What you didn’t know about rescue (but really need to)

IMG_1803 As a sort of follow-up to last week’s post that got a lot of people all hot n’ bothered, I figured I would stir up some discussion on what exactly is the purpose of rescue. This post applies to most dog rescues; I fully understand that there are indeed rescue groups who do take it upon themselves to fill the niches provided below. Those groups are few and far between, however.

Dog owners tend to have a lot of misconceptions about rescue groups and animal control, and what their job is in society. Spoiler alert: it’s not to fix your problems.

1. We’re not rehabilitators

So you got a dog, and now that dog is causing you trouble. It’s snapping at company, herding/nipping your kids, tearing up the house, whatever… The likely reason is that you didn’t train it right, didn’t do your research, got a dog from a crappy breeder, or all of the above. Maybe you genuinely did everything right, and it’s just the dog. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter, because either way it’s not our job to fix your basket case. Don’t email me saying, “He deserves better,” or “She’s a wonderful dog, she just needs a farm,” or the like. You’re right, the dog probably does deserve better, but why do you think I’m going to risk getting my hand bitten off, or my dogs attacked, or my drywall eaten? Take some personal responsibility, change your methods, get a trainer, or, if the dog is a serious threat, do the right thing and have the poor thing humanely euthanized yourself.

2. We’re not your rehoming shortcut

By that I mean, if you decide your dog needs a home, do it yourself. It’s really not our job. We will gladly list your dog as a referral, share, spread the word, direct adopters your way, etc. We are constantly inundated with dogs from animal shelters that will DIE if they don’t have foster space. You took on the responsibility of owning that dog – take the responsibility of finding it a home if it needs it. And if your dog has some issue that keeps you from doing this, see #1.

(While I’m on this topic – it’s also not your local animal control facility’s job to find your unwanted dog a home. Animal control exists to hold and place strays, and protect the public from dangerous animals. If you surrender your dog to animal control, they will kill it in 24 hours.)

3. We’re not in the “business” of rescue

Those of us who are doing rescue ethically are not making any money off this venture. In fact, we’re probably losing money. Dogs are expensive, and we don’t exactly get the cream of the crop as far as health goes. So, no thank-you, we are not interested in you “donating” your dog to our organization (unless, of course, you want to “donate” a litter of purebred, vetted puppies). Our dogs are not “for sale,” they’re for adoption, and we have plenty, thank you very much.

4. We’re not your safety net

You didn’t spay your dog, and now you have eight wiggling bundles of joy in your bathroom (or your backyard, depending on what caliber of person you are). Guess what! That’s your problem, not ours. You’re the dum-dum who broke the number one rule of dog ownership.

Zelda and Mako were “accidents” – Zelda was born in the shelter and Mako is deaf, so his breeder dumped him.

Similarly (this goes out to you backyard-breeder asshats) – we’re not here to take the puppies you can’t sell. We’re definitely not here to take your inbred, handicapped puppies that were born because you were either too stupid to know better or too greedy to care. If you want me to take your unwanted puppies, you better as hell sign an agreement to have that bitch spayed, or give me her as well. I will not encourage or enable your breeding habits.


5. We’re not retirement communities

If you send me an email, and it says, basically, “Our dog is 12 years old, and we love her very much, but we just don’t have the time to give her what she needs,” I will pull out my voodoo doll and stick a dozen pins in your eyes. You are the lowest of the low. Tell me, please, what you think we’re going to do with your poor old dog.

Cyrus is eight – ancient for a Great Dane.

I’m not sure what la-la land you live in, but there aren’t exactly lines out the door for senior dogs. You’re going to honestly sit and tell me that that dog is such a burden on your life that you can’t handle the last few months, maybe a year or so, of its life? I’ll tell you what – I’d hate to be your parents. Mom’s too old to be bothered with, just leave her in the bed to fester. Seriously, you disgust me.


Bruce’s owner gave him up because she was dying.

Okay, I’m sure you’re asking by this point, so what the hell are we here for? That’s very simple, my friend. We’re here for the homeless, for the abused, and for the sick. Our job is to take dogs from shelters that don’t deserve to spend the last week of their lives in a loud, smelly, scary concrete prison cell. The dogs that can be rehomed with families that genuinely appreciate their presence.  The dogs that have never known love in their entire lives – only fear, hate, and abuse. We’re also here to help the people who love, cherish, and want their animals but life just won’t let them. For example, the elderly lady who’s being moved to assisted living, or the single man or woman who lost their job and can barely feed themselves, much less a four legged companion. Doesn’t your plight of “just don’t have time” or “we have a new baby” sound pretty pathetic next to all of that?

Dogs – all pets, actually – are lifetime commitments. You are their lives; you are all they care about and all they have. Stop shirking responsibility, and don’t try to rely on third parties to do all the heavy lifting for you. You thought you were good enough for that dog in the first place, now prove it.


310 thoughts on “What you didn’t know about rescue (but really need to)

  1. Elaine Greene June 12, 2014 / 9:03 am

    I just researched ” why is there EVIL in the world, and what I found is that God gave us the right to make our own decisions. There are good decisions and there are bad decisions. Before you make a decision, think it all the way through,from the time you make the decision to 18 years from now. If you ADOPT a pet, research Everything about the years that pet is going to be in your life. MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION. There is NO reason to throw your pet away. As Ceaser haas said over and over, I REHABILITATE ANIMALS I TRAIN PEOPLE. There is always aa solution to every problem, Ask and you will recieve, don’t take the easy way out There ia a solution for that lame excuse you have why you want to throw your beloved pet away. Ask any rescuer and they will tell you

  2. Melissa Gray June 12, 2014 / 2:48 pm

    Wow – you hit the nail on the head! Thank you for putting into words what all of us ‘in the trenches’ face on a daily basis! Well said and AMEN! As the founder and director of Daisy’s Place Retriever Rescue in Charleston, SC, I’m appalled by people who think that we can ‘fix’ their aggressive/destructive, etc. dogs. We focus on older Retrievers but we are NOT a senior sanctuary, our mission is to save and find loving homes for Retrievers (and Retriever mixes) age 6 and older. Everyday I’m inundated with requests to take senior dogs because, exactly as you stated, people don’t have time for them anymore and can’t be bothered to honor their commitment to these precious old souls. For some mysterious reason they seem to think that we have a magic farm with a big money tree that allows us to take care of their senior dogs AND pay for all the vetting they need because they’ve been neglected for YEARS. Sad – and disgusting – beyond words. Thank you again and many blessings, Melissa

    • Janet McSwain June 9, 2015 / 10:49 am

      Melissa, you guys do a great job, and I know you always have more than you can handle….thank you for all you care for in their later years. These dogs deserve so much more than the “owners” who abandoned them.

  3. Libby Absher June 12, 2014 / 11:29 pm

    it a speech that you make for the rest of your life to the stupid of this world.never ending and unreal ,but the worst and sadest part of all is the furkids are the ones who pay the price,having 4 of these furkids,ages 1 to 16 years old that were dump and not love has been a challenge,hair pulling,,banging my head time but i would not trade them for 100 million because they made me a better person and a ton of love!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Ann Marie Provensen-Whitten June 13, 2014 / 11:58 pm

    Thank you for such a great article and letting irresponsible “pet” owners have it!!! If you take an animal into your home, it should be part of your family, they live WITH you, in your house, being loved, fed, cared for as you would a human family member. It takes commitment and responsibility and they should live with you happily until they die of natural causes…it’s sickening how many dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, are dumped at shelters by owners who could give a shit about them. The animals don’t understand, they only want love and companionship, trusting you to want them…Sub human rat bastards dump, neglect and abuse these wonderful creatures…I don’t know how you sleep at night, I know I don’t after spending days at the shelter trying to some small void for way too many animals left behind.

  5. Carol Mckay June 14, 2014 / 9:05 am

    It is what’s wrong with the world today. Children who are now adults were brought up with a lack of respect, & are passing it on to their children. I was not even able to walk on a neighbours grass to retrieve a ball without asking permission. As such I could never give up on a living breathing animal, all my pets whether they found me, or I found them are for life. END OF STORY.

  6. Karen Horne June 14, 2014 / 11:35 am

    That was amazingly well written – I couldn’t say it better myself – I’m with a Beagle Rescue – and we’ve taken in all of the above. It’s so sad – at times I’ve had 11 dogs in my house (7 of them newborn puppies born at my house to a stray mother Beagle) – if anyone can foster please do – it means so much to a pup! – keep up the good work!

  7. Sharon Barrett June 15, 2014 / 9:41 am

    Now your my kind of person, straight forward, no fancy words, no smoothing over or adding sugar to make the medicine go down and taste sweet. My views exactly. Sharon

  8. Janis Jackson June 17, 2014 / 10:29 am

    Love the venting! Ahhh now…Breathe! lol

    I agree with EVERYTHING you wrote.

    If you want to do something right, find a nice old dog at a shelter or rescue and make its last year or years on this earth knowing that humans are humane…

    On adopting an older dog~
    1). For the most part, they come already trained. This is good to know if you don’t know how to train a dog anything. They can usually do basic commands, that’s not to say that its a trick pony! Heck no! It just means you’ll have a easier time communicating. Maybe the dog can teach you a thing or two…you just never know.
    2). Its a good place to start learning the ropes of dog ownership. They’re easier to handle, less active, and require less physical exertion.
    3). Old dogs are just as eager to learn something new as a puppy would. they actually want to so they can adapt to their new environment…just start this from day one; start before the dog even enters your home. Read a book about dog training. It helps to read it before the dog gets home and rules the roost.
    4). Old dogs only live a year or a few years at most. Once he’s gone you will have even more knowledge to pass on and into your next dog…perhaps that special dog you’ve been dreaming about. Perhaps now you can go to a adoption event and look into a dog’s eyes and know who is staring back at you and then know, right then and there, if you can create that caring bond that so many new dog owner crave and few achieve.

    Good dog ownership requires patience, knowledge, love, respect and dignity. Great character building blocks for children. I raised my son with his dog and his sister saw this and she’s raising her son with his dog – an adopted, dobie/shepherd mix in California. they play together, sleep together and fight together. They absolutely love each other! Relationships like this are hard to find.

    I’m not venting here! Just wanted to pass along some of my experiences with dogs, mainly adopted dogs.

    • Pat Abell September 8, 2014 / 5:51 pm

      Oh my gosh… I love all that was said in regards to Senior Dogs, or any pet! I am a foster for a Rescue Group, a volunteer at our local Animal Shelter, and I currently have my own senior dog. I TRULY LOVE SENIOR DOGS! My 5th Foster Dog (8-10 years of age) was just adopted. I had her for 8 months, and I loved every minute of it! There is just something so special in senior pets. I will always foster seniors, and when my own little one goes…I will adopt a senior dog! They know what’s going on, and believe you me.. they appreciate the second chance for life and happiness!! Lastly…my senior pets will die in my arms!! They deserve to be in the arms of the person that loves them!

    • Sue Reimer Hutchinson March 16, 2015 / 11:28 am

      I was very fortunate to take in a 12 year old yorkie from a couple who were splitting up – she was the light of my life and lived to 18. By then, Mitzie was incontinent and wore diapers. I kept expecting her to pass away in her sleep one night but she just hung on to life and I had to finally have her euthanized when her pain was greater than her quality of life.

      I have also rescued young dogs. My first rescue was a border collie/lab cross tied to a clothes line in the pouring rain – eyes and nose streaming pus … cough that came up from his toes. I really only took him to get him away from that life and his first day with me was a $300 vet bill. Dagger was an amazing dog and he lived a very long and wonderful happy life.

      Molly came next – a huge white hound – she was an incredible companion for Dagger and me. Such a sweet disposition, loving and smart.

      Then there was Jasper – a small dog of unspecific breed – an annoying little guy who always wanted what he didn’t have. If you patted his head, he wanted you to rub his tummy; if you rubbed his tummy, he wanted you to stroke his back; if you put him in the yard, he would climb the fence and sit on the other side. I was lucky to find him a wonderful home with a family who really loved and indulged him 🙂

      My latest rescue is another yorkie – only 3 years old, her former owners could no longer care for her. Ms Jelly Bean is the sweetest and most loving dog to ever grace this earth and I hope she lives forever alongside her foster sisters Paris and Magill (also yorkies).

      I have loved all the rescues (cannot believe anyone wouldn’t want them in their lives) and will continue to rescue and give them an excess of love in their last years

  9. Vicki Hurley June 17, 2014 / 8:53 pm

    Your article has numerous very good points. Please forgive me for landing on one of the non-good ones. “If you surrender your dog to animal control, they will kill it in 24 hours.” Are you KIDDING?! I don’t know where you live, but obviously their animal control agency needs serious reform. I am in the Seattle area in Washington. We are blessed to have the wonderful Seattle Animal Shelter doing animal control for the city itself and the equally wonderful Regional Animal Services of King County serving the surrounding area. Neither of these agencies kills ANY surrendered animal unless it is dangerously vicious, incurably ill and suffering, horribly injured beyond reasonable hope of recovery, or so extremely old that it probably would be unable to adjust to a new home. In that last category, animal control officers often take such an elderly pet into their own homes to give it happiness and comfort for whatever time it has left. Surrendered animals are temperament tested and evaluated and new homes are found for them. Animals are not left sitting around the old shelter, hoping. Their pictures and vital information are posted on facebook. They are taken to special, off site events to give them maximum exposure to people who might want them. If all else fails, the animal control officers get on the computer and network with other rescues to make sure that no healthy, re-homeable animal will be put down. At the Regional Animal Services of King County, even litters of tiny, unwanted kittens or puppies have hope. An army of foster families is available to take such little ones, raise them, socialize them, and bring them back to the shelter when they are old enough to go to forever homes. I know that some animal control agencies are a bad deal, but I am not willing to have people believe that that is normal.

    • Heather June 17, 2014 / 8:57 pm

      Fortunate for you to not live in Southeastern America. Shelters here are overcrowded, full of disease, and vastly underfunded. There’s plenty of factors to blame and the finger cannot be pointed at just one. We’re trying our hardest to bring about change, but it takes time.

    • Karen Kroll June 18, 2014 / 8:26 am

      We rescues here in the South beg day in and day out for foster homes and most of us rescuer’s have too many dogs in our houses due to lack of people able or wanting to foster an animal in need. You are very lucky for what you have in your area. Here, walking into a shelter will for the most part, turn your stomach and give you nightmares for the rest of your life. Pulling a dog from the shelter requires quarantine, hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in vetting fees and lots of patience and tongue biting. And in general, there is little to no support from shelter staff and control officers. There are just too many leaving the average human to have to separate emotion from reality.

    • Christy W June 18, 2014 / 3:48 pm

      Vicki, you enjoy an EXCEPTIONAL luxury and precious few places work like that or have sufficient community support to do so. In my metro area, which has something like 23 municipal shelters, HUNDREDS of awesome, healthy pets will die in terror all alone this and every week solely because their owners failed them and expected others to do what they wouldn’t. Most of us who rescue responsibly have dogs in double-digits in our homes already and sacrifice everything else in our lives just to try to save a handful out of the carnage and place them responsibly. What WE experience IS ‘normal’ for most of the country and we do the best we can with the heartbreakingly ugly hand we were dealt. What you get to experience is the dream the rest of us bust our butts hoping to achieve one day.

    • Amanda Krigner June 19, 2014 / 11:41 am

      That must be nice. That is not the case in Michigan. Sometimes it’s less than 24 hours. Anyone in MI reading this, help us stop it and join our PAC today. mi-paca.org

    • Ariel Wright June 20, 2014 / 1:12 pm

      I live in Charlotte, NC. The animal control closest to me is filled with people who truly care about each and every animal that’s taken in. Sadly, the animal control is extremely over-crowded. And the hardest dogs for them to place are the ones that were surrendered. I was picking up a dog from there to foster her, and there was a super sweet bulldog/pitbull something mutt. She was really pretty, even though she was filthy because obviously her owner kept her outside. Within a matter of minutes, they were discussing putting her down as soon as someone was available to do so. Thankfully, one of the kind ladies with me that worked in rescue refused to let that happen and saved the precious baby.
      Sadly, not all animal controls are like the one you described and not all owner-surrenders get re-homed. Where I live, stray hold is 3 days and then they get euthanized. Owner-surrenders are put down almost immediately, and they’re definitely gone within 24 hours. I wish it was different, but it’s not. There aren’t enough fosters or rescues here to take them all, and a lot of the time with the ones that ARE saved, they’re transported to NY or some other place up North to where there are plenty of foster homes.

    • Kelley Seaton June 21, 2014 / 2:47 am

      Vicki you are extremely fortunate to have that type of facility. But Heather is right, especially here in the south, owner surrenders are lucky if they’re even given 24 hours. Our shelter takes in over 100 pets a week. With only 40 runs in the building, it just doesn’t balance out. They come in faster than they go out. We beg and plead all day everyday all over for fosters but they are very very few and far between. Their pictures are plastered all over petfinder, facebook, local businesses, anywhere and everywhere we can put them and it still doesn’t balance out the numbers here. We have even tried telling people when they come to surrender a pet that we are full and just can’t take them right now and that if they were to leave them they will either be put down or cause another one to be put down to make room. They either don’t care and leave them right then or the next morning, we’ll find them either thrown over the back fence or tied to the front door or left in a box. We have a severe overpopulation problem in this part of the country that seems to tower over the rest of the country and until people become more responsible and spay/neuter their pets, we’re just treading water.

    • Beth Gorddard July 25, 2014 / 5:01 pm

      You’re lucky! Unfortunately, there are a LOT of county shelters who kill animals within 24 hours. Not sure about other areas, but the Southeast is full of them! And, the reasons that make animals “unadoptable,” where they don’t even get 24 hrs, are insane! For instance, having a flea infestation, kennel cough, injury or if their owners were starving them and they look too skinny…. They don’t publicize this, so I didn’t know until I volunteered with a rescue group and fostered some of the lucky ones.

    • Mark Russell September 29, 2014 / 3:41 pm

      Vicki, I wish ALL the shelters were “no kill”. Here in Central Virginia the shelters try desperately not to kill animals but most are over crowded and too small.

    • Caitlin Faia Miley September 29, 2014 / 4:08 pm

      Thank you for making this point. The Seattle Animal Shelter is an excellent role model for other municipalities. And although I understand the author’s frustration, that blanket statement about animal control agencies was unfair. I’ve been to a number of city animal shelters, and have encountered kind, conscientious and hardworking employees, doing their best to provide attention to all of the animals in their care, with the (sometimes less-than-optimal) resources at hand. I recently adopted a rabbit from my city shelter, which is so crowded that Mr Bunler was being kept in the lobby with a couple dozen cats (all in cages, of course.) The people who work there truly do want the best outcome for all of the animals.

    • Michelle Roberts October 7, 2014 / 6:49 pm

      this all may be true for a large city like Seattle,but here in small town USA its just not always like that.Where I live in the County,there is NO animal control and anyone can do about anything to their animals because they live out in the country where not too many people live…..life is not all it seems to be depending on where you live….It isn’t all fairy tale land for animals or people

    • Sue Ellen Hange October 19, 2014 / 9:49 pm

      Be glad you’re not in Flint or Saginaw Michigan. Most animals are euthanized and the rest have a miserable short stay in their facilities. These are the two facilities with the highest kill rate in Michigan.

    • Marcia Jill Wells January 10, 2015 / 7:55 pm

      I am extremely happy to say that our local animal shelter (quite a rural area in small town USA-Texas) is able to keep the pets much longer than 24 hours and many will go to rescues if not adopted. Our fur baby was a 2-month-old puppy, and had been in the shelter for 9 days when we brought her home to “rule our lives” while bringing unspeakable JOY as a new family member. 🙂 I am very saddened to hear that there are so many shelters that are not able to do this. Breaks my critter-loving heart! Our shelter does lots of fund raisers and receives donations….though, never enough, of course. It is SUPER CLEAN, very organized, and well staffed with kind loving folks. We are truly blessed! And I just wanted to brag on our local shelter. 🙂

    • Karen Maxwell Bowden May 5, 2016 / 11:36 am

      She is right on, and actually, they don’t even have to allow 24 hours. They will sometimes walk the dog directly to the back in an overcrowded shelter with little networking or visibility. THAT is the reality.

  10. Pam Hart June 18, 2014 / 5:14 am

    If you turn your dog in as an owner surrender in most municipal pounds it will be dead before you are out of the parking lot. If you are overwhelmed and have to do it please say you found the dog on the street. Then it will have to be on a stray hold that might buy it time for a rescue to tag and pull it.

    That said I think the original rant is self centered and childish. People sometimes end up with dogs they can’t handle. Any true rescue person would never enter a rant like that. While I can understand frustration a dog in need is a dog in need no mater how stupid his/her owners are.

    • Betty Peyton June 19, 2014 / 2:07 am

      Pat, I am the director for a humane society which takes in the strays for the county. If you turn in your personal dog and claim it is a stray and if we find out you did that, we will charge you with abandonment and falsifying county documentation when you lied and said it’s a stray. Then you will have a fine, possible jail time and also have to pay the owner turn in fee to the shelter. It is not always better to lie to a shelter. Does not help you or your dog one bit.

      And that “so called stray that is really your dog” might cost the life of another dog at the shelter if they are full. Which life is more important, your dog’s whom you don’t care about and are dumping or the real stray who might have just gotten out of his fenced in yard and his owner is looking for him.

      At least at our shelter, there is a pet personality paper that you fill out so we can better understand why you are giving up your dog.

      I personally love this article and plan on sharing it. As the director of an animal shelter, I hear every single day the “sad” stories of no time, great dog but (with a over a dozen excuses of why they have to get rid of it).

      As for folks who end up with dogs they can’t handle. They need to research to make sure the breed they are thinking of getting is right for their life style. They need to think about how much time they really will have with the dog. They need to think if they have time to train and work with it. And they should NEVER get a dog so it will teach the kids responsibility. Because I can tell you that 90% of kids will get sick of pooper scooping, watering, feeding, watering, exercising that dog.

      Again, I love this story. Thanks much Heather.

    • Kate Roper Camp April 15, 2015 / 4:38 pm

      I agree with Betty. At the shelter where I work, which is a municipal animal control facility, we are able to put owner surrendered dogs and cats straight up for adoption if they are spayed/neutered (and all we have to do is vaccinate if not up to date & microchip if needed). If they hang out in stray hold, they may get sick. Luckily, we have a great shelter and most animals that are friendly and adoptable make their way onto the adoption floor! I’m in Louisiana, by the way, so proof that not every southeastern animal control facility is horridly overcrowded…

  11. Carol Wilson Ciccone June 19, 2014 / 7:06 pm

    AMEN..AMEN…AMEN!! I have been doing rescue for over 20 years and you have hit the nail on the head. Thank you!!

  12. Cynthia Sweet June 19, 2014 / 9:39 pm

    No words to describe how much this resonates with me and my rescue partners. B.R.A.V.O… Well done and thank you.

  13. tkelley0206 June 20, 2014 / 10:35 am

    AMEN IS RIGHT!! Perfectly spoken and truer words have not been written!

  14. chicagocakegirl June 20, 2014 / 12:57 pm

    Great article, and I love that you tell-it-like-it-is! Thank you for not sugar coating and for being a voice for these neglected animals. It pisses me off when people spew out ridiculous reasons for getting rid of their pet(s). I’d like to tell people that abandon their pets, “they DO deserve better, so quit being a selfish jerk and take care of your commitment!”

  15. Marnie Beitz June 21, 2014 / 1:27 am

    Amen. I have spent many years in rescue and will spend as many as I have left in rescue. It is so frustrating to deal with the kind of people mentioned above. Then those same people have the nerve to get mad at us for their poor planning when we tell them we aren’t going to take their dog! I feel bad for the folks at my local shelter. They do everything they can to work with rescues and the community to re-home the dogs they get. They shouldn’t have to make these tough decision daily, but they do. All we can do as rescuers is keep trying. Keep trying to educate, keep trying to spay and neuter, keep trying to find forever homes for the fosters in our care. Don’t blame the shelters for the loss of life, blame the irresponsible people who brought them into the world or gave up on them.

  16. Shellie Garbart Dean June 21, 2014 / 8:30 am

    I have been working with shelters/rescues for the last 10 (or so) years. I have either fostered or adopted the young, the old, the handicapped. I currently have 2 rescue dogs in my home (and adopted both)…took on the anxiety, the stranger-aggression, the lack of training. Got both young starving dogs to normal weights, take both to training every Tuesday night. AND I still have my 12-year-old Lab (who will be here till she takes her last breath…with me at her side)..
    It’s just all about LOVE!

  17. Samantha Armstrong June 21, 2014 / 9:28 pm

    As someone who works at a rescue, I couldn’t agree more. The thing that pisses me off the most is when people adopt from us and then bring the dog back with some stupid excuse. “he nipped at me/my kid/my other dog”…no shit, that dog you just adopted is 5 MONTHS OLD! or “he made a mess in his kennel”…lady, it hasn’t even been 24 hours, he’s stressed out for christ sake!! or the one that floored me the most, “my roommate changed his mind”….oohhh i thought my head was gonna explode when I heard that one.. People need to start taking responsibility for their actions, and seriously think it through before they adopt any animal. They’re expensive as shit and they’re a huge commitment, but to true, responsible dog/animal owners, they’re more than worth it.

  18. Helen Whitfield June 23, 2014 / 12:47 pm

    I just wanted to say Thank you to the rescue Angels of DRNA and the two shelters that I got my
    three babies from. I also agree with you that some people do have good reasons to give their babies up. There are more wrong reasons than right ones. These little ones spend their life’s with someone they get old and dropped off like trash. Why!! Well they’re old the vet. cost, what’s up with that!! How would you like it oh well you’re old, your dr. cost to much, you need glasses, med’s on let’s not forget the diapers (just because you changed mine don’t think I’m going to change yours) so we’re just going to dump you on the side of the road!!!!!! By the way I rescued two seniors and a three year old that has no idea where she needed to pee. So thank you and God Bless you all for the babies that you do save, and giving them the love that they so deserve!!!!!

  19. Dog Owner Guardianship School July 17, 2014 / 12:17 pm

    Great article! I’d like to reblog this on the Dog Owner Guardianship School blog (www.dogownerguardianshipschool.wordpress.com). Is that okay? 🙂

  20. Christy Edwards July 27, 2014 / 4:33 pm

    Kudos to you….it is frustrating, hurts your heart and causes sleepless nights, but rescue does make a difference and casual and negligent and abusive owners can roast!!

  21. thereisnosanityclause September 22, 2014 / 12:53 pm

    I have two Golden Retriever mixes, one 12 and one 5 that I rescued and I know the drill. Unfortunately this post hits the nail on the head for a lot of dummies still out there! Good post! Sharing it on my blog- Thereisnosanityclause
    Good job!You are in my prayers for anyone in rescue is indeed a hero!

  22. Nicole Thayer September 26, 2014 / 5:17 pm

    I’ve been actively seeking a second dog and want to rescue a dog instead of buying a dog. I’ve been searching for months and I am amazed at the amount of people that use those excuses you said in the article! How sad that someone had a dog for 12 years and now they don’t have time for it. My dog is my family forever!

  23. Lenora Smith September 29, 2014 / 2:27 pm

    I went to my local kill pound a few months back-there was a golden retriever-who had three rescues wanting to put a HOLD on the dog–and an adopter was turned away-ONE rescue got the dog as soon as the 72 hour stray hold was up-In the kennel RIGHT next to the Golden retriever was an old hound mix-with rotted out teeth-and ear infections-that had been there so long he was URGENT-(this is a gassing facility ) well two rescues and ONE adopter walked OUT with NO dog-I took the old hound mix-he is beside me as I write this-he just had dental surgery-and is now house trained neutered and just the sweetest old dog anyone could EVER dream of having-he is a blessing in my life. I have quite a few just like him-that time and again-are LEFT behind-so I believe the article forgot to state that ALOT of a dogs CHNCES of leaving a pound ALIVE-depend on not just he or she’s age-or temperament-BUT BREED !!!! MATTERS it really does-Ive seen this time and time and time again.

  24. joeynavis2014 October 3, 2014 / 6:28 pm

    thank u for what u do. u r appreciated by many and by those who u serve, those ancient souls that inhabit those k-9 bodies.

  25. Tina Hill Edwards October 6, 2014 / 5:31 pm

    LOVE IT!!! Thanks for all you do!!
    From: Adoptable Companion Animals of NC

  26. Alice Millington October 9, 2014 / 8:55 pm

    LOVE IT here too. You took the thoughts right out of my head, cleaning up my language, somewhat, as you vented.

    I must say our county shelter tries very hard not to euthanize, to get those animals out to rescues and to give them several days, weeks to find that permanent home. All cats and dogs are spayed/neutered before placement which HUGELY helps keep those numbers down. They are a “kill facility” but that’s their last resort after getting the word out there that they are filling up and may have to start “putting down”.

    FROM: Bless the Beasts of Humboldt County (N. California)

  27. Dreama Faith Stone October 12, 2014 / 1:31 pm

    I completely agree with everything you said. I get so angry when people just dump their animals because the are no longer their cute and cuddly little puppy or kitten. My husband and I, when we adopt it is for the life of the animal no matter what. Hell when we got orders to go to Hawaii we paid over 2000 bucks to move our cat from NC to Hawaii. Most people would have just abandoned their animals. The excuse of “Oh I don’t have time for them” or “We are moving out of state” just annoys the crap out of me. I mean if my husband and I can move our cat(s) to Hawaii and back again then people should be able to take their animals across town or to the next state over. The other people that annoy me to no end are the ones who refuse to train their dog and then get rid of it for acting out. Hello they aren’t going to know any better if you don’t take the time to teach it. My mom once told me that she would have gotten rid of my dog along time ago because he has a penchant for tearing up stuffed animals, I told her he just needs more training. It isn’t his fault… It is my own for not training him better and he just needs more time to learn what is appropriate. I am not going to give my dog up over a few chewed up stuffed animals. My biggest pet peeve though are the ones who won’t spay or neuter their animals and then dump the unwanted litters. Drives me insane because that is how my brother and his wife are. they are always complaining that their dogs come up pregnant and then dump the pups at the pound when they are older. Their excuse is they can’t afford to get the dogs fixed, and yet they have the money to buy smokes. UGH! I have even offered to pay to have their animals altered and they just tell me to butt out. Sorry didn’t mean to go on a rant, but this is a very hot topic for me. If it was up to me I would rescue every animal to come my way but we all have our limits and mine right now is 2 dogs and 2 cats.

  28. Stephanie Little Ladeira January 2, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    This blog post doesn’t seem like one that would make those who need to read it, WANT to read it. There are more positive ways to say what needs to be said to instruct, inform or inspire a community, or an individual, to care. I work at a humane society and also volunteer for an all-volunteer breed-specific dog rescue organization, have fostered hundreds of puppies and kittens, and adopted the most decrepit of “oldies” – but from experience and lots of failed practice, I know that shaming people into a new behavior isn’t going to work. Ever. We need to find a new way to communicate with the people who need this education the most – and we need to approach those people with the same amount of kindness and care we would extend to one of the animals we rescue.

  29. tcg295 January 6, 2015 / 1:41 pm

    I absolutely love this honest post about rescue dogs. To many people take dogs on and then get rid as soon as the going gets tough. For 7 months when it got to much for my old boy Rexy, i carried him upstairs to bed every night (he was a big boy!!). Every day for the last year of his life, i helped him get up, carried him upstairs on our walks and totally adapted my life to accommodate his old age. Thats what everyone should be, or at least think about before taking on the “honour” in my view or “commitment” in some others view of taking on a dog. Its a family member. A child that never grows up, needs that always have to be met. But to the right, committed, decent person. Worth every single second. As this attached post says. If you had a disabled child, would you just get rid of them?? If your other half became disabled or gained a life changing illness, get divorced?? If you can’t be a good doggie parent, a brilliant one, don’t even go there, you don’t deserve the best times if you can’t handle the bad….. X

  30. Terry Robertson February 24, 2015 / 10:48 am

    I love it, my exception would be #2 because most people don’t realize the importance of research BEFORE placing them with someone. In doing rescue for years now, I see this all the time.

    I have had people contact me to take their dog, if I don’t have room they have gone forward and placed the dog themselves, sometimes with a family or close friend who they THOUGHT was such a good person, then a month or two later they have contacted me asking me to go get their dog because they are not being treated well or some are being abused. Sadly since they didn’t use the forms I gave them to research the new family and “adoption agreement” to insure they could take the dog back if they found it wasn’t being cared for properly and there is nothing anyone can do except call Animal Control and pray they do something. 😦

    I would add to this article; helping by supplying the forms for proper screening of potential adopters and also an adoption agreement in order to be sure the dog is safely and properly placed in only a loving home.

    Thank you for posting this article, it may give some insight to otherwise uneducated dog families.

  31. Lisa Hensley February 27, 2015 / 10:08 am

    Great article! I volunteer at an animal shelter and I have wanted to say those words so many times! We are a no kill shelter so we have dogs that are here sometimes up to six months before they find a home, which is why some people ‘don’t feel bad’ about dropping off the pets they no longer want. Like you said, it just makes it more difficult for us since we’re trying to help the abused, injured and stray animals on top of all the drop offs. And I completely DISAGREE with the comment above about ‘shaming people’. I believe people considering new pets, as well as those that are considering handing off their pets should be required to read this article or something like it.

  32. Colleen O'Neill March 4, 2015 / 11:03 pm

    After reading all of the comments, I want to share my experience as well. About 8 years ago my fiancé and I wanted to get a dog and we knew we wanted to adopt. We are in NH and had difficulty doing so. The shelter would not allow us to, since we had not lived in the same home for more than a year (it may have even been 2 years) and the cost was between $ 250 and $ 300. We had moved into a big old farm house on 88 acres, and we were both able to bring a dog with us to work, so we felt this was a good time to bring a puppy into our lives. So, I spent some time researching online and I found out exactly what all of you are commenting about…animals in the south were in desperate need of homes.

    After some searching, I was communicating with a woman in Georgia. She had taken 2 pregnant female dogs into her home. She now had 21 puppies that needed homes. She also had kittens that she was fostering. She was planning to rent a van to drive some of them to a shelter in Massachusetts. My sister met her in Massachusetts and we took 3 puppies and three kittens. All animals had fleas, ear mites, and two of the puppies had coccidia. We got them the medical attention they needed, we each kept a puppy and found homes for the others within a week. For his entire life, my Jasper has been the most amazing, loving, gentle dog I have ever known. I am grateful to have him in my life, and glad I didn’t accept the judgment that we weren’t “qualified” to be good parents to him.

  33. Leatha Reynolds Pierce March 26, 2015 / 6:56 pm

    As the “mom” of an aggressive adopted rescue dog, I totally agree with everything that has been said. We adopted a 4 month old Boston from a rescue group. This little pup was born to a backyard breeder and grew up fighting for territory and food. We had 2 other Bostons at the time, and this new guy had been rejected by a possible owner because he had a hearing problem. We took this little pup, fostered, and then adopted him. We worked on making him feel loved and secure. We tried hard to help him find his place in our home. We renamed him Joey and planned to keep him forever. But he started fights with our other 2 dogs and challenged our authority. However, it wasn’t until he got spooked and attacked me that we considered all of the options available to handle Joey. I had been bitten 12 times and ended up at the ER. At first we were going to release him back to the rescue. However, we knew they would have to euthanize him. Our vet boarded him during a quarantine period, as required by our state. During that time we found an established trainer an hour and a half away who had a residential rehab program for aggressive dogs. We were going to adopt him out after the program. We were transporting him to training and I looked into those little eyes and knew that Joey had touched my heart. He didn’t understand that what he had done was wrong. He was ours forever. We had to make it work, and we have. Joey went through a 10 week residential program and we have taken classes on weekends at a site 1 1/2 hours from our home. Joey still would challenge, if we let him. But we don’t We were educated as well by this trainer, and we had to become better dog parents and pack leaders. It cost a lot of time and a good deal of money and a big commitment . But that little guy needed us to step up and do what his previous owners weren’t willing to do. Joey is now a dear love of my life. We play fetch every day. He gets tummy rubs and long walks with his “papa”. He follows our directions and doesn’t try and challenge us anymore. His trainer did an awesome job. But we were all re-trained. We made huge changes in our house rules, attitudes and our behavior to make our home a safe place for all. Everyone is now safe and loved and secure in who they and who we are as a family unit. And we truly believe that if you are a parent of a pet, this is what you do.

  34. greymuzzlemagnolia April 25, 2015 / 9:43 am

    Amen and big high paws from Charleston, SC! I’m commenting under my Grey Muzzle Musing blog which was originally ‘written’ by my beloved Magnolia before she lost her battle with cancer last year – my first official Daisy Dog in Daisy’s Place Retriever Rescue. We’re dedicated to saving and finding loving homes for Retrievers (and Retriever mixes) 6 years and older. The problem is that people think we’re a sanctuary or hospice provider with a money tree out back and unlimited resources! We aren’t here for all the deadbeats who ‘don’t have time’ for their precious older pups, we’re here to save those in high kill facilities all over the SE – and I have to include those rare people who truly love their pups but are in life changing situations and need help. And most importantly, we’re here to help these precious grey muzzles find loving forever homes – we don’t have a magic farm where the ‘unadoptable’ dogs live out their golden years. It’s heart breaking how many older pups are being dumped these days – thank you for your beautifully written post articulating what so many of us feel! Many blessings, Melissa

  35. Sharon Illenye May 25, 2015 / 8:37 am

    that being said , rescuers rescue all these kinds of dogs. and now there are people that want to rescue animals — BUT they have so many demands- they want a 1 year old English bulldog, housebroken who can dock dive dog (this is made up, but people ARE this demanding). So not only are you rehabilitating, you are trying to meet specs for custom dogs. To me real rescue is taking a dog that has an issue and making it work and working on it.

  36. Melinda W Sowder January 4, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    so? we quit sharing lost animal posts? Shelter posts? I’m guilty of sharing…so if need to STOP because it makes it worse, STOP I will.

  37. Leigh Ann Erdman February 27, 2016 / 10:50 am

    As president of a rescue, I clearly understand your vent, but we also need to understand that not everyone who comes to you to help rehome their pet is the scumbag of the earth. People legitimately have crises. People find out they have months to live, or that their father was killed in a car accident and there was no life insurance or the life insurance had a loan on it because the house was being foreclosed, or they are getting a divorce and mom is suddenly in section 8 housing with 3 kids and no pets allowed or family members die and the promise to keep Fluffy forever went into the ground with the casket. We can not get such tunnel vision that we lose track of people in crisis and consider them all the same. It makes us no better. Rescue is not cut and dry and we need to remember it.

  38. Cat Jackson Fleming April 18, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    All four of our furry babies are rescue…. My husband and I also had a stray that we could not keep and took her to a shelter…. well after calling on a Monday (dropped her off on a Friday) and finding out no one had acted like they wanted her. We went a adopted her on Tuesday…. and paid the 75.00 to do so… well, at the same time we are visiting with her, my co-worker was there with her husband wanting to show her to him. That being said, our beautiful rescue puppy, found a GREAT for ever home. With my Co-worker…. Keep doing the GREAT job you do!

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