What is Rescue?
There are several misconceptions about what exactly rescue groups do. Here are the facts:
Misconception #1: Rescue groups are desperate to find homes for dogs, and don’t care who gets them as long as they are gone.
Fact: Rescue groups are usually very careful about placing the right dog in the right home. Some dogs have special needs, such as being an only dog, or being in a home with no children. We spend many hours talking with potential adopters, getting to know their situations. We visit their homes to make sure it is the best environment for the particular dog to be in. In general, we take the same steps a good breeder would to ensure that the match we finally make is a good one. We are only human, however, and we do make mistakes. But we always try to do what is in the dog’s best interest.
Misconception #2: Rescue people are just out to make money. If they were really interested in helping find these dogs homes, they would just give them away rather than charge a fee.
Fact: All the money that is spent on the care of the dogs in rescue comes from adoption donations and out of our own pockets. Some come to us with treatable illnesses such as heart or intestinal worms. Some have never been given the proper vaccines or vet care. Many come to us unaltered (not spayed or neutered). We give each and every dog vet care, to ensure that they are reasonably healthy when they are adopted. We feed them nutritious foods and give them vitamins, and any medicines that they need (such as heartworm preventative). It would be nice if all of these things came to us for free, but they do not. Some rescues have made arrangements with vets to have the dogs treated for a reduced fee, and occasionally, pet stores will donate food to rescue groups. The adoption fee that is charged is only to help cover these costs. Believe me, we put out much more than we get back! We are not in rescue for profit. We do this because we love the dogs, and because we would rather take the financial loss than see one of them suffer in an unhappy home, or be killed in a shelter because no one came to adopt them.
Misconception #3: The rescue people will take my dog if it is vicious or has bitten people and rehabilitate him/her for me.
Fact: It would be nice if we in rescue had a magic wand to wave and make every dog non-aggressive. Unfortunately, no such wand exists, and sometimes, bad genes and poor training/socialization combine to create an unpredictable dog who is vicious. If you have such a dog, the best thing to do is have the dog euthanized. Certainly not all dogs that bite once are vicious. One must look at the circumstances surrounding a bite or act of aggression. But if this is an ongoing behavior, there may be no other solution. We would urge you to speak to your vet, or consult an animal behaviorist before taking this step. Nothing is more sad than to euthanize a beloved family pet, especially if there is something that can be done to correct the aggression.
Misconception #4: The rescue people will take my old, dying dog and care for him/her in their final days or The rescue group will pay for my dog’s spay/neuter, cancer surgery, etc.
Fact: Dog rescue is not a free clinic for dogs. We barely get by as it is. Vet care is part of pet ownership, just as pediatric care is part of parenting. If your dog is old and suffering, please, end that suffering. Yes, its a hard choice to make, but you have to look at the quality of the dog’s life. If s/he can no longer get around on their own, they are not enjoying their life.
Misconception #5: Rescue groups are against breeding altogether, and have nothing to do with those who breed dogs.
Fact: Actually, many people involved with rescue are breeders themselves. What we are against is irresponsible breeders who don’t know what they’re doing. Breeding isn’t something to be taken lightly. It’s not something one just “does”, out of curiosity, to “teach the kids about nature” or to make some extra pocket money. When done correctly, breeding is not profitable, and is done only to improve the overall quality of the breed. There are many people out there who breed simply to satiate the demands of the “pet” market, which ends up weakening the genetic pool of the given breed, not to mention stress, injury and death when they don’t know they’re doing. This is what most rescuers are against, because we hate to see anything happen that diminishes the quality of the dogs we love so much.