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All rescue dogs have a dodgy/unknown history

(15 Posts)
hephaestus Tue 30-Aug-11 23:51:15

Um, no. Have noticed this cropping up on here again recently as well as a few comments I've had IRL, can we put this one to bed now please?

I picked up my latest rescue dog in June of this year. I knew I wanted another Siberian husky so I contacted the two main breed rescues. Both had an informal chat with me over the phone, got me to fill out some forms and, pending the results of those, arranged a home check. The home checkers were lovely, sat down with a cup of tea and discussed our requirements as well as whether we met theirs.

I did have some stipulations - must be a male, preferably under three years, must be likely to get on with my existing bitch. Being a specialist breed they do have to be very sure about you and your situation but at no point were they invasive or the requirements unreasonable (they will consider, on an individual basis, people with young children, people who work and even people without gardens).

A few days later I am called and told about two dogs they think will be suitable for me and my family. I am given the numbers of their foster carers and invited to call them and to ask as many questions as I need. The fosterers were completely honest about any issues they'd faced with the dog, what their personality was like, any quirks or further training needed, their history, how they got on in their pack, why they'd been given up.

Based on this information we arrange to meet what sounds like the most suitable dog. During the three months he was with his fosterer she had tested him in every conceivable situation in and out of the home, exposed him to noise, animals, people, children and could give us a completely honest account of how he would react to things. We know that he came in to rescue when his owners divorced and the one who kept him was working full time and unable to exercise him adequately. NONE of the dogs in the breed rescue at that time were strays/had unknown history. One was a result of a cruelty case with resultant 'issues' but had been in foster for a very long time until the absolute perfect home could be found for her.

Basically they picked the perfect dog for us and he has integrated seamlessly into our family because they knew us and him inside-out and matched us up. Had it not worked out for any reason, and at any point in the future, they will take him back without question.

I am NOT bashing those who choose to buy a pup, or KC reg dogs, or breeders (good ones, anyway). I am bashing those who choose to buy a schnoodlecockergoldendoodlepug from some godawful backyard breeder because 'all rescue dogs are dodgy'. They are not.

Just to explode another common one, it is perfectly possible to obtain a puppy from rescue.

And breathe...

Vallhala Wed 31-Aug-11 00:10:44

Absolutely right. smile

Most all-breed rescues have their fair share of pound dogs, it's true. Many, if not most of these have originally come from "normal" homes, it's just that in their cases the history is indeed generally unknown. Not always even then though, some are picked up by dog wardens, the owners located and those owners wont/can't recover their dog but nonetheless the DW will get deetails on the dog's background. I say "normal" rather than "family homes" as it's not necessarily the case that these dogs come from a home with children of course.

Those poundies aside, rescue is also bursting at the seams with dogs who are there through divorce/relationship splits, allergies, owner illness or death, house moves, emigration and the like. These dogs are and have been for the past few years making up more and more of rescue's intake as the financial climate worsens and in 99% of these cases the rescue will have a full history.

Nonetheless a reputable rescue will still fully assess these dogs and train/rehabilitate where necessary. Rehabilitation is rarely a red flag matter but generally the addressing of harmless but undesirable traits such as seperation anxiety.

A perfect example is my white German Shepherd. He came into rescue from a lone mum household because he was getting stressed about being left for longer hours than she'd ever anticipated having to leave him following an essential change in her working hours.

And yes, it is perfectly possible to adopt a puppy from rescue too. As with an adult dog reputable rescue will homecheck you, match you with the right dog, provide lifetime support and advice, vaccinate, neuter, worm and vet check your new friend and always be willing to take him back if and whenever a time comes that you are unable to keep him.

And if you're not ready for a permanent commitment or have room in your home and heart to help rescue and free up a space for another dog in need if they are kennels based - though many aren't and work solely via foster homes, YOU could consider fostering a dog and will receive complete support and back up, food and vet bills paid by the rescue with a promise that they will take him back if you feel that it's not right for you.

Our Beautiful Wei was a rescue, we knew her complete history(Victim of a divorce).
DS was two when we got her,as was she, and she lived happily with him and the cat, as we were advised would be the case.

She was in the house when DD was born (home birth) and was so protective of her as a baby.

If anyone held DD except me or DH she would very obviously sit in front of the person and give them the 'I'm watching you' look grin

I still miss her.

But yes, before Saint Wei I thought that rescues were dodgy.

My next dog will be a rescue greyhound grin

DooinMeCleanin Wed 31-Aug-11 09:09:04

We have five rescue dogs/fostered dogs in our family atm. Only one comes from a completely unknown back ground and he is a pound dog - not from a proper rescue.

Another my Dad found stray. After a bit of research and asking about we know he was deliberately dumped along with three of his litter mates. A wild guess leads us to think some eejit probably thought four puppies would be a good idea. He was too old to be a dumped litter and is clearly related to the dogs he was dumped with.

One is a private rescue. The last of the litter they could not sell. She came from a family home of BYBs. This is why I absolutely refused to pay for her, I could not have them thinking their breeding had been financially worth it.

One was handed over to rescue from a family home. The woman's husband had bought it and then returned to work full time. The pup was never walked or trained. The woman rang up in desperation after the pup nipped her youngest child. A few questions from the rescue revealed that the pup nipped "only" because said child dragged her from the sofa while she was sleeping hmm. More questions revealed the three children in the house had been allowed to treat the poor pup as a toy, pulling and grabbing at her whenever they wanted - when she wasn't locked in a cage that is sad angry

The last is my foster grey. She came from racing sheds. She was pretty much left in the shed because she refused to chase. The man who owned her agreed to give her over to rescue during one of their many visits to the track. She lives happily with my children and cat and never presented us any problems but does have separation anxiety and is prone to trying to slip her collar when she sees dogs to play with. I always let any potential adopters know this when they ask about her.

From the 2 dogs that came to us via proper rescues the rescues were 100% honest with us about any issues the dogs might have and any training that might need to be done with them. We have been supported fully with this training and the rescue has always been at the other end of the phone. They don't all live with me. Two are with my Dad. The pup who nipped is with my Dad. Despite being a great little dog, who now adores children, she would never be homed with children because of her history. Out of all dogs we have 'issues' with two. The pup who nipped and my ex poundie. The rescue are great at helping out with the pup who nipped. Infact she is with them now as my parents have gone camping and won't take her with them just incase. They have always been on hand to help with training advise and recommend training classes. I was left to deal with poundie on my own because I was an idiot and didn't go via proper rescue. The rescues I now work with help me with him.

In short rescues are great and will assess all dogs and give you the complete truth about them. They will be on hand to help with anything you need.

We are not just a 'regular' family and have been given/taken on some difficult dogs because we are confident with dogs and very dog savvy. Only my foster grey would have been offered to a 'normal' family. And the stray my Dad took in after he had been completely assessed and spent some time in foster, he has no issues at all and would make a perfect family pet.

TheRealMBJ Wed 31-Aug-11 09:15:54

We don't currently have a dog as we cannot commit to the attention one would need at the moment as our family is still too young but growing up we ALWAYS had rescue dogs and cats, most were pound dogs, most were stange mixed breeds and they were always lovely animals (after settling down into loving family life)

TheRealMBJ Wed 31-Aug-11 09:31:39

I just want to add though that I'm not really surprised that people are prejudiced towards rescue dogs as it seems that so few have experience of them. It isn't fair, I know but it's a bit like foster children I think, people assume that they weren't wanted and therefore mistreated and therefore come with shedloads of baggage.

bkgirl Wed 31-Aug-11 10:36:16

I have tended to select the more damaged dogs from the rescue centres over the years because I know they need TLC more and they appreciate it in a way that dogs who have never had hardship could appreciate. Also my children are brilliant and understand how to treat them.There are of course dogs who have been very loved in the centres and perhaps an owner died and they have a beautiful temperment.I tend to think they will be more easily placed.

To be frank I told some neighbours only last night to think seriously about not getting a dog because they want a labrador pup because it is cute and cross the road if they see anything bigger that 12" even on a lead! They wouldn't let as much as a piece of fluff land on their floor or garden. I just can't see them keeping what will amount to something cute for a few months.

RedwingWinter Wed 31-Aug-11 16:50:34

I think people aren't well-informed about rescue dogs, or BYBs for that matter. I started a thread a few months back because I was shocked about how negatively some people reacted to my dog after finding out he's a rescue, even when they had been interacting nicely with him before. One person even tried to tell us that he was vicious and when we said no, he has a lovely temperament he said 'you'll be surprised'. Well it's months later and we are still surprised at how wonderful he is. Yes, he has his moments - we are still training him and he has selective hearing - but he is the perfect dog for us.

Many people seem to blame the dog for ending up in rescue and aren't aware of how many have to be rehomed because of divorce, job changes, illness, etc., and of the difference that training can make.

I found a market research study a while back that said people don't respond very well to negative messages about dog rescue (such as that dogs will die if they aren't adopted), but do respond well to positive messages (such as you can save a dog's life by rescuing one). It was a US study, but I expect it's true of the UK too.

RunnerHasbeen Thu 01-Sep-11 11:11:36

It is ridiculous, in theory I could have got my rescue dog a year earlier from a horrible breeder, but luckily for me he was first rescued by someone who knew what they were doing and could ease the wee neglected dog into the world. Because of his year in the foster home, he came to me socialised, partly trained, assessed and with the guarantee we could take him back there if it didn't work out. He happens to be a pedigree, we have all his documents, but we also have better medical records and a chip because of the rescue (he would also have been £600 from the breeder).

I am reluctant to tell people we meet he is a rescue, as it feels like showing off my moral-ness. DH insists it is a good thing to do for rescue PR in general as he is ridiculously gentle and a rare breed, so we are often asked how to get one. Reading these threads is making me come round to his way of thinking as it is true that people only normally mention the rescue status to strangers as a warning, not as an advert.

hephaestus Thu 01-Sep-11 14:49:30

I get what you mean, Runner - we've met a lot of badly behaved dogs with owners that sing "sorry, he's a rescueeee!" as they haul their explosively barking and lunging dog past us. It might be a valid excuse in the early days of ownership but when I know they've had that rescue dog for ten years and it's been an aggressive, untrained little shit throughout... hmm

If newdog does anything wrong or unexpected in public (he had a tendency to howl at passing dogs, now about 90% cured through daily training and weekly obedience/socialisation classes) I tend to say "sorry, he's new" or "sorry, we've not had him long" instead. If anyone shows interest in the breed then I launch into the usual spiel and throw in the rescue angle, all of it designed to put people off, they're not suitable pets for the vast majority.

Ephiny Thu 01-Sep-11 15:34:40

I usually mention to people that ours is a rescue - I don't mean it as showing off or anything (it's quite the opposite surely as it means I can't take the credit for him turning out so nice!) but more for the 'PR' reasons. Some people are amazed to hear he's from rescue as he's so gentle and sweet-natured (he's a Rottweiler so there's breed prejudice to overcome as well), so hopefully he's doing his bit to change perceptions.

It's bizarre to me how some people seem to think 'rescue dogs' are almost a different species, an entirely separate category from 'dogs that used to be puppies'. I wonder where they think rescue dogs come from confused.

I've never heard anyone use 'he's a rescue' as an excuse for bad behaviour, would be very hmm at that!

LadyClariceCannockMonty Fri 02-Sep-11 11:58:17

Great post, OP. Your Siberian husky sounds gorgeous!

ALL dogs (in fact all animals) are ultimately an unknown quantity because they act so much more on instinct than humans. ANY animal is unpredictable and could bite/scratch/lash out.

And I think most rescue centres put an awful lot of work and expertise into rehabilitating their dogs and matching them with new owners.

Personally I'd only ever get a rescue dog or cat.

KnickersOnOnesHead Fri 02-Sep-11 13:21:22

Both of mine are unknown rescue dogs. One came straight out of the pound but via a rescue, was assessed with my existing dog, rescue owner homechecked me herself. She visits often, even now.

blonderedhead Sat 03-Sep-11 00:21:23

I can't imagine considering getting a bred puppy; it shocks me that people can do that when there are so many existing dogs needing homes.

I was actually probably quite naive in that it had never occurred to me that rescue dogs might have behavioural problems, I guess that may be why some of them have been there but I always assumed those problems were more to do with training, ownership and luck of the draw.

Fred has his fair share of hangups but whether they came from his previous owners, his time on the streets or his natural (JRT) temperament we'll never know. Since being with us he has proved to be a lovely dog and the work we have done with him has definitely been no more than raising a puppy would have been he came house trained, what more can you ask..?!

activate Sun 04-Sep-11 09:27:20

Backyard breeders are the new demon I see

Some backyard breeders are actually responsible dog owners who allow their dogs to have a litter because they feel that is the right thing to do for their dogs.

Our crossbreed dog was bought from a lovely lady who allowed her bitch to have a pedigree litter, kept one sold the others. When the puppy grew up she allowed it to have cross-breed puppies kept one sold the others. So she has grandma, mother and daughter living with her. The puppies were all extremely well cared for, socialised and happy.

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