It would be impossible to share with you all the nuances and intricate ways that our pets have come to us in a blog. I might have to actually write a week of blogs. You'd get tired and quit reading.
Suffice it to say, my husband and I have been into horse, dog and cat rescue for more than 22 years. I discovered a fact while prepping to write this blog...well, maybe a few facts. One might surprise you. Keep reading.
It all started with a black, Flat Coat Retriever mix, named Chelsea (1985-1996). My husband picked her out at the SPCA because she was the only dog that wasn't barking as he walked through. Turns out she did have other idiosyncrasies, but overcame them to be a fantastic family dog.
Soon after, we saw an add in our local paper advertising a full-bred Australian Shepherd for sale for $35.00. We knew there was a hitch (she hated cats), but we called anyway, met her, purchased her, and proceeded to teach her not to kill our two cats at the time. She passed her cat tests with flying colors, bonded with Chelsea and the "EEEEE" sisters were born (my nickname for the two girls). Her name was Phillie (1986-1991), and her registered name was Winterhawk's Mountain Mist. Unfortunately, we lost Phillie to a heart condition at the age of five, and Chelsea was very lonely, so we decided to try to find another companion for her.
Soon a full-bred Golden Retriever joined her. It was my turn to choose, and never one to be faint of heart, I brought home a dog that was returned to the shelter not one, not two, but THREE times. Her name was Sandy and she was four when we adopted her (1992-2002). Besides being very large (104 lbs of golden red doggy), we were able to merge her into our family without a hitch.
A quick reference guide to the rest of our dogs follows:
Ollie - Golden Retriever - Purchased for $100 at age one from an over-the-road trucker.
Ike - Chocolate Lab - Adopted from Caroline County Humane Society, needed hip operation.
Daisy - English Setter/Border Collie Mix - Adopted from ACES Rescue.
Bethy - English Setter/Brittany Mix - Adopted from ACES Rescue.
Moe - English Setter/Hound Mix - Adopted from ACES Rescue.
Burton - Field English Setter - Adopted from ACES Rescue (First DEAF adoption).
Piper - Border Collie - Adopted from Glen Highland Sweet BC Rescue (Second DEAF adoption).
Billie - Wirehaired Terrier - Adopted from Griffin Pond Animal Shelter.
Winston - English Setter - Adopted from Ohio English Setter Rescue.
Danny - English Setter - Adopted from Ohio English Setter Rescue.
Lilah - English Setter - Breeder turnover, adopted from ACES Rescue.
Luke - Jack Russell Terrier/Whippet Mix - Adopted from Jacks Galore Russell Rescue
Talley - English Setter - Breeder turnover. (Third DEAF dog).
There is no rocket science involved in analyzing the list above to find out that a pattern exists.
It's no shock to me that 99.9% of our pets have come from shelter/rescue situations.
What might be surprising though, is that NINE of our rescued pets were/are full-bred dogs.
I discovered breed specific rescues in 2003, but until then, had only adopted from local shelters and newspaper ads of previous owners.
Yet, nine dogs is certainly enough proof that you CAN find full-bred dogs at shelter facilities, if that is what you are looking for.
How did we choose our dogs?
We didn't. They chose us. We believe that once we make a decision to add a rescued pet, a pet in need will appear. Even with our shelter visits, and subsequent adoptions, this has always been the case. We have the background stories to prove it.
There are some tips I can pass along if you are interested in rescuing a certain breed of dog (or cat).
(1) Research breed specific rescues in your region. You will usually be looking in terms of territory, such as Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, etc., so start your search with those words. Make sure you read through the locations a rescue will adopt to, as well as their requirements in terms of the application process.
(2) Apply before you make a selection from available pets. Once you are approved, it is much easier to interact with the organization, the foster families, and to be notified of pets that meet your own family's requirements in terms of compatibility.
(3) Network, volunteer, and/or transport for rescues. Spend some hours learning and understanding what goes into the rescue process. It will help you realize why full-bred dogs find themselves in rescue situations.
(4) Be prepared to pay a fee as part of your adoption process. Rescues often need to rehabilitate, spay/neuter, update shots, and treat serious issues (such as lyme disease or heartworm) for the pets they bring into their care. Your fee helps to cover some of those costs, and gives the rescue funds with which they can rescue another pet.
I have always been thankful to have been exposed to the wonderful breeds we have met as a part of our rescue life. Many are no longer with us, but they were well-loved members of our family, that we are forever grateful to have shared our days with.
I am part of a weekly blogging group of professional pet photographers located all over the planet. To see what others have blogged about in this week's topic, start here with Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography, and certified professional dog trainer, as she talks about an exemplary standard poodle breeder in Dallas - Fort Worth. Then find the link at the end of each blog to click to the next photographer.
Have a great weekend!