Dogs...Rescue groups? or Breeders?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moonwolf, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Anyone had experiience with obtaining a rescue dog for either the homestead or as a pet to suit your lifestyle? How has your emotional investmet and other involvement and expenses been with that experience compared to getting a dog from a reputable breeder?
     
  2. mamalisa

    mamalisa Well-Known Member

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    I am part of an australian shepherd rescue group...I've placed several "farm" dogs, herding dogs, etc.

    The biggest part is hanging on and letting the people find what you need. Be honest about your plans for the dog, what you can put into it, and what you NEED to have vs. what you WANT to have, i.e. "I need to move cattle with this dog, and need for it to behave around my kids, and I'd LIKE a snazzy dog, with blue eyes and lots of white trim."

    Color isn't a big deal when compared to temperment, BUT everyone wants a certain color, and will take the pretty, flashy dog over the plain blue one without any white that really is what they need.

    Our adoption fee is $150, and the dog is spayed/neutered, UTD on shots and heartworm, and has been fostered for a good while so we know what it's like.


    My breeder dogs cost between $800 and $1500.....the latter with shipping added to that!....but that is average for the breed and area. They are all wonderful dogs, as well, and I don't regret a penny.....
     

  3. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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    I got a Jack Russell from a local rescue group. Just like above, the adoption fee was $150, and he came neutered, up to date on shots and heartworm, and also came with his own fuzzy blanket, a toy, food, treats, and a book about 'second hand dogs.'

    I'm certain that he was abused by his original owner, and still has some behavioral problems associated with that. I've worked with him since I got him, though...and the problems are minor now. When he was at his foster home, the foster mom had a dinner party. The poor dog hid under the couch and didn't come out for hours. He'd pee on the carpet, me...just about anything near by if he saw a man at the beginning. He's still a little hesitant around some men, but for the most part, he's friendly and outgoing now.

    Unless you're serious about breeding and IMPROVING the breed, there is no need to buy from a breeder. But you want a pedigreed dog? I have his pedigree, his registration papers, and I know that he came from some of the top performers in the breed. It really doesn't matter. He's a great companion, and we also have the benefit of being COMPLETELY rodent free. ;)
     
  4. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    My DD got a "pug" from a rescue group as a puppy.
    Paid all the costs and traveled some distance to get him.

    As he grew it became obvious he was no pug.
    More like a mix of Chihauhau and pit bull----------
    but they love him like a child!
     
  5. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    I just adopted a Great Dane from a rescue group last month. He's perfect :) Well worth the hassle and expense, but I wouldn't have said so 6 weeks ago. It was an out-of-state adoption, so we had to deal with a lot of extra problems and I'm not known for my patience or people skills :eek:

    Still... it's a good experience. One reason I wanted to go through a rescue group - aside of the obvious, rescuing a dog - was that you get a dog that's been evaluated for health, temperament, training, manners, etc., as opposed to adopting from a shelter where you know pretty much nothing about the dog you adopt. The rescue people go through an amazing amount of trouble to make sure that you're matched with the dog that's right for you - their objective is to place the dog for life, after all.
    Another reason was finances. The $200 adoption fee seems stiff, but if you go to a shelter, you have to add up the adoption fee, health check at the vet's, shots, likely spaying or neutering, possibly heartworm treatment, maybe microchipping - it would end up costing the same or much more, and you still don't know if the dog is going to tear apart your cats or the couch or your 4-year-old. Plus, in the rescue foster homes, they work on basic obedience, crate training, walking on leash, riding in cars, etc., and they're there to help you if a problem develops after the adoption as well.
    I picked Hunter up on the way to the Homesteaders Picnic in Arkansas... he got pretty rave reviews there ;) Like I said, he's perfect, and I'm so very glad I went the rescue route!

    Breeders aren't my kind of thing, but if you do go through a breeder, make sure it's a reputable one and be prepared to pay big bucks. The rescue group I dealt with gets in a lot of dogs that belonged to backyard breeders, and it's absolutely pitiful what kinds of bad genes people will breed for a few hundred bucks. You can look through ads in the paper and see what the general price range is for the breed of dog you'd like... since reputable breeders don't advertise in the classifieds, you know that a good, well-bred, sound dog of the breed you want will cost almost double of what the ad prices are. Then, when you contact a breeder and the price is too low, you'll know that he's not a reputable breeder.
     
  6. Billie in MO

    Billie in MO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We got our German Shepherd from the Humane Society. Cost was $35 and she was already spayed. She was almost 5 years old when we got her 4 years ago. She is a pure bred with papers and already had a chip implanted in her shoulder. She had been thru 5 or 6 owners when we got her. We have never been able to figure out why she was given up. At some point we do believe she was abused and she was quite scared for a long time. She has some funny little habits but slowly over the years her personality has blossomed.

    Before her we had a male German Shepherd that we got from a breeder for $150 way back in 1982. He was the sweetest, most gentle dog that ever was. He was the runt and weighed 120 pounds. Sure do miss him!
     
  7. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    I guess I have to call myself a breeder since I've produced 1 litter in 10 years, and my male has sired 1 litter. I used a local australian shepherd rescue group for one of the pups who came back to me twice, thru no fault of his own.... his 2nd owners decided that their lives were just too busy for a dog anymore. Thank goodness they called me first before taking him to the humaine society! There is nothing wrong with this dog! Loved kids, gets along great with other dogs, already neutered, house trained, walked perfect on a leash, etc.... they had shaved him just because they could not deal with brushing him once a week or so. We listed him thru the rescue group and found a great home for him. I told all puppy buyers that they needed to call me first if there was any problems with the pups they could not handle, and I made a committment before the litter was even born that those pups would always have a home at my house, I would always take them back.

    My point is.... not all dogs that are in rescue have serious issues, and the screening of their temperements via fostering usually will give a very accurate idea of what their issues are, and how adaptable the dog is.

    On the flip side, I have friends with a young aussie/bc mix that has serious abandonment issues. They've had him for 2 years now, and he still goes nuts when left alone. I don't think he'll ever get past that.... he's a great dog in every other way.

    Working with a rescue group is a great way to go! They've had time to evaluate the dog, and most groups will closely evaluate you as well to ensure a good match.
     
  8. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We adopted our Border Collie from the local shelter, about a year ago. The upside of bringing home a shelter dog, for me, is that you skip that whole puppy year. I know, puppies are cute, but they are an enormous amount of work.
    The downside, of course, is you get what you get. At five years old, Melanie wasn't fixing to learn many new tricks. She was, however, very friendly and willing to please right from the start. She minds well, most of the time, and loves taking walks with dh. I have, however, had to banish her from the barn, as, no matter how hard she really tried, she could not seem to resist killing a chick every now and again. She also barks at night, but the coyotes started it.

    Before we got her, we also adopted a yellow lab that was dumped on our property. He was maybe a year old, and was an absolutely perfect farm dog. Loved the other animals, loved the children and would follow them everywhere and stay with them. Only barked when there was a good reason to bark. He, unfortunately, tried to cross the street to check out the neighbor's tractor work, and was run over. :waa:
     
  9. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    All of my dogs have been rescues of a sort.

    My German Shepherd came from a neighbor who was going to take her to the pound. :rolleyes: She'd already been passed around quite a bit, and originall came from an older couple who decided they just couldn't keep her, as their health was quickly declining.

    She's been a gem. A bit barky, but a sweet tempered girl otherwise.

    I got another pup from an all breed rescue --- they were completely overwhelmed with dogs and were only able to tell me this pup had been given up for aggressive tendencies and would grow up to be a big, aggressive dog. True to a point --- he has some fear aggression, but is an extremely sensitive shy boy who basically wasn't properly socialized. He does atill have some issues, but has ended up being the most loyal, loving big bear of a fellow. So they were on target, but missed the boat a bit.

    My beloved hound :waa: came from a hound rescue, too. That rescue was the most professional of all of them, and required extensive interviewing. They also fostered this pup for a very long time and were able to give me pretty detailed info about him. That was a very good experience.

    I would never buy from a breeder unless I had a few thousand to spare so that I could buy from a top of the line breeder. I hear nightmare stories all the time from people who've bought pups from not terribly responsible breeders. It's important to remember all current dog breeds are very closely bred, meaning the chances for genetic disorders skyrockets with them. Irresponsible breeders don't take the time or effort to do full health checks on all the dogs in a pup's lineage --- and all kinds of problems can (and do) crop up.
     
  10. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Golden Retriever Rescue here... started out getting a Rescue, ended up being a Rescue! Someone calls our website "ungolden" and "hostile" but the fact is, goldens are absurdly popular, and people don't understand the Rescue process. So I tried to spell it out in no uncertain terms so people wouldn't go into it thinking "quick and easy way to get a cool dog," because in the case of my breed, you can get a great golden through Rescue. But it is going to take some time to have that happen (at least here in New England).

    Also have a golden I bought from an excellent breeder. Show quality, awesome dog... when people come to interview they always want the "Real Golden" because she is so showy. But "looks ain't everything." She's retrieving obsessed, a driven dog, and she'd drive the average family around the bend in no time flat.

    Most people get "field goldens" (the reddish ones) from us that we import from other Rescues in other states. Some of them have gone on to make great working dogs. Most are just couch potato pets.

    My advice to anyone looking to adopt is Be Nice To The Rescue People... they all have jobs, kids, lives, and if you drive them nuts they'll take the next name down on their list and work with that family.

    Just my .02
     
  11. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

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    You're right...not all of the dogs have problems. In fact, a lot of them are just fine. A good amount of pets at shelters are left there because their families are either too busy for pets, or the owners were elderly and either too frail to care for the pet, or they are recently deceased. Another good sized group is made up of dogs sold as breeders that later developed small problems, like cataracts. My doggie was sold back to the breeder because of small, congenital cataracts. The breeder already had 10 dogs, and adopted him out through the group. Hawkeye was just about three then, and he's seven now with no changes in vision. The vet said that she doesn't expect any problems for several years, at least.

    If anybody is looking for a JRT, this is a the group I got mine from. Most of the dogs are in California, but there are some on the site in Florida. Every once in awhile one will pop up in other parts of the country. :)

    http://www.jrtnnc.com/
     
  12. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    My kelpie is a rescue dog. So is my husky. I purchased the german shorthair from a breeder.

    The kelpie (Buster) had been given up by his first owner because he was just too busy for apartment life (why someone would choose a herding dog for an apartment is beyond me). His second owner just didn't have the space for him to exercise enough, and then I got him. Buster was 1 year old when I got him and had some bad habits, but a couple months of work and I have a just fantastic dog. Smart, loyal, great watch dog, and it's too cute watching him play with the goatling.

    The husky belonged to my husbands ex. She got this pretty puppy and just didn't have time for her. So Sascha came to us. She's just wonderful. Playful, energetic, smart (she opens gate latches - much cleaner than digging out), doesn't bother the stock (the goats have their horns, she learned that real quick), and just a cuddle bug.

    The German shorthair was an impulse buy. Hubby and I were driving back from hiking and saw these little guys playing in the yard with a sign saying "pups for sale". Of course we pulled in. The kennels were clean, sire and dam were present and fantastic dogs. Everybody was really healthy, well-adjusted, and happy. We came home with Ptarmigan. She's smart and stubborn, and a darned good ratter.

    We found a German Shepherd stray on the road and brought her home, but it was obvious right away she wasn't going to fit in here. She attacked one of our cats and would have killed the cat if I hadn't been here. I had a shovel handy and beat her off. We had to put that dog down. She was beautiful and really friendly to people, but I couldn't pass her on to another home knowing she was dangerous to other pets.

    So, out of 3 rescue dogs 2 of them worked out beautifully. Don't discount a dog just because someone else decided they didn't want it. If it's the dog you want, and it works out with the rest of your animals you can get a real gem.
     
  13. kjerckie

    kjerckie Well-Known Member

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    I believe rescues are a wonderful place to start. I admire the folks taking in the dogs and finding new homes. I contacted a rescue few years ago. The problem I had with the people is they 'retained rights' on the dog for a year and allowed themselves to 'drop in' anytime unannounced, when they wanted to check up on the welfare of the dog, if I was home OR NOT. I respected and welcomed their need to check on the dog. I have nothing to hide. However I felt the unannounced was not only wrong, it is disrespectful towards the homeowner. They would not even agree to a day ahead notice so I'd be sure to be home and be dressed.

    So my question for other folks doing rescues- is this standard?
     
  14. designer

    designer Well-Known Member

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    I have 2 retired racing greyhounds from an adoption group. Great experiance. They try to match dog to family and if the dog doesn't "fit" after taking them home they will take them back. They are spayed or neutered with all shots, flea treated, and on heartworm prevention for $250. They are already house trained. They are great companions. Very low key, low energy couch potatoes. I wouldn't want to go through the puppy stage with any dog so I perfer adoption.
     
  15. sheeplady

    sheeplady Well-Known Member

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    I have had over the years 7 rescue dogs. Two from the humane society, two from elderly neighbors who passed away , one from our vet who seized the dog from an abusive owner and the last two from Border Collie Rescue groups.
    They all were adults, some elderly, but I cherished them all. At this time we still have three here. The others have passed on.
    A good rescue group for Border Collies is www.glenhighlandfarm.com. And http://www.gis.net/~shepdog/NABCRN/BCsAvailable.html. They do charge a fee and have certain requirements, mainly no children under 7 and a fenced in yard. But in all fairness, they want a forever home for the dogs. And it does cost them $ to feed, provide medical care, spay/ neuter, etc.
    I myself prefer an older dog that already has outgrown the puppystage, and is not considered adoptable due to age or other issues as fearful of children or afraid of cars. We live fairly isolated and are getting older ourselves. I think these dogs know they are getting a second and last chance as I have never had any insurmountable problems with any of them.
    As I write this they are all napping under my feet along with the two rescue kitties!Kate
     
  16. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Well... I WISH I could say this isn't common, but my experience as a Rescue working with other Rescues is some of the people attracted to Rescue have... um... boundary issues? Or are on power trips? Either way, they can behave in ways I consider very inappropriate. Or, as a friend of mine who'd been turned down for a kitten pointed out "I've been approved to adopt a child in 3 countries and I'm not capable of taking a KITTEN???" Said kitten, I might add, was euthanized a week later, with my friend begging for it the whole time.

    When it got down to brass tacks and I got involved in the (NO pun intended) post mortem of the event it turned out the volunteer was a very angry young woman and had been enjoying her power over the potential adopters. She was shocked that the kittens were really put down... it hadn't occured to her that as she was jerking the adopters around the litter was running out of time. Anyhow, several of the women who'd been begging for these kittens burst into tears during the "interview" process... you can imagine this colored their view of rescue.

    When we wanted to adopt a dog someone came to our home to scope it out and make sure we were "appropriate" for a Rescue. We have 150 acres and own both sides of the road. We're a dead end. But we don't have a fenced yard, so this Rescue decided we weren't a good home for one of their dogs (another let us have a dog... the rules aren't universal). But we were so offended by this woman coming to our home and poking in our cupboards (looking for "toxins") asking about our diet (?) and being quite personal that we don't do home visits. Potential adopters are asked to come to our home to meet us and meet the dogs... I just can't see poking around someone's home. That's rude.

    But we adopt on a lifelong Return Contract. If, for any reason, you can't keep the dog, it comes back to us.
     
  17. TedH71

    TedH71 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A Sheriff dumped a pregnant catahoula that had been bred with his St. Bernard! It was a night mare to place all the puppies. Mother was easy to place. I currently have one half catahoula half heeler who's totally housebroke and trained (by me) but can't be trusted to be alone in the house or if I'm in the bathroom I have to take her with me because she will quickly find some furniture to destroy other than that she's a great dog that was going to be put down because her previous owners didn't believe in training and didn't believe in crate training. Grrr!

    Ted
     
  18. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

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    That's been my experience too - practices and requirements vary from rescue group to rescue group. I think it's important to find a group whose rules you can accept and whose people you're comfortable with. That's one of the reasons I dealt with GRDNT... their requirements are as stringent as you'd expect from a dedicated group, but not out of line by any means. Their website is informative, and they do a lot of public education in addition to rescueing and adopting dogs. There's also a discussion forum where you can ask questions about the adoption process, specific dogs, health problems, behavior problems, etc., and where fosters talk about the dogs in their care and people who have adopted a dog from GDRNT talk about their new furkids. Altogether, they go far beyond just taking in dogs and adopting them out, and I like that.

    It takes effort and patience to find the right rescue group and the right dog, but it's well worth it in the end. I have to admit that the process can be aggravating - courtesy of the many people who contact a rescue group with wrong expectations and the wrong attitude, which can color the rescue workers' general perception of adoptees as well. Like it's been mentioned above though, these people are volunteers with full lives and families and jobs, and if you do your homework on the breed and its requirements and you're polite and patient in your dealings with the people, they're likely to treat you well in return.
    The power trips MorrisonCorner mentioned do exist and if you run into a rescue worker on a power trip, it's enough to make you want to give up on the whole idea. But again, this is where finding the right rescue group makes a huge difference. Those who put the animals first will NOT allow themselves any personal power trips... at least that's been my experience.
     
  19. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I adopted my Irish Setter from the Detroit Humane Society when he was two years old. He had basic obedience training, was housebroken, and good with children. It is amazing that we got such a wonderful, healthy setter. I think he was the last intelligent Irish Setter born. I can't imagine why he was given up, they did't tell you back then. Perhaps it was his energy level, which put the Energizer Bunny to shame. You have to realize, that when dogs go through their adolescent phase, they forget their training, act rebellious, and otherwise try the patience of their owners. They are often given up just before they hit the "adult" mark and start behaving. So, a diffecult to handle young dog can be perfect for somebody else simply because of timing.

    The Bouvier we took in at age two had no training and never been in a house. It didn't take long for him to learn the basic rules. He had fear issues that we did not understand at the time, but turned out to be a real good dog.Enrolling him in obedience training right away helped a great deal.

    The Shiba Inu (?) who landed in our laps had been abused and had various issues. By the time she was adopted, eight months later, she was no longer afraid of men (or markedly less so), walked on leash, sat at the door to be let out, learned sit, stay (short time only), down, her name, playing is fun, riding in the car is fun, and numerous other things. A fine dog, but it took eight months to get her there.

    If you get a dog from a shelter, you will be the rescue person. As stated in a post above, you may be getting a dog with no real issues who will be a fine pet for you. If you get from a Rescue organization you will have a clearer idea of the dog's personality and he will be healthy and trained. If you go to a reputable breeder, you may be able to get a real nice dog that somebody returned, which would be like getting him from a rescue organization but with papers. You can often get a real nice, even show or breeding quality, dog from a breeder for far less than a puppy would cost. In any event, follow the advice given to you. If they tell you to crate the dog, for heaven's sake, crate the dog. Enroll in an obedience class. Feed high quality food. Have fun
     
  20. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all. These are really great responses.

    I have 3 terriers and love them to death. They are of supervised breeding for the best idea of keeping true with the breed in association with a long term dedicater breeder. This litter I kept the runt who is heathy, tiny, and a spirited true terrier type. I would gladly get another of these terriers from this bloodline in the future if possible.

    The Kuvasz I had who passed on about 3 years ago was 12. She was a fine dog from purebreeding. Her litter came from a reputable and dedicated breeder also, so she was true to form and function. All I would expect for that breed and more for the homestead, though I will say she was a homebody with the commotion of the terriers. An odd combination, though she loved to be outside in the snow and rivaled a malamute for enduring and strength. She had a long legged 'kuvasz' gait that was a joy to watch her movement in ranging over the property as a guardian. Her temperment was spot on for that breed by being imposing to strangers though gentle. She knew the difference between soliciting vacuum cleaner unwelcome salesmen and the neighbor visiting. :haha:
    She had a thing about bicycles, though and we had to watch if some kid peddaled by occasionally on the highway. She could be scarry, but it was her bark mostly to intruders.

    Once a parting couple having a kuvasz needed to be considered rescuing from the local vet knew we had one. I would have taken in that Kuvasz rescue, though it was a big male of unknow breeding I would be confident that with room to roam he'd fit in with supervision and good care.

    Two pyrz down the road I have visited by walking were a joy to meet up with. I'de consider that breed whether from a good breeder or rescue. The temperment is a big consideration. I think any of those big breeds are ideal for the homestead. Also, I'de look into the Polish big breed dog 'owcazek' (something like that).

    Rich