As any excited person would be I started buying all kinds of books on the breed and researching breeders in the Ohio area. Believe it or not...buying a dog was the only way I knew to get one. At that time I never considered shelters because I thought a shelter would not have the breed I was looking for. And like so many people, I was unaware of the amount of dogs that were without homes and desperately needed help.
The very next day, I looked up the rescue group. They had a website showing the names and pictures of the dogs they had available for adoption. When doing research on rescue dogs, I made some false assumptions that many people have made before. I thought all dogs would be in very bad shape or have behavioral issues. To my surprise, I learned that most dogs were young and healthy. Not only did the rescue group save the dogs that were healthy, but they put to use all their resources to rehabilitate sick, injured, mistreated and neglected dogs.
After finding out all of this, there were a lot of questions on my mind:
- What is a rescue group?
- How does it work?
- Who is willing to work so hard to save the lives of dogs in need?
- Where do they get their funding?
- Are they selling dogs like any other group?
A RESCUE group is a network of volunteers that join forces to save the lives of dogs, cats and many other animals in need. Their sole purpose is to take in animals in need, rehabilitate them and ultimately find them forever homes. RESCUE organizations can be found everywhere in the United States and all over the world. These groups operate as non profit organization and DO NOT receive any governmental funding. They work solely on their efforts at fundraising and donations.
Some RESCUES only take in a specific type or breed of an animal. For example, there are rescue groups that only save horses. Others save a specific breeds of dog, cat, etc. Others RESCUES only take small dogs or only large breeds. The most common rescue groups are for dogs and cats. But if you are looking for a new pet, most likely you can find a rescue organization that works with the kind of pet you are looking for.
Rescue volunteers have different roles. There is always a President, Vice-President, Secretary, etc. Other volunteers offer their homes as foster parents to provide a home environment to the pets awaiting adoption. Those who can't foster help with transportation, rehabilitation, grooming, fundraising and the many other necessary things it involves to run the organization.
RESCUES vary, but all have the same mission--rescue animals in need. Some receive dogs from puppy mills raids, another may dedicate their efforts to save homeless dogs living in the streets, while others save the life of dogs used in fighting rings. I even know of a RESCUE in California that only takes in senior animals. They provide them with a safe environment during their last few months and the staff takes care of all their medical and special senior needs. Isn’t that amazing?
With every adoption, there is the adoption process. Most are very thorough because they have the best interest at heart for the animal. In the case of Hand Me Down Dobes, I filled out an application online and it was reviewed by members of the RESCUE. There was a home visit along with an interview. Two days later, Cleo came into my life. She was wonderful, a tall, black and tan beauty. I fell in love with her from the first time I saw her. She had been surrendered to Hand Me Down Dobes by her breeder. She was too tall to compete. Therefore, dispensable.
My love for Cleo grew so much and with that my love for dogs. So I decided, “I'm going to volunteer for Hand Me Down Dobes!” And this rescue groups became a passion of mine. I currently volunteer for Paradise for Pets, a rescue organization that dedicates their efforts to save dogs in shelters. I also offer free grooming at D'Tails to the pets at VIP Rescue of Central Florida and Paradise for Pets.
Now that you know about how I got into rescue groups and what they aim to do, how are rescue groups financed? Where does the money come from that allows these organizations to take care of these animals? Remember, there is no government funding available. In order for rescue groups to operate, they are funded by adoption fees, fundraising and donations. These organizations depend entirely on their ability to raise funds, people adopting pets and the generosity of those willing to help.
Rescue animals have a place in my heart and it began with Cleo. I want to share my passion with you because awareness of rescue groups, especially ones in the area, is needed. My hope is that after reading about my experience, you would visit the rescue groups mentioned and be moved to action. I never ask for anything, but this time I will ask you, “Please donate!” You can donate money, your time, resources or all three. RESCUES are always in need of blankets, toys, towels, beds, collars and leashes. If you have pet hand-me-downs that are in good condition, “Please donate.” If you have time throughout the week, rescue groups can use your time. There's is always something needed to be done in rescue, you can donate your expertise and help the organization, your can help raise funds, develop their website, help with marketing and promotions. Not only will you have a better understanding and appreciation for what rescue groups do, it’s fun and very rewarding.
If you are ready to take action, there is a very popular website called PetFinder.com. It can help you find RESCUES and animal shelters near you. You can find organizations across the United States and for most pets including horses, birds, fish, reptiles, rabbits, etc. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you live near D’Tails Pet or in the Central Florida area and would like to speak with me more about rescue groups. I may not be an expert, but I sure know a thing or two and would love to chat some time! Until then, get out there and make a donation to your local rescue group or animal shelter!