What to expect from a Breed Rescue Organization
*The following article was given to the BCCR and has many good points regarding what to expect when adopting from a breed rescue group.
Every breed rescue has a different way of operating. Since breed rescues are normally staffed by volunteers and each person has their own way of doing things, these descriptions may not be entirely accurate in all cases. This was written to give a prospective adopter a general idea of what to expect from Breed Rescue.
Many people think that there are two ways to get pet: getting a “mutt” from the pound, or going to a pet store and getting a purebred. A few might add checking the newspaper for a “free to a good home” ad, or for the occasional backyard breeder. With a little education, others discover the responsible breeder and get a pet; either show quality or pet quality.
However, there is another way to get a pet called Breed Rescue. Pets in breed rescue are usually placed in rescue through no fault of their own. Common situations are that an owner dies or becomes incapacitated, a new baby arrives in the family and the previous owners feel they must give the dog up, a move, or people who got a pet without thinking about the commitment that pet ownership requires. In some cases, a pet is placed because of an abuse situation, and special care is taken before an adoption can take place.
A breed rescue volunteer normally takes the pet in, evaluates it for adoptability, provides any necessary veterinary care, spays or neuters the pet, and either places it with a family on the waiting list, or places it in a foster home until adoption.
I’d like to take a few moments to go over some of these steps in detail before going into getting a breed rescue animal. First, dogs are always evaluated for adoptability. ‘Special needs’ pets (i.e. temperament or health issues) are offered for adoption to people who are made well aware of the ‘problem’ and have strict guidelines such as no children, no other pets, etc. Breed rescue remains as an ongoing support and will take the pet back if the adoption does not work out.
Dogs are given necessary veterinary care before adoption. For example, in some parts of the country, heartworm is epidemic, and a dog will need to be treated for heartworm and placed on preventive medication before adoption. In every case, the pet will be spayed or neutered before adoption unless there is a valid veterinary reason for not doing so. Foster homes are responsible for caring for a rescue pet before it is placed for adoption.
Why would you consider a rescue adult instead of a puppy? Well, first off, you usually get an adult whose chewing phase, housebreaking phase and general puppy wildness are gone. Secondly, you would know exactly how big the dog is or will be, and have a good idea of the individual personality. Lastly, but not least, you would be giving a deserving dog a good home.
How do you find Breed Rescue for your preferred breed? If you have Internet access simply use any search engine and type in the breed rescue (i.e. Chihuahua Rescue, Dachshund Rescue, Jack Russell Rescue etc) You will get a list of websites dedicated to breed rescue. Call local shelters and see if they are “rescue friendly.” They may be able to recommend someone to you. Next call local vets and dog groomers and see if they know of any rescue groups.
What should you expect when adopting a rescue pet? When you initially contact the rescue person, you will be asked to complete a detailed adoption application. You’ll be questioned about your lifestyle, your family, your schedule and what every member of your family expects from a pet. This is not done to offend you. The rescue person is asking for two reasons; first, to match you to the most suitable pet, and second, to make sure that your home is an appropriate one for the breed you want. Often people want a breed solely because of its looks, not aware that its personality is completely opposite from what they want! A rescue pet has already been torn away from at least one home, and breed rescue is doing all they can to make sure that it never needs to go through that again. A responsible breeder should ask you many of the same questions.
The breed rescue contact will conduct a home visit. S/he will contact your landlord (if you have one), and make sure that s/he is amenable to the idea of your having a pet. All of this is to make sure that each pet is given every chance at a stable, loving, permanent home.
In all likelihood, you will NOT get papers with a rescue. This does not mean that the animal is not a purebred. It is meant to stop unscrupulous people from registering a pet under a rescued pet’s registration. (Your rescue dog cannot have a litter, because it is spayed or neutered)
You will have to pay an adoption fee for your pet. This will usually be more expensive than the adoption fee charged by a pound, but less expensive than buying from a breeder. This fee is charged to cover the spaying/neutering costs, medical expenses and other rescue related expenses (i.e. the cost of obtaining the pet from a pound, food while in foster care, advertising, phone calls, cost of travel, etc.)
One thing to keep in mind is that the adoption fee is not necessarily reflective of the expenses related to your particular pet. Breed Rescues get some pets that have expensive medical problems. They have to foster pets for a long period to time, which costs money. Sadly, some do not survive because of their medical condition or abuse before being taken into rescue, but their veterinary bills still need to be paid. I have never heard of a breed rescue organization that did not lose money. So, your adoption fee probably will not cover all the adoption-related costs. (All rescue organizations will gladly accept extra donations.)
So you’ve spoken to the rescue person, filled out the application, and been interviewed. Usually, at this point, you wait. Keep in touch with the rescue person from time to time, keeping you in her mind when a suitable pet comes in. Read books about your particular breed, and if you are getting a dog check out the obedience classes in the area. Try to be patient – the process is very much like adopting a child.
When a suitable match is made, every effort is made so you can meet the pet first (distance permitting). Please keep in mind that the animal has been through a whole lot of stress, and may not be showing at his or her best. However, it can be guaranteed that the breed rescue person has thoroughly checked everything and has made a careful decision to place you with that particular pet. The next step is to fall in love!
In closing, I’d like to encourage you to think about a rescue pet when you decide to add a pet to your family. If you’re just looking for a pet, (like most of us) consider giving a home to one that is pre-owned. It’s not only the right thing to do; it’s a very smart thing to do.