So you decided to save a dog; help a dog whose life may be ended because no one took the time to care for or train him so he becomes a canine ambassador. As a rescue, we truly love people that step up to the plate and help dogs but please know your ins and outs about rescues and dogs. Here's some good information to help you.
Not All Rescues Are Created Equal
I have been into the rescue business since 2003. I say “business” because not everyone is doing this solely for dogs. Yes: some people do profit from a rescue. Please don’t think everyone does, but you'll want to find a rescue who is properly registered and willing to share with you. Being registered requires a not-for-profit to show where their money is going and how it's being spent - keeping everyone accountable for their actions,
While I may get some serious heat for this, I HIGHLY recommend not adopting a dog abroad or from another country. This is the only type of rescuing a lot of rescues do. Here’s a little example of why that's a poor idea.
*names have been altered to protect the identity of the rescue and dog.
Jagger was brought to Moncton from Texas. His profile read he was a happy, easy going dog. Walked well on a leash and had no issues. Unfortunately, this dog was never professionally tested or even had been in a home environment, so nothing was accurate.
The rescue pulled him and immediately posted they required an emergency foster. This is the first mistake. Planning should be completed prior to dogs being pulled. Foster parents must be aware that problems can - and will – arise, and they should be supported through this process with supplies and training by a professional and veterinarian.
Jagger arrived. He was placed into a foster with a man who had never fostered dogs nor had any previous dog experience. Within a month Jagger ended up with a bite history and was lacking in many skills. He and his foster parent were not provided with any skills or training to work with him to create an adoptable dog.
That's where I came in! The rescue called and asked me to help him. I set up some ground rules as I have had many disastrous experiences in the past with rescues. I wanted his vet records, information on him and finances to feed, care and provide veterinary care. (heartworm testing, update vaccinations ect).
Upon arrival, Jagger came with another volunteer who was very new to the industry. He arrived with nothing that I requested. After speaking with this kind lady who did mean well - it slipped that this dog has a multiple, somewhat severe bite history. As a trainer, this is infuriating. Not only was my safety placed a risk, that of my staff and the public was also at risk because someone's heart was thinking instead of their brain. I can't stress how dangerous this is; it creates a poor rapport with the public and is bad in general for dog rescues. Not only did the rescue not have insurance, but it also had no game plan before bringing this dog here. I did, however, still offer to help and to date, I have never been contacted.
Not all but lots of dogs are pulled from shelters because they aren't getting adopted. Most of these dogs are coming from large cities with much larger populations than a small city like Moncton. So why are they coming? There's usually a reason a dog isn't getting adopted, and not all shelters or rescues are going, to be honest about those reasons. This can range anywhere from medical problems to anxiety, aggression and more.
Dogs in shelters also act much differently when in a home environment. They may be more weary of people, uncomfortable with children or not get along with other pets. They may guard or become aggressive over space and items. Foster parents and adopters need to be highly educated and be aware that these dogs like any dog have the potential to be dangerous.
So How Should I Pick My Dog?
First- please don't rush. It's so easy to get caught up on that sad face in a picture of a dog from Georgia. This is a lifelong commitment so you need to be aware this dog may be the complete opposite of what the profile states. This is why you'll want to go with a rescue who makes you fill out an application process and does several meet and greets with the dog you are interested in.
In our rescue, this is a time where I may make a dog sound like we should have named him Lucifer, but it's very important the adopter know the poor points of said dog. They need to know what they are in for, if not - we are creating a disaster plan for everyone. When we do meet and greets, it’s a good idea to meet the dog in a familiar place the first time and a new place the second. This way you can see how the dog reacts to new situations and environments.
Be aware if you ship a dog from southern USA, you'll need to complete a heartworm test 6 months after arrival. Dogs that test negative can still have heartworm. On average treating heartworm properly costs upwards of $1000 and more.
You'll want to research the breed or breeds of the dog.
I push this in many blogs and post I do because so many people concentrate on what a dog looks like but you'll really want to focus on temperament. If you want a happy social dog who gets along with everyone and anything, don't adopt a German shepherd. If you want a low energy, easy to train dog stay away from terriers of all sizes.
Working With The Rescue
On the greatest things, I've implemented into rescue was mandatory training. We charge $380 for a fully vaccinated, health checked dog INCLUDING training. By creating this rule it ensures accountability to work with the dog and create a better bond between handler and dog. It also ensures this dog is getting an education to become a better pet.
At last: Don't Be Afraid To Question
Ask for references and credentials. You'll want to make sure the rescue has insurance and the dogs have been in their care for a minimum of two weeks before they are ready for adoption. This ensures a little bit more information is available to make sure this is the right dog for you.
All things considered, rescuing a dog is a wonderful thing to do. If you need help contact April today, she can guide you to a reputable rescue or shelter. You can also contact her rescue or get more information here!