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Dog rescues: good things and red flags?

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  • #21
    My apologies for not reading all the comments. I hope I can be brief.

    Red Flags: The "Rescue" is one individual who lives by herself and has over 10 dogs of different types. I'm not saying one person can't meet the physical needs of over 10 dogs (food water shelter) but one person cannot meet the emotional needs of more than two or three dumped, surrendered, or found dogs.

    The "Rescue" has a high $ "adoption fee" (over $100) yet offers no proof of spay/neuter, vet records. Claims dog is up-to-date on shots, but can't prove vaccinations were given, because she gave them herself at home.

    The "Rescue" cannot provide a valid Rabies Tag nor license tag from the county the "Rescue" is in, even though you've been told the dog has been in rescue for more than a year.

    The "Rescue" doesn't have a AVID chip reader, nor has dog been to the vet to be scanned.

    No one in your area has EVER adopted a dog from this "Rescue". In fact, no one you know outside of the Internet has ever HEARD of this rescue.

    They don't ask you a million questions. They don't care if you have a fenced yard or not. They don't listen to your needs and lifestyle and then suggest which of their dogs is best suited for you. They let you look at all their dogs and everyone of them would be just PERFECT FOR YOU.

    The "Rescue" facility is someone's home with no proper facilities for kenneling multiple dogs, or multiple yards for off leash play. There are piles of trash all over. Water buckets are scuzzie and the woman has several excuses why. In short it is nowhere you want to be for more than 5 minutes, if that.

    The "Rescue" also is a breeder. Now, in defense of breeders, as a breeder I believe it is my duty to rescue. HOWEVER I only rescued my own breed and worked very hard to move those rescues into their own homes in a timely fashion. The exceptions being the unable to place, like the dog with a history of biting. Beware the "Rescue" that breeds multiple kinds of dogs, has a litter (or 3) of puppies you can choose from if there's no rescue you like.

    The "Rescue" will not guarantee that they will take the dog back after a trial period, or ever.

    A GOOD RESCUE on the other hand knows their dogs. They will only adopt out responsibly (meaning for example, that they won't let a couple with 3 children under 5 adopt a Jack Russell or a Border Collie. Not because a JRT or BC is automatically bad with children, but they are labor intensive.). They ask a million questions, want references from your vet, may either ask for pictures of your home as it relates to fencing, or will insist on a home visit. I know a lot of people think that's intrusive. Well as a breeder, I say SCREW THAT. I've gotten lied to and placed dogs that ended up being bad situations. So I want to see pictures of your home, and if you smell whiffy, I may well do a drive by to see if that house on 3 acres really exists or is actually a duplex with no yard (true story).

    A good Rescue can come across like the Soup Nazi: "NO DOG FOR YOU" and if you've given the wrong answers, you'll politely be told that your dog is elsewhere.

    So to sum it up, if you have a breed or two in mind (and some breeds might suit your lifestyle better than others) check into their national or regional rescue groups. If a breed and a look are not important, I'd check out the local shelters especially small ones and ones labeled "high kill". Use FB to your advantage and get on the pages of various rescue facilitators. They're not "rescues" per se, but women (yes, they are all women) who surf the net and work their contacts to post pictures of dogs in need, usually with only a couple of days or less before being PTS. If you tell me in a PM where you are, I can put you in touch with a couple of FB facilitators.

    Good luck and thank you for choosing to rescue!

    ETA: Apparently I could not be brief
    ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
    Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

    "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


    • #22
      Asking if you have a fenced yard, fine. Being a Nazi about not adopting anything ever if you don't? Crazytown.

      I like the rescue I volunteer with. Small, animals are fostered whenever possible (I fostered one I was considering adopting, wasn't right for me, but the situation worked), never a huge number of dogs at once. Good sign is animals on their website/petfinder GET ADOPTED. There are always special cases (there is a sweet dog I am determined NOT to adopt out of guilt he's been there so long--he's four, he gets on fine with other dogs at foster's, but he was used as fighting bait and the scars healed as gray hair on dark. Between the "gray" and his very quiet, laid-back demeanor, he comes across as much older than he is, so people tend to ignore him at events for more active dogs.) But generally, you want to not see the same dogs listed month after month. Either they never ever update or they are so picky about adoptions they never move anyone.

      PROOF OF SHOTS. Even fostering I had the dog's rabies tags and all his records, just in case he had to go to the vet or I needed to show animal control.

      And sometimes go with your gut vibe. There's a lady around here who is a "rescue." And she's...I talked to her when looking for a second dog (ended up getting one from the county shelter.) Runs it out of her house and she's..kind of the opposite of the hoarder, despite having a zillion dogs, she got VERY pushy and tried to guilt-trip me later when I opted not to (dog in question was just too 'hound' and energetic for what I was looking for.) Don't let someone guilt you into taking a dog even if you're gut's saying no.
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      • #23
        red flags, lets do a "learn from my fail"
        You talk to volunteer good

        volunteer worried about dog being to active (she is not, but then again we have a GSP), good

        mention to volunteer that the next weekend you will be going out of town, they say well come down this weekend and she if you want her, flag starts to wave

        volunteers first name kinda clicks with local news, look up news reports and see this possible person is in a different state b/c they had charges against them in this state re animal abuse and is no longer with the shelter they were with (this is ofcourse after you have fallen in love with pic and profile), flag waves more violently

        go down, dog outside with volunteer, see lots of dogs behind fence, small crate near by, and why yes this person looks just like the news picture, flag frantically waving now

        dog is sweet, gets along with your dog, and you take pity on poor thing, flag still waving

        pay decent fee for this dog, but oh the records are "with another group that took her to an adopt-a-thon and they haven't been brought back yet" flag almost jumps off flag pole to jump up and down

        sucker that you are take dog anyway, dog leaps into car for dear life, and you end up spending a small fortune to get new shots, heartworm testing and rabies, and on first night of having said new dog give her a bath b/c she is dirty and smells

        love Kahlua but dang, some days I really feel that we rescued her from a rescue

        don't believe me, pm me and I will give you a name


        • #24
          I would suggest adopting a dog fostered locally, even if she originates from out of the area. I am not a fan of folks adopting dogs sight unseen from several hundred miles away. I think it is much harder to get a good match this way.

          As part of my job, I spend a lot of time doing health checks on dogs so they can be released from NH quarantine. Now mind you, all of these animals were supposedly healthy since another vet signed off on an interstate health certificate. They're also supposed to be parasite free. Last week I saw a dog with coccidia, roundworm, hookworm,whipworm, and lungworm. I have seen emaciated dogs shipped up, ones with pus pouring from their mouths, ones with demodex, upper respiratory infections. At least half have massive intestinal parasite burdens. Hence, why I would not recommend adopting straight off of transport. They may have health certificates, but many are far from healthy. And the average fee for these dogs is around $450


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by Marshfield View Post
            I would suggest adopting a dog fostered locally, even if she originates from out of the area. I am not a fan of folks adopting dogs sight unseen from several hundred miles away. I think it is much harder to get a good match this way.
            Agreed! No way in heck will I adopt a dog I haven't seen in person and spent a bit of time with. At bare minimum, DH and I need to have met the dog, the dog needs to have been temperament tested, particularly with other dogs and cats, and I'd prefer to have a meeting with the rescue dog and my two dogs in a neutral place and see how everyone got along.

            It looks like a home visit is pretty standard among most rescues (at least the ones locally whose websites I've looked at). I'm OK with that. I'm OK with them contacting my vet and my petsitter ... I start to not be OK when I start reading things like "adopters will be required to submit monthly reports and pictures as well as copies of their adopted pet's medical records for the first year." And while I understand why a rescue might want to retain ownership of the animal, I'm really not comfortable with that, and I think I'll steer clear of rescues with that requirement.

            Anyway, I have a lot of good info to ponder on here, and I would appreciate any further stories, words of caution, etc., as DH and I talk more over the next few months or so.
            Full-time bargain hunter.


            • #26
              The best adoption experience we had was with a county shelter in my home state, but a couple hours away. Adoption rates were VERY affordable; the application was reasonable (asked the basic questions, vet info, etc.); if you were local they would do a home visit, but if not, they wanted some photos of the dog's home environment/yard/etc. They were always very pleasant to talk to, none of the "we're better than you and will treat you like a criminal suspect" attitude/vibe I'd gotten from other rescues.

              The puppy we applied for was young and hadn't been spayed yet, and before they would even let us come to look at her, they sent her out to be spayed, plus waited a week to make sure she was healed properly-- they won't let any unspayed/unneutered dog leave their facility. (The adoption fees were the same, whether they had to do the spay or not.)

              While most of their dogs were in kennels in their shelter, they have a very active volunteer network who comes in and works with all the dogs, so they know the temperaments quite well, even though they're not fostered.

              We had to come and visit, and bring our current dog along to make sure they would get along. One of the first things we noticed upon arrival at the facility was how CLEAN it was! No "kennel" odor at all. They have a huge fenced-in yard with some sort of pea gravel footing (no mud!) and a full agility course attached to the kennel, where our dog got to meet the puppy. Everything went smoothly, and we ended up adopting her; she was exactly as described.

              My parents also adopted a dog from the same place and had a similarly good experience... The shelter was very up-front that the pup they were looking at had shyness and fear issues, but it was a very good match for my parents-- they have no small children at home, they own a farm, and the shelter fully briefed them on how they should (and shouldn't) deal with a dog with fear issues. That dog is adorable but would be AWFUL in the wrong environment; I'm sure the shelter was picky in placing him, because on looks alone, he should have been gone long before my parents came along.

              On the other hand, there's another "rescue" near where my parents live that is MASSIVE-- huge kennel, probably 80+ dogs listed on their website. They seem to be more "hoarder" than rescue... they refused to even consider my parents for ANY adoption, because my parents live on a 100-acre farm, and "a farm is not a safe environment for a dog" (no lie, that was their exact wording).
              *friend of bar.ka

              "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


              • #27
                onelane, I think you are in the Raleigh area, take a look at second chance, my mom and I have gotten our cats from there but the rescue dogs as well

                they are great, all our cats came with a health packet and up to date info and food


                I should have gotten a dog from there but they did not have what I was looking for


                • #28
                  I volunteer with a greyhound rescue, and the group is wonderful. Some might consider our fees pricey ($250-275 depending upon age), but the dogs are FULLY vetted before being adopted out (dentals, full bloodwork and any necessary treatment, speuter, etc.) We won't let a dog out of foster before they are considered healthy and have been fully vetted.

                  We do have a kennel facility where the main office is which has ample space for turnout. We try to get most of our dogs fostered for at least a bit, with the tricky cases spending longer in our experienced foster homes. I have cats, so we often get the dogs that test small animal friendly to see how they do in a real home.

                  We do small animal testing on all of our critters and make sure any adoptees with children get a dog that has been around kids before (we also are pretty strict about how those kids are behaved during our initial interview at the office.)

                  People fill out an adoption application then come in for an initial office visit and interview where they get to meet a couple of greyhounds to see if that might be the right breed for them. They get all their references checked out, and then we do a home visit. We do adopt to people that rent and/or don't have yards because our breed tends to have a lot of individuals that do just fine in those environments. We do STRONGLY encourage our adopters to keep their dogs on leash when not in a safe area, but we are talking greyhounds - notorious for poor recall off lead no matter their training level.

                  During the adoption visit, we bring out dogs we think are appropriate for the person adopting - people don't get to wander through the kennel and pick on looks. Plus, we are often bringing in specific dogs from foster for that adoption visit. We are big on letting the dog pick the human (all people in the household come for the adoption visit), and it usually works beautifully. If someone has another dog(s), they come to the adoption meeting as well. If the right dog isn't there that day, they can come back after we get more dogs in.

                  We have regular meet and greets all around town, but no hounds are ever adopted at those events - most dogs at those events are owned by our volunteers to get the breed out with the public.

                  We also will take back any dog we've adopted out forever. We do make people sign a contract that the dog will be returned to us provided they can no longer keep it (can be challenging to enforce, but it is a bit of insurance). We are happy to work out rehoming within a family if that is an option, but we like to be involved in the process to make sure the dog gets the best possible home.

                  We do require people to keep a tag on their dog with our number and the dog's adoption number because we have a 24/7 hotline if a dog gets lost (and quickly rally volunteer search groups), but we don't require any microchipping with our name on it. We also are available at any time for advice and have a very active volunteer group. We offer temporary crate rental (free) and give 2 weeks of food with the adoption. All adopters get all the vet paperwork we have, rabies tag/documentation, as well as the dog's racing info and registration (if we have it).

                  All of this makes me kind of spoiled when it comes to rescues... Haha.

                  We also tell people they can go down to the track and get a dog the same day, but they will have far less support and won't really know what they're getting.

                  For people that NEED certain requirements in a dog and know they don't have the resources to fix any problem that may come up - I always encourage a purebred resuce, or at the very least a smaller rescue that does a lot of fostering with qualified people. The added bonus to a purebred rescue is that you do have a bit more idea of breed traits that you are likely to get, though each individual varies widely. Plus, you can often find purebred rescues that are recommended by national breed associations - gives you a little more assurance.

                  If you don't want the hassle that often comes with the smaller rescues, you often DON'T get the follow up support. That is completely fine for people that are very dog savvy and have a lot of training skill and time. For people with specific needs (kids, other pets, complaining neighbors, no yard, strict work schedule, etc.) it is often worth it to deal with a little extra hassle in order to get more of a "sure thing."