A Call to Reform Rescue Organizations…

For the past several weeks, I’ve been looking into getting a rescue dog.  Ideally, I’d love to get a 5-7 year old female English Mastiff to be a “friend” to my male.  To keep him company when we are gone.  And to provide a good home to a dog who needs one for its remaining years.

So with this in mind, I started looking into rescue organizations.

I’ve never considered a rescue dog before so I had thought you just call these people up and they give you a dog that is in desperate need of a forever home.

Boy, was I WRONG.  And I mean 100% WRONG.

You start with a 3-5 page application.  These applications ask for personal references, for a veterinarian reference, for a letter from my landlord, how I will feed the dog, what I will feed the dog, how will I exercise the dog, will I train the dog, what if the dog chews things, etc.

Then they require a home visit.  So they will come to my home and inspect it and make sure it’s suitable for a large breed animal.  One organization even said they would bring along a large breed dog so you could “see how one fits” in your home.


All this I could probably deal with.  But the one think I can’t deal with is the cost: Anywhere from $250 (this is for 7 year old dogs or older) to $500!

In my mind, this is outrageous!  That’s half the cost of a puppy!

I just want a companion animal for my other animal.  I’m willing to take the dog for the rest of its life and all the vet bills that entails when it does die (which could be anytime with these big breeds).  And I’m willing to love it and cherish it until it’s last breath.

What I’m NOT willing to do is pay outrageous amounts of money and be subject to the organization’s whims about whether or not I’m a suitable “parent” for a large breed dog.

It just sickens me.  It absolutely does.

The definition of rescue is: “to free from confinement, danger, or evil; save, deliver” according to Webster’s.

No where in this definition do I see a caveat of “upon approval”.

Solution:  there should be an exemption for previous large-breed owners.  Yes, I understand the needs of a large breed animal and what all that entails.  And I have understood this for the last 11 years and I continue to understand their needs with my male.

I am just frustrated.

For example:  I found a 6 year old female mastiff and emailed about her.  The organization did not have their fees listed so I inquired.  This is what I got back as a response:  “We ask for a minimum donation of $350 but many people donate more.  Our dogs are up-to-date on all shots, on heartworm prevention, are microchipped, and any pre-existing conditions are treated.”

Then I was told they were going to spay this 6 year old mastiff.  I inquired if this was really necessary.  She is 6 years old and apparently was underweight and in rough shape when they got her.  Is it truly necessary to spay a dog who’s been through menopause and put her through a surgical trauma because of your rules and regulations?

Needless to say, I didn’t hear back on that one yet.

I think microchipping in unnecessary as is the case of spaying this poor old mastiff.  And then these costs are passed on to me.

I think all of this is ridiculous and I refuse to pay $500 for a mastiff who could get sick and die at any time.

I don’t mind a small fee.  Say $100.  But no more.

I’m tired of paying the penalties for all those bad dog owners out there.  Who get these big dogs and can’t keep them.  And this is the minority.  I’m tired of the majority paying the penalty for the minority (are you listening, US government?).  I just am.

My dogs are complete members of the family.  They are loved so much I can’t even put it into words.  I provide a home and I take my dogs whenever I move.  They are with me until their last breath.

And I refuse to be patronized by someone who is guarding against the bad owners out there.

Just give me a dog that needs a home and quit requiring 1000 hoops to jump through.

And if you are approved, you are not guaranteed the dog you want.  In some organizations, you get what you get.

Overbearing, far-reaching, arrogant, and pompousness in my opinion.  As if I’M the lucky one instead of the dog.

And I’m tired of it.

It is cost prohibitive to get a rescue dog.  Period.

And I don’t know why people even rescue dogs unless their inner drive to save one is stronger than all of these aforementioned factors.

The whole process needs to change.  Along with the attitudes I am receiving through emails.  I see no gratefulness from these rescue organizations for people like myself who want to take one of their dogs.

I am a good dog owner.  So quit treating me like I’m a horrible person, I’m lucky to be getting one of your dogs, and how I don’t know anything about big dogs.

Treat me how the dog would treat me:  lovingly, compassionate, and in need of a friend, a home, a family, and a safe environment.

I’m pretty sure the dog doesn’t care about what I’m feeding it; as long as it’s fed.  It doesn’t care about how it’s exercised or trained; as long as it is.  It doesn’t care about what my home looks like; as long as there is a home.  It doesn’t care about my past experience, who will be it’s vet, or how long I have lived in my home.

All the dog wants is a family to love it till the day it dies.

So quit with the bureaucracy and the red tape and give the dog what it wants–not what you want.

And if the dog could talk, it would simply say:

“SAVE ME!!!!!”

29 thoughts on “A Call to Reform Rescue Organizations…

  1. About 9 years ago we decided it was time for our family to expand from 4 to 5..meaning; we wanted to get a dog. I was in a deep depression and I thought it would give me some companionship during the lonely days when my husband and children would be gone to work/school. We thought we were sent with a rescued greyhound. We happened upon a booth at a dog park festival and got an application after talking with the very kind and enthusiastic people at the booth and getting to pet the beautiful dogs. Well we completed the application; thought we were a perfect fit as my husband worked at his folks dog /boarding kennel where they showed and trained dogs for 30+ years. Sent in the app. Then got a phone call from the “organization” was treated like I was an enemy of the state because we had “children”. Mind you the children were twin boys that were 14 years old! Educated and capable of dog-sitting for our neighbors, etc. Was also told that the yard needed to be fenced on all sides.It was fenced on 3 sides and just needed to have gates put in. They said are you so “poor” that you can’t properly provide a fully fenced yard? If you can’t do that then you don’t qualify. Don’t you realize that children are irresponsible and will leave the door open and the dog will escape and get stolen, killed or injured?. I hung up the phone in disbelief. If I wasn’t depressed and anxious before then I certainly was after that interrogation. For crying out loud…
    We decided on purchasing a dog from a breeder and felt no guilt about it. We knew he was well cared for, not from a puppy mill and has proved to be the most faithful four legged friend I could have ever wanted. He was with me when I got the news of my mom’s brain tumor being stage 4…no human was around and he looked at me with those soulful eyes and comforted me with unconditional love.

    1. Ah, the beauty of dogs….

      Yes, I am now looking into breeders as well and have completely let go of going through a rescue.

      Not sure the time frame of this but I will pray for your mom and for your depression that it is better and for blessings in the New Year.

      Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I felt exactly as you did when I was trying to adopt a mutt from a local rescue organization. From what I can tell around here, ladies with a lot of time on their hands and a great love for animals start to rescue dogs from the various pounds, shelters, and humane societies. Then, the costs start incurring. They rescue dogs who have serious health issues rather than just the cute puppies and viable older dogs. Anyone who has taken a dog to the vet lately knows that a simple visit for an ear infection runs $100 and for those of us with large breeds, the med they prescribe lasts exactly 7 days and you’re back in there again.

    I gave up on taking a rescue animal. I gave up on getting one from the local shelters because these retired rescue ladies are in there and have already pulled the dogs. Then, they understandably want to be reimbursed for their pull fees, the spay and neuter costs, the flea, tick, and heartworm preventative, the food, and before you know it, the cost of the dog has now reached AKC “pet quality” from a reputable breeder and equals the cost for a popular breed.

    I understand the whys of the intensive scrutiny. The breed rescues are fed up with how many pure bred dogs end up on Craigslist and dumped in shelters. People don’t research like you or me. People don’t understand the needs of bully breeds, extra large dogs like Great Danes, English Mastiffs, and large guardian dogs like Great Pyrenees, Pyrean Mastiffs, and the Shepherds. They aren’t prepared for drool, shedding, alpha behavior, barking, and the work.

    I have noticed in the rescues associated with my breed that there is an immediate reaction to anyone who balks or seems unwillingly to play by their rules. And they get to set the rules. Humbleness and submissiveness to their knowledge seems almost a given so that is how I interact with my group. I’m glad my first encounter wasn’t like yours or I would have done the exact same thing!

    I’m sorry your first encounter was so frustrating. Thankfully, I had already undergone my own with the local mutt rescues which, like you, had infuriated me. I’ve had some years to sit on mine and get over it but your post stirred those initial feelings right back up. They called our vet and because we had surrendered a previous pet who was NOT appropriate for our home to an experienced owner of that breed who had lost her own dog the month before…they denied us!!! A small mutt! This surrendered dog had been atypical of the breed which we had researched and this new owner (to whom we gave this expensive dog for free) was a long time owner of the breed and had actually had one with these rare pecularities. For this we were denied a little mutt dog by the retired ladies.

    We found the current dog, looked for the owner in four counties, and no one ever claimed her or we never have experienced this LGD experience. It turns out we’re really good with this breed. Their temperament fits our family perfectly like the English Mastiff does yours. Turns out we are good with dealing with alpha dog behavior appropriately. Turns out we are good dealing with the fighting these females sometimes engage in and understand the whys and wherefores and are willing to make the necessary allowances and sacrifices (walking the dog very late at night every night so she doesn’t encounter strange dogs, for instance.)

    So what can I recommend to you? Don’t try to go back to that particular rescue organization and be careful about the surrounding state in case they are in contact with each because they probably are. It’s hard to change that initial impression.

    Be prepared for the scrutiny. Be prepared for the cost…that seems to be across the board. You’re not paying for that six year old English Mastiff girl (and I agree spaying a dog already in menopause seems cruel) but you’re paying for the ones who had their hips repaired and so on. It’s like human health care. You’re appendix didn’t really cost that much. You’re paying for yours plus two other people on the public dole.

    You can contact individual humane societies and let them know you are an experienced extra large dog owner looking to take in one should someone dump their dogs which happens frequently in military towns when single men are deployed and their families don’t want the dogs or can’t afford to take them in. I’ve noticed the army and marine bases seems to have more of these than navy bases. (We leave near a lot of bases.) Sometimes the men would love to find someone willing to foster their dog while they are deployed. Sometimes they are being transferred to England or Hawaii and don’t want to quarantine their poor dog for so long.

    I know you love your breed but be open to a big old girl large breed of any of the others if one turns up in a shelter. Make friends with your local humane officer. Your kids would love helping one afternoon a week and you never know what might turn up. God might surprise you.

    Volunteer to foster your breed. You’ll still have to go under the same frustrating scrutiny which must be what humans go through to adopt babies. But…if you get the right person on the phone or by email, and are sincere and honest and humble (don’t forget that one…there is a LOT of frustration I pick up on with the breed rescue crowd)…and get on their list…also the transport list. There is always a call for people willing to to transport dogs from where they have been pulled from a shelter to the various farms where they are rehabilitated, tried out for home or ranch, checked to see whether they are suitable for people with other animals, young children, etc. There’s a lot of work that goes into all this behind the scenes.

    Lots of adoptees are failed fosters.

    Sometimes, too, I think we want to fix our empty places with another dog. I’ve been online looking again, corresponding with my breed people, and the reality is I cannot afford another dog. We have some debts we need to deal with and adding another failed large guardian dog at this time isn’t a wise choice for us. But like I said the other day, I’m the Queen of Want it Now. God is working on me but I still like to window shop. Plus, like you, I know my girl misses her big guy friend. I know that even my husband has been searching shelters online around here so it’s not just me missing the Big Old Guy. But is it wise? I dunno. Double the vet bills. Double the food. We could end up with another sensitive eater with special needs and special $$$$ vet issues.

    I wanted to replace the KJV Bible my dog ate. It was a beautiful Bible that my father had given me at 14 and it turns out that it is now a rare collector’s item for Bible collectors and to replace it would start around $700 to $1000 and $200 for recent version. I don’t use the KJV on a daily basis. Obviously BSF uses NIV 1984 version. My church uses another version. Plus, I have all kinds of inherited and purchased Bibles. My oldest is home visiting and we had this discussion when he caught me looking and almost ready to buy yet another Bible. “Do you really need to attempt to replace this Bible, Mom? Is this a want or a need? Have you thought about buying someone a Bible instead or send ten to a needy area?” Despite feeling bad, I made the excuse that I like to read the KJV and use it in addition to the NIV when doing my BSF. The kid laughed at me and said, “Most of the time you work online and you use all the translations available or you use your phone. What? They don’t have the KJV online?” Ouch.

    I guess what I’m getting at is that, for me, I have a tendency to “be good” and then, overspend. Too many Bibles, too much scrapbooking stuff stockpiled, too much trim for costumes, too much kitchen stuff I never use, too much home schooling stuff I never used back in the day, too much too much too much. And I want more dogs. I see photos on Facebook and I want all of them. I would take more children, too, if they didn’t cost so much to adopt in the first place, too.

    I’ll pray for you that God will find the English Mastiff or other dog, foster dog, project, or way to serve at BSF or church that is just exactly what He wants for you that will fill this empty place.

    Thanks for letting me ramble on about dogs and my need to surround myself with far too much of everything. I’ve upstairs dealing with it and confronting the reality of years of too much is, well, too much. I think I’m still the same little lonely girl who crowded her bed with stuffed animals. I think you are lonely, too. That part of the country I suspect you’re living in isn’t easy.

    1. As always, great ideas, Sweet Mama!

      I just feel like there is a dog out there that needs me (maybe it’s more I need him or her). But I know we offer such a good home.

      I’m not too keen on the whole “double the expenses” either. But I don’t want circumstances to dictate what I do in my life. When/If the right dog comes along that belongs in my family, I want to respond.

  3. I lost my dog of 12 years a few months ago due to cushings disease. Prior to getting the puppy I have now I have always rescued or adopted from a shelter. This time I paid money to a breeder just because I was grieving so much I couldn’t imagine being questioned about my ability to care for an animal. It shouldn’t be that way. I treat my australian shepherd like a member of the family. If I am going to be gone more than a few hours she goes to doggie day care. My yard isn’t fenced as I rarely let her out of my sight. I am sure I wouldn’t meet many of the requirements of a “responsible pet owner” as determined by shelters or rescue groups. I will say that the last rescue group I used didn’t charge for australian shepherds that were not 100% so by choosing a mixed breed they waved all of the fees.

  4. My good friend works with a rescue organization, so I am a little familiar with their policies. First off, the reason they are being so careful in the screening process is because some people (more than you might imagine) try to get these dogs for dog fights, including using them as ‘bait’ when they are training fighting dogs. Others are taken to be used for animal research. Some organizations refuse to adopt small dogs to homes where there are small children. Kids get rough and the dogs can get hurt quickly. I was at a vet at the same time as someone bringing in a tiny chihuahua who had a broken leg. Apparently the child was playing and snapped the dog’s front leg like a toothpick. I’ve heard of little dogs falling off beds and breaking their legs due to distracted children. Regarding the fee, rescuse organizations are only supported by private donations. While some vets may offer discounted services, there are enormous costs involved in feeding and medical bills for some animals. Therefore, the costs are shared among all animals. My friend stold me that the volunteers spend huge amounts of their own money on these dogs/cats, and they never ‘make a profit’. I have 5 rescued cats, and I had to pay for them, also. However, they give me immense joy. Hope this information helps.

    1. One more thing: While we all know that you are a wonderful, caring person, you are a stranger to the rescue group. They consider it a duty to make sure that you will be a responsible pet owner. Too many people are too lazy to train their pets. Then they get upset when the dog pees/poops in the house, barks uncontrollably or jumps up on the kids. Then these same people return the dog to the rescue group, thereby traumatizing the animal.

  5. Over the years my mother and step-father acquired their dogs from the county animal shelter. They had a variety of breeds. All were loving, well-behaved and devoted to their keepers. There was never a problem between our dog and their’s; they got along great. Their last dog, which my sister still has, is a black, long-haired dachshund. Blackie, a male, and Lily, our female maltese, get along great, just like a forever family. I would recommend visiting the local animal shelter. Our shelters do a full physical, with shots, and neuters the animal before adoption.

    1. Okay, Dave. I stand corrected. Reduced fertility in elderly females dogs who have been in situations where they have been starved was what AtoZ Mom and I were referring to as “menopause” and you are correct. If the male dog in the home has not been neutered, you infer a good point that the situation would not be safe.

  6. Wow AtoZ, I had no idea one had to go through all that to rescue a dog. 🙁 I wish I had one to give you. You’re a great doggie mommy. *hugs*

  7. Wow again, that is a real eye-opener!!! I had no idea (mainly due to the fact I do not have or want a dog). My adult children have dogs if I want to be with them. Good luck on your quest!!

  8. We just rescued a German shepherd – age 7-8 in April from our country shelter and the whole deal only cost us $25. She did have to get her shots – and that did include one free exam. Fortunately she did not have to be spayed, since the found her scar. I’d check around. I’m here in California and I know some of the high-kill shelters charge a lot more.

    It is a racket though – you have to be careful. Check for some other rescues and no-kill shelters and Craigslist.

    BTW, our Daisey Mae is a love – so grateful to her for rescuing us after the death of our 14 year old border collie last year.

  9. We just this week adopted a golden retriever thru a rescue agency. Yes, it was pricey. Yes, we did have a home visit and they questioned whether it was appropriate that we adopt a dog when both my husband and I work almost full time and the dog would be alone. But, all in all, it was a great experience. I got a 2 year old, neutered dog, already treated for heart worm and up to date with shots. He needed a home. We wanted a dog to love forever. The agency just wants the best for their animals and just like any other agency, there are good ones and bad ones. I think the $350 that we paid is fair considering all the vet bills, food etc that they purchase just to treat the unwanted dogs that come their way. And every dog is micro chipped to ensure that they can be found and traced back to the new owner……

  10. Well said! I totally agree! If we are to take care of an animal that someone else abandoned, the process should be easy and affordable since we assume all responsibility for the animal once the adoption is complete. Thank you for your blog! Merry Christmas! Kathy

    Sent from my iPhone

  11. I volunteered for rescue organizations for 12 years as foster and different other functions. I am not an old retired lady 🙂 Everybody – thanks for sharing your experiences. I must admit I have never thought how the process must be shocking for a good dog owner.

    kalliekaykat said it well – the rescue organisations don’t know you and in general base all their experience on the bad ones. The ones that do fight the dogs, the ones that come back and say “Ooops, I did not realize how big the dog was or that the black color doesn’t work with my beige carpet” (I am not kidding, these things happened ot me.)

    During my time with the rescue, I realized that the focus is on the pets BUT the important ingredient here is us – the humans. The rescues don’t acknowlege this enough, nor do the people who want to adopt a dog. That is why we offend each other.

    Maybe we need to pray about this and take love to these rescues and the people there.

    I have been looking for a way for rescues to have a better way of finding the right forever home for the pets. If any of you have ideas please send these ideas to me.

    Here a couple of reasons why rescue do crazy things sometimes:

    Why home checks?
    The home checks can actually be extremly helpful for the dog owner especcially if this is combined with introducing the new dog to the resident animals. Again, the danger for a rescue is to adopt the dog to somebody who keeps their dog outside all the time, renting and not being allowed to have a dog, or not really living where they say they do (usually when dogs are used for fighting, guarding car lots etc.).

    Why fixed?
    Unfortunately, some people will use any dog to breed and especcially a purebred. So, to avoid any of that, fixing is a must.

    Why the high cost?
    Purebreds are more expensive then any mixed breeds and especcially highly desirable breeds such as Goldens or Mastiffs or small dogs. I don’t necessarily agree with that.

    The cost in a regular rescue (mixed breed) is averaged among the dogs. Basic need is food, fixing the pet and shots. Sometimes the dogs have health problems that were not visible. Pregnant dogs have puppies and need to be taken care of. Rescues take the dogs back they adopt out when the owners don’t want them anymore, that leaves them a lot of time with dogs that have health problems.

    Sometimes rescues don’t have enough fosters and they have to rent kennel space. The reason usually that happens is because there is a push by somebody to take their dog to a kill shelter, there are too many dogs being returned and the returnees can’t wait.

    Why am I no longer fostering?
    During the time (12 years) I fostered I did not have a lot of time for my own dogs. I spend a lot of time with the foster dogs to socialize, train and heal them. It is very emotionally draining because you let the dogs go to somebody you don’t know much about and at the same time you need to find a good home fast, so the next dog can be rescued.

    Maybe this gives you a little bit of inside into the Rescue NON-Profit organizations. I pray for the people who are involved in rescues every day and especcially the fosters. I ask God to open their heart to Him but also to other people.

  12. I too rescue west highland white terriers privately. It’s an extremely expensive business and to keep going I need to recover some of my costs. Because I only do occasional breed rescue (I stick to a breed I’m confident I can rehab properly) I charge 50% of what the dog has cost to rehab, excluding food, collars leads etc – apart from my love and rehab skill they are my gifts to my rescues. I then give all receipts to the new owner. The most I’ve ever charged is $ 500 for a dog who cost $ 1120 to rehab – and yes he was worth every cent, and is the most beautiful boy some years later. The least I’ve charged is $ 200 for a private surrender who was easy to rehome after vet checks etc. My view is if you can’t afford a relatively small adoption fee (compared to the dogs lifetime expenses) then you can’t afford the dog. Sorry if that sounds harsh but this issue is about the dog and its welfare – not a potential adopter. We put our heart and souls into rehabbing these dogs – and often go without to afford it. Anyone who simply wants a ‘freebie’ or ‘cheap’ dog and quibbles about an adoption fee will not be considered for my rescues.

    I too do home checks. No home check, no adoption. In my view dogs need to be contained safely by secure fences, safe from winding up in the pound (again!), orvdead on a busy road and neighbours are entitled to privacy from potentially roaming dogs. It’s unbelievable how often people say their fences are fine and they when I check there are gaps under gates and holes in fences. It’s not a deal breaker but most families are happy to have it fixed prior to the dogs arrival. It also gives me an opportunity to get to know people who I’m about to entrust a living creature to – and many become life- long friends and join our westie clan and become trusted dog sitters for each other. So the questions sometimes become a friendship which is a lovely thing. It’s my responsibility to rehome this dog as well as I can and is my right to decide what is best for the dog who I know and has lived with me for anything up to a year.

    I could go on. Suffice to say I have loved these dogs in my home, rehabbed and socialised them, spent hours training them, (even something as simple as walking on a lead), and I want the best for them and their new owners. And that means a forever home and rehoming once. There’s nothing more devastating for the dog and new family than a rehoming that fails (and yes it happens occasionally). So if to ensure success that means application forms, interviews, home checks, 2 week trials, written agreements, fixed secure fences, difficult questions and matching dogs to the best family I can find then that’s what I do. And I make no apologies for it. And the new person/family gets the best dog I can match for them, and the greatest chance of a happy new family member and successful outcome for everyone. Most experienced dog owners understand that – that’s its for the dogs benefit – as well as theirs. I hope that helps.

    1. I beg to differ.

      Just like the government oversteps its bounds here I believe the rehabbers are.

      Not all of us have $1000 to spend on a dog. Not all of us have $250 laying around to spend on a dog. But we do have a roof over our heads, a heart to love, and an extra $20/paycheck (for those of us living pay-check-to pay-check) to feed and care for the dog.

      Dogs were given to man to be companion animals by God in my opinion. We must remember they are lower animals. They do not feel as we do and they do not think as we do. Projecting human feelings on them is unfair and unwise and in my opinion leads these adoption agencies to judge what is best and what is not best for the animal. To judge humans based off of 10 minutes. To quip over a hole in the fence that is easily mended. To judge a road by their home if the dog gets loose.

      You choose to pay for all that and you choose to give them your love. And you choose to give them away. You choose to trust whom you give them to. Do not fault others who do not have the means to rehabilitate them. But they do have the means to care for them for the rest of their lives.

      You say it’s about the dog but I believe it’s more about the adoption agency than the dog judging who is right for a dog and not. That is God’s job, not yours.

      We do NOT want a freebie or a cheap dog but $1000? Seriously?

      The heart to me is more important. Even if that person does live in an apartment with a large breed dog (and I had to when I had 2 English mastiffs) due to circumstances in my life–that in no way meant my dogs were abused or not loved because they didn’t have a fenced area to roam around in or 2000 square feet of living space. It was uncomfortable for all of us. But not once did I ever consider giving up these creatures GOD gave me. And not you.

      For my dogs are a part of me. And all I want is to find another to be a part of me as well.

      “In your view” dogs need fenced areas. Did you ever ask the dog?

      We humans have decided what dogs need and what they don’t need. This upsets me.

      Love is all they need. If love is there, they are happy. NO matter where they abode. It could be a camper (yep, I lived in one too with my English mastiffs) but that does not mean they suffered. Yep, they roamed around 50 acres while I lived in my camper–GASP–without a lease or a fenced yard. I’m pretty sure they were happy with all the smells. But I wouldn’t have qualified under your “rules” and “regulations”.

      Man is not perfect and you are not going to find the right “fit” every time because man is not perfect. Through no fault of the dog’s. You put in all these rules and requirements that leave out so many people who just want a companion animal to cherish. It’s sad. Truly sad to me.

      A college kid in an apartment or an elderly lady. Someone who lives in a high rise. City dwellers. And, yes, those like me who quibble about adoption fees that cover costs I deem unnecessary.

      If you examined the heart and the intentions of people–the inside of people–instead of the physical surroundings and the outside of people and their homes–you’d probably have better success rates.

      So, yes–I believe you are judging. You are excluding. You are cutting out a good portion of society who only wants a dog to love.

      All because you have in place all these rules to “find the bad guy”. A “Bad guy” who will probably slip by you because they will play to your rules.

      And, again, the good guy suffers.

      Yep, life is unfair and it sucks. But I don’t have to play if I choose not to.

      And in this case, I have chosen not to play.

      1. Sadly, A to Z Mom, you have not read what I actually wrote, so I respectfully ask that you go back and read it properly.

        ‘Just like the government oversteps its bounds here I believe the rehabbers are’.

        I beg to differ. ‘The government’ has nothing to do with it and your comparison is unhelpful and invalid in this context. I have a responsibility to ensure the dogs God has made me custodian of on his behalf go to good forever homes that I am happy with. Respectfully,you have no right to a dog simply on your say so. This is not just about you. Its about a dog who needs a home, its about a current owner/foster carer/rehabber and its about you. Because I don’t know every potential adoptee I vet them thoroughly to ensure the rehoming is a success for both them and the dog. I see nothing unreasonable in that and nor have any of the families I’ve worked with on re-homings.

        With respect, your comment ‘did you ever ask the dog’? is patently emotive and ridiculous. As is your comment about examining hearts and intentions. Of course we do that as best we can. Its part of the process but not the whole process because it isn’t enough – its about the whole environment thats on offer, not just the heart. And with respect, dogs need a lot more than love. ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’ and the pounds are full of dogs who die whose families thought love was enough. Dogs are entitled to good home care, good vet care, good socialisation, good training (if required) and a safe environment, and it all costs money. If you cant afford an adoption fee you cant afford vet care, and if cant afford vet care you cant afford a dog. It seems strange to me that you don’t complain about pound fees or breeders charging for their dogs. Yet you resent paying a foster carer/rescue organisation a small adoption fee which usually doesn’t go close to covering their costs. None of these other organisations give away their dogs for free yet a well rehabbed, well-matched, basically trained, healthy, vet checked, microchipped, socialised, vaccinated dog from a rescue organisation you want for free? Seriously? You have every right to view these costs including vet care as unnecessary. I don’t and I will continue to exercise my right to rehome MY dogs on that basis.

        ‘Projecting human feelings on them is unfair and unwise and in my opinion leads these adoption agencies to judge what is best and what is not best for the animal’.

        Nowhere in my post did I anthropomorphise. Sound rehoming practices, which are generally agreed world-wide, are not anthropomorhism. They are common sense. I rehome as I do precisely to ensure whats best for the dog and their new family, as is my responsibility. And I make no apologies for taking that responsibility seriously. Yet you do precisely what you accuse me of and I quote: ‘For my dogs are a part of me. And all I want is to find another to be a part of me as well’

        As to cost, again you did not read my post properly but you twisted it and read into it what you wanted to see to support your position. I clearly said I charge 50% of rehab costs. Some dogs are very expensive to rehab, others not so. Nowhere did I state I charge $1000. Seriously. And actually A to Z Mom, your camper on 50 acres would probably have qualified you for a dog. A camper (or house) on an unfenced suburban backyard would not. I’ve rehomed to elderly people, people on farms and to people in apartments and will continue to so – again you did not read my post – its about a good match, not first come first served or what believe is your right to a rescue dog regardless.

        ‘To judge humans based off of 10 minutes. To quip over a hole in the fence that is easily mended. To judge a road by their home if the dog gets loose’.

        Where did I say I judge on ten minutes with a particular potential adopter/family? I didn’t. Yet the thorough process I outlined above is the one you are complaining about! You can’t have it both ways. My process, including the two week trial, takes as much time as is required to ensure EVERYONE concerned is happy to the absolute best of my ability!

        No I’m not our to find the ‘bad guy’ and ignore the ‘good guys’. I have been so successful with my rehomings (not one failure), because I am thorough and find the ‘good guys’ – no false positives. And the families i rehome to often become friends and recognise the value of a thorough process for them, the dog and for me., I repeat, its not just about you.

        One thing we do agree on. Man isn’t perfect which is why I’m very careful with my rehomings. There’s no such thing as a perfect owner or a perfect home for a dog. So its important to reduce the risks for everyone. And if being thorough means that means I occasionally and unintentionally exclude a good home then so be it. As you say, that’s life.

        A to Z Mom, I absolutely respect your views. However as an experienced rescuer who has rehomed many dogs over the years, we will have to agree to disagree. Rescue processes and organisations, with some variation are similar the world over. And the reason they have stood the test of time is, as Gail above shows, the processes work for EVERYONE.

        There are some commonalities throughout your blog such as the belief in absolute individual rights and amazingly heightened suspicion of government. (Happy to be corrected). It seems to be what drives your beliefs and I respect that. Perfectly legitimate. However, while government is never perfect (it is after all composed of ‘imperfect man’), IMO its what keeps us from anarchy. And while I believe in individual rights, I also believe in mutual responsibility and the common good. Even occasionally at the expense of individual rights. So for me life is not black and white – its very grey. I suspect that’s partly why our views on these subjects differ so markedly.

        A to Z Mom thank you for allowing me to put my case on your blog. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think your blog is a rich, remarkable island in what can be oceans of internet junk! I think it makes for very interesting reading and discussion and I hope my posts add to that interest and richness for you and your readers.

        Lastly, I respect that you have chosen ‘not to play with rescue’ and I wish you every success in finding your new family member from a breeder or pound.

        My best wishes for you and your family in 2013.


      2. Cate,

        Great debate.

        I did notice you used the word “My” a lot and “my dogs”, “my rehomings”, “my process”, and “my right”.

        They (dogs) are not yours. They are God’s as is everything else in this world. Dogs are His to do with what He pleases. He gives them to us to care for (like He did all of the animals in Genesis).

        He gives you the right. It is not yours. And I would even suggest you are wrong in “my right.” For nothing is our right. Only God’s. As was given to Adam.

        While I understand you are doing your best, you are flawed. And my point is the process if flawed because man is flawed. And dogs miss out on good homes because man’s flaws (pride being one of them) creeps in. Rules and regulations in this case cause many dogs to miss good homes.

        There are other quibbles I have with your argument but this was the one I wanted to point out.

        I would examine your pride here. When the word “my” and “mine” creeps in, it’s a good indication pride is present. I sense that with you. You are proud of the work you do with these dogs (as you should be) but we have to let go if that is indeed why you are rehabilitating them.

        You quibble with my comparison to man but it’s the same with children. Do you give up kids when you move? No. Lose your job? No. Can’t afford to feed them? No. You get help.

        Same with dogs. You are there to help. Not judge. And life circumstances may cause this to happen at times. Does that make someone a bad owner cause they lose their job or have to get help with low-cost vet clinics? Does that make them unfit to own a dog?

        Where I live there are homeless people who have dogs. Should those dogs be taken away from the homeless man because he has no home? Because he doesn’t feed his dog the right brand of dog food? Or because the dog is behind on its vaccinations?

        I’m sure you will argue kids are completely different than dogs.

        But not my dogs. For google anywhere on the Internet and you will find story after story of people giving their lives to rescue a dog who has been swept out to sea, who was stuck in a burning house, who fell through the ice (ever read “White Fang?”), etc.

        For that is the depth of the love these people had for their dogs.

        Dogs have been used for thousands of years by man to help man survive. Did they have to go through an application process to be deemed worthy owners? No. And I doubt they would have qualified. Fenced yard? No, I live in a teepee. Vet? No, doesn’t exist. Dog food? No, he eats bones and intestines from the buffalo I just killed. Personal references? My family. Exercised regularly? Yep, he pulls my sled. Kids in the home? Yep. Under 2? Yep.

        I’m just saying pets have a special bond with man. And rules often interfere with that bond.

        I stand by my view that love is enough. God is love and love is all that remains when your home is foreclosed on, your vehicles are taken away, and you cling to your family (and, yes, your dogs) as I did when all this happened to me. So did that make me a bad dog owner? And in “your” view, would you have come and taken my dogs away? Because I didn’t fit your criteria?

        Or my kids?

        As I’m sure the homeless man clings to his dog. For that dog may be the only thing keeping him from suicide. For when you are homeless you are DEFINITELY depressed.

        Love sustains through the hard times. And I pray love (God) will lead me to a dog.

  13. We adopted a purebred Airedale Terrier from the local rescue agency. We went through the same process, but we were not resentful. They found our “fenced pasture” needed to have more security in 2 areas — easily fixed. They asked about our schedule — I had just retired. They brought a possible adoptee that had just come into rescue, and their own Airedale to see how we “fit” with the dogs. I had done a lot of homework on the breed, so I knew some of the requirements of what we would have to do. They asked how much money we planned on spending per month, and lot of pertinent questions regarding our lifestyle. We passed and have our “perfect” dog. For our fee, we received a micro-chipped dog, neutered, clean and brushed, a week’s worth of food, a crate, dog dishes, martingale collar and a leash. We were instructed on how to introduce her to our house, how to get her to bond to us, and many valuable tips. I respect all of the volunteers highly and can’t believe the comments against the rescue groups! Volunteers drive dogs around, take them to the vet, give them basic obedience lessons, assess their good and bad traits, then match them to a new owner.

    Advance planning, research, looking at different groups, and knowing what the reality of dog adoption is helps a lot toward a good adoption.

  14. Atzomom – if I find you a Mastiff from a rescue and work everything out for you including the money, would you take him/her? I am not kididng.

  15. I have adopted 5 dogs, 2 I received 1 through a friend free (German Shepherd), 1 from a K-9 rescue group and 3 from a local pet humane society. This humane society is a no kill facility and i not only adopted 2 dogs from them, but I am a supporter. I currently am sponsoring an elderly black female dog for a year, I would bring her home but my current female is dominate and will not accept another female. They do require that the dog be able to stay in the house. No house visits, or any specific.
    My male dog (German Shepherd/Chow mix we got as a puppy and he is currently 9 years old, our female is a rescue from the local humane society. Their fee is $75.00 for mixed breeds and $100.00 for pure breed. I have volunteered in the way of walking a few of the dogs. There is also an e-mail rescue service in my state that sends out e-mails on found dogs and cats. You might check into that area.
    I will pray that you will be able to find a dog of your choice. A friend recently divorced was depressed as her ex took the dog. I found a dog for a friend in the newspaper classifiied.
    I wish you find a dog to fill the void of your other lost dog.

  16. Ok- I have a great little story. I will keep it as concise as possible. I am in SC, & I was court ordered to do some community service. I am not a perfect person- but I have a Boxer girl that is now almost 12 that will not ride in an American Car (only German), she eats corn free, wheat free, gluten free salmon & white fish, & organic everything else. Although she seemed like true diva, I found this Beautiful Boy Mastiff at the Humane Society labeled as a Lab. He was not available for adoption because he had issues. Ironically enough, so did I! One day, I asked one of the snarled up mean women what was the deal with this adorable baby boy- & she yelled, “dont go in there!” Just as any rebellious pain in the bum will tell you, that made me go straight to the dog. As I approached him, he wrapped his enormous (yet malnourished) paws around my waist.
    I later found out that his behavior had been questionable because of the offensive noises, smells, etc…he had been abused in the only home that he knew! The food & water that he had been given were contaminated with fecal matter & bleach.
    However, he was rescued nearly 4 years ago. Although I was apprehensive about placing him with my “bitchy boxer,” he immediately became the “cougar trainer!” It was love at first sight, they are inseparable, & mommy has not gotten in any more trouble (i.e. completion of the community service)! I paid a total of $85 for dog, microchip, & neutering (they have a special on tues or wed). Not only has he been the BEST DOG that I ever had, but he is my ANGEL…he has brought me & my baby girl dog back to life. When I tell people about my doggies, I call them grateful, & the girl, never grateful (joking) because that’s the way I raised them.I know that in this particular area, a lot of dogs are euthanized by the County/State facilities & NC even still uses mass euthanasia facilities (to put down many dogs at once).
    I feel so terrible for your loss, I would offer to help you look. There is a specialty breeder in Columbia SC- & he sells his dogs for less than $200.

  17. We adopted from our local Humane Society, and it was a very good experience. Yes, we had to fill out a questionnaire filled with nosy questions. Yes, we had to pay some money — but far less than if we had gotten a puppy from a breeder and had to pay for all the new medical stuff, the spaying, the microchipping, all that stuff. And we even got a freebie visit from the vet and some free flea control because we got a rescue dog. Our Bandit is a treasure chest — filled with beautiful and precious things. My grandchildren adore him, and he adores them in return. I really feel that God intended this little guy to live in our home. Adopting from a rescue organization might not work for everybody, but it worked for us.

  18. Hi! My name is Marti Watts and I am a huge fan. I understand how discouraging it is to try to “rescue” a dog. You might want to consider a shelter dog. The large breeds are harder to adopt out than the smaller ones, the fees are minimal and although you do have to complete an application it isn’t nearly as intense. Plus you really are rescuing a dog. I lost my Chow Chow this past fall right before you lost your dog and I totally understand how you feel. I hope you find a new family member. Take good care and thanks for all you do! Wishing you all and your family all of God’s blessings in the New Year.

  19. This has been on my heart the last few days. But, I after I read about your experience with the rapture center that you took that bird to today; I hoped that your would see the similarities. You gave them $20 out of the kindness of your heart. You were so grateful that they were there to help. It will cost more than $20 to help that bird. Rescues don’t always just take the most adoptable dogs. They take the ones that have been hit by a car and left for dead, just like that bird.

    I was a foster for a local rescue and had 17 pups come through my home. At one point, we had a mama dog and her 7 pups. Believe it or not, a person returned one of the 11 week old puppies because it “bit” too much.

    Actually, the rescue I used to work with just had three mastiff puppies who were abandoned by their mama. Another rescue dog nursed them, with her own brood. That mama was attacked by a porcupine and had many surgeries to help extract the quills. So yes, those puppies cost a fair amount (I think $350) but it wasn’t just the puppies that you paid for, you covered the cost to treat another dog. And those puppies were all up to date on the shots and had been spayed/ neutered before you get them. A spay or neuter surgery here cost upwards of $200 if you took them to your regular vet were to do it.

    Rescue organizations and the people that run them are a different breed (pun not completely intended). Yes, SOME are filled with people who act like they are doing you a favor. Other people are totally different. There are so many good people in them.

    It is totally correct, your fee that you pay is not necessarily equal to that one dog, but it is a standard fee that covers so many of the dogs that have problems.

    If you are open to it, I would take Brigit up on her offer. Once you get to know someone who knows exactly what you are looking for in rescue and will vouch for you, it is amazing how many dogs that fit your criteria are available.

    That all said…
    rescue organization or not…. people deserve to be treated with respect and it sounds like the ladies that you were dealing with couldn’t even offer that to you. I am sure there is another animal rescue that can and will offer you the respect you deserve.

  20. I volunteer with rescue, and I can tell you from experience that yes, a lot of these questions ARE very necessary, as is a home visit to ensure the truth is being told – but it also serves to open communication about the dog itself. There are many in rescue that are so over-involved that you’d think they were giving away their own children up for adoption – but there are others who are far more understanding of each individual situation. Fostering a dog is often the very best way to see how the dog and family gets along in any particular environment – and often ‘failed fosters’ make the best adoptions. However, that being said, I, too, was shocked at the cost of both ensuring the health and vet check of rescues brought in – as well as the cost to those that seek to adopt. The truth is many of these dogs need vet care before they can be adopted, and I don’t think I need to explain how much heartworm treatment if necessary, and other tests and care can cost. I think it’s far better to pay more than a shelter – yet less for a puppy from a breeder – and rescue than it is to expect to go to a breed specific rescue organization and know the animals history better, get better matching, and know what you’re up against when dealing with a particular animal. I DO wish the cost was less for adoption – but between the cost of care for these dogs in the interim between pulling them in, and adopting them out…as well as making sure someone isn’t just walking into the place looking for a pup for $50 bucks (when we all know how much it costs to tend to a dog throughout it’s life), most rescue organizations that I know of work hard to place the right dog with the right family. Your best bet is to go through the Breed Club first – and see which organizations THEY have listed. Those are the organizations that make rescue groups stick to procedures that work best for the dog. And that’s their goal. What’s best for the dog. Anyone who seeks to rescue is a hero in my eyes.

Leave a Reply