What does it mean to “rescue” a dog?


For anyone who doesn’t know me that well, one thing I can’t get enough of is dogs! It all started way back approximately 15 years ago when my parents brought home Winnie, our gorgeous Old English Mastiff puppy. Suddenly my previous fears about dogs evaporated as this cute puppy grew into a giant, slobbering, clumsy oaf with the biggest heart you could imagine. I realised that big dogs really aren’t scary and that I’m happy to just rub that slobber into my jeans rather than freaking out and screaming about the slime that just landed on me. My world was changed.

Winnie being abused by a party hat!

Since then, my lovely Princess Winnie has passed on and my parents have a new pooch in their lives, Rudi the Miniature Schnauzer who has featured on this blog before. Rudi really is the dog’s doo-dahs, he is just so cool! He’s got this great personality which really brightens up everybody’s day and nobody, I mean nobody who meets him fails to fall in love with his cute, beardy grin.

The dude that is Rudi!

My problem is that I don’t live at home any more so dogs pop in and out of my life only briefly and I’m always pining for the waggy tail and chew toys that are missing from my world. I have quite a hectic lifestyle, so for me a potentially good option would be to adopt an older dog; one who is a bit calmer and happy to spend chunks of time on their own without ripping the house to shreds. I’ve looked into this a few times but haven’t yet seen quite the dog for me; a lot of rescue dogs need extra attention due to a traumatic past whereas I need one who is happy with people and dogs from the get-go. What I have done though is spoken to a few rescue centres; initially this was great but recently it’s started to worry me…

I won’t name names but the most recent rescue I contacted really don’t seem to care about the dog I enquired about and I can’t imagine they’d be much different about other dogs. I rang up to check how this particular dog would be if left alone for a few hours at a time and also to understand more about how she is with other dogs (getting on with Rudi is essential). Well, I was told that the dog is living in a kennel centre at the moment and the rescuer really doesn’t know how she’d be if left alone but I could always put her in a crate. I was also told that they think she is ok with other dogs but again, this hasn’t really been tested. So then I asked about the rehoming process and was told that I’d need to go and visit the dog and so long as I liked her, that was pretty much it.

Now you may be wondering what my problem is; well, my problem is this: that dog has been overused for breeding in the past and then dumped. She’s had a hard life. Now, although she has been “rescued”, it seems that the rescue centre are happy to palm her off on anyone who wants her. How do they know my house is suitable and that I have open space for her to go out? How do they know that she will fit my lifestyle? Why don’t they care about my motivations for getting a dog? What about experience? This dog is a bull breed, she could seriously harm another dog if left alone and she turned; when are they going to mention this? Essentially, anyone could pick her up, take her home, mistreat her and then dump her again because actually she wasn’t the right dog for them. Thankfully other rescue centres have been much more thorough and conduct home checks, etc. and then follow up with you about the dog afterwards to make sure everything is ok.

So I am angry and this is my rant; I appreciate that this dog has been rescued from being put down at the pound but I question the point of doing that if she is later to be used and abused again. Surely the point of rescuing a dog is to improve their life, not just move them around, so the rescue centres need to do their best to get to know the dogs and their potential new owners as best they can to ensure this is the case. That’s all, just had to get it out of my system and I’m hoping this little lady is still there when I can visit in 2 weekends’ time! x

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