"Charlie, brought down
from NL by East Coast German Shepherd Rescue, living a 'dog's life'
outside Halifax. A sad story with a happy ending"
as seen by Dan Ross
is a "rescue dog?" Several years ago, I was barely aware that
there were a lot of homeless dogs out there. All I knew was
that there was a pound that the stray dogs were taken to. As
I became more immersed into the dog world, I realized that rescue was
so much more. There are millions of cats and dogs destroyed every
year in North America. Many of these creatures would make excellent pets.
Sure, some may have been very aggressive when they were euthanized, but they
were the exception, not the rule. Many rescue dogs come with some
behaviour problems, but most of them are eventually curable with patient and
consistent training. However, most dogs in rescue have no real behaviour
problems to speak of. Most rescue dogs are owner surrenders, which
basically means the previous owners just gave the dogs up. So, if that is
true, then why were they given up? Well, there are A LOT of reasons why
people give dogs up. Many true dog lovers could never understand why
someone would give up a member of their family. Many people just see pets
as another form of property and when it is no longer convenient to have dogs,
they are simply given up or euthanized. Some of the reasons dogs are given
up: a divorce, a death in the family, a move, a new baby, the older dog
doesn't get along with the new, cute pup, so the older dog goes... the reasons
go on and on. My friend Kathy, who runs All Heart Pet Rescue, plans to
write a book on all the excuses she has heard over the years. Needless to
say, due to irresponsible breeders and irresponsible owners, there is nearly an
inexhaustible supply of rescue dogs out there that need homes. Every
single dog or cat that is rescued is a life that is saved, and it is one less
animal who is destroyed because there is just no room left. If you are
thinking of getting a dog or cat, think about getting a rescue before looking
anywhere else... "Don't Shop, Adopt!"
"Rory was rescued by animal
control. Seized with a broken leg and only weighing 40lbs. A
year with his new owner and now look at him!"
you are thinking about getting a rescue dog? There are many
myths about rescue that I wish to dispel. Some of these I
once thought were true myself before I became so heavily involved with
rescue, so I feel it is my duty to help educate the public.
#1: Rescues are all mixed-breed, Heinz 57s, and
they aren't as "good" as single breed dogs.
many rescues and non-rescues alike are mixed-breed, there are many,
many purebred/single breed dogs in rescue programs all over the
country. Many rescue programs are actually breed
specific. So if a potential owner is looking for a boxer, he
could first look into boxer rescue. Each rescue program has
dogs of all ages looking for homes. Even if the dog is a
mixed breed, it does not make it of lesser value. I have met
countless mixed-breed dogs who are very smart, eager to please, have
unique features that make him even more adorable, and are very
healthy. Looking for a specific breed is somewhere that a
potential owner can start, but before you decide on a breed, go and
spend time with some mixed-breeds at a rescue, and you will probably
fall in love with one. I promise it will be a decision you
won't regret. If you still decide on a purebred dog, look
into one of the breed rescue programs and go and spend time with one of
them. Any dog you adopt will give you a lifetime of
love. If you are looking for a breed specific rescue, please
and ask him about them. Nova Scotia has some rescue programs,
but if you are from another part of the country or are looking for
something in particular, let me know, as I am in touch with over 200
"Starting off with a rough life;
ending with a warm, safe home"
#2: If I adopt a mature pet, he will not be as
attached to me as a puppy would be.
this was my biggest fear before I adopted. I quickly found
this myth to be untrue. My Shepherd quickly bonded to
me. By quickly, I mean in less than two days! I
don't think he could be more attached to me, even if I had gotten him
as a puppy. Most rescue dogs will be the exact same way as
Magnus was. They will become attached to their new owners
very quickly. Many rescues come from an abusing or a
neglectful situation and are so appreciative of the food and love you
offer them, that they quickly adore you.
#3: When adopting a rescue dog, behaviour problems
are more likely than if I get a puppy.
many rescue dogs do have some sort of behavior problem, most puppies
develop them as well. However, if the owner has proper
education and guidance from a knowledgeable trainer, any dog issue can
be worked through, with the exception of certain aggression
issues. So whether you get a puppy or a mature pet from a
rescue, you may have to deal with problems that arise. That
being said, many rescue dogs display no real issues. Many
simply come home and adapt to the environment around them with only
#4: You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
older dogs are easier to train. Puppies constantly challenge
the owner, making it more time-consuming to train them. Older
dogs accept the owner's dominance quickly. Some of the
easiest dogs I have ever trained have been between 6 and 10 years of
age. Puppies are easier to train for behavioural issues, such
as nipping or housebreaking, but older dogs learn the rules a lot
#5: Short-haired dogs shed less than long-haired
see a lab shed? Labs have short hair and they shed quite a
bit. Bouviers barely shed at all, and they have relatively
long hair. Nearly every dog sheds some. Shedding is
a fact of life. If you can't stand the hair, get a
hypo-allergenic dog like a poodle, or don't get a dog at all.
are just some of the common myths surrounding rescue dogs. If
you have any questions or comments about rescue that you want to be
addressed honestly, feel free to write me and ask me. Click
here to contact
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