Breed-Specific Rescues

Photo by Kevin Lowery | www.kevinlowery.com

Photo by Kevin Lowery | www.kevinlowery.com

I’ve been a big proponent of animal rescue organizations for more years than I can remember. Like many, my involvement started off with my financial assistance and donating items that were on the rescue organizations’ wish list. Then, my wife and I decided to get more involved by volunteering our time. This included spending time at the shelter socializing the cats and dogs, becoming active members of the feral cat program, writing requests for grants, posting the information about the adoptable pets on Petfinder, fostering a stray kitten, and, eventually, becoming the president of the Humane Society of Forsyth County (GA) – a no-kill shelter.

Since forming my own animal-focused business, I routinely provide my lost animal consultation services on a pro-bono basis to rescue organizations that have missing animals. During my national book tour, I partnered with rescue organizations in every city I visited. I invited them to my book signing events and to appear on local and national television with me to promote their organizations. I wanted to help raise awareness about the local rescue organizations and, in doing so, get more animals adopted.

After many years of supporting animal rescue organizations, I still know people who have never considered visiting a rescue or county shelter when looking for a new dog. The most common reason I hear is that the person or family is looking for a purebred dog to adopt. They have the misconception that these types of facilities only have mixed-breed dogs to adopt. After all this time, this incorrect belief still amazes me.

My first response is always, “Why do you want a purebred dog?” Often, they tell me that they believe purebreds are healthier and have a known lineage. Though it’s true that purebred dogs may have a known lineage, it’s not always true that they are healthier. I then educate them on the benefits of adopting a mixed-breed dog. In many cases I’ve come across, the mixed-breed dogs can live longer lives and have less health problems. My first dog, a collie-shepherd mix named Bandit, lived to be 16 years of age. Outside of his annual exam and routine vaccines, he never needed to visit a veterinarian. Meanwhile, we adopted two purebred schnauzers, Buzz and Woody (brothers from the same litter), and they had just about every health problem imaginable.

If they still insist on adopting a purebred dog, then I let them know that purebred dogs are available at your local county shelters, through animal rescue organizations and through breed-specific organizations. In major cities, you can find a breed-specific rescue organization for just about every breed of dog out there. For example, we adopted or most recent schnauzer boy, Kramer, from Schnauzer Love Rescue (SLR) . SLR focuses on rescuing and adopting schnauzers throughout the southeast. There are also wonderful organizations like Friends to the Forlorn, who focus on Pit Bull rescue and Arizona Golden Rescue who focus on Golden Retrievers. You can also search Petfinder to locate specific breeds of dogs as well as breed-specific organizations nationally or in your area.

I always suggest that you do your research first to determine the best breed for you and your family. The right and perfect dog is out there waiting for you and can end up being purebred or a little mix of all the good stuff.


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Positively Expert: Tim Link

Tim Link is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Animal Writes" on Pet Life Radio. He is an internationally recognized animal expert, communicator, and consultant. As part of his passion for helping animals , Tim has also mastered Reiki - an ancient art of energy healing - which he uses on animals.


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  • Komal Sampat

    My husband and I are trying to adopt a yellow lab. Let me correct that, we have been trying to adopt one for the past 4 months. I'd like to share some of our experiences. We own our own home, it's a 3,000 sq ft single family home in the suburbs of a small town in MD. It's very quiet and outside city limits. We have an acre and a half of land and our very own indoor pool. We decided to get a dog about 4 months ago as a anniversary gift together. We have a rescue cat and we wanted to make sure that we got a dog with a low prey drive so she won't get chased. My husband used to have a yellow lab as a child and wanted to get one similar since he was very attached to that boyhood pet. Turns out, labs usually do well with cats so that was a good start. We approached several rescues. We did our due diligence and filled out all the paperwork honestly. We gave our 2 (sometimes 3) references details of all of Sasha's vets (I had moved to get married and live with my husband) and every other detail about our life. Most of the time, we got no response. When we did get a response, it was something along the lines of : sorry, already adopted or sorry, dog doesn't match your profile. I understand that some dogs have separation anxiety and since both of us work, we would have to leave for a bit. I work near home so I could drop by in the afternoon but I know that would not be enough for those dogs. Neither would a walker. That scenario is understandable. But a lot of times that was not the case. When I would ask why the dog wasn't a match, I was never given a response. One rescue told us we needed to fence in our back yard. We actually went and did that. We withdrew our application for a couple of weeks and got the fence put in. Then sent them pictures as proof (we were asked to do that). Some rescues want to do home visits but since we are in the suburbs, they do not have people close by and can only send someone down after something like 1 or 2 months. One particular rescue that we are working with has given us an adoption coordinator who never forwards us any dog profiles or makes our "appointments" in time (yes, all the dogs have "appointments" to meet and they never book more than 2). When she responds after a day or so, it's always "oh the appointments are already full". We have been prodded, pushed and left heartbroken (we were promised we could meet one particular dog and then someone took him). We must have filled applications for at least 50 dogs, probably more. At this point, it's starting to feel like a competition and something as exciting as getting a loving companion is becoming a stress that doesn't seem worthwhile. We have never been bad to our cat Sasha. Her vet records prove that we always take care of her and she has all her shots. She doesn't have any health issues and is doing great. So why are we being treated as such horrible people?? We do not torture or hurt animals, we have people who are our references to vouch for that. We are not even looking for a puppy! Just an adult dog of reasonable age. We are finally being forced to consider a breeder.

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