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Animal Rescue Philosophies

For the first time in my life I am dog less. I am wondering if I should go to an animal rescue and get an older dog or at what age can a pup tolerate the 9-5 work schedule I have.


Hi D.S.

If you’re on your own amongst other things even with a little help it would be tough to get a pup’s socialization done correctly. It’s doable but not ideal. If you are planning on going to the pound or a rescue to get a dog and haven’t been to one in a while there are a few things you should know.

Rescues now have philosophies. There are the, “We do it because we care.” and there are the “We do it because we care more those other guys.” The latter are those that have been taken over by the animal rights types.

If you visit a shelter and see a Husky wearing a sweater you’re probably at an animal rights rescue. If their application form asks which parts of Marley and Me made you cry the most and “none of the above” isn’t one of the options you might be in an animal rights rescue. If within 5 minutes they manage work into the conversation how being a vegan has changed their life, you might also be at an animal rights rescue. I kid, but I’d best stop, I’ll be in enough trouble as it is.

What I’m suggesting you steer clear of are any animal rights influenced “No-Kill” rescues. Unless they’ve found a cure for mental and physical infirmity that they’re not sharing one has to ask, “What are they doing with unstable dogs?” They either have unlimited resources and really big basements or they’re placing those dogs at someone else’s risk.

One would have to be one prescription short of a balanced mind to believe that a love of animals and a declaration of no-kill is going to negate, bad breeding, poor socialization, unwise breed selection, failing economies, bad training, enormous supply vs demand realities etc.

One thing is certain, if there is a “No-Kill” shelter in town there is a real shelter nearby because “No-Kill” actually means, “We-Like-To-Think-We-No-Kill”. As of yet there hasn’t been a stand-alone “No-Kill” success story in the world. So far, the “No-Kill” high ground is only possible because they’re standing on the good backs of those left to the hard realities of the crappy part of rescue work. Often it’s the local pound, humane society and/or an animal welfare focused non-profit rescue.

See if you can find one that has a fostering program. Some rescue dogs come with baggage and fostered dogs often give hints as to what that might be. It’s like dating. Some baggage you can put up with, some you can’t and for everyone’s sake knowing sooner is better than later.

Some people lie about the dog they’re giving up and the new owner finds out what the baggage is the hard way. For instance a lot of dogs end up in shelters because they can’t handle being left alone which would be a bad surprise in your case.

I’ve always liked breed specific rescues too. They know who are and who aren’t good candidates for the breed they favour and last time I checked weren’t too shy about saying so, which in the long run is best for the dogs and people looking for dogs.

Pawsitively Yours

John Wade

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