|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
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
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
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.