5 Things I Wish Dog Rescue Groups Would Never Do

I’m not surprised there are people out there who are frustrated with rescue groups.

I can totally see where they’re coming from. You know, like, you’re excited to adopt a dog, thinking you’re doing a good thing by saving his life even, and then … Bam! Rejected!

Dog rescue people have a bad rap of being shall we say, nutty. Like, poor people skills, major attitudes and clinging to dogs with all their life because no one is good enough for them. That kind of nutty.

Sometimes I drag my husband to dog rescue fundraising events and it’s embarrassing how well some of these other volunteers meet that stereotype!! He and I just kind of glance at each other sometimes because there really are no words.

So, I’m going to write this post in the kindest way possible because I know dog rescue volunteers have big hearts (I’m a rescue volunteer myself). It’s just easy to lose touch with reality sometimes. I get it, we all love the dogs and want what’s best for them.

But …

5 things I wish dog rescue groups never did

5 things I wish dog rescue groups never did

1. Criticize someone for returning a dog.

It’s extremely difficult emotionally to return a dog.

Returning a dog makes you feel like a failure. Here is this poor dog that’s been abandoned or mistreated (in your mind anyway), and all you want to do is love him and give him a good home. Only, he’s trying to kill your cat or he’s able to bust out of his crate or he’s barking nonstop.

These are things you can’t always predict or plan for. And guess what? Even the most experienced dog owner is not going to be excited about separation anxiety or cat aggression.

Returning the dog is sometimes the responsible thing to do, so it makes me sad to see rescue volunteers bashing people on facebook for returning a dog that wasn’t a good match.

2. Holding double standards.

This one’s frustrating.

So, if you volunteer to foster dogs and you have 7 dogs total in your home at any given time (your 4 dogs + 3 fosters) you’re viewed as a hero among rescue volunteers. And you probably should be because God knows I could never care for 7 dogs.

But then … if a potential adopter applies for a dog and writes that she has 4 cats and 2 dogs already … well, she might end up getting rejected for being “over the pet limit.” Especially if she’s in an apartment.

All I’m saying is let’s judge each situation by the level of care the animals are receiving. The number of animals isn’t really the issue. It’s how they’re cared for.

3. Making excuses for aggressive dogs.

I’m not talking about dogs with obvious, severe aggression.

I’m talking about the dogs that are a bit more under the radar by showing less serious reactivity or resource guarding here and there that’s brushed aside time and time again.

Often, the rescue board members will blame the foster volunteer, not the dog. “So and so should’ve known better.” Or, “this happened only because of the resident dog” or “the kids must’ve been too rough.”

NO.

A bite is a bite.

Sure, people make mistakes but all nips and bites and snarls should be discussed and taken seriously. And adopters need to be aware of all these little “quirks” no matter how minor they might be.

4. Introducing new dogs head on.

I know this one comes down to knowledge of dog behavior and experience. I can’t blame people for not knowing any better.

But if I could shout anything to rescue volunteers from the rooftops, it would be “Introduce new dogs slowly by walking them side by side!!!!”

These introductions can make or break an adoption. If either dog snaps at the other, the adoption usually won’t happen. This can be avoided by a slow walk around the parking lot and then doing an intro after 10 minutes. DO NOT RUSH INTROS!

5. Not stepping back to re-evaluate their own policies.

Times change.

If rescue groups don’t take a step back to re-evaluate their own intake policies, adoption policies, marketing procedures, public relations, budgeting, fundraising, etc., the dogs will suffer.

It’s important for any business, team, school, church or nonprofit to pause, slow down and evaluate how things are going at least twice a year. Rescue groups need to make it a priority to do the same.

If you’re so busy you can’t take two hours to evaluate your own organization, something is seriously wrong.

Maybe everything’s going great. How can you be sure if you don’t take the time to evaluate?

So those are my 5 main issues.

Really there are probably more but I better stop here before I say too much.

Let me know if you can relate to any of these or what you’d add to the list.

Leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you. Comments make bloggers feel special. 🙂 Anyone can comment, by the way. You don’t have to be a blogger. Just enter your name and email address (your email will always be hidden).

Related posts:

My open letter to a rescue group (the Crazies really came out on this one!)

Too difficult to adopt a dog?

Rescue group sued after dog bite

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67 thoughts on “5 Things I Wish Dog Rescue Groups Would Never Do”

  1. 6. Criticize someone who chooses not to rescue. We all have parameters and dealbreakers based on our chosen breed (or lack thereof) and our own household and personality variables. There are many valid sources for pets, and there are probably as many reasons for choosing a particular option over others as there are prospective pet owners. Rescue doesn’t have the market cornered on being the morally correct choice. All that kind of criticism does is turn people away from rescue.

    The funny part is that I am considering volunteering with a group, but while others might be able to bring their personal dogs to events, I don’t think I can. I can only imagine what would happen the first time I was asked from which group I rescued her; it’s a reasonable question but I would understand why they wouldn’t like the answer (“I didn’t, actually, she’s from a show kennel in _______”).

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Yep, I see where you’re coming from. Although, I do know lots of people who have both a “rescued” dog and a dog from a breeder. Most people are reasonable and down to earth. At least I like to think so!

      1. Not in my experience! I’ve been called everything in the book because I bought my dog. The group I found is an utter rarity in that it is a fan of good breeders and wants to enlist them as a resource. I’ve never heard/seen any of them say or post, “Adopt don’t shop.” As soon as I hear that phrase, I’m done taking somebody seriously.

        1. Lindsay Stordahl

          Sorry to hear people have judged you. I don’t like the “adopt don’t shop” phrase either. I get where they’re coming from but it alienates a large group of dog lovers.

          1. It’s stupid. Usually I try not to completely write people off just because they don’t think the same way I do, but as soon as I see or hear that one, we are done. I just can’t be bothered anymore.

    2. I am not experienced on this great topic, but I appreciate your addition. I shall try to have room for the freedom of choices. Thanks.

    3. Thousands of animals die every year from euthanasia. Breeders and buyers help perpetuate this number. If you want a certain breed, there are breed rescue groups. If animal welfare people make you feel badly or uncomfortable about purchasing from a breeder, then good. You think you feel badly? Think how the animals who have to sit in cages for weeks or months and then get euthanized feel. You SHOULD feel badly. Anybody who buys from a breeder is incredibly selfish.

      Don’t breed or buy while shelter pets die. Thanks

  2. 6. Lie or omit behavioral information about a dog.

    7. Pressure a potential adopter to adopt a specific dog.

    8. Steer a potential adopter to a “harder to place” dog when they haven’t indicated such interest or are inquiring about other dogs

    9. Judge, label and/or take a negative view of people who do not want to rush/race to a decision to adopt. (It’s normal to have a policy that people can’t put a “hold” on a dog. Taking time doesn’t mean that dog should have to wait if another home comes along. It is “abnormal” to think that someone actually taking the time to make an informed decision is a less qualified or serious adopter!)

    And in defense of rescue groups, I give a blanket approval to violate your rule #1 when the adopter has lied to the group on purpose to be approved about the specific reason for the return. (lying, playing semantics, omitting known critical information).

    If the rescue told you that this dog has high prey drive, does chase cats, will kill cats, and you say it’s ok because you don’t have a cat, then if you return the dog in 2 weeks because he wouldn’t stop chasing your cat – oh, it’s not really your cat, it’s your boyfriend’s cat that you live with 100% of the time…why yes, people will criticize you for adding stress to all the lives of animals AND delaying the search for a good home. I think everyone who has worked in rescue or shelters for long enough has stories like this.

    1. I agree with you completely. People need to be honest about their situations no matter where they’re going for their dog. I was very open and truthful with my breeder because I wanted to foster trust and to get a dog that was actually what I wanted instead of a mismatch that I just dealt with because I commit to my pets.

  3. When my wife and I were looking for our first dog she was pregnant with our second child. One of the first rescues we went to refused to let us adopt a dog and told us that we should be more focused on the baby.

    Maybe they were right in theory, but we were two responsible adults that had recently bought a home and we knew that no home felt complete without a dog.

    Of course we had no problem finding a wonderful dog someplace else. Getting a dog was the right decision and now that our kids are a bit older we have two dogs.

    That rescue can kiss my butt. Some rescues shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

  4. This is a tangent of sorts, but I sort of wish they just wouldn’t adopt out dogs with dog reactivity or resource guarding issues. I admit this is selfish, but friends of ours adopted a dog who was sold as being good with other dogs. Naturally they wanted to bring it around our dog. I was really not thrilled by how that went and by how they kind of neglected to handle it. So now the rescue either missed it or glossed over a problem, and now their problem has become not only our friends’ problem but also our problem. I no longer allow that dog at our house or bring our dog on outings if their dog will be there. Luckily, so far I haven’t had to come up with a reason why.

  5. I was rejected to adopt a russell terrier pup from a rescue because we didn’t have six foot fences. I know jack russell’s can jump high but I do have a fenced in yard. I also already had a jack russell terrier who has never cleared the fence I found it quite odd that I was rejected especially since I had experience with the breed especially since they are a breed for everyone.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Ugh, yes, that is so frustrating. What a shame. I’ve been rejected as well for not having a fence. Thankfully not all rescue groups are that picky. Some are more reasonable.

    2. I was denied rescuing a GSD because my 2 well cared for dogs were allowed access to the 6 ft privacy fenced yard all day via doggy door. The 6 ft fence was a requirement, but apparently giving dogs freedom to come and go was a big no, no. I had perfect vet references, friend references, and everything. Doggy door was a deal breaker.

      1. For what it’s worth, I would worry about my GSD being unattended in the yard and getting protective of the homestead and subsequently being harmed, but that or theft is the only thing I can think of.

      2. We use a doggy door it is convenient and the best thing ever because Nala loves to go outside to just lay in the sun. But I guess I probably would have been rejected for that too.

  6. I’m really glad you wrote this piece openly and honestly (and respectfully as well)! Rescue work is impossibly depressing, frustrating, hard to do, and I applaud everyone involved. However, there is definitely a tendency for rescues to lose sight of the larger goal: Finding homes for animals. Let’s be real, most animal owners are NOT going to be master trainers or superstar behaviorists with perfect situations. But that doesn’t mean that a generally reasonable fit is worth overlooking.

    It breaks my heart to see what could be a possible adopter match get rejected because the owners aren’t an exact fit for the rescue’s particular rules, regulations, or belief systems. There’s a balance that has to be struck: Is it better to have this animal live the rest of its life in a shelter or rescue situation when you could adopt them out to what seems to be a mostly OK household? Is it reasonable to reject adopters because they may use a prong collar when you know this may be the only chance at adoption the dog will get? Is it OK for your shelter or rescue to go along with a vet-suggested euthanasia for a dog with aggression, when there are aggression specialists willing to help but that use techniques your rescue disagrees with?

    These are all questions that deserve a respectful discussion, but at the end of the day the clock doesn’t stop and there are too many animals in need of homes for us to stall out over every technicality.

  7. I have never done any rescue work (only volunteered and walked dogs a few times at a shelter) per se, but I loved your post. Not letting any strange dogs meet head to head is so important. You’d think that rescue people would know about dog psychology/body language and polite K9 greeting etiquette. I’m a huge believer in introducing strange dogs on a walk – ideally an extended one. If someone’s really interested in adopting a dog, they should probably make enough time for an introductory pack walk.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thank you Barbara! Most rescue volunteers (dog owners in general) don’t know how to introduce dogs properly. They have kind hearts and good intentions, but introducing dogs properly is just something that needs to be taught, as you know.

  8. I am a board member with a rescue group. I agree with many of the comments here and wanted to touch bases on a few things said. I have dogs that given to me, I bought a “breeder” dog (it was actually someone that lived in a trailer park that bred huskies, let me also state I don’t have an issue with a trailer park being I lived in one as a child) and rescued.
    One of the dogs I rescued, I eventually had to surrendered back because she was attacking my dogs. I was given a dog said to be friendly but would growl at ppl at 6 months old, and that is when we first got her. I tried many, many things but ultimately felt my home wasn’t right for her and I didn’t want anyone to live by crate and rotate. This isn’t fair for ANYONE. I think my situation has helped our rescue by telling volunteers not to immediately judge. “Dumping” your 16 yr old dog on the other hand I take serious issue with. I’ve had many calls from owners that think we can fix every problem they have created. I can say this because if you have had your dog since it was a puppy, and did nothing to socialize nor train your dog, I shouldn’t have to be your clean up crew. I feel that if you have to surrender your dog that’s ailing that it’s your responsibility to humanely euthanize. It’s not fair to uproot a dog that may have 6 months to live.
    I do agree some volunteers are nut jobs. I have never felt a fence makes for a good owner. Some dogs that are flight risks though and may need one. A 4 pound Chihuahua might not be best suited for a new family with a 2 y.o. toddler, due to the dogs size, just a few examples. I think ppl also don’t understand we live with these dogs and know them better, so just because you fell in love with the picture we don’t want to end up having to turn everyones life upside down. Our rescue has a clause in the contract that the dog must be returned to us so it would make no sense for us to lie about their behaviors. We are bound by contract to take them back. This being said we are human. We may have a dog that does well with dogs in our home but hates others. We also hold meet and greets before adoption. This isn’t fool proof but a decent indicator. Adopters also need to not set a dog up for failure.
    I have used the term Adopt don’t shop. I will in the future. I do think though that I hold this to most retail stores and certain breeders. I think many feel if your buying that cute puppy in the window you’re buying a quailty dog. Not so much. I have made many a trip to East Holmes county. The county that has the highest Amish population in the country. I can’t begin to tell you how many EXTREMELY SICKLY dogs we have brought back, spent thousands nursing back to health, and that’s the parent of the dog you spent thousands on thinking they were quality stock at the pet store (many purchased and dist. by Hunte corp). I will say I’m not against responsible breeders. I think dog owners in general need to do research. Where you are getting your dog, what the breed needs, can I afford short term and long term costs of the dog I want.
    My rescue is typically small breed. We have had though everything from Mastiffs to chihuahuas. We have a no outdoor pet policy. I live in Buffalo Ny so the no outdoor Chi makes sense. I fostered a husky. I adopted her to a family that strictly kennels outdoors. They have ample area and shelter and walk their dogs 3 miles a day. They are great ppl and I saw no reason they shouldn’t be able to have her. They adopted a second husky from us over the summer and frequently give me “pupdates”. I think not every case is the same. They were denied by other rescues because of this. I look at it as their loss is our gain. I agree policies should be reviewed.
    Ok I think I’m done 😉

    1. Yeeeeeah I’ve heard way too many people apply that phrasing to all breeders and also shout you down with it, so no. I’m completely done once I hear it.

    2. Thanks for sharing your experience on this great topic. I am learning this topic from reading people’s experiences here.

  9. sharon sandberg

    we adopted our first dog from a rescue- it was a very long drawn out process- almost akin to adopting a child but we were finally approved to adopt a wonderful dog who we had for almost 4 years. during that time i did volunteer work for the rescue and participated in many of their events. He was then diagnosed with a hemangiosarcoma of the lining of his heart. We took him to several specialists and even a well reknowned veterinary school in our state to see if there was anything to do to save him, but there were no good options and he passed away. Shortly after, as the house was so empty, we applied for another dog from that same rescue- and were told we would have to start the whole process over again- home visit, interview by someone from the organization, assignment of a ‘social worker’ liason between us and the foster parents. It was kind of unbelievable as we were known by the group and had obviously taken very good care of our previously adopted dog and nothing about our home situation had changed. We did set up the obligatory home visit, but in the meantime i found a dog on Petfinder at a local shelter who we adopted right away. there were just so many hoops with the rescue. but we are glad we found our dog. perhaps it was fate – she was meant to be with us.

  10. I agree with you on all aspects, really. I have worked in the animal industry for 10 years but since I look very young and have two children rescues have looked at me as I’m not a good fit even if we just stop by the adoption events. I have even donated to several rescues that have had a nasty attitude towards me at certain events. I get they don’t want the pet to go through disappointment, but they could be passing on some amazing homes. 🙁

  11. Thanks Lindsay, I just wanted people to see what I have experienced. I don’t believe I can save every dog, I have zero tolerance for a human aggressive dog. Far too many are euthanized because of lack of shelter space and I see no reason to hold a spot for an aggressive dog. I do hold dear the starfish story. I also want to state to a potential adopter although you may be a great home we may have numerous apps as great as yours. We try to match adopters with a dog and if we have multiple apps we don’t often list a new dog and will call you to see if you are interested before listing one because we don’t want to set someone up for heartbreak. That being said if you are looking for a 5 y.o. poodle I won’t call you saying we have a puppy Rottweiler. Those rescues are doing no one any favors. I also want to stress 2 more points. One if you can’t meet the parents, it’s probably not a reputable breeder. Second we are volunteers. If you place a call, I may not contact you back. I have 2 jobs, a husband, 2 children, 2 jobs and 6 dogs and 3 cats. This is the story of many VOLUNTEERS. Serious adopters fill out paperwork. I’ve had many nasty voicemails that “we aren’t serious about placing dogs” or ” you need to hire more people”. I’ve never received one thin dime in compensation other than saving a life (which is thanks enough) but adopters need to realise although this is a huge aspect of our life, it isn’t the only one.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Such good points. Rescuing dogs is a huge part of my life as well, so I hear ya. “You need to hire more people.” Ha, now that’s a good one.

    2. Actually, it’s entirely possible to buy from a reputable breeder and never meet either parent. Very often, good breeders will not have the sire on site because they aren’t necessarily breeding to males within their own lines. They may also not have a puppy who is a good match and therefore may be locating and acquiring a puppy on your behalf. Good breeders often work together. I worked with one breeder and would love to work with that person again, but I could also work with my dog’s breeder or with the breeder of her dam and feel confident that I was getting a high quality pup. 🙂

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        That is the case with a very reputable breeder I know. She doesn’t own the sire so the puppy buyers generally don’t meet him. I assume she provides tons of info and photos.

        1. Typically a breeder should be able to provide photos, a four or five generation pedigree, and a list of reasons why the stud was chosen for that particular bitch.

        2. And this tangent is bringing me to another thing I wish rescues would quit doing. They have this list of “what makes a breeder whose existence we GUESS we can tolerate” and some of the items are either not true in a practical sense or just silly, yet it’s passed around the internet like gospel.

      2. I don’t understand “you should meet the parents” as literal. To me, it means that if you actually WANTED to, you would be permitted access to meeting the parents.

        In many cases, the sire doesn’t live nearby, or if you are waiting for a puppy in the future, there could be multiple potential sires. You would have so much information from the breeder. You would be already relying on a cooperative network of people who have good reputations and trust.

        As a result, it would be really expensive and pointless to make everything turn on a 1 time meeting of a sire. But I’m sure if you really wanted to, technically, you COULD meet the sire.

        The advice about meeting them is really about hiding poor conditions for the dogs (puppy farms) or ill tempered dogs.

        1. That’s a fair point. However, based on my own experience, I’m going to go ahead and guess that most people who spout that one don’t think in as nuanced a fashion as you do! (Really – they don’t. It’s all black and white with them.)

          I would also add that if the sire IS on site, while it could mean he’s standing at stud there and is genuinely a good breeding match for one of the females, it could also be kennel blindness. I’d be more interested in checking a pedigree and linebreeding coefficient than in having the sire standing in front of me.

          1. Sometimes the responsible breeder uses frozen sperm and the sire has passed on. Or the sire is on the show circuit and not available. All good reasons for not seeing both the sire and the dam. But surely the dam is usually present. Regarding reviewing the pedigree, if the person reviewing is not familiar with the breed or dogs, there is no way of knowing if they are good matches or not. This is usually accomplished by years of research and breeding.

  12. Kl I understand getting from another breeder a match or finding a match. I respect that, but I would think the mother would be on premises if getting a pup. My mastiff (1 of 5 of my dogs the 6th being a foster) the breeder matched to my friend who ultimately asked me, the sucker when he could no longer/ would no longer care for, to take the dog. I being a foster parent told my husband (who has loved the dog since he laid eyes on him) said if he does well here we can keep him. Who was I to say no, since I’ve fostered dozens.? Maybe I’m naive or bitter. I guess I just haven’t dealt with nor found a breeder of that caliber that you speak of. Again I’m not saying great breeders don’t exist, I guess I’m saying there’s few and far between. I’ve had breeders contact ME when the person they sold a dog to needs/wants to return the dog.

    1. Nope, not necessarily! My dog was a placement from another breeder, so I haven’t met either of her parents. I have met numerous dogs from these bloodlines and watched them in the ring and met the breeders. Between that and having fostered a relationship with the breeder I worked with directly, I gained confidence that I was dealing with the product of numerous high quality programs. Also, if the dam is co-owned, she may go back to her co-owner after the puppies are past eight or nine weeks old and you may not see her at pickup time. It is simply not true that having one or both parents on site is a hard and fast indicator of a quality program.

      1. This is how I choose my breeders. I’ve not met the parents of one of my dogs (two if you count the “rescue”). I have, however met the breeders at several performance events that i participate in and have handled numerous dogs of their lines, and direct relatives of my dog. I don’t feel i need to meet the parents or even step foot on their property to judge whether they would be good dogs. I see the yards on Facebook in the litter photos.

    2. Great and responsible breeders of purebred dogs are everywhere. You just have to look. A good place to start is the AKC parent club. They have a breeder referral list that requires a Code of Ethics. They breed good healthy dogs, understand the breed and do all the necessary health testing. And they will take their own breeding back anytime through the entire life of the dog.

  13. Again I guess my question is do you feel this is the case with most breeders? I will agree there’s a difference between breeders and reputable breeders. I don’t think the vast majority of dog breeders are reputable. You can find many on Craigslist or whatever your local paper is. I don’t believe (and maybe I’m wrong) but the reputable ones don’t need to advertise. I know there’s no “guarantee ” with any dog. Like I stated previously the owner needs to do their part in care giving as well. I just can’t say, in my experience, I’ve come across outstanding breeders that will stand by a dog, and take it back between the time it goes to it’s hopefully forever home and take it back should an issue arise. Not all rescues will do this either but the one I work with does. I’m not trying to hold a holier-than-thou stance by any means, but I feel if you bring more lives into the world you should be able to care for the ones you do.

    1. Honestly, I would classify that as an impossible and even unfair question. I can only speak for the breeders I ran across in my research when looking for a very specific type of dog and with very specific goals and parameters for said dog. The answer within that subset is, No, not all, but more breeders than not in the pool I researched and contacted looked as though they were striving to breed ethically and working to improve/further the breed. Whether I personally think they are doing it right is another question, but that can get subjective fast.

      I find it truly unfortunate that there are so many people with the propensity to paint all breeders as evil. Frankly, I think the “Adopt, don’t shop” slogan is utterly ridiculous because it does exactly that. It may not have originated as all-encapsulating, but that’s certainly how I most frequently see it used now. I just can’t be bothered with anyone who refuses to see that there are multiple morally valid sources for acquiring a dog.

  14. This will be my last comment. I’m not on fb nor social media because I typically avoid the back and fourth banter so I will agree to, I think sort of agree to disagree because I think in the end we may ultimately agree on at least some of the major points, we both love dogs. As you’ve stated you’ve dealt with breeders “in a specific type”. I’ve dealt with those that their dogs are no longer making them money because of health reasons (which I feel is right to stop breeding because I don’t want bad genes being passed or major heath issues) but they will also kill their breeder dog because it is no longer a money maker. Other reasons being the dog is too old to breed or not producing enough puppies. Again the people I deal with will kill the dog and not humanely. You may think I’m exaggerating but I’m not. A little back story, I am currently fostering a French Bulldog with pulmonary stenosis that the breeder surrendered to our rescue. If he had any concern for him he would pay the minimal $4000.00 up to 6000. for his balloon angioplasty to let him live past four years of life expectancy but the rescue and generous followers of our rescue will save him. I’m happy to have him at my house because as much as he makes me want to pull my hair out, I adore him. I have 7 different dogs coming in to our rescue tomorrow from 4 different “breeders”. One of the 4 was on hsus 101 worst puppy mills from the last 5 yrs. His reasons and I promise is the honest truth is “I don’t want to pay to feed the dog”, and another was because “she has eye problems I can’t breed her (which means they don’t want problems from USDA). I deal with these humans on a daily basis. If you’re not in rescue you don’t see this part.
    I hope should you go back and reread my previous posts you will realize I’m not an irrational, judgemental person. I wish more respectful breeders existed, if they did, I would have at least 40 more hours of free time a week. I think the subject came too far off rescue and became about breeders which the blog wasn’t originally about. I don’t feel “this tangent” as you called it is a fair statement. I wanted to show others that rescue has its faults but is well intentioned. I personally don’t like to classify anyone in a specific box. Whether or not I change your mind at this point is irrelevant. I know how much time I spend saving dogs, raising money for medical care, transporting through multiple states. I may not change your mind, nor will you change mine. I’ve stated several times there are reputable breeders which I am not against. I don’t feel the vast majorty fit that classification. My only hope by posting this is that if only one person takes a different look at rescue or googles where there are getting a dog or researches a breed they want and takes a deeper look, it was a success.

    1. I wasn’t clear that I don’t think you personally are irrational or judgmental. I do find it unfortunate that you would use such a generalized slogan that whether or not you like it or agree with me, DOES have the connotation that all breeders are evil. And it is relevant to this blog because of how very prevalent the statement is, and who is using it. I do have personal dislike of the statement (and if we are being honest, suspicion of those who use it), and that piece may not be particularly relevant, but the statement and why I wish it was not used absolutely is germane to the discussion!

      However, I don’t expect to change your mind because I’ve learned that usually, that just doesn’t happen. And that’s fine. I wasn’t trying to do so; you may think whatever you like. I did want to point out that certain statements you have made regarding breeders and what makes a “good” one are simply not always true, because it would also be unfortunate if people reading these comments saw them and believed that they were.

      Have a nice day! 🙂

    2. If the dog in questions is a purebred dog, why don’t you turn it over the the parent club national rescue and let them rehome. That is what they are there for. There is no reason any purebred dog is in rescue and there are national parent club rescues in every breed. They have the expertise in their breed to vet and rehome. That is what they are there for.

  15. I have two dogs. The first one we bought from a breeder, the second was given to us by the same breeder when x-rays showed that she should not be bred (she was 18 months old). He insisted that any re-homing of dogs he sold was done through him. His widow still has the adult dogs, although she is no longer breeding them.

  16. Very good points. I really like the one about dogs being returned. I see the bashing on facebook all the time as well. Or sometimes they make it sound like a certain dog is in desperate need because he’s been rejected too many times. And while, yes, the family did reject the dog (reject is such a harsh word), there is usually (though not always) a good reason behind it and the adopters need to take the reason into consideration when looking for a new family. I like what you said about the situation not being a right match. I’d rather a dog be brought back because he’s not a right match than to make the adopters feel guilty into keeping a dog that doesn’t fit with their family or lifestyle. Adoption agencies also need to consider that not everyone is equipped to handle certain unexpected behaviors. Take Pierson for example. If something happened to us and he needed a new home, it would have to be with someone who is familiar with his high prey drive and dog aggression and is both willing to and equipped to handle these issues. Otherwise, the poor boy would probably be rejected over and over again. He’s perfect for me, but he’s not perfect for a lot of other families.

    1. Best dog I ever had was a multiple return-to-rescue for significant dog-on-dog aggression. In our one-dog-at-a-time house, she blossomed into a bomb proof, intuitive therapy dog and ultimately had off leash dog friends. I thanked my lucky stars every day that she was returned by folks who just didn’t understand her, so she could end up with me. Her life was not meant to be merely “managed”, it was meant to be celebrated.

  17. Wow! Great post! One thing I wish rescue groups wouldn’t do is publicly shame people for choosing to work with a reputable breeder or publicly criticize other rescue groups. I think we’re all animal lovers and we should work together to raise awareness, education, and be kind.

    Too often, I see people making really aggressive statements about others on social media and that immediately turns me off and I will not work with a group who attacks others or reputable breeders.

    1. I agree, Kimberly! Or continue to spout inaccurate generalizations regarding breeders. I don’t typically get involved in online debates, but some stuff is just so far afield that I feel I need to speak up. (I probably should work on just letting it pass anyway, but I digress.)

      It’s poor PR to bash breeders or paint them all with the same brush, and you alienate would-be rescue allies by doing it. I think the group I found is going to be okay, but I wouldn’t be working with them if they weren’t. Unfortunately, too many zealots make it difficult to sift out who is reasonable and who is not.

  18. This is an AWESOME PAWSOME article!! You are spot on all topics. As an animal advocate and crossposter, I get extremely frustrated at all the fighting, back-stabbing, childish behavior I see on facebook rescue posts. Come one people, it is about saving an animal’s life, not who collects the most pledges or other such nonsense. That is why I opened my own page. Any nasty remarks about others (except for animal abusers, etc.) are deleted and the person banned.

  19. Our limited admission shelter seems pretty reasonable. Unfortunately, rescue world attracts certain people who have problems trusting other humans and think that almost nobody is good enough to adopt the “fur angels”. Bashing “kill shelters” is also unfair. I sometimes joke that I could bring home one dog, hold to it for a very long time, and call myself a “no kill shelter”.
    I also don’t agree with adopting out aggressive dogs. There is no space for them in our community, and there are thousands nice pets who should be saved instead in my opinion.
    Oh, and criticizing foster families on facebook for a mistake. Poor PR and an instant turn off.

  20. Let me add, don’t abuse your volunteers. I was a volunteer transporter who could pick up a dog and drive it 450 miles one way on short notice, for one-way gas money. I could take four, crated, with potty breaks every 2-3 hours and rescues could then split the cost of gas. I had many rescues make excuses at “delivery” why they didn’t have the agreed to gas money available, the check is in the mail, etc. I got stiffed a lot. One “rescue” refused to accept the dog THEY begged me to pull from the shelter and told me to drop it off at the local kill shelter because “no one would ever know”. Except that I always microchipped the dogs I picked up to the recipient before I got on the road (in case they got lost en route). That refusal was my last transport and the last time I volunteered for “rescue”. I brought the dog home. Paid to have it boarded and vetted and found it a great placement with a group that trains dogs for Veterans with PTSD.

    Apparently the ability to do long-distance transports on short notice isn’t valuable to rescue.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      That’s terrible you had these awful experiences. Thank you for all the work you did to help all those dogs.

  21. Rescues requiring care standards that are NOT necessarily in the best interest of the pets already owned by a potential purchaser kinda irritates me. I have had an application for a kitten rejected twice… once because I owned an intact dog and once because I was not vaccinating a senior dog for everything I could every year. I cannot imagine medically mismanaging one of my animals to meet the standards of an organization which knows less about proper care and husbandry than I.

  22. I wish “rescues” wouldn’t keep a dog they know has a home. A rescue whose first goal is not to reunite lost pets with their owners is not a rescue. A rescue who intentionally keeps pets from their owners is not a rescue. A rescue who breaks laws to keep a dog is not a rescue. I’ve seen this happen over and over and I don’t trust most rescues because of it.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I have seen a rescue refusing to return a dog to a loving family as well. Awful story. So selfish. On the other hand, I’ve also seen another rescue that DID happily reunite a dog with his family.

  23. Amen Brittany and Lindsey. John Cunningham, a disabled Army vet, of Terre Haute, IN, has been desperately trying to get his senior Boston Terrier, Sassy back since late October of 2015. It is the cruelest thing that has been done to this man and HIS dog. The self-righteous, do-gooder, egos of the eastern TN and North TX “rescues” who have deliberately kept these two soul mates apart are beyond disgusting. This story and others can be found at dogladyrants.wordpress.com and Help Bring Sassy Home on Facebook.

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