Monday, December 29, 2014

Rescue Shames Me Sometimes

Right around the time we lost Addie, my dear friend/rescue partner Julie mentioned that she had another friend that lost his dog too.  When she was telling me about this gentleman and how much he loved his dog, my heart went out to him.  He was the type of owner that any dog would be lucky to have, and secretly in my mind I kept thinking:  “Damn, if he gets another rescue dog, I hope he picks one of ours.”   

Now, if you do rescue, you know the type of owner I am talking about….  The type of owner that views his dog as a member of his family, it's never “just a dog”.  He is the kind of owner that is super responsible, has his dog groomed regularly, follows all of the veterinarian’s recommendations, is truly looking for a companion to share his life with, and would rope the moon if his dog needed it.  This gentleman is the epitome of a great dog owner! 

After following his story through my friend Julie, I was excited to hear this man had decided he wanted another dog in his life.  Life was too lonely, and not the same without a friend.  Julie told me he had found a breed rescue that had a dog he was in love with, he had filled out his application and was waiting to hear back from the rescue.  Well, he did hear back from the rescue.  In a curt email, telling him that he would not be considered for a dog because he didn’t have a fenced yard.  Julie was outraged about this rescue, and how they treated her friend.  I won’t lie, it ruffled my feather too, for a few reasons.

        ~ This guy applied to adopt a 6 year old Schnauzer.  It’s not as if he applied to adopt a 6 month old super active Border Collie.  It is a breed of dog that very easily can adapt to living in a condominium, being leash walked by an owner who works from home. 

     ~ This is a senior dog.  Do you know lucky you are as a rescue, if you are able put a senior dog into a household where it will be loved unconditionally as a person’s sole companion for the rest of it’s life?!  (A life that would likely be longer due to the exceptional vet care this guy's dogs receive!)      

~ The foster home that the dog was in did NOT have a fence.  Ruminate that one!  They will allow their foster home to not have a fence, but their adoptive home must have a fence?!  Pot, kettle, black much?!

 After his veterinarian called to give him a stellar reference, they conducted an hour long home check yesterday, told him he passed the home check and that he was an exceptional home, only to adopt the dog out to another family today.  That is just inhumane!

The part that upsets me the most?   

This radical rescue gives the rest of us in rescue a bad name.  I cleaned up the heartache and bad taste this so called “rescue” left in this man’s mouth.  Why?  Because it was the compassionate thing to do.  When you rescue dogs you aren’t dealing with just a canine heart, you are dealing with a human heart too, and I can assure you that 99% of the people in charge of these “radical” rescues would NOT pass their own application process if the tables were turned.  

I think in the world of rescue we often are jaded and we have lost sight of the end goal, to find amazing homes for homeless or neglected pets.  Instead it seems rescue has become a self-serving institution where control freaks with God complexes are allowed to act like dictators, because they can.  Where is the grace folks?!  We shouldn't judge folks as if we are the only ones who know how to take care of a dog, and by doing so we run the risk of alienating spectaular dog owners!

The good news in this otherwise troublesome story is that I was able to help this man find a reputable breeder tonight.  Someone who was looking to re-home one of her show dogs.  He is going to get an amazing dog that will be loved for the rest of it’s life.  Shame on the rescue who failed to see the potential of this great adopter, but congratulations to the lucky dog who will now live a life of absolute adoration.  I couldn’t be happier for the two of them!


  1. I know I don't live anywhere near you but you were describing two rescues in my area. One charges thousands of dollars in adoption fees while claiming to be a not-for-profit. Recently a friend of mine was looking for a small dog to adopt and she applied for two different dogs they were fostering. One of the dogs was 5+ years old and had a $2000 fee. The other was 10+ and had a $4500 fee. Believe it not, she was willing to pay those fees but she was not approved because she did not have a fenced in yard.

    The other organization claims they do home inspections (they do not), claims to check references (they do not) but somehow only about 3 people a month are approved to adopt. And every single adoption ends up "not working out" with the animals being returned to the shelter within months. Currently they have a 10 ft x10 ft "adoption center" with over 50 cats where they accept donations and adopt kittens out that are then returned never to be adopted again.

    I don't consider these adoption agencies. I consider them animal hoarders that accept donations.

  2. I'm afraid I agree with your commenter on this subject. 13 years ago I applied at a Humane Society for a dog I was in love with and was rejected because I had no fenced yard. I lived on three acres well off of any road as we had a long drive way the went down the side of another three acre property and out to a gravel, seldom traveled road. One of the reasons I bought that property was because it was so off the beaten path and I didn't want any of my animals to have easy access to roads. As a result of being turned down I ended up buying a puppy from someone that had champion golden retrievers where a black lab had leaped his fence and done the deed with one of his girls. I just recently lost my Lucy to cancer on Christmas morning and I am so very devastated. She was my everything and I loved her so much. Shame on those "rescues". The lab I wanted 13 years ago would have had an exceptional home.

  3. This leaves me so frustrated. I'm glad you helped him out.