Because I'm- Duncan, that's- why
|Barked: Thu Nov 22, '12 3:03pm PST |
|Sophie, I think your perception of that rescue group is similar to many criticisms (of rescue generally) that I've heard here on Dogster. Of course, you did not name the rescue, and I wouldn't know them anyway, but I did just want to mention a couple of thoughts about rescue itself.
First, people often complain that rescues have higher adoption fees compared to those of the local shelter. I might point out though, that rescues are funded entirely by adoption fees and voluntary donations. Your municipal shelter is tax funded primarily. The adoption fees (and licensing fees, etc) that they receive are icing on the cake. Not that they don't need every penny; they do, and often in spite of the funding sources they have, shelters are strapped and unable to provide much for the animals, though they'd love to be able to do more. But caring for animals is expensive, in any context.
Further, yes, rescues do tend to take the most "desirable" dogs and puppies. There are purebred rescues, in example. It is generally beneficial to these dogs, though, to be placed through a purebred rescue group rather than the shelter itself. The people in the breed rescue are knowledgeable about the breed and will be better able to match dogs with ideal homes. The breed rescue will provide a greater level of support to adopters. And most important, the breed rescue will forever be the safety net for that dog; he/she will NEVER again face the inside of a kill shelter or even the possibility of euthanasia there.
Though puppies are highly adoptable, rescue plays an extremely important role in saving those lives. I could not stress enough how vital it is for young puppies to be fostered in a home environment rather than in a shelter setting. No matter how well run the shelter, no matter the most modern protocols, the possibility of contagious disease is always higher in a shelter; and puppies are most vulnerable, with their less developed immune systems. Of course there are also the benefits of proper socialization associated with puppies being reared in a home setting. It is far better for puppies to be with a caring rescue. It is better for adopters too.
As for the all-breed rescues that seem to cherry-pick the most adoptable dogs: yes, they do that. But it still helps the shelter. With fewer dogs PERIOD, the shelter has more resources to spread amongst the ones remaining. Furthermore, at many shelters, dogs get killed for lack of space, and that is reality. If rescues can get some dogs out, that leaves more space and saves lives at the shelter. At least temporarily. The problem, of course, is that more dogs come in the door tomorrow and the shelter is again out of space. The problem is an unrelenting intake.
But be that as it may, those cherry-pickin' rescues can be pretty important in the overall picture. In NYC's public shelter system - where euthanasia rates are at all time lows - a large part of the reason is the very active local rescue community, and an entire division of the NYC ACC that is dedicated to cooperating with that rescue community. Last I checked, I believe over 50 percent of the animals taken into that public shelter system, were released to rescues. Hallelujah! That's a lot of animals that might instead have been euthanasia statistics.
And about the plain, non-pretty, hard to adopt dogs that are left behind. I do not know the answer, but I don't think rescue itself knows the answer right now. I recall a Dogster who posted many times about their foster "Peg," a very plain young adult mutt in Texas. She was fostering the dog for a rescue group. Well, she did everything she could to try and find that dog a home - took her to adoption events, got her on TV - but ended up with her for - months? close to a year? And the only resolution was that eventually the dog went to some other foster. I will tell you that most people that are willing to foster for a rescue really don't want that situation, having the dog for a very extended period with no end in sight. It is demoralizing. It makes the foster feel frustrated, and of course in the place of that one hard-to-adopt dog, the rescue could have saved several highly-adoptable dogs in the same time frame, utilizing that foster slot, which instead got jammed up for a perfectly nice but plain jane. Are the numbers important - the quantity of dogs saved by the rescue? It depends, but in areas of heavy pet overpopulation and high-kill shelters, it probably matters more.
Pit bulls - of course as a breed they have a huge set of challenges, and one of them is overpopulation virtually everywhere. However, there are some extremely successful pit bull rescue groups. It just takes a spine of steel to be involved in that breed rescue and know the burden that you can't save them all. But pit bull rescue has a marketing cache, and is in some senses easier than being "Mutts r'Us."
So the bottom line is this. Rescue is good for dogs in the big picture. It can make a great difference in lives saved.
It is good for the dogs in the rescue. That's hardly debatable.
...Is it good for adopters, when they are forced to pay a $100 (or more) higher adoption fee than they would for the same dog at their local shelter? Well, there are some advantages for adopters. They can get more detailed information about the individual dog or puppy that has lived in a foster home, which could help the adopter decide if it's the right dog for them. Hopefully, the rescue has a good adoption counselor(s) that can answer questions, help make a good match, provide support after the adoption. And, it is also a benefit to the adopter to know that if ever they could not keep the dog for any reason, in its whole lifetime, there would be a safe harbor for the dog's return.
But, if one would really prefer to get a "desirable" dog directly from the shelter (and pay less in adoption fees), there are usually ways to do that. Volunteering at the shelter is a fine way to be the first to know when such a dog gets admitted - and get first dibs! Besides that, just calling or walking through the shelter from time to time, can help your odds. Also, many shelters have "wait lists" of potential adopters for a certain breed, so you could be notified if a dog of your breed-of-choice should arrive.
|my posts | my page | msg me | my family's posts | gift me | become pals|