Understanding how to rescue a dog can be challenging if you don’t research how-to first. I have had clients who have told me that they are extremely scarred from a rescue that turned their life upside down. And now they no longer believe in ever rescuing a dog because of their fear of getting a dog that is unstable, aggressive, or a danger to have.
I also have clients who have rescued successfully and will always rescue. And they have given me great tips to help with making sure that a rescue goes smoothly. Here are a few ways to be sure that you rescue the dog of your dreams, and you make sure that THEY and YOU have the best life possible and say YES to rescuing a dog wisely.
Make Sure Your Rescue Group Is Legit and Stay Away From Scammers.
THERE ARE SOME SCAM RESCUE GROUPS OUT THERE!!
What Makes a Rescue Group Scammy?
I have witnessed rescue groups that seem to be legitimate, well-intentioned rescue groups. But in reality, they’re only in it for the money? and are actually REALLY SCAMMY.
But how do you know if your rescue group is not legit?
There are quite a few ways………………
Is your rescue group on a platform like Craigslist, selling dogs out of their home? Or are they a non-profit?
You can’t really rescue a dog from craigslist if they’re just simply giving it away or charging you a re-homing fee. The reason for this is because you are simply adopting the dog. And you aren’t quite sure why they are giving it away. Or what it’s history is, because they’ll easily lie to you for a fast sale.
Is This Group Claiming to Rescue a dog, When They’re Really Not?
Additionally, the term “rescue” means it was literally saved from a life or death situation.
Of course, the photo below isn’t an exhaustive list. But hopefully, it helps to differentiate between a rescue and a dog that is adopted.
A Rescue is really:
A dog that was tied up outside for years, completely emaciated (starved) and bred over and over for money
Dog’s simply bred as “bait dogs” where they endure the worst attacks over and over from fighting dogs, all while being chained up and not able to defend themselves.
Puppy Mill dog’s that never see the light of day, stuck in fecal covered kennel, never able to stand on grass or smell fresh air.
Do they promise you a dog with every intention to adopt to you? And then later sell to someone else or keep the dog for themselves?
I have literally witnessed this first-hand. A woman was running a doodle rescue group. Allowed the dog to live with her friend whom she wanted to adopt the doodle. But later when she thought the doodle was too cute to actually give up—she told her that she wasn’t fit and decided to keep the dog herself.
Which was sad to me because she already had other doodles, and they were all ALWAYS MATTED.
Plus she ruined her friendship. It was all-around weird. You definitely don’t want to rescue from people like that. It’s always about the dog’s well-being, not the persons.
Do you know where they got the dog from? Did they get the dog from the shelter and turn around and sell it for more than they paid for?
Many, many, many rescue groups go to a shelter and “find dogs” that fit their group aesthetic. And turn around and sell it for much more than they paid for it. Most of the time they get them from the shelter for free because they have a connection. And simply charge you a ton in order to keep the lights on.
Do you see them involved in the community?
One of the things that I and most pet parents love to see is a rescue group that works within the community, making connections and networking. It’s a really great thing to see and witness.
If You’d like to know more about how to stay away from scam rescue groups, you can check out these other articles here, here, and here
How do you know if your rescue is legit?
Rescue from a well organized, well-connected group
It’s very important to rescue from a well known, connected rescue group. One that is built within the community and genuinely cares about the pets and parents they work with.
Are they on most forms of social media-Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? Do they have a professional website? Are they a non-profit? Are they simply rescuing a few dogs here and there out of one individual house? Do they not have foster families helping out too?
Many legitimate rescue groups are nonprofit, with at least a Facebook group. They are well connected and network within their communities to ensure the best placement for their dogs.
They also foster their dogs to make sure that all of their behavioral issues have been witnessed and they’re working on rehabilitating them.
Outside of the rescue group, how else can you rescue a dog wisely?
Be clear on what type of dog you are looking for– a dog that is right for you
One of my older clients is amazing, and I love her, but she rescued a dog too big and too aggressive. Her rescue pulls her to where she falls while lunging at other dogs. This caused my client to fall and bend all of her fingers backward on her right hand (some may have been broken). And she already walks on a cane.
Because of this, her roommates (who are older as well) are terrified of her rescue. And now they’re asking her to get rid of her. And it breaks my heart, because this dog is a great dog, and would be great with the right person or family who could handle both her weight, size, and personality.
So I always recommend choosing a dog for more than just their story or size. It’s best to ask, “how they will fit into your life and will it be safe for both them and you.”? That way you can rescue your rescue for life and not just for a moment. Causing that particular dog to feel more insecure, unwanted, and be subjected to increased psychological damage.
Ask yourself, “CAN YOU HANDLE THE SIZE, PERSONALITY, AND BEHAVIOR OF A RESCUE DOG”?
The size of your rescue is very important, whether too small or too big, or too medium even. Can you handle a small dog that can get hurt easily? A larger dog that eats a lot and probably poops a lot? Or a medium-sized breed with lots of energy?
Most people start with great intentions when getting a rescue, but it’s better to start with honest intentions.tinatalksdogs.com
Can you handle a dog of any size that’s super needy that needs your attention at ALL TIMES (I have one, and I love it! Some of my friends, not so much)? Can you also handle a dog of any size with aggression issues that need to be worked through?
What about a dog that requires full-on training, behavioral therapy, or rehabilitation of any kind? Do you have the patience, time, or even money to spend on your pooch?
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME OR PATIENCE?
Luckily, I have met great pet parents who have spent the time to care and rehabilitate their dogs and make them the best pooches possible. They take them to train, they work with rehabilitating them, they let their groomers know if they have any odd quirks, and they are patient.
However, if you’re a family of 5 with a busy work and social schedule, adopting or rescuing a dog with special needs or issues may not be in the cards for you. It would be best to adopt a stable dog, that’s very fearless and independent, so they can fit into your lifestyle.
Don’t Rescue a Dog Just to Place in a Worse Situation
Many times I have seen families rescue a dog, and it either gets picked on by other dogs–causing it to live in fear, or I find that a family who already has 9 dogs in poor condition, rescue another.
That dog then becomes like the others, covered in fleas, never sees a vet, and has a completely matted coat, rarely gets food, and then becomes aggressive because it’s fighting for dominance while getting picked on.
Those are some of the worst-case scenarios I have witnessed. And it’s sad because then the dog isn’t really rescued. So let’s keep our dog ownership to healthy, which depends on income, dogs, and lifestyle!
If you rescue as a gift, gift to the right person!
PLEASE Don’t just assume ANY and EVERY person should have a dog!
About four years ago I worked at a vet clinic that had this really adorable shepherd mix that was abandoned by its parents. He was friendly, sweet, outgoing, and LOVED people! This guy would jump up and give everyone hugs. We knew that he would find a good home. And luckily he did! OR SO WE THOUGHT.
A beautiful couple took him in and gave him to their son. A son with a diagnosed illness (that I will not name) who decided to immediately stop taking his meds as soon as he was given the dog. This son lived alone, but fortunately, his parents check on him periodically.
His new dog was tortured day in and day out. He was locked in a closet for days without food or water and beaten for fun.
One day his parents came over unannounced and witnessed the torture of this dog, by their son, in his apartment.
They immediately surrendered the dog to the vet clinic, telling us of the horrific things that were done to this dog.
This dog was NEVER the same. He would run and hide in corners, terrified of loud noises, his happiness and friendliness were gone. And he had something wrong with one of his eyes.
That experience changed me forever, leading me to believe that it is imperative to help dogs get to an even better situation. Not rescued to need to be rescued again.
Thankfully for him, he was rescued by one of our vet techs, given the love and life he definitely deserved.
Find out if your future rescue dog has any behavioral or social challenges
Here’s my last and final story! I had a customer come in with a chihuahua, and this baby had large teeth wounds in her back and screamed whenever they were touched. Her mom literally laughed and said, “ oh yeah, we have two dutch shepherds at home, one we just rescued, and she doesn’t like small dogs. She picks this one up and shakes her like a ragdoll. We try to keep them separated, but sometimes it’s just too much for us so we just try to stop it when we see it. Sometimes we’re unsuccessful”.
Y’all, it’s stories like these that have made me want to quit the pet industry altogether, but then again, I realize stories like these can help educate on what not to do!
So please continue on.
Does your future rescue dog like children, other dogs, will they kill your cat?
These are questions you must find the answer to because it will save you a lot of heartache in the long-run especially if you’ve gotten attached to the pup. Unless you have seasoned ability in rehabilitating a rescue, then DON’T.
And please don’t put your children or other pets at risk just to save a dog. Everyone should be happy and safe with the new addition. I have seen rescues lead to divorce, lost jobs (due to intense injury), maimed children, and terrified dog siblings who were having awesome life up until the rescue.
Please, rescue wisely!
Do a trial period!
Trial periods are so essential to discovering whether or not a rescue dog will work out. The rule of thumb is usually 2 weeks. This gives the dog time to settle in and time for you to decide if it’s the right fit or not.
I always recommend during the trial period to get the dog seen at a vet, a groomer, take them to the dog park, and have them meet all of your friends and family possible.
This will let you know if the pup is really healthy, if they’ll be great for the groomer, discover how they react in social settings, and find out if they’re afraid of certain genders, clothing items, smells, or even sounds.
My dog is terrified of plastic bags, burps, farts, and a box being opened. He really doesn’t like loud noises-period. So I’m always mindful of his sensitivity and put him in a completely different space when I’m cleaning up-especially when I am changing the trash, have friends over, or opening up birthday or Christmas gifts.
Any well-rounded, legitimate rescue, even shelter will not have an issue with a trial period.
Rescuing a Dog Poorly Shows in the Numbers.
Right now shelters and rescues are overrun, especially in Texas. Shelters in Ft. Worth is seeing upwards of 300 dogs surrendered in one weekend. And rescue groups are having trouble finding enough fosters to hold their pups.
There has been an explosion of dog ownership without any knowledge, causing some of the worst dog abuse, neglect, and trauma.tinatalksdogs.com
It’s imperative that we be more mindful in the dogs we take in, and do more research before we make a choice that will last for the duration of that dog’s life.
I hope this blog post helps you find the rescue that is most suitable for your family. I hope your rescue is happy, loved, appreciated, and given the best life possible!