Rescues

Fostering A Rescued Dog | Starting A Successful Rescue | A Rescue Dog's Christmas Poem | State by state listings of local Golden Retriever Rescue groups

Fostering A Rescued Dog

"I can't foster a golden retriever...."

By Helen T. Redlus
Golden Retrievers in Cyberspace®

"I can't foster a golden retriever. My golden won't tolerate any other dogs in his house."

Those were my exact words for the past 4 or 5 years! I was so sure that Mozart would never be able to coexist with any new dog brought into our house. He just didn't like other dogs.

However, things changed in November 1997. I got a call from a local shelter about a 7 year old golden who was going to be euthanized. He had tumors and was considered "unadoptable." Mozart was 8-1/2 at the time and all I could do was think of him being euthanized. I told the shelter I'd be down to look at this golden and if his temperament was good, I'd take him.

Am I nuts? I thought as I gathered my stuff to head to the shelter. What am I going to do with him once I free him from "jail?"

My fears subsided when I looked at this boy. He was wonderful! Oh, he was too tall and too big and he didn't fit the golden standard, but he was a happy guy despite the fact he had been at the shelter for an incredible 30 days! He was hoarse from barking and he was stressed, but his tail was wagging a mile a minute. "I'll take him!" I said, and off we went.

That was Hoss (picture at left), my first foster. He had a tumor the size of a grapefruit across his groin. He had his surgery and stayed with me through his recovery. At first he stayed in our atrium -- an enclosed room in the middle of our house. He was happy to be loved and didn't ask for much.

Mozart started off furious about him. He would run by the window barking and growling at him. I was sure I was crazy for having taken him, but I knew I'd find him a loving home.

Then one day Mozart stopped growling at him, in fact, he just ignored him. At that point I decided to put up a baby gate and let them get used to each other. Within a few days Hoss was living inside with the rest of us and Mozart accepted him into the fold!

Hoss never left...he was "the foster golden who came to stay!" Sadly Hoss died very suddenly on March 25, 2001. An autopsy revealed his death was due to hemangiosarcoma.

Others have come and gone since then and I'm sure they will continue to do so. Each of them have listened to Mozart growl at them through the glass and eventually each of them made their way into the house.

My excuse is gone...I can foster a golden retriever...and so can you! Don't keep wishing you could do it, just try it. It's an experience that will lift your spirits more than you can imagine. It's better than therapy - and cheaper, too!

Here are some of the wonderful goldens that have shared our lives ever so briefly:

Sky & Montana

Sky and Monty were best buddies turned into the shelter by their owner who could no longer keep them. They spent a brief time with me and were fostered by Lianne and David. They are now living with a wonderful family in North Carolina.

Gracie

Gracie was a 5 year old owner turn in to the shelter. Boy was she special! It took her less than an hour to win Mozart over. Gracie stayed with us and we found her a wonderful family who will love and treasure her forever.

Cujo

Cujo is a 14 year old owner surrender to Golden Retrievers in Cyberspace. Talk about a very special creature! Cujo acts like a much younger dog. He prances around with a toy in his mouth and has an incredible zest for life. If he checks out okay at the vet on Monday he will be traveling to his new loving family. He is being fostered by Carol for the weekend as my house is filled to capacity :-)

Barkley

Barkley was a 3 year old male owner turn in to the shelter. This boy had energy to burn! He stayed here for a while and was then fostered by Lani and her family for several weeks. He then came back to stay with us and now has a wonderful home.

I wouldn't trade one moment that I've shared with any of these dogs. They gave me far more than I was able to give them in the short time they were with me. Fortunately other people - Lianne and David, Lani and Carol - have been able to help foster them. And my dear friend Marie has been available to help me take them to the vet and airports, and Lavonna has helped with screening and transportation. The people who purchase Golden Goods and subscribe to the Golden Nuggets Newsletter provide the funds to pay for vet visits, spay and neuter fees and transportation to their new homes. These funds also help golden retrievers at various rescue groups throughout the country. No one can do it alone.I wouldn't trade one moment that I've shared with any of these dogs. They gave me far more than I was able to give them in the short time they were with me. Fortunately other people - Lianne and David, Lani and Carol - have been able to help foster them. And my dear friend Marie has been available to help me take them to the vet and airports, and Lavonna has helped with screening and transportation. The people who purchase Golden Goods and subscribe to the Golden Nuggets Newsletter provide the funds to pay for vet visits, spay and neuter fees and transportation to their new homes. These funds also help golden retrievers at various rescue groups throughout the country. No one can do it alone.

Most of all I'm fortunate to have a wonderful husband who loves these dogs as much as I do and who allows me to bring them home to share life with us ever so briefly.

If you can foster a golden retriever, or want information on what is involved in fostering, please contact your local golden retriever rescue group.

Golden Retrievers in Cyberspace® / Goldentown ®
Sunnyvale, CA
March 1998

Starting A Successful Rescue

by Cheryl Minnier

Anyone can start a pure breed rescue, and many people do. However few new rescues are still around six months later. What does it take to be successful in rescue? First you have to define successful. Set goals and refer to them frequently. Do you want to cover one town, one county, one state or more! Will you take only one breed or will you concentrate on a group of dogs such as Northern breeds, terriers, toys? Will you take only purebreds or will you accept any dog which closely resembles your breed.

The novice should stick to a manageable task. One breed is preferred in a small geographic location, as is limiting yourself to purebreds. If you become well organized and successful, then it is okay to change your goals and branch out. Remember, burnout is fatal in rescue, for both you and the dogs you are trying to save. Set your limits and STICK to them!

Once you have set your goals, you need to take care of legalities. A good step before beginning is to incorporate. It can be expensive, depending on which state you live in, but a "not for profit" organization is by far the safest route to follow. You can try to do this yourself, but an attorney makes the process much quicker.

At this point, if you are starting out on your own, you may want to consider recruiting others to help. They can share in the expenses and the decision making. Finding other people that share your passion for your breed is not always easy, but local breed, obedience or all breed clubs may prove a good starting point.

Some rescues are an outgrowth of a national or local breed club. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this. Some breed people tend to view rescue workers with suspicion. They assume you will condemn them for breeding or take all the "good" homes.

Remember, alienating people doesn't help anyone. Learning to see both sides of the issue will, in the long run, be much more productive. Some breeders will not want you around because it is a reminder of what they are doing wrong. EDUCATION RATHER THAN CONDEMNATION WILL GET YOU MUCH FURTHER.

 

National clubs can provide access to insurance at reasonable rates, advertising and promotion, and for some breeds, financial support. Local clubs can provide foster homes and people who are very knowledgeable in your breed. They can also provide referrals if relationships are cordial.

On the other hand there may understandably be different priorities between you. That may get in the way when it comes to the tough decisions about money that all rescues need to make. If you will be affiliated with a local club make sure there are policies - in writing - that address such things as funds and fundraising, decision making regarding accepting, placing and euthanizing dogs, individual responsibilities and so on. This will go a long way toward preventing misunderstandings in the future.

If you will be separate from local and national clubs, start out on the right foot. Introduce yourself and your organization. Offer support to the club when it comes to promotions and education. If you end up with a surplus of adoptive homes you may be able to provide assistance to club members in placing older dogs. This is a source of considerable debate, but I believe it assists breeders in taking responsibility for their puppies rather than discourages it. Breeders looking to rescue for help in placing dogs should ALWAYS be financially responsible for their dogs and willing to provide foster care. Rescue can then refer families wishing to adopt to these breeders as appropriate. It should go without saying that truly homeless dogs should come first.

The next step in the process is developing policies and procedures. Many people can't wait to go trolling the shelters for homeless dogs but you should restrain yourself until guidelines are in place. Procedures should be developed for:

The next thing to consider is fundraising. Most rescues find that their adoption fees do not totally cover their expenses This is especially true for senior dogs and medically needy dogs. Unless you decide not to take these kinds of rescue dogs, you will need to have a fund raising plan. Some groups solicit funds through newsletters, others sell or raffle off dog related items. Whatever method you use, you will want to learn the laws in your state that cover fund raising. The GRCA has funds available through grants. Contact the committee to assist rescue for applications.

You will also have to consider the toughest questions that rescues have to face; when and why to euthanize. Do you put a dog down for showing aggression?, or only for biting?, for serious health problems?, only if the animal is suffering?. These emotional choices are easier (although they are never easy), if you have decided on a policy before you are faced with an old dog in a crate in your living room. Remember, aggressive dogs are a safety issue and a liability issue. You will need to keep in mind that your ability to help dogs in the future may depend on your decisions today. Find support for those tough choices. It helps not to try and make them all by yourself.

It is also very advantageous to find a veterinarian who will advise your group. Many vets will give reduced prices to rescues. It also helps to set up billing procedures before hand. You may need to prove that your group has the ability to pays its bills and that you are responsible enough to take care of them quickly before vets will give you credit.

To summarize, perhaps the most two most important things to do before you start a rescue are to set limits and be willing to stick to them and secondly, to have well thought out policies and procedures in place before taking your first dog.

Good Luck!

A Rescue Dog's Christmas Poem

 

 

Back to Top