that fits a few certain requirements, that’s realistic, but trying to find one that matches
perfection is not going to happen anytime soon, and if one comes in that is perfect, we have a line 5 miles long of people waiting for it.
The best way to help a rescue or shelter is to make sure you know that this is a life-time commitment. Changing your mind later for whatever convenience one comes up with is not acceptable and overwhelms Rescues with unwanted and abused animals. The best excuse isn’t a good excuse to a rescuer. The idea of owning a pet, who breathes, eats and feels pain, should be considered as a family member. If you move, you would bring your entire family with you, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t leave your infant in a sweltering car, would you? You wouldn’t try out a child for a four-year trial period, would you? Education plays a huge role here. We need to stop people from thinking that pets are throw-aways when they get to big or just simply don’t fit the owners’ lifestyle anymore.