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How do you define a rescue? Is it a dog that needs to be rehomed? A dog that's been abused? A dog that's ended up at a shelter? Dash needed a home but I don't consider him a rescue. I sold a puppy crested to a great home but she insists on saying she rescued the dog because no one else would have wanted the runt ( which is completely untrue).my friend picked the puppy out at 2 days old. She is the only one I sold out of that litter, I kept one and gave away 3 to great homes but it makes her feel better to say she rescued it.

 

So what makes a dog a rescue?

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So what makes a dog a rescue?

 

In my opinion, it has a lot to do with money. Did money change hands, and if so, who got it? Here's what I mean. These are just some examples.

 

If you go to a "breeder" and pay for a puppy, that's a purchase -- no matter what condition that puppy is in, how much you paid for it, or how much you felt you were "rescuing" it. If the "breeder" ended up with the cash, the cash goes back into their operation. Doesn't matter if it's a reputable breeder or not, this was a purchase.

 

Did you go to a legitimate rescue organization and rescue a pup and pay an "adoption" fee? The money goes back into the rescue organization to help rescue more dogs. That's a rescue.

 

If a rescue goes out to a "breeder" to "rescue" puppies, but the "breeder" will not release the puppies without having some cash ... no matter how the rescue feels about it ... the rescue just "bought" puppies, not rescued them. (Yes, I've seen this.) Any monies the rescue paid to the "breeder" will go back into the breeder's pocket/operation, etc.

 

Did you find the dog on the side of the road and give it a home? That's a rescue.

 

Did your friend have a litter of puppies and give you one? I imagine the classification would change depending on the maturity level of the recipient in accordance with their relationship with that friend at any given time.

 

Without cash changing hands, I think the difference between "rescue" and otherwise is a matter of opinion.

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Additionally, rescue is both a noun and a verb. I rescue dogs, because I take in dogs from shelters and from people who are unable to keep them, and the dog might otherwise be homeless or dead. And the people who get dogs from me adopted a rescue, they didn't rescue a dog. My dogs are rescues, but I adopted them (although in my case, being that I adopted them from my own rescue operation, I also rescued them). The dogs in my rescue have homes, and I cringe when I hear people say they "rescued" a dog from me, but I think it's a distinction that means more to me than it does to them.

 

I suspect what irks people when threads about rescue come up is that the folks who rescue make people who buy feel defensive, as though they are *supposed* to feel guilty. And the people who suggest that buying is preferable because rescue dogs are both ill bred and fraught with baggage irk the people with rescues because those people feel like they are *supposed* to view their own dogs as somehow inferior. The reality is somewhere in between the two perceptions. What I wish is that more people would get involved with rescue - it doesn't mean never buying a dog, but it might mean fostering, or promoting rescues, or donating money to rescues or something that helps rescues. Because nearly all rescues were purchased initially or are the direct result of a purchase in the first place.

 

I promote rescues because, obviously, I rescue ... I have a vested interest in rescues getting adopted, clearly. But I also know that rescues are not all inferior or teeming with baggage that makes them unsuitable pets and it's a message I forever wish to impart. What would be super would be if there were a lot fewer rescues to promote in the first place, and that only happens when buyers AND adopters are well informed about all their options, and the consequences of their decisions, purchases and adoptions.

 

Happy Snow Day.

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RDM

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I tend to refer to all of my dogs, if asked, as "gently used." Some could be called rescues (adopted from a rescue group), one was adopted when she was 7 weeks old so I'm not sure I'd call her a rescue, and 2 were re-homed after their 1st home (or first 4 homes) didn't work out but were not dumped anywhere or misused particularly.

 

Otherwise they are just "my dogs." :)

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I say it and I say it loud, my dog is a rescue and I'm proud!

 

I don't object to people who adopt dogs from breeders but I do object to those who denigrate my dog because he is a dog.

 

Respect should go both ways.

 

Somebody asked me just yesterday where I got that pretty dog (Ladybug.) I said, I got her right down the street at the SPCA. I've never had anyone express anything but sympathy for Ladybug well as admiration for her pretty winsome ways...

 

We have to acknowledge that often rescue dogs come with some baggage and they have their quirks. The didn't come from happy place A to happy place B. Their experiences in between that left some marks on them; how deep they were depends on the individual circumstances. They may well need some work - retraining or management of the problem (as we do with Ladybug and her shyness with strange women), in the same way that you would do if a dog that you purchased from a breeder developed issues. And they also have their quirks. Robin is a nice solid dog. He's got no issues and is perfectly happy in the world. He just happens to think he owns it. We're working on that. Brodie needs some extra attention to be comfortable with other dogs coming at him because I want him to be comfortable around other dogs in a backfield of a trial if we get that far in our training.

 

Is one of my dogs any better than the other because of their temperament? Because of where they came from? Because two have papers? Because one "looks" like a Border Collie? -- Let's not forget that the one that people can identify as a BC is the one that was a "rescue.". Heck no! They are what they are. And I love them all dearly.

 

ETA - there are very good dogs that are put out for adoption every day. People like me were darned lucky to get not one but two purebred BCs who were exceedingly well trained, beautifully mannered, housebroken, totally trustworthy -- my furniture didn't have a mark on it until I brought a certain red puppy into this house ---. The crucial factor is patience. You have to be willing to wait for the right dog for you.

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. . . and the dog might otherwise be homeless or dead.

 

I like that as a general rule of thumb definition.

 

The idea of adopting and rescue has been on my mind a lot lately because of Tessa. Three of my other dogs are rescues, but none of them were ever in her situation prior to their adoption - truly on their own in the world for some length of time, and surviving it.

 

What has been on my mind over the last couple of days is the profound respect and admiration that she inspires within me. Most would look at her and see quite a lot of "baggage", I suppose, but I really don't think of her that way. Her strengths, her talents, and her unique characteristics of personality are in the forefront of my mind. And I have only just begun to get to know her! She plays her cards carefully and reveals herself little by little.

 

It's ironic. I'm so much into training and dog sports and here I am just blown away by an almost completely untrained, highly skittish former stray dog who doesn't even realize yet that this is her home. There has been something inexplicable, but deeply satisfying about simply sharing our home and our lives with Tessa. I am looking forward to getting into training with her because I know that learning is something that she is going to love and it is a gift that I can give to her, not because I have notions (as I did when we adopted Dean) of training her into my personal version of a "perfect dog".

 

That doesn't mean that I think everyone should rescue all the time or that people shouldn't buy Border Collies from breeders. I have one from a breeder myself. This is just my own experience. And I have found it incredibly interesting.

 

My rescues are fantastic dogs with whom I am grateful to share my home and life. Every time I do a transport or something for the rescue with which I volunteer, I come home feeling relieved that out of all the homes in all the world, these four most excellent dogs found their way to mine.

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Three of my dogs could be labeled as "rescues", and they would have been put down had we not taken them (nothing wrong with the dogs, Iceland....).

But I do not think of them as such, they are my dogs, and I consider both parties lucky in that our paths crossed at the right time.

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Great post, RDM. Agree completely.

 

Good points from Jodi, too. It bugs me to hear/read anyone say they "rescued" a dog by buying it from a BYB, or that they "adopted" a dog from so-and-so breeder. Those are purchases.

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On a humorous note I have been asked on numerous occasions by AKC types at agility events about Rievaulxs lines and breeder, they always look disappointed when I tell them he is a rescue who's parents were farm dogs.

Oh yes, the ACK folks who told me my ABCA pups were "not registered." :).

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I get irritated too, when breeders say they don't post price rage for pups, because they don't sell them :angry: .

 

I had one rescue, but I didn't rescue her, she rescued me. She protected our farm for 11 years of her life with us, she taught me the doggy language and helped me overcome my fear of dogs, she socialized numerous children of my friends, with her kind gentle nature.

 

The reactions to a "rescue" were usually, "oh you are such a wonderful person!" But, gee, the dog didn't owe us ANYthing. It was the other way around.

 

Maja

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We have to acknowledge that often rescue dogs come with some baggage and they have their quirks. The didn't come from happy place A to happy place B. Their experiences in between that left some marks on them; how deep they were depends on the individual circumstances.

 

I adopted my BC (at ~ 1.5 years of age) from the county (kill) shelter during a distemper outbreak. I had been looking for an adolescent BC mix as an agility prospect (here, BCs are rare except in sports circles) One day, I received a call fom a contact at the shelter that a probable purebred BC was brought in as a stray. She more or less adopted me as she forced me to lead her back to the kennels after our visit--she wasn't moving for anyone else. She was very thin and parasite-infested and had obviously been on her own for a awhile--I recently discovered that she had taken up residence on someone's porch and that person turned her into animal control.

 

Three days after receiving a mostly clean bill of health from my vet (except for the poor body condition and the worms), she developed diarrhea. Something made me make an appt with the vet for that afternoon and by the time the appt rolled around she was honking like a goose and her temp was 105+. The green snot arrived a few days later (and stayed for about 4 weeks), by then we discovered that she was also anemic. In the end, the green snot blew thru 2 antibiotics, but the chest xrays were negative for pneumonia. The total cost was ~$450, but at least the distemper test (negative)was free.

 

While walking my snotting dog around the neighborhood, I noticed some troubling body language, if she happened to see another dog. When she finally recovered from the plague, I enrolled her in an obedience class and she went after another dog (while on lead). Think Cujo. (she was actually fine with my resident dog). Then came the private trainer at $50 a session, but in the end, the OTCH trainer couldn't do much with her, so off to the veterinary behaviorist for $350.

 

At least the prozac is on the $4 list.

 

Three years later, after some very hard work, she probably appears normal to most people. I'm not sure if she will ever make it into the agility ring, and if she does, she probably won't be competative anywhere but CPE and UKC, because she is usually slow as molasses, unless there is a sheep or small critter (or garbage truck) nearby, then look out. She has all the instinct in the world, but is simply uncontrollable around stock and based on some of the stunts that she has pulled, she is very practiced at gaining unathorized access to livestock.

 

I love the dog to death and she has taught me so much.

 

But, I can't help but think that for the time and money that I've spent on this dog, I could have had a well bred pup that barring some sort of fluke would have been competing in agility at the advanced levels by now.

 

Really, my dog is the poster child for what can go wrong with a rescue and the reason why a lot of very pro rescue people (like myself) may chose to go to a breeder for their next dog.

 

(My other dog was literally a side of the road puppy. Although she is a tempermental dream [i socialized her up the wazoo], I have literally spent thousands of dollars on her skin issues. See line directly above)

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I'd just like to note--though it's been said many times before--that we are much more likely to hear about problem rescues than problem-free rescues. It's the nature of the beast. If you end up with a good dog, you're not likely to trumpet that fact from the ramparts; after all, it's what you hoped for or expected. If you adopted a dog with problems, then you're more likely to share those problems with others--just to vent, as a teaching moment, as an explanation for other comments/thoughts, and so on. So if one were just to read a forum (any forum) where rescues are discussed, it would likely seem that all/most rescues have problems, and that's just not the case.

 

I also disagree that rescues tend to come from bad places. Some do. Some come from loving homes that can't keep them for whatever reason. Some had owners who passed on (that's how I got one of mine). Some may be the beloved pets of people who have fallen on hard times and lost their homes. And so on. If something happened to me and my wishes about my dogs were disregarded, they could end up in rescue. Eight of the nine are perfectly normal, socially-well-adjusted dogs. No baggage. Some quirks. I could base my opinion on rescues on the one problem dog, because he certainly does stand out from the others, but I know that each dog is different and each situation is different.

 

I always promote rescue because I think there are perfectly good dogs in rescue who could use homes and who would be ideal dogs for many people. But I also don't get offended by people who want to buy a puppy. The only thing that worries me about the latter is that all too often people don't do their research before buying a puppy. Unsurprisingly, such poorly-thought-out purchases are one of the reasons rescues are so full.

 

Not too long ago there was a post from someone seeking to place a dog. The daughter was going to college and the yard "just wasn't adequate" (to paraphrase) for the dog. The dog was something like 2 years old (typical age for a dog going into rescue). As I read the message, I couldn't help but wonder how it took the owners *two years* to figure out that the yard wasn't an adequate size or that the daughter would be going away to college. That's probably a perfectly nice dog, purchased without forethought as a pup. I imagine most dogs that end up in rescue have similar stories. Yes, they may have behavioral issues or training issues, but those more likely reflect on the humans who raised the dog and not on the dog itself (the baggage the dog brings). A vast majority are NOT incorrigible, nor do they have expensive health issues.

 

I just wish people would quit implying otherwise. We all want to relate our personal experiences, but unless you've done an actual scientific study that shows that most rescues have issues, claiming that as fact is doing a disservice to the rescue organizations and especially to the dogs.

 

And FWIW, I do tend to get puppies because I want specific working crosses, but if I were just looking for a companion dog, rescue would be my first choice. I've had one problem rescue and a couple of wonderful rescues. I tend to base my opinion about rescues on the wonderful dogs, and I recognize that the problem dog was made that way by his first owners, and it's not *his* fault. I can't blame a rescue for him, as it was a private adoption from his owner, facilitated by our vet. So I guess I could blame the vet.... ;)

 

J.

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"I also disagree that rescues tend to come from bad places. Some do. Some come from loving homes that can't keep them for whatever reason. Some had owners who passed on (that's how I got one of mine). Some may be the beloved pets of people who have fallen on hard times and lost their homes. And so on."

 

Why would you consider these rescues then? Why would they not just be a rehome? IMO dogs being rehomed under these circumstances are not rescues, that is why I don't consider Dash a rescue.

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There certainly is the perception among AKC-types (who teach many of the pet and performance classes) that rescues are damaged goods. When one walks into a class with a dog like mine, that perception is reinforced. As Julie said, no one remembers the good dogs.

 

Are all rescues damaged goods? Certainly not. But, some most definately are.

 

One thing is certain. It is very very difficult to evaluate a dog in a county shelter environment. If I do chose another rescue, it will almost certainly come thru a foster home.

 

As I've become more involved in sports, I've come to recognize the importance of a good foundation and that good foundation should start in puppyhood. Yes, there are puppies available from rescue, but if I were to aquire one, I would need to know exactly where it came from.

 

I'd hate to spend a year putting a foundation on a puppy only to discover that the dog was severely dysplastic (because it came from a Mill and both parents were).

 

I guess that the moral of the story is to follow your head and not your heart regardless of where the dog comes from.

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Thanks, Julie. Our rescue gets many dogs who come in with "issues"; he chases the cat, "herds" the kids, jumps the fence, etc. In almost all cases, the "issue" melts away when the dog gets into a home that give it a structured life, leading me to suspect, like Julie, that the issue was with the previous owner. I have had only one foster dog that had real issues that needed to be worked on; my ex foster, Rhys bach, was with me nearly a year and a half before we worked through his fear issues and finally found his right home.

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That's probably a perfectly nice dog, purchased without forethought as a pup. I imagine most dogs that end up in rescue have similar stories. Yes, they may have behavioral issues or training issues, but those more likely reflect on the humans who raised the dog and not on the dog itself (the baggage the dog brings). A vast majority are NOT incorrigible, nor do they have expensive health issues.

 

Personally, I concur. I've evaluated and transported many Border Collies for rescue over the last several years and all but a handful were perfectly normal and nice dogs that would make a nice pet for any active and involved family, and many would most likely make fine sport dogs.

 

But it is true that among many dog people, it is strongly and adamantly believed that all rescue dogs, regardless of the circumstances that led to the dog needing a home, are dogs with serious behavior problems that cannot be fixed. According to them, dogs in shelters and rescues would not be there if there were not something wrong with the dog. Period. You can argue with most of these folks and give example after example after example, such as the one that you gave, of perfectly fine dogs who land in shelters or rescue because of owner choices and situations (like death of the owner, etc) and the response will be something like, "that's a very rare exception and it's too high of a risk to take".

 

Like you, I have no issue with people who want to get a dog from a breeder. But I do take exception to blanket statements that paint all dogs in rescues and shelters with the "serious problem dog" brush. That and "all dogs in rescues and shelters are mixes". Dean was purchased by his original owner from a working sheep farm and both of his parents were working Border Collies. But because he ended up in rescue, he is now a mix? The best explanation I've gotten for that belief is that "most" dogs in shelters and rescues are mixes and that purebreds are "extremely rare". This is off topic, I know, but it is another hard and fast mindset against rescues that I run into in internet forums (actually, not this one).

 

I'm not saying that adopting a rescue is the way to go for everyone all the time, but those kinds of blanket statements do get to me. I don't actually see this mentality a lot on this forum, but I run into a quite a lot in other groups. It is definitely a strong mindset among some.

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Slightly off-topic but:

 

There have been many good and thoughtful arguments put forth in the above discussion.

 

Rescued? or Rehomed? or Adopted? Whatever you wish to call it, I am grateful for the teachers and training centers who offer discounts on classes for the 'rescues' (general term).

 

Jovi

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I wrote:

"I also disagree that rescues tend to come from bad places. Some do. Some come from loving homes that can't keep them for whatever reason. Some had owners who passed on (that's how I got one of mine). Some may be the beloved pets of people who have fallen on hard times and lost their homes. And so on."

 

Why would you consider these rescues then? Why would they not just be a rehome? IMO dogs being rehomed under these circumstances are not rescues, that is why I don't consider Dash a rescue.

 

I think you're arguing semantics here. I agree with what Sheena said earlier in this thread regarding rescue dogs:

Additionally, rescue is both a noun and a verb. I rescue dogs, because I take in dogs from shelters and from people who are unable to keep them, and the dog might otherwise be homeless or dead. And the people who get dogs from me adopted a rescue, they didn't rescue a dog.

 

The point is that dogs are in danger of being homeless or dead. These dogs either go through a formal breed rescue, like That'll Do BCR or someone adopts them privately. You can call it rehome if you like, but when people talk about "problem rescues" they are talking about dogs who ended up homeless, for whatever reason, and were then later adopted by someone else. If your house is foreclosed on and you have nowhere to go and so you take your dog to the shelter and then an organized rescue takes that dog from the shelter and finds it a home, it's a rescue dog. If a private citizen adopts it from the shelter without the dog going through an organized rescue, it's still a rescue dog. The dog I took from an owner via the vet was a dog who would have ended up in a shelter, therefore to me, a rescue (since his options were limited and he was in danger of becoming homeless or dead).

 

But if you want to call them rehomes, that's fine too.

 

The points is, no matter what you call these previously-owned dogs, they ARE NOT all problem dogs.

 

J.

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