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Donating To A Rescue? Some Are Rescue Mills

I just read an article about an animal rescue that is including in its mandate the promotion of veganism that reminded me how important it is to be very careful when donating to a rescue. From what I can tell, the vegan agenda wasn’t for the animals (thank goodness – I’ve seen that before) but for humans.

I don’t have the slightest problem with the promotion of veganism, BUT goodness gracious are financial resources so grand that something like this should be included in a mandate?

If they can’t find an outlet that more immediately addresses the needs of rescue animals (seriously they couldn’t find something?), give the money to a rescue that needs some help becoming so fortunate that they too will end up with more money that they need. 

If I were donating to this chain (yes it’s a chain) of shelters, I would consider this to be a mismanagement of funds and donating to a rescue like this would be ended until the agenda confused administration had been replaced.

Why is it that so many shelters and rescues don’t understand the actual rescue business? If they have resources beyond the day to day care, the surplus should be invested in addressing the cause of the problem filling shelters.

It seems to me now that the rescue world is now on par with the breeding world. There are more bad ones than good ones and it is very hard for aspiring companion dog owners to not be fooled. I don’t think the general public is aware of this yet when they are donating to a rescue.

They’ve come off the rails in many ways and so there are many signs. For example, in my region, more rescues are promoting ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free’ training as science-based training. They not only erroneously believe that it is based on science but that anything else is inhumane. This, in spite of a complete lack of hits supporting ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free’ methods in real world settings in any of the scientific journal databases. The only citations on the topic are all for highly controlled environments that in no way reflect the environments that companion dog owners train. Belief in this mythology is now so wide spread, that many rescues will not sell a dog to anyone that would consider even saying “No” to a dog. I wish I were kidding.

If You Are Currently Donating to a Rescue Or Are Considering Donating To A Rescue

#1 Do They Claim To Be No-Kill?

There is no such thing. Someone is doing the killing. All too often you’ll find they’re just leaving the high-risk dogs to real rescues or worse still unsuspecting and often inexperienced dog owners – see article link below or only picking the cream of the crop and turning away all others forcing the responsible honest about the reality of rescue work, rescues to bear the brunt of the not so sexy part of real rescue work.

Now if they were to say ‘Reduced Kill’ that makes more sense. What “No-Kill” does mean is, “We Don’t Kill, We’ll Let Someone Get Hurt, and Then You Can Kill” Or, “If We Don’t Kill We Can Feel Good By BLAMING Everyone Else”.

It has been my experience that the rescues that claim to be No-Kill are the rescues most likely to purposefully mislead prospective companion dog owners as to the breed of a dog, it’s history and the reason for its surrender. Misleading the public and potential donors and dog purchasers about the realities of the rescue world is one step removed from also misrepresenting the dogs they are placing.

If they’re one of those – DON’T DONATE. They’re making themselves look good at the expense of the harder working more honest rescues and with that lie, there’s a good chance others will follow.

#2 Are They Promoting ”All Positive/Force-Free” Only Training For Companion Dogs?

Neither ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free’ training or its polar opposite, ‘Might Is Right’ training is good for dogs. This nonsense gets a lot of dog owners and dogs into trouble. Companion dog training should be balanced. That it is the only science-based model for teaching real life skills in real world settings. – If they believe in ignoring bad behaviour and rewarding good behaviour, keep in mind not many of our own or other species would have made it to adulthood. It closes doors for companion dogs. These rescues more often than not have in recent years insisted on only harnesses for training. Read this.  IF THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND BEHAVIOUR WELL ENOUGH TO RECOGNIZE THE PROBLEMS THAT PROMOTING ‘ALL POSITIVE/PURELY POSITIVE/FORCE-FREE’ OR ‘MIGHT IS RIGHT’ WILL CAUSE FOR COMPANION DOG OWNERS AND THE DOGS THEY RESCUE – DON’T DONATE

#3 Do Their Foster Home Program Participants Have Training?

If a rescue is going to invest anywhere, the area of most benefit to the dogs and their eventual new owners is in the training of the people providing foster homes. Very few dogs are surrendered with the whole story and the more information that can be discovered regarding strengths and weaknesses regarding housetraining, crate training, anxiety and fear, aggression triggers (resource guarding, children, cats, on leash aggression) as well as strengths and weaknesses regarding practical obedience skills etc. the better the match for both the dog and new owner. In my experience most rescues are run by people that believe a love of animals equates with actually knowing the behavioural and developmental realities. A love for dogs isn’t a bad thing but it’s not a job qualification. Even if it is a volunteer position, it should still be taken very seriously. Especially a fostering position. Almost everyone loves dogs. Gleaning what you are told or read or watched on a television show may suffice for the average companion dog owner but not for people in the critical role of fostering. I have courses that I teach to Registered Veterinary Technicians, Veterinarians and companion dog trainers and owners that produce outstanding reviews that would be of immense value to rescues and in particular people interested in fostering. At one time they were offered for free to rescues because I felt they would have an enormous impact on their assessment and placement of rescue dog. In spite of the dozens of rescues in my region, not a single taker. – DONATE TO A MORE PROGRESSIVE RESCUE.

#4 Do They Slam Or Discourage The Breeding Of Purebred Dogs As A Means To Promote Themselves?

Most rescues (like many breeders) do not know what constitutes good breeding and they criticise breeding of dogs with catchy but highly misleading slogans. There are some excellent highly ethical breeders with a body of knowledge encompassing, genetics, critical socialization, behaviour, placement and followup, that put most rescues to shame.

Slamming or discouraging of lousy breeding I understand. It’s almost a hobby of mine. While they seem ignorant of that fact, the rescue world’s “supply” is almost entirely due to unethical breeding BUT, the wholehearted endorsement of responsible breeding of quality purebred dogs should be acknowledged, encouraged and promoted. It would not interfere in the number of rescue dogs placed and would shine the light on an actual problem which is not pure bred dogs, but is poor bred dogs. Bad breeders are the top link of their supply chain not good responsible breeding.

Their myopic “we good – them bad” is damaging to the future of dogs. Rescues should instead partner with good breeders in educating the public. That has a better chance of decreasing the misfit population. – IF THEY DON’T DISTINGUISH BETWEEN GOOD BREEDING AND BAD BREEDING DONATE ELSEWHERE.

#5 Before You Support, If They Have One, Read Their Mandate

Is it leprechauns and unicorns or is clear and focused? Either way, when you talk to them ask them if they can repeat it without looking it up. I did this with some of the executive in the provincial headquarters of a 100+ year old rescue with some very odd ideas about how to spend donations. Not a single person knew it, in spite of it being featured above the door to the main entrance of the building they worked. – MY ADVICE DON’T DONATE.

#6 Are They Importing Dogs To “Rescue”

I added number six some time after I wrote the original article. I had just read an article announcing that a rescue mill just imported the first cases of canine influenza into Canada when they “rescued” some dogs from North Korea, into the U.S. and finally into Canada. Because no dogs need rescuing within a stones throw of any rescue in North America? No.

I’ve never heard a decent rationale for importing dogs for rescue. I’m open to hearing one though.

I suspect that one of the reasons is that some rescues have become so eccentric (read above) that their reputations have proceeded them and other rescues and people looking for help have come to know to avoid going to them for help. The end result, in order to be a “rescuer”, they import. If they have legitimately run out of dogs and dog owners that need help and are really in it for the dogs, they could amongst many other things start promoting good breeding practices, educating dog owners, educate rescues in the countries they feel they need to import from . . . 

This importing of diseased dogs instead of helping equally needy local dogs is another example of the lack of actual expertise beyond “loving dogs”, common sense and big picture thinking that is so prolific in the rescue world and which continues to do damage to the species from which they “rescue.” Importing Dogs Instead of Helping Local Rescues and Dogs? – Find Out Why, if no good reason – MY ADVICE DON’T DONATE

On a related note: Beware of Rescue Mills

Also, Pawdcast Launch Coming Soon Would You Listen To An Animal Behavior Pawdast? Read More

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