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rec.pets: What to Expect from Breed Rescue FAQ

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Archive-name: pets/breed-rescue
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 19 Mar 1997

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                      What to Expect from Breed Rescue
              By Kathy Nicklas-Varraso []
   _Disclaimer:_ Every breed rescue has a different way of operating.
   Since breed rescues are normally staffed by volunteers, and each
   person has their own way of doing things, these descriptions may not
   be entirely accurate in all cases. This was written to give a
   prospective adopter a general idea of what to expect from Breed
   Most people think that there are two ways to get pet: getting a "mutt"
   from the pound, or going to a pet store and getting a pure-bred. A few
   might add checking the newspaper for a "free to a good home" ad, or
   for the occasional backyard breeder. With a little education, others
   discover the responsible breeder and get a pet, either show quality or
   pet quality.
   However, there is another way to get a pet called Breed Rescue. It is
   a way to get a dog, cat or rabbit that needs a good home, like at the
   pound, while getting the known quantity of a purebred. By the way,
   many of these terms are sweeping generalizations, as there are often
   purebreds at the pound, and some breed rescue organizations also place
   pets that are not purebred, but have most of the qualities of a
   First of all, pets in breed rescue are not "misfits" and are usually
   not defective in any way. They are usually placed in rescue through no
   fault of their own. Common situations are that an owner dies or
   becomes incapacitated, a new baby arrives in the family and the
   previous owners feel they must give the cat or dog up, a move overseas
   or across country, or people who got a pet without thinking about the
   fifteen year plus commitment that pet ownership requires. In some
   cases, a pet is placed because of an abuse situation, and special care
   is taken before an adoption can take place.
   A breed rescue volunteer normally takes the pet in, evaluates it for
   adaptability, provides any necessary veterinary care, spays or neuters
   the pet, and either places it with a family on the waiting list, or
   places it in a foster home until adoption.
   I'd like to take a few moments to go over some of these steps in
   detail before going into getting a breed rescue animal. First off, the
   dogs are always evaluated for adaptability. Known biters, aggressive
   dogs or pets who are simply too ill to be adopted are not offered to
   new families. "Borderline" pets are offered for adoption within strict
   guidelines such as no children, no other pets, or fenced yards only
   (dogs - cats are almost always adopted with an "indoor only" clause).
   Dogs and cats are given any necessary veterinary care before adoption.
   For example, in some parts of the country, heartworm is epidemic, and
   a dog will need to be treated for heartworm and placed on preventive
   medication before adoption. Cats should be tested for Feline Leukemia
   Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. In nearly every case, the pet
   will be spayed or neutered before adoption.
   Foster homes are responsible for caring for a rescue pet before it is
   placed for adoption. Some breeds have little need for foster homes, as
   they have a long waiting list of prospective adoptive homes, and few
   being placed for adoption. Other more popular breeds have more calls
   for pets than they can possibly rescue, and extensive network of
   foster homes, and an adopting family may even have their choice of
   animals. (The first situation usually applies to breeds that are not
   quite so popular, and that have not been "discovered" by backyard
   breeders and puppy mills.)
   Why would you consider a rescue adult instead of a puppy or kitten?
   Well, first off, for dogs you'd usually get an adult whose chewing
   phase, housebreaking phase and general puppy wildness are gone. Your
   dog may come pre-trained, and might even know a few tricks. Adult cats
   are more laid-back and are often more affectionate. Many are already
   declawed, and most males are neutered as people are more likely to
   neuter their male cats than their male dogs. You would know exactly
   how big the dog or cat would get, and would have a good idea of the
   individual personality. Last, but not least, you would be giving a
   deserving dog or cat a good home.
   Very rarely, Breed Rescue gets a kitten or puppy, sometimes from a
   family that made a wrong purchase, sometimes when a pregnant female
   with a litter is surrendered. If you would accept a kitten/puppy, let
   the rescue person know that. Usually, breed rescue will get pets that
   are just past the "cute puppy/kitten" stage. So, you'd still have lots
   of growth time left in your rescue.
   _Note:_ Greyhound Breed Rescue is a special situation, which is
   different than the breed rescue for other dog breeds. In most cases,
   the dogs are greyhounds with a racing past that have stopped winning.
   These greyhounds have been turned over to a greyhound rescue
   organization by their trainers, instead of having the dogs killed.
   Obviously, these dogs do not have a "Pet past." If you are interested
   in a greyhound, a greyhound specific breed rescue can give you loads
   of information on greyhounds as pets.
   How do you find Breed Rescue for your preferred breed? Start by
   calling local shelters and see if they are "breeder friendly." They
   may be able to recommend someone to you. Next call local vets and see
   if they know of any rescue groups. Often they will have at least one
   client who has a rescue dog, and that one client can lead to rescue
   groups of other breeds as well. If you have access to the internet,
   that may be the easiest way to get information on your breed of
   choice, as well as breed rescue.
   A great place to start for dog rescue is the excellent FAQ (Frequently
   Asked Questions document) written by Janice Ritter, which lists breed
   rescue contacts for nearly every breed of dog. (This FAQ can be found
   in the Usenet newsgroups and news.answers) Even if
   the breed rescue listed for your breed of dog is not close to your
   home, contact them anyway. Most rescue contacts have a list of all
   other contacts (for that breed) in the US and Canada. There is also a
   World Wide Web page called Save-A-Pet On-Line that lists breed rescue
   organizations and shelters around the country.
   The Usenet newsgroup rec.pets.dogs.rescue or rec.pets.cats can also
   provide leads, and a posting will likely get you a prompt reply with a
   local contact. Breed Clubs for a particular breed often have rescue
   contacts as well. There is also a directory called Project BREED,
   which lists rescue contacts all over the US and Canada. The directory
   can be found in larger libraries, or borrowed through inter-library
   loan. Lastly, most reputable breeders have contacts for breed rescue
   (at least for their particular breed).
   What should you expect when adopting a rescue pet? When you initially
   contact the rescue person, be prepared to answer a whole lot of
   questions. You'll be questioned about your lifestyle, your family, and
   your schedule. Every adult member of your family may be questioned
   about what they expect from a pet, and if they really want a dog or
   cat. This is not done to offend you. The rescue person is asking for
   two reasons; first, to match you to the most suitable pet, and second,
   to make sure that your home is an appropriate one for the breed you
   want. Often people want a breed solely because of its looks, not aware
   that its personality is completely opposite from what they want! A
   rescue pet has already been torn away from at least one home, and
   breed rescue is doing all they can to make sure that it never needs to
   go through that again. A responsible breeder will ask you many of the
   same questions. (In fact, many breed rescue volunteers are also
   responsible breeders).
   The breed rescue contact may come and conduct a home visit. S/he will
   contact your landlord (if you have one), and make sure that s/he is
   amenable to the idea of your having a pet. Breed rescue will sometimes
   not allow placement to undergraduate students, or anyone else without
   a permanent address. All of this is to make sure that each pet is
   given every chance at a stable, loving, permanent home. (If you are a
   student, I'm sorry. This is not to reflect upon you personally, but is
   a result of the experience of breed rescue workers, shelter workers,
   and others who have had to take in many animals each spring when
   school ends for the summer, roommates split up, and no one wants the
   pet, or housing becomes too difficult to find.)
   In all likelihood, you will NOT get papers with a rescue. This does
   not mean that the animals is not a purebred. It is meant to stop
   unscrupulous people from registering a pet under a rescued pet's
   registration. (Your rescue dog cannot have a litter, because it is
   spayed or neutered) However, if you rescue a dog you can apply for an
   ILP (Indefinite Listing Privilege), which will allow you to compete
   with your dog in AKC Sanctioned Agility and Obedience events. Rescue
   and mixed-breed cats can be shown at most cat shows in the "House Hold
   Pet" (HHP) division.
   You will have to pay an adoption fee for your pet. This will usually
   be more expensive than the adoption fee charged by a pound, but less
   expensive than buying from a breeder. This fee is charged to cover the
   spaying/neutering costs, medical expenses and other rescue related
   expenses (Like the cost of obtaining the pet from a pound, food while
   in foster care, advertising, phone calls, cost of travel, etc.)
   One thing to keep in mind is that the adoption fee is not necessarily
   reflective of the expenses related to your particular pet. Breed
   Rescues get some pets that have expensive medical problems. They have
   to foster pets for a long period to time, which costs money. Sadly,
   some do not live through the entire process (often the case with
   heartworm infection in dogs), but their veterinary bills still need to
   be paid. I have never heard of a breed rescue organization that did
   not lose money. So, your adoption fee probably will not cover all the
   adoption related costs. (All rescue organizations will gladly accept
   extra money.)
   So you've spoken to the rescue person, filled out the application, and
   been interviewed? Usually, at this point, you wait. Keep in touch with
   the rescue person from time to time, to keep you in her mind when a
   suitable pet comes in. Read books about your particular breed, and if
   you are getting a dog check out the obedience classes in the area. Try
   to be patient - the process is very much like adopting a child.
   When you get the phone call, you can come and meet your new family
   member. Take it slowly, it might take several visits before you take
   your pet home for good. Keep in mind that the animal has been through
   a whole lot of stress, and may not be showing at his or her best.
   However, I can guarantee that the breed rescue person has thoroughly
   checked everything and has made a careful decision to place you with
   that particular pet. The next step is to fall in love! (Sorry, can't
   help you there)
   In closing, I'd like to encourage you to think about a rescue pet when
   you decide to add a pet to your family. If you're just looking for a
   pet, (like most of us) consider giving a home to one that is
   pre-owned. It's not only the right thing to do, it's a very smart
   thing to do.
   Copyright 1995
   All rights reserved. Distribution of this FAQ is prohibited without
   the express permission of the author. Individuals may download and
   print one copy of this FAQ for personal use, as long as the file
   remains complete, including this message and all disclaimers.

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