These days it seems every city and small town has more than its' share of private rescues. The not for profit groups sprang up a couple of decades ago when local shelters began to be overwhelmed with abandoned pets. For the most part, they are staffed by devoted selfless animal lovers who often donate their own cash in addition to their time and households. Many of us have been there, done that, many are still doing it. But the past few days a couple of stories reached my ears that reminded me that all is not always what it seems when it comes to private rescue groups.
Last nite, my friends Becky and James, both professional dog trainers told me of a woman who had contacted a local rescue to adopt a dog. She wanted a big dog, one who was friendly but whose size could ward away burglars to help her and her daughter stay safe. Her daughter was expecting a baby.
The rescue told her they had the perfect dog in a pit bull mix. The woman paid two hundred fifty dollars cash in adoption fees to the girl who was fostering the dog and signed a contract saying if she couldn't keep him he would be returned to the rescue group.
She then enrolled him in a training class with Becky and James.
The dog was highly aggressive in a schizo sort of way. One moment he was fine, the next he didn't know who you were and went viscously beserk.
Now James and Becky have done oodles of retraining for local shelters in a effort to make homeless dogs more adoptable so they have seen many aggressive dogs. After two weeks it was ascertained that this dog was never going to be safe around two women and a baby.
The new owner called the rescue group and was told sorry, they can't do anything about it. They did not take the dog back even though they made the new adoptive owner sign a contract stating they wanted the dog back if she couldn't keep it.
Nor did they offer to refund any money, or even trade the dog for another homeless pup.
Exasperated, the adoptive owner euthanized the dog....
Also this week, a friend of mine rescued a tuxedo cat hoping to foster it until a suitable home could be found. Her own cat would not accept him so she contacted several rescue groups who said they were full....she put an ad on Craigslist hoping a family would adopt him when she was contacted by a 501K not for profit rescue group in a nearby small town. They said they would find him a home provided that she take him to a specific vet and pay for all his shots and vetting...which she did.
This was a sweet deal for the vet ( who employs the husband of the head of the rescue group) and a sweet deal for the rescue group as they get to keep all the adoption fee ( one hundred dollars) but not a sweet deal for the cat who was already up on his shots and had to have them twice. Everyone knows the havoc over -vaccinating does to pets....
These two stories reminded me that when you contact local rescues, check them out thoroughly, both of the rescue groups I mentioned advertise on Petfinders.com. I am certain that the majority of private rescue groups are reputable, but not every single one will be.
Don't let anyone rush you into adopting a pet you aren't sure is right for you and your family, only you can answer that question. The saddest dogs I ever rescued were the repeats...be sure that the one you choose will be the one you keep for that pets' lifetime.
P.S. the dog in the pic is Ruby, she is not the pit mix in the story, Ruby is sweet, well mannered and in foster care waiting on a special someone to adopt her.