Today I'd like to share an article written by our friends at Mid Atlantic Border Collie Rescue.
Clearing up the Myths Surrounding Animal Rescue
When you have been involved in animal rescue long enough, you hear so many things that people assume which are simply not true! So, in order to clear up so common myths or misconceptions, we have listed a few of them here.
Myth: Rescue groups exist to serve and assist former owners and future adopters.
Reality: Rescue groups exist solely to serve the animals it seeks to save and must always do what is best for its animals, and not the potential adopter or former owner.
Myth: Rescue groups are grateful and happy to receive the donations of animals from their former owners.
Reality: Rescuers are saddened when someone who acquired an animal with a promise to love and care for them are now giving them away. We are people who believe that caring for an animal is for life, not for convenience.
Myth: Rescue groups are desperate to find homes for dogs, and any home will suit.
Reality: Quality rescue groups are very careful about placing the right dog in the right home. Some dogs have special needs and are placed into homes appropriate for them. We invest time speaking with potential adopters, getting to know them. We visit their homes to make certain that the dog we place into their home will thrive in the home that applicant has to offer. We want every adoption to work and to be the best adoption possible and are very careful about our placements. We always try to do what is in the dog's best interest; we are, after all, the guardian of the dog.
Myth: Rescue groups are just like shelters.
Reality: Rescue groups tend to be experts on the breed(s) that they are representing. Rescue groups also tend to foster their dogs, rather than to house them inside of kennels. Because of that, rescues tend to know their animals more intimately than a shelter; therefore can really help to place the perfect pet into the adoptive home.
Myth: Rescue groups never have puppies (or kittens) available.
Reality: Rescue groups do sometimes have puppies available, and often they are quality pups who came out of unpleasant situations. If you are set on a puppy, consider applying and asking to be put on the waiting list.
Myth: Rescue groups always have puppies (or kittens) available.
Reality: Only occasionally do most rescues have young pups available. However, the majority of dogs we rescue are between the ages of one and three years. When considering adopting a rescue dog, please be flexible in your expectations.
Myth: Adult animals are difficult to train and do not bond as tightly as animals adopted in infancy.
Reality: Adult animals are almost always far quicker to catch on to new rules and in the experience of many adopters, may actually bind tighter, almost as if to not ‘lose’ their new person. While adopted adult dogs do come with history or ‘baggage’, so did your spouse/mate/friend and somehow you manage to love them and they you.
Myth: There is something wrong with an animal that is in rescue.
Reality: The large majority of animals in rescue have simply been tossed away. Sure, some of them do need some honing to become perfect, but most of us need that as well! Many of these animals are shy and under-socialized. They have not been abused; they have not been trained or exposed to the world. This is an easy thing to accomplish and the large majority of animals respond well to simple exposure.
Myth: Adopting a child is easier than adopting an animal through a rescue group.
Reality: Adopting an animal is sometimes time consuming and yes, you will need to answer questions and allow us to visit you in your home, however, comparing pet adoption to the adoption of a child is ridiculous and incomparable.
Myth: Rescue people use rescue to make money. If they were really interested in finding animals homes, they would give them away rather than charge a fee.
Reality: While some rescue groups get financial support from a national club (either the breed's club or a national rescue for that breed), most money that is spent on the care of the dogs in rescue comes from the rescue. In order to continue to rescue animals, the rescue must charge a fee or the rescue will fail. Each animal receives the vet care needed to ensure that they are reasonably healthy when they are adopted. Vet care costs, as does food, and shelter. In reality, the Adoption Donation made for an animal is far less than the actual cost to care for the animal while it is in our care.
Myth: Rescue is going to ‘make money’ from the animal that I donate, so there is no need for me to give a financial donation if I choose to relinquish my animal.
Reality: Far from it. The rescue that kindly accepts your animal into its rescue program will likely invest double its adoption fee into your animal before it is placed into its forever home. Your donation ensures that your dog receives the best care possible and that the rescue can continue to operate in order to save another animal.
Myth: The breed rescue people will take my dog if it has bitten and will rehabilitate and re-home that dog.
Reality: If you do not trust your dog, you should not ask anyone else to trust your dog. Dogs ‘speak’ with their mouths (teeth), and some dogs speak more loudly with them than others. In a situation where a dog is unpredictable, it cannot be placed safely into a new home. Please take responsibility for your dog and either handle him with training or management, or in severe cases, euthanasia.
Myth: The rescue people will take my old or sick dog and care for him in his final days
Reality: Breed rescue does not exist for your convenience. Rescue exists for the animals, and our ability to re-home them. If an animal is ill, or old and infirm, it is far less likely to be re-homed, therefore, we are unable to assist.
Myth: Breed rescue will adopt out intact dogs for breeding purposes.
Reality: As unbelievable as this is, many people think we will do this. The truth is, we aim to REDUCE the number of dogs who wind up in shelters, not to INCREASE those numbers. No ethical rescue person will adopt out an animal that is intact.
Myth: Rescue groups are the people who have dogs that sniff in rubble or avalanches to find bodies or trapped people or rescue groups are the people who train dogs to help the disabled.
Reality: Not us. The first is Search and Rescue, the second is Service Dogs.
Myth: Animal rescue groups are against breeding as a general practice.
Reality: While some rescuers are against breeding in general, many people involved with rescue are breeders themselves. What we are against are irresponsible breeders who are uneducated and are not breeding in order to improve their chosen breed. Breeding is not something to be taken lightly. It is not something one just does, out of curiosity, to teach the kids about nature or to make some extra pocket money. When done correctly, breeding is not profitable, and is done ONLY to improve the overall quality of the breed. There are many people out there who breed simply to satiate the demands of the "pet" market, which ends up weakening the genetic pool of the given breed. This is what most rescuers are against, because we do not want to see anything happen that will diminish the quality of the dogs we love so much.
© MABCR 2009
Portions of this document have been borrowed from various animal rescue sites on the internet, as well as valued MABCR volunteers.