Purebred Rescue Organizations
One of the biggest reasons people give when asked why they purchased a dog from a breeder rather than adopting a dog from a shelter is that they wanted a purebred. What many don’t realize is that shelters often have purebreds and it is often just a question of getting to know the shelter staff well enough to make your wishes known and to convince one of them to call you when a purebred comes in.
However, this can be time-consuming, and if you are looking for a particular breed but don’t want to wait, you might want to check out one of the rescue organizations for the breed in which you are interested. The American Kennel Club lists many of these breed rescues on their site. In some cases, there is just one national rescue group, while others have affiliates in several states
You need to know that some groups will take only purebreds, while others will rescue dogs who even have a little bit of the requisite breed in their bloodline, so it will take a little bit of research to find what you want if you are only willing to accept a purebred.
Where do breed rescues get their dogs?
In some cases, breed-specific rescue organizations work closely with local shelters, relying on the employees at the shelter to call them when a dog of the desired breed is brought in. This is especially true in shelters who would otherwise euthanize the dogs after a prescribed number of days or when space runs out. It helps the shelter by freeing up space, which is always at a premium, and it allows the rescue organization to have dogs available when someone comes looking.
In other cases, people who have a purebred and realize they can no longer keep it, call the rescue organization directly. Whether they are forced to surrender their dog due to a change in living circumstances such as a lost job or foreclosure, or because a member of the family finds out they are allergic, or even if it is discovered that the dog is not a good match for their lifestyle, many dog owners would rather give up their dog to a good rescue organization than to a shelter where the dog may be euthanized.
What is the mission of purebred rescue organizations?
As an example, the Afghan Hound Club of America Rescue’s mission is to provide: “support, coordination, and financial assistance to a national network of volunteers. Our goal is to ensure that veterinary care, including spaying and neutering, temperament evaluations, foster placements, and loving, permanent homes are provided to homeless Afghan Hounds. AHCA Rescue receives its funding from individual contributors, fund-raising items and events, and from donations by regional Afghan Hound clubs.”
Other clubs have similar mission statements. The rescue organization is often an offshoot of the breed club, where those committed to a particular breed have opened a charitable arm that helps with homeless animals of the breed.
How will I know if the rescue is legit?
One of the nicest resources on breed rescue clubs is the Basset Hound Club of America. Although they don’t provide rescue services through their own club, they do provide links to known Bassett rescue organizations, as well as some great advice on evaluating a rescue to make sure your dog will be well cared for if you have to give him or her up.
Among their suggestions for signs of a good rescue:
1. They keep the best interests of the dogs in mind.
2. They operate as a charitable endeavor, maintaining open books and using their funds in a responsible, ethical manner.
3. They ensure that an adoptable dog will never be denied rescue because of age or treatable physical condition, and if the dog is unsuitable for adoption, they will see that the dog is put down humanely.
How can I help?
The National Rescue Network of the Newfoundland Club of America offers some great suggestions for how you can help out a breed rescue, even if you cannot adopt or foster a dog in your home. They suggest you might be interested in conducting home visits to evaluate prospective adoptive homes, helping out with paperwork and filing, looking in your local newspaper for ads where dogs are being given away and calling the owners to inform them that rescue services are available, sharing your professional skills with the organization, and donating needed supplies or money.
Most rescues and shelters maintain a wish list on their website. If not, try calling and asking what they need. Most will ask for more than just the typical dog-related stuff like leashes, food dishes, and crates; or cleaning supplies like towels, plastic poop bags, and dog-friendly cleansers. They may also have need of things like a digital camera to post pictures of available dogs online, or telephone cards to help them when they talk to prospective adopters long distance. Some may need your old van to transport animals, while others might be hoping for office supplies or funds to expand a spay/neuter clinic.
What if I have a dog I need to surrender?
If your dog came from a rescue organization, you should check with them first. Most rescues specify that the dog is to be brought back to them if the placement doesn’t work out.
If you purchased your dog from a breeder or pet store and can no longer keep the animal, check online for a breed rescue or ask your veterinarian if he or she knows of an organization close by. Your dog stands a much better chance of staying alive long enough to be adopted if you arrange to surrender him or her at a rescue than if you simply drop the animal off in the woods or at a shelter.