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Your opinions - rescue dogs needing homes

(37 Posts)
Vallhala Sat 17-Oct-09 00:09:49

Some MN-ers have mentioned here that they would like to own a dog or that they are actively looking for one. Thats great news for me as I am a rescue volunteer and we are always looking out for good homes for our residents.

Its coming up for the hardest time of year for rescues. The common misconception is that there are more dogs in rescue after Xmas, but in fact its before that hits us hardest and last Nov/Dec was hell on earth for such dogs and those like me.

I help in getting dogs out of pounds across the country and into various rescues as well as 'getting my hands dirty' in a local rescue. Strays have just 7 days in a pound before they may be put to sleep, dogs signed over by their owners can be killed immediately. Last year, with the credit crunch on top of heartless behaviour, I was up til 4 or 5am many, many nights, sobbing my heart out, trying to find places in rescues already full to the gills for dogs who would otherwise die the next day. The problem is that if rescue can't place the dogs they have in good homes they are unable to offer a space to those pound dogs.

So, I wondered... given that the rescue I physically help out in has over 80 dogs, and there are MN-ers out there looking for the perfect pet, would it be an idea for me to post the details of some of those dogs here in the hope that someone might like the sound of one of them and want to take it further? Another idea is to suggest that anyone interested in a rescue dog posts their requirements here and if can suggest one I will.

Some of the dogs are 'special'... some need experienced owners, some need homes without cats etc but by no means is this always the case. The rescue homechecks and goes to all lengths to match the right dog to the right home - its in no-ones interest to press you to take an unsuitable dog, even if you do want that breed or have fallen in love with him. This rescue vaccinates, neuters, homechecks (in your best interest as well as the dogs) and offers lifetime support and always takes the dog back if the new owners can't keep him.

I'm really passionate about what I do, its my lifes work, but I won't be pushy - if I suggest someone you feel is not right for you I will respect that. However, I think I could save the lives of some dogs and find some families a new friend. I'd like to tell you of some of the dogs in the care of my local rescue or pass on any posts from families seeking a rescue dog but I've no idea how this would be received by other posters or if it is permissable. If it helps, 'my' rescue is not a registered charity but is funded by the owners and supporters such as myself - it receives no other help and is not a profit making organisation, far from it in fact. 'My' local rescue is in East Anglia but if they can obtain a homecheck further afield they will rehome outside of the area and I also have contacts with breed and non-breed specific rescues nationwide so could also invite anyone interested to contact other similar organisations.

Sorry for the long post, I did say I was passionate about this! What do you think guys?

LovelyDear Sat 17-Oct-09 00:14:41

i don't know what the rules say about this - i'm sure someone from mumsnet hq will tell you. but in practical terms it's got me all excited! The thing that's stopping us having a dog is that i work two full days a week. Is it ever ok to have a dog if you have to leave it alone in the house during school hours?

Vallhala Sat 17-Oct-09 00:33:20

Yes LovelyDear (what a great name!) of course it is... it all depends on the nature of the dog. You'd be daft to take on one with seperation anxiety issues, but you know that of course, and any rescue that suggested that you did would deserve shooting but there are dogs out there who would be fine with being left. I am a lone mum and carless in a town with an hourly bus service so a trip to hospital/Tesco/buy clothes can be an all day experience but my own dogs are fine with that.

My 2 are from different backgrounds too - one I have had since 6 weeks old and is now 2 and the other I have had since he was 4 - he was a previously abused rescue dog. Both have adapted well to our family and us to them.

I think its worth saying here also that whilst the main rescues such as the RSPCA and Dogs Trust have policy set in stone, many independent rescues make their decisions on individual cases - both those of the prospective owner and the dog - and are far more flexible. Anyone seeking to adopt a rescue dog who has been told no by one of the big rescues may well find an independent one more helpful and willing to work with them.

Thank you LovelyDear, I'm really grateful for not being told that I'm a twit!

sb6699 Sat 17-Oct-09 00:35:35

I think the problem with this is that you would have to make sure everyone knows that despite your description you cannot guarantee the temperament of any particular dog especially if they are only with you for less than 7 days and you wont even have background information about the dogs who have been abandoned.

Would you still have rules in place about no young children, etc?

I think it is a good idea tbh its not as if you are trying to make money or anything.

I think you would have to contact MNHQ before doing it though.

Vallhala Sat 17-Oct-09 00:51:31

Sb, the dogs I am speaking of aren't those coming directly from pounds - sorry that I didn't make sense, its been a long, tough week. I was referring to dogs already in rescue which have already been assessed and some of which have been in rescue looking for homes for a very long time. I wouldn't dream of suggesting that any MN-ers took on dogs direct from a pound (only I'm that daft!).

What I was trying to say is that the dogs in rescue, which have been there for some time and have been assessed by experienced people, are those which might be suitable for MN-ers looking to offer a dog a home and by moving on to good homes these dogs free up spaces for those currently in the pound and who will otherwise die and who can then go on to rescue to be assessed themselves.

The rescue I volunteer for doesn't have blanket rules about no young children - it judges each application from prospective owners and each dog on it's own merit. It wouldn't put a dog with an unknown history into a home with young children of course but by the same token doesn't just say that because you have children you automatically can't adopt any dog from them.

I hope that this makes more sense and apologise for causing confusion.

minimu Sat 17-Oct-09 08:26:48

Valhala it is so good that your rescue does not have the set in stone rules. A lovely lady who has had dogs all her life went to resuce a new dog and was told that she was too old at 70 to have a dog. She didn't want a puppy and to be honest walks further than me each day and will probably see me out!

I guess the more publicity you can get the better hope MN is up for it. Does your rescue have its own website that you could link to?

spugs Sat 17-Oct-09 08:45:19

Soubds like a great idea grin

LittleRedCar Sat 17-Oct-09 09:04:07

I wish you every success with this, Valhala.

Would be great to see MN being put to such good use.

Maybe we could also lay to rest the myth - always touted when someone is considering getting a dog on here - that all rescue dogs have 'issues' - or that a dog is somehow dangerous or unreliable if you do not know its full history.

I have had pups from 6 weeks old who have turned out to be far less reliable than my rescue bitch, whom I got when she was 18 months old, and who had been mistreated. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with children, or expected to take rough treatment from them, and there are literally 100's of fantastic dogs out there waiting for homes.

The key is in getting a rescue dog from a conscientious rescue organisation who will assess the dog properly, as I am sure yours does, Valhala.

Very best of luck x

sarah293 Sat 17-Oct-09 09:04:57

Message withdrawn

Vallhala Sat 17-Oct-09 22:34:09

Thanks ever so much everyone!

minimu, I know what you mean. One of our forum members is in his 70s and lost 2 of his dogs in the past couple of years. He's since adopted one of my ex-foster dogs and a Ibizan Hound from a Spanish rescue - he walks them for miles, takes them to classes, they are 'stoodge' dogs to help socialise other rescue pooches and are spoiled rotten. Similarly another rescue I work with recently rehomed a dog to a couple in their 70s. He too is spoilt rotten and does a six mile walk with his new 'Dad' each day.

Looks like you may be seeing a bit of info on some of our residents shortly!

For the record, the rescue I help out in is Poplar Farm Rescue Kennels and they have a forum here:

http://z10.invisionfree.com/PFK/index.php?act=idx

We're a friendly bunch and discuss all things, doggy and non-doggy alike. Members come from all areas and if you'd like to join us please email the rescue owners and they'll sign you up (this is necessary owing to spammers messing up the automatic registration system sadly).

MitchyInge Sun 18-Oct-09 11:40:17

I think it's a great idea - bagsie I have any liver and white girlie springers on offer

MrsJohnDeere Sun 18-Oct-09 11:58:37

Sounds a great idea, if MNHQ allow it.

I'm not too far from you and am seriously interested in rehoming a female springer or sprocker (or possibly even a cocker) too. We were hoping to get another dog in the New Year but could juest as easily do so before then if the right dog was available.

Will check out your forum later.smile

bronze Sun 18-Oct-09 12:16:24

wish we had known about you when we went trawling the centres for our latest dog. Maybe when we move we could get another though we would really like a puppy this time

bronze Sun 18-Oct-09 12:17:19

You have some adorable looking dogs on there. Hope this helps you find some homes

MrsJiggle86 Sun 18-Oct-09 12:26:41

What pounds are they, i thought you were american at first? is it the police pounds? just curious smile

Vallhala Sun 18-Oct-09 12:57:47

No MrsJiggle, these are here in England. Very often they are privately run, sometimes in tandem with boarding and/or breeding kennels. Occasionally they are large organisations such as Manchester "Dogs Home" (which people are often fooled into believing is a rescue).

When a stray is handed over to a pound the council pay the pound owners (about £5-6 per day) to hold stray dogs for 7 days, as is their legal duty. After that time, if the owner hasn't claimed him, the law says that the stray is the property of the council, to do with what they see fit. Some pounds work alongside rescue and will do their utmost to enable dogs to find new homes, either direct from the pound or by cooperating in allowing the dogs out to the safety of a rescue place. Others... far, far too many others, are considerably less willing to help and will have no conscience in putting these dogs to sleep - its an economic decision.

For the record, the Police don't operate pounds and now no longer are involved in the taking in of stray dogs, since a change in Law last year. Now if you find a stray over the weekend or out of office hours you must call your council out of hours number. They will tell you to either take him to a specific pound yourself - most counties have only one and it could be miles away, no good for a non-driver- or to hold the dog at home til the dog warden is back on duty.

Now I'd have no problem with taking in a stray dog for the weekend, but many other people would. And those who are unwilling or unable to take a stray to the pound or keep him til the dog warden's back at work, what advice have councils given them?

"PUT THE DOG BACK OUT ONTO THE STREET"

The whole system is a bloody mess and makes me ashamed to be English.

Vallhala Sun 18-Oct-09 13:33:05

MrsJohnDeere, we haven't any Springers or SS x's at the moment though they are by no means as unusual to rescue as might be imagined. Many of those I've come across have originated from Irish pounds, where the kill rate is even higher. One of the members of our forum has a Sprollie - he's a fantastic advert for rescue dogs, 101% with the family and marvellous at agility.

I'll have an ask round - there are of course the breed rescues, many of which may well be willing to home outside of their area - but I'll also put the word out to all-breed rescue.

moosemama Sun 18-Oct-09 13:55:43

Oh, sadly no room for another here with 3dcs and 3 dogs (2 rescues and 1 pedi) in a tiny house already. Some really beautiful dogs on your list, Charlie the mixbreed is the image of my boxer/gsd mix box who we sadly lost to cancer 7 years ago. (He still owns my heart even now. Such a special boy. sad)

I used to volunteer for a local rescue when I was younger and before we had children dh and I used to have a kennel and run in our back garden, which was only used when my SDad visited as he is terrified of dogs. We were constantly rescuing stray dogs and always chose to take care of them ourselves until a place could be found at a no-kill shelter or foster group. I was horrified when I found out how many beautiful, healthy dogs are pts and how quickly in this country, its a sad fact that an awful lot of people have absolutely no idea that this goes on. I am in awe of people like yourself that make it their life's work to help these dogs and really hope that when my children are older I will be able to get more involved again.

I just wanted to come on and say I think its a great and commendable idea if mn let you go ahead.

I'm so sorry I can't offer any help just at the moment. If I hear of anyone looking for a dog though, I will definitely point them in your direction. smile

moosemama Sun 18-Oct-09 14:03:24

Just read your last post, don't get me started on Irish pounds. Horrible, horrible, horrible. <shudders>. My family originates from Wexford their pound was one of the worst years ago.

I have heard of a few Irish council shelters that are now no-kill shelters and was hoping that the things had improved across the board. Is this not the case? I used to be a member of an online community which campaigned to reform the Irish system but lost touch with it somehow in the chaos that is my now my life.

Vallhala Sun 18-Oct-09 14:14:52

Moosemama, I used to get dogs out of Irish pounds and into UK rescue and I have a story for you. Have to run out now with DDs but will post it this evening - you'll be shocked - so please pop back later.

Thanks!

moosemama Sun 18-Oct-09 14:20:37

Will do Vallhala.

piratecat Sun 18-Oct-09 19:16:18

hiya, am glad i saw this post, as me and my dd who is 7 are looking to home a dog.

We lost our dear 1yr old cat 10 days ago, and this cat was like a dog in so many ways.

We would be interested in a small dog tho. We'd love a daschund, but will be looking for something small and 'nice'. DD isn't into bigger jumpy dogs.

I have trawled local dog places over the pasy yr or so, and there isn't much on offer for us. They do have strick rules about ages of childred, and most dogs if they are strays cannot be homed with those with children under 16, or cats. I understand this, they don't want to cause any problems.

Yet I have yet to see a puppy at any rescue place either.

let me know if you get any list up. Location wise I am miles away tho, so not good, as i am in south devon. Yet have a lovely little garden, access to beaches and open spaces.

moosemama Sun 18-Oct-09 19:35:10

Piratecat,

Vallhala hasn't been back yet, but if you look here you'll find the forum for the rescue group she is involved with and some of the dogs they currently have are listed on there. hth smile

Vallhala Sun 18-Oct-09 22:37:32

Back at last! Blardy kids are still awake!

Piratecat - no promises, but it may be worth a word with Liz at Wyke Farm Rescue or Lyn at Somerset and Dorset Rescue. I'm a bit loathe to put their email addresses up here without their permission but am happy to offer you the email addy I use for forums etc so you can contact me and I'll then pass on your details and enquiry to both rescues, as well as have a further chat about your family and lifestyle and whay sort of pal you're looking for to see if I can help further.

I'm at alfaalfa@live.co.uk Otherwise, if you would prefer to join the forum of the rescue I'm involved in (link is in Moose's post, I can't do all that fancy stuff!), then please do and you can pm me there.

Vallhala Sun 18-Oct-09 22:40:57

Moose - take a look at this link - http://www.petitiononline.com/MeathDog/petition.html

That was written in mid 2007. It caused the involvement of the wonderful Press Officer for Irelands AR group, Alliance for Animal Rights (AFAR), press interest, demos and the Green Party candidate to come on board. Meetings between Meath's head of the Council and AFAR followed and there were problems and setbacks, promises and heartache.

I made a lot of enemies as well as kind contacts, got threatened with legal action (and said 'bring it on'), and was told by some that I was risking lives as I was alienating the pound management, who were good guys really, and that I should butt out as I wasn't Irish.

I carried on until Christmas 2007 when, with an already crap immune system I became seriously ill with flu and was semi-delirious in bed for 8 days. To this day I swear it was caused in part by the stress I'd put myself under though I don't crack easily. By New Years Eve I was able to move enough to turn on my computer.... and found that a new pound had been established for the dogs of Meath, just as we'd asked for. Whats more they were willing to work with rescue to save those dogs.

I'd always laughed at petitions until then, thinking them a waste of time... I don't any more!

There are still 'closed pounds' in Ireland where the public are not allowed in I believe (but don't quote me on that), and where dogs only leave in black bin liners.

In the time I was involved we saw 17 year old dogs handed into the pound and PTS because the owner didn't want them, puppies die there, a dog being brought into the pound in the owners car sitting next to his dead companion, which had just been killed, and countless killed by the pound management for fear aggression because they growled when approached... well ffs I would too if I was a dog and had just been taken from my home and handed to strangers in an atmosphere which smelled of death and fear...

It broke my heart, changed my opinion of humans for life (for good and bad), and made me resolve never to give up trying to help dogs without loving homes.

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