The soulful eyes of a Doberman stare out from between the chain-link of an animal shelter kennel. An ad runs in the Sunday paper, offering a “Purebred Golden Retriever, free to a good home.” An emaciated Beagle is seen running through a neighborhood but no one can catch him. What do all these dogs have in common? They could have been helped by a breed rescue.
What is all breed rescue?
Simply put, it’s an organization dedicated to finding secure, stable homes for puppies or dogs of a particular breed. There are also mixed-breed rescues, which, as the name implies, helps any type of mixed-breed dog. Breed rescues can be big or small, highly organized, have their own kennel space, or be assisted by foster homes.
Folks who are associated with a particular rescue are generally dedicated to a certain breed. There are rescues for every breed, whether they are a common type or very rare. These organizations often advertise the dogs they have available for adoption in newspapers, veterinarian offices, adoption days at pet-supply centers, Internet sites, and through their local breed clubs, such as the American Kennel Club.
Adoption is a very different idea than giving away or selling an animal. Reputable breed rescues screen potential adopters very carefully to ensure that if a dog is placed with them, it will be a “forever” home. Pet stores, for instance, will often sell an animal to anyone who has the purchase price. A rescue will have the adopter fill out a detailed application and may make a home visit, talk with the adopter’s veterinarian, check references, and ask for a contract to be signed.
This contract will vary from group to group, but will basically include an agreement for regular health care, where the dog will be kept (most rescues will ask that dogs be kept inside and not left outside unattended, for example) and the understanding that if the dog must be given up for any reason, that it will be returned to the rescue for re-homing. This is an extremely important part of the contract, as the reason dogs end up in rescue is due to the original homes giving them up. Unlike an animal shelter, rescues do not euthanize a dog due to a lack of space. There are times a dog will live out his life in a rescue foster home if a permanent home is not found.
Many well-meaning people obtain a puppy on an emotional whim, as a gift, or simply fail to do enough research. A dog is a serious commitment, though, as his lifespan can range upwards of sixteen or seventeen years, or even longer. Besides the fact that you are signing up to take care of a living being for quite a few years, another valid point to consider is the breed itself. If you bring home a darling little terrier that was originally bred to dig out rodents, don’t be surprised to find that he digs up your flowerbeds. He’s doing his job.
If you can’t resist that Australian Shepherd, don’t be stymied by the fact that he tries to herd your toddler. Again, he’s doing his job. Yet these are both reasons that perfectly wonderful dogs end up in rescue. Do the research in the breed BEFORE you bring home that puppy, so you know what to expect. Look for the type of dog that will fit in with your family and lifestyle to avoid heartbreak later.
If you have a dog you need to re-home, please, don’t place an ad. You never know who might take your beloved friend. Contact your local breed rescue. They are there to help you. If you are looking for a new furry family member and have a certain breed in mind, don’t visit the pet store. Call a breed rescue and adopt. You’ll create space for another dog in need, and you may just find the perfect pet. There is no shortage of wonderful, happy, healthy dogs out there just waiting for you to find them and give them that “forever home”.