I truly believe that the only way to add a new animal member to the family is by way of an animal rescue or shelter. In my experiences, the people involved are generally die-hard animal fans and will do as much as they possibly can to help homeless and unwanted animals. The dogs are grateful to be loved and usually attach themselves immediately to their new owner as most of them have never been treated well before.
Alysa is one lucky girl. She wasn’t just saved from the train tracks in horrible condition (see pictures in yesterday’s post); she was saved by the amazing people at Labs & Buddies who truly care about her well-being and have made a new life possible for her. Unfortunately, not all ‘rescued’ dogs end with a great savior like L&B. Adopter beware: not all animal rescues are created equal.
Periwinkle Bow, my pride and joy, did not have the same fortunate fate (well, not until she met me, anyway).
When Peri came to me, I was told she had been at the Unnamed Rescue (UR) for 2 – 3 months. For a dog who had been at a rescue for such a great amount of time, she certainly didn’t look it. The little pup was in horrible shape: her beautiful white coat was stained yellow, there was a gash on her forehead, and she had extremely long nails, a sore on her side, and black pores on her belly. She was a scared little girl expecting the worst to come at her from every angle. Something was suspicious right away.
There’s really only two types of treatment that may cause a doggie to look like this; abuse or abuse. Either she was abused due to neglect or someone at UR intentionally hurt her. Whichever happened is not of importance. At the end of the day, she was abused. And there were many additional reasons beside the appearance of Peri that made me skeptical of this particular rescue; I was restricted to speaking with the volunteers and unable to speak on the phone or meet the owner, I was never allowed to see the facilities where the dogs were kept, and I fostered another dog for the rescue who was in poor physical condition and that had terrible behavior problems due to its lack of socialization and attention. The list continues but these were the big clues.
At that point, the decision was made that Peri was not going back to UR and she would be mine forever.
But I was also considering the different ways to take action in a situation like this; do I continue helping these dogs out of a terrible rescue or do I report the rescue to deny the perpetuation of the problem? I struggled with this for a while. Eventually, I didn’t have to make the decision. Someone else reported them.
Periwinkle started to recover. She shed the yellow fur, gained weight, daily walks wore down her nails, and the gash healed.
She’s now healthy and beautiful as ever.
After this experience, I no longer foster for UR.
I took away a couple of lessons from this story; trust my gut and act on it. If I’m really wavering then I need to do some research. For example, here is an excellent resource that was brought to my attention by a friend when I was doubting myself: http://www.tufts.edu/vet/hoarding/rescue.htm.
I hope this doesn’t scare you. The vast majority of rescues are phenomenal and this is just one experience and one special case.