The number of rescued dogs in the USA & other countries have rocketed in the past decade. Pure-bred, mix breed, large & small dogs are finding their way into loving hearts and homes.
Why so many dogs?
- We live in a “disposable” society; impulsive buying is prevalent, and dogs are considered commodities…. not always a family member.
- People don’t research the right breed for their lifestyle.
- Irresponsible breeders create poor quality dogs with health problems. They breed too many dogs and do not take responsibility for these puppies/dogs for their life time.
- Layoffs, cut backs, and illnesses or death require that lovely dogs of all ages be rehomed.
- The plight of southern dogs has become apparent. Due to lack of spaying and neutering, wandering, and abandonment hundreds of neglected Southern dogs are trucked North on a weekly basis. 90%+ of sheltered dogs in most Southern states, are Euthanized, thousands die annually.
What is Rescue?
- Shelters rescue and rehome dogs locally. Many NE shelters bring Southern dogs to Northern Shelters to help find new families.
- Pure-bred Rescue is available throughout the NE. (See Davey and Champs story) Almost every AKC breed is available. Explore breed characteristics to determine the breed that suits you and your families lifestyle. These are wonderful, healthy and fabulous family companions. You can go to the AKC website to check out information on various breeds. Then click rescue in the North East to find the nearest breed rescue to you.
- Mix breed rescue organizations are prevalent. Dogs may come from Northern or Southern states. Dogs may come from outside the USA such as Asia or Puerto Rico. (See Sophie’s story) Some Rescue groups focus on small dogs and some on large dogs. Some do not care about size but help all dogs.
- Shelter dog selectors are rescue volunteers that frequent high kill rate shelters, usually in larger cities like New York City. These volunteers work with reputable rescue organizations to identify highly rehomable dogs. Then they locate the nearest pure-bred or mix breed rescue group to foster if they can not or do not provide foster care services.
What is a Reputable Rescue Group?
Whether a Shelter or Rescue group all share the following qualities.
- Most reputable Rescue Groups are non-profit organizations (501C3). They are operated by volunteers with few or no paid employees. All donations are applied directly to dog care because there are few “administrative” costs.
- A Qualified rescue will require an application process, ask many questions, and do a home visit before you are approved.
- Good rescue will match the right dog to the right person(s). This means you could be a super dog owner and like a certain dog but, the foster family may feel another dog is a better choice. Respect their expertise.
- Reputable rescue organizations will provide education and require you to sign a contract when a dog is adopted. They will take the dog back the lifetime of the dog. Also, you will be required to return the dog to that organization if you can’t keep the dog.
- Dogs will have full health and behavior disclosure. If there are problems you will be informed before Ask for this information.
- Your adopted dog will have been recently evaluated by a veterinarian. It will have current vaccinations and be spayed or neutered. This is included in the adoption fee. Avoid any organization that cannot give you dated health papers signed by a Veterinarian.
- Foster care, or being in a Northern Shelter, is essential so the dog can be properly assessed for health and temperament. Avoid adopting a dog that has not had a professional are. Some southern rescue groups take dogs directly from shelters and cannot foster them, Hence these dogs are not carefully assessed. In MA, dogs coming from the outside the area are required to have a short quarantine period to assure proper health.
- Quality rescue assures that you will meet the dog and want the dog before adoption occurs.Avoid meeting your dog for the first time off a truck in a parking lot. Assure this is the dog you want and it is a forever match.
- Quality rescue assures the dog you select. A common problem is not getting the dog you selected on the internet.
Rescuing a dog is an incredibly rewarding experience when done with a reputable organization. Adopting a young or older dog, rather than a puppy, allows you to know exactly what the dogs’ characteristics are.
Some rescue dogs have been neglected or abused but they love you more, knowing you have helped them. Many rescue dogs have never been abused or neglected. They have been raised in loving homes but their people have fallen on hard times.
Finally, if you have never adopted a senior dog please consider it. People worry they may die sooner than a middle aged or younger dog. Keep in mind this isn’t necessarily true.
Enjoy being a responsible dog owner wherever you find that ‘love of your life’.
We at Fitter Critters, in the past 15 years, have donated more than 500 rehabilitation and aquatic treatments / services to
Rescue Organizations and Shelters in our area. We will continue to avidly support the Shelters and responsible Dog Rescue Organizations
that work diligently to help make this world a better place.