Why are animal "professionals" so snooty!?

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by ChocolateMouse, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Well-Known Member

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    I don't get it...

    I run a wee little hobby-size farm (about a quarter acre) in a suburb. I have two dogs and rabbits and chickens. I have a 6' fenced in back yard, no kids, no cats, I work from home. My current dogs are healthy and well behaved. They do agility, chase off hawks and coons faster than I can, and occasionally pull some carts for me so they're in great shape, but otherwise just snuggle with me. We feed a premium grain-free dog food and have tons of dog experience. I'm looking to move out to a bigger plot of land in the next couple years (we're actively making plans) and invest in a few head of larger livestock. A few sheep, maybe some goats, small pigs or a pair of cows... And I was hoping to get a dog to help me work them. I thought an Aussie would be a good fit as they're not quite as work-heavy as a border collie. Whenever you watch a video about Aussies or Border Collies, they come with a warning tag about how sometimes their herding instinct is too much for a normal home to handle and can cause them to herd cats or kids. Which to me means that a wee lil hobby farm should be perfect.

    So I started reaching out to rescues. I even included a link to the sheep dog trainer who is local who I was going to work with. And while some have gotten back to me, I've gotten a lot of "no"s. Some people have said they wouldn't adopt to me BECAUSE I run a farm. Aren't these dogs supposedly being abandoned because they're too much for people WITHOUT farms to handle? What? It makes no sense!

    Then a vets office in our area who had one vet kill a puppy we owned through absolute negligence and another vet tried to scam us out of $100's to treat rabbit ear canker with "prescription" Ivermectin in rabbit-size doses. So we told them heck no, left bad reviews about the vet online and started going to shots clinics for a little while while we transitioned. Well that was years ago, the practice got sold and has all new staff (including only brand new vets), so we called them to see if they'd do a checkup on our dogs. Turns out there's an inherited "ban" list, and we're on it and the vets wouldn't even consider seeing us. Asked if they'd listen to our side of the story but they wouldn't let us talk to the vets. This was AFTER saying they would and scheduling our appointment of course. (It's like, you know, I can keep leaving bad reviews for that location my whole life long.... And so can anyone else they ---- off. It's not like it's difficult.)

    I'm just feeling a lot of "pet" frustration right now. I love my animals and care for them, but more and more I am starting to resent the rescue workers, the vets, the "raw feeding" soccer moms and vet techs and trainers, the toy sellers and the treat bakers and all the "suburban" animal people. And I was born, raised in and live in a suburb! I mean, a lot of good science and training and products and services DO come out of these people. But for every reasonable being, there's one that is just a snooty pile of poop who seems to be super high on themselves and will dismiss you out of hand.

    Just... UGH! I'm so annoyed.

    We took our dog to a different vet, obviously. And I'm considering a breeder for an Aussie. But I wanted to give the new vet people a chance to not be arseholes because new people, and they were arses to me instead... And I would really like to rescue a dog because I have no use for an unfixed, papered, purebred dog that's 5X's the price of a rescue dog that needs a home because it's got a lot of energy and herding instincts that I can harness.

    It's just very frustrating trying to be a decent person in the suburban pet world sometimes.
     
  2. CountryMom22

    CountryMom22 Well-Known Member

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    First off, I'm sorry you feel like you're getting the run around.

    A "hobby farm" may not have enough work for these breeds. Not only do they have a high herding instinct, they also are high energy dogs. Rabbits, chickens and other dogs would not be enough to keep them happy. Also, many rescues won't adopt out dogs to a farm because they assume the dog will be worked without a fence, so it's just easier to deny anyone looking for a work dog. They want these to be family pets with a job, not real working partners. I understand where you are coming from, and I ran into the same problem, so now I find mixed breeds with the qualities I'm looking for or buy direct from a breeder of "working/farm" type dogs, not conformation type breeders.

    As to the issue you had with the vet, it's called covering your ---. To them, you've already proven yourself to be a danger to their reputation, even though these are new vets running the practice. They don't want to be burned.

    Not saying it's right, just that I can see both sides.

    If it were me, I would wait until I had an actual need for a Border collie or Aussie before purchasing one. I've seen many who thought being in a home with a jogger or busy kids and a couple horses would be enough to keep the dogs happy. Unfortunately, it usually isn't. Then you have destructive, unhappy dogs and an unhappy family. A kid isn't too happy with the family dog when it starts nipping at their heels to herd their flock. And you won't be too happy if the dog starts eating things around the homestead because he's bored.

    But good luck with whatever you decide. You know your needs and situation best.
     

  3. Jreed

    Jreed Well-Known Member

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    Because they are " professionals ". They are self professed experts that let " LOVE an ideal that has nothing to do with the reality of a true dog nature get in the way of what a dog is.

    I looked into a rescue LGD pup, I was told I would have to have a home inspection. A home inspection it is a out door pastoral breed in which i have experience. RIGHT. The cost of rescue is the same if not more than buying a well bred dog from a reputable breeder where you can see the parents not a who knows what , with genetic issues.

    The rescues are often profit generating enterprises in disguise getting tax breaks and vet breaks and selling dogs at profit. I have seen them use alleged rights to steal dogs and sell them at higher cost than the breeder was selling.

    I have little or no patience with this. I have contacted many rescues and asked to work with high drive rejects on a hand shake agreement to swap dogs back and forth for testing and have never once been taking up on it. I have had volunteers come and work with me, but never a rescue.

    Beware of anyone that is a expert. Me? Im just a regular guy with regular dogs that spends a lot of time on farms.
     

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  4. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    You do know that you don't need dogs to raise the amount of livestock you are talking about? The money you drop on a dog, along with the replacement cost of the poultry lost, will go a long way toward building fences, chutes, alley ways and various livestock handling accessories, which you really kind of need anyway, with or without a dog. With that infrastructure in place, and with tame stock that are handled regularly, a five gallon bucket with a tiny amount of goodies in it will more than satisfy all of your livestock handling needs.

    If you have huge acreage, with a lot of head of stock, in range conditions, then you are in a situation to best utilize, and perhaps depend on a working dog. A working dog, bred, owned or trained by someone in that situation, is going to be a much different animal than the ones found in other situations. Range livestock operators need a much more energetic and amped up sort of dog to withstand the daily rigors of ranch life.

    A lot of people have herding dogs simply for the image, or coolness factor, they make it look like the dog is an integral part of their operation, but really, it just rides in the truck. Other people, are genuinely interested in working the dogs, they have sheep for their dogs, not dogs for their sheep. It ends up being a somewhat contrived situation, but people take note, and assume that no small holder, homesteader, etc. could ever be without a couple kelpies and a pair of cutting horses to manage their herd of six heritage breed cows on their fifteen acres.

    My personal opinion, is that something a little more subdued might work better for someone in your situation, either a breed you are interested in that is not from such hardcore working lines, or maybe another breed, say English Shepherd or something, all around jack of all trades plus family pet, rather than a psychotic and neurotic 24-7 herding machine. This assuming that you like dogs and want to make them an integral part of your operation.

    The rescues, especially the breed rescues can be tricky. Most are somewhere between animal hoarders and hard core animal rights activists. They may or may not want you even owning a dog, and there is a good chance that you won't know how to properly care for the breed as good as them. Others might be familiar with the realities of inexperienced people that want to drop a high drive herding dog off at their farmette, and will bring the thing back next week when they figure out it herded the ducks to death.

    Your other source is breeders, they could be anything from not really knowing what they have, to people that seriously want to place pups in the hands of people that will compete with them, just far enough away from them that they don't have to worry about getting beat with their own dog. Some of these people assume that if you are talking to them, you are going to do some kind of trialing, or what have you. This phenomenon is not exclusive to dogs, many livestock breeders want to have a name, but not necessarily locally, it is great when something you bred wins big at a show, but not as great when it was the one you decided to sell to some local kid that showed up at your venue and soundly beat your top pick. I think breeders would be your best bet, more chance of them knowing what they have and being able to match you with what you need.
     
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  5. mnn2501

    mnn2501 Dallas

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    Ran into that a lot when we were getting our last dog. The problem as I see it with rescue groups is that in many cases its all about the person (or people) and very little about the animal. They believe they know what the ideal pet owner is (them of course) and anyone looking to get one of their animals better agree to do things just like they do. Of course you can always agree to everything they want and then laugh at them all the way home with the animal.

    I have found this to be true of dog trainers also. We needed some help with our Catahoula pup a couple years back (they can be very headstrong) and found one we liked, went to a series of group classes she put on, and she let it be known in one class what she thought of people like the Dog Whisperer (Ceaser Milan) even though she works with puppies and he works with problem dogs (problem owners) she had nothing good to say about any of his methods.
     
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  6. Jreed

    Jreed Well-Known Member

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    @ Barnbuilder

    Well said ... you put something into words that I was going to say. Often the groups can be a step in between pet lovers and animal rights activists and there is no way I would let one of them into my home or farm.
     
  7. wiscto

    wiscto Well-Known Member

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    Just a few thoughts.

    You're running a hobby farm. It doesn't matter if you need the dog, you want to work with the dog as a hobby. I don't see a point to purists at this point, we all need to work together to survive the tide of know-it-all tyrants overrunning this country. If you do good by your dog and you take care of your livestock, any opinion after that is really just a preference.

    Unfortunately, most people won't see it that way. You take these rescues and your vets as an example... They all think they know what's best for every animal on earth, and more importantly they all know each other. I don't know which happened first, and I'm not going to assume I know the whole story, but you're probably blacklisted because your vets got mad at you and they talked to all the rescues. People who won't adopt to you because you run a farm are probably vegetarians who feed their dogs all-grain diets and make them choke down some king of "veggie-stick" dental treat every day. Their dogs probably have diarrhea, meds for their diarrhea, meds for their depression or anxiety (seriously...prozac for pets is a thing now...), and get screamed at for trying to chase a squirrel now and then.

    I don't know. I just find that in general people are completely full of themselves. Go to the vet and it isn't about you and the dog you love, it's about them and ther personal views and the mission they probably don't know anything about because they've been trained to maximize profits...probably without even realizing that's what they're being trained to do.
     
  8. fireweed farm

    fireweed farm Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree with Barnbuilder.

    And regarding breed rescues, remember that these breeds were bred for specific jobs. A good rescue would know better than give an intense dog to a hobby farm. Many of those rescue dogs initially started out in homes of people that didn't understand the intensity and drive, so the dogs start acting out, chasing cars, killing cats or biting kids. Herding dogs are CRAZY and truly need to be worked or worn out in other ways. I don't think you can work a herding dog on such a tiny flock/herd without distress.
    If you have a few sheep or a couple cows, the dog will be of no use. And if you leave them together or your herding dog gets bored and slips into the paddock they are going to run and nip the livestock until you realize what's happening (they don't quit), likely ending in stock animals getting euthanized due to injuries.
     
  9. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the empathy. I know I am not alone, but it's still frustrating. I feel extremely confident i could give a great home to a rescue Aussie. Big thank you to Wistico who gets it best.

    "You're running a hobby farm. It doesn't matter if you need the dog, you want to work with the dog as a hobby. I don't see a point to purists at this point, we all need to work together to survive the tide of know-it-all tyrants overrunning this country. If you do good by your dog and you take care of your livestock, any opinion after that is really just a preference."

    That's very much how I feel about it. I'm QUITE capable of caring for a random aussie from a rescue. We're not exactly talking about me going out and buying a world famous trial dog here. That's (part of) the exact reason why I DON'T want to go to some top-tier trial dog breeder for working aussies. Why on earth would I need that? Seems like a rescue that's just too rambunctious for an inexperienced home, or one with kids or cats, or one where the Aussie is an "only dog" would be a nice fit...

    Aren't I also constantly hearing about how "pet/show" purebred dogs (the ones most likely to show up in a rescue) have so much less drive than their "working" cousins and don't have enough drive to work a big farm? Oh, but nope, hobby farm not a good fit anyhow? Make up your minds. XD

    Heck, I have two dogs right now that if I listened to folks "in the know" I probably wouldn't own. They're both high-prey-drive dogs (On a farm with small livestock!? THE HORROR!), extremely active northern breeds in extremely good shape and nobody thought I could handle THEIR energy or drives either. They do agility and obedience, they go to dog parks and fairs, camping and hiking and biking, we go on walks and wrestle, they have toys and dog puzzles and an indoor home at the end of the day. (What responsible person would leave their high drive dogs unsupervised or in a position to be unsupervised with their livestock??? Especially on a hobby farm where the dogs probably live indoors by law...) They also both pull carts around for me sometimes because they're both dogs designed to pull things and I like to harness that. (Wish I had sledding equipment for them.) And occasionally, they see off predators. It took YEARS of patience to teach the AKC husky that the chickens were NOT food, but by golly she learned it and now she's like a homing missile when it comes to seeing off interlopers and has saved my animals more than once when I would have been too slow (and gotten a few battle wounds for it).
    I love working with dogs. I want another dog. I mostly run this place by myself and I'm going to be going bigger in a year or two, so I'd like a dog that could double as an extra set of hands occasionally, rounding up animals into pens. It's really annoying trying to get the birds back into heir pen (and out of your garden) when one goes shooting off sideways, half of them follow, and nobody is there to catch it. Can I manage it alone? Of COURSE I can. If I couldn't, I don't think I'd be looking at a dog (which just means trading out that frustration with the work of owning a whole dog), I think I'd be looking at a smaller farm situation or maybe a hired hand. It's just something I'd like to have, because, well, I like dogs and I like working them.
    Still, that situation's only gonna get more frustrating when we're talking 100+lb animals in fields, as opposed to 3lb animal in a lawn, and I can certainly handle it but it'd be nice if the pet I want to own anyhow could fix it for me instead and have a good time doing so. So I'd like the time to work with an Aussie BEFORE I need them (ESPECIALLY if it's a puppy or young dog!), to build trust, to lay down good obedience and ground manners and take them to classes long before I ever set them to my own stock because I'm in a pinch and don't want to go pelting after that one animal who's already 100 yards away. That seems only responsible. If they're six months old and only half trained and unstable when I move, I'm going to be sad I don't have what I want when I find a need for it. Hence my starting to reach out now, not in a year or so when I'll be on a bigger piece of land.

    I also happen to like the personalities of Aussies, the intelligence and exuberance. That active nature is a requirement in this house. If the dog can't run and wrestle with the other two dogs for over an hour while they play outside, can't spend several hours wandering around fair full of people, can't spend an hour on agility, can't run for an hour next to a bike, or can't go on a 3-hour trail walk without being totally burnt out (as we may do multiple of these things in a day)... It's not active enough for our household. Because those are regular occurrences, and sometimes the dogs are asked to do actual work even after a day like that. They have to commonplace here to keep our already active-neurotic-insane dogs healthy and sleeping comfortably on the couch when it's time to wind down.

    I've worked with herding breeds before... Heck my crazy neighbors had a border collie while we were living in a frickin' apartment and they didn't know how to train it. (We worked with them on it.) My friend who does almost no exercise has a fatty, lazy, overweight aussie that loves to sleep and get belly rubs.
    Aussies are a popular family pet. They're not ALL 100% nutjobs. I'm just looking for something inbetween and Aussies can certainly be that.

    I'm going to keep reaching out to rescues for now. As I said, it's going to be a while before we move so I have time. I'm in no sort of a rush. But it sure is becoming a nuisance. Either they want an active family with lots of experience with active dogs, good vet care, who invests lots of money into their dogs and has lots of things for a dog to do (sometimes, even letting them stretch their instincts!) or they don't! I sure wish they'd make up their minds....

    I mean, one way or another, I want another dog. And I require an active, intelligent dog in this house. Why not have one that can lend a paw once in a while too?
     
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  10. wiscto

    wiscto Well-Known Member

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    So yea I have to correct myself on one thing. It may not matter what people think in terms of whether or not hobby farming is cool or uncool, but to do right by the dogs and the stock, you do have to put them in the right situation. If they're denying you because you're a farm, that's one thing, and I'd side with you. If they're denying you because you're a hobby farm and they don't want a Blue Heeler or another high drive herding dog pressuring your livestock to death, that's a completely different story. If you can handle it, maybe you just need to show them?
     
  11. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Well-Known Member

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    Wiscto, not sure how reasonable it is to think a dog is going to kill livestock if the owner has made it as clear as possible that they have tons of outlets for energy, have no intention of leaving the dog unsupervised with stock, and wants to put in a full year of training (including dumping tons of money into a professional trainer)... Plus has two other high energy dogs that are well trained, healthy and behaved.

    I mean, any dog CAN kill livestock under any circumstances. But there's only so much I can do to prevent that and I think I've got a good plan in place. And like I said, it's not like every Aussie is a nutjob. Some are just... Dogs.

    I don't want one that comes from really intense working lines. Hence, trying to go the rescue route and pick up an over-active, pushy, house dog. :p They already know what the dogs are like and who are too intense for a hobby farm (which in rescue, how many of those do you think really show up?). Most of them are in foster homes and have been worked with for a few weeks at least to assess their temperament unlike a puppy. Since I don't wanna breed, I don't need that consistent heritage of herding.

    Also, that would make sense if I was expressing interest in a PARTICULAR dog. But I'm not. I'm just sending in applications to rescue and Aussie rescues in general, not for any particular dog.
     
  12. Forcast

    Forcast Well-Known Member

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    Around here $200.00 for a rescue dog. Home visits. Fenced yard a must. Vet records for 2 years or more. No dogs can be outside dogs. Oh forgot they talk to your neighbors, if the neighbors dont want to to ave a dog your done. Personally i think rescues are a scam. Saw a post in our local paper rescue group needing foster homes. Same deal, vet ,neighbors, and you have to buy high priced dog food from them. Scam
     
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  13. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Well-Known Member

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    I have $200+, fine with a home visit, I have a 6' wood privacy fence around my lawn, I have my vet records for 8 years, outside dogs are illegal here anyhow, my neighbors all own dogs (over half the houses on the street own dogs) and I petsit their dogs and bring them home when they get out. :p I buy high priced grain free dog food already because my older dog has some allergies. I'm even home all day. On paper, everything should be a perfect home... Except that I own rabbits and bunnies for food.
     
  14. Jlynnp

    Jlynnp Well-Known Member

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    Many rescue groups can be very difficult to work with things like no outside dogs, no intact animals in the house, must have a fenced yard and so forth. Now with all that said I ran a non-profit dog rescue for many years and was considered by several other rescue groups as irresponsible. I adopted several dogs to homes without fenced yards, lets see toss the dog in a fenced yard and ignore it or spend one on one time with the dog while walking, I also adopted dogs to folks who had intact dogs the showed and or bred if they were responsible and were looking for a specific dog to just be a bed buddy and if the dog were capable I would place in a working home. I actually placed a couple GSD's with a trainer who eventually placed them as working K9's. So there are rescues out there who will work with you but they are very few and far between. If it were me I would look for a small hobby breeder who actually worked their dogs, did proper health testing and who knew what they were doing. We are going to be adding a Labrador (chocolate female) to our family in the spring and I am already putting feelers out there with breeders who meet my criteria.

    As for vets, we tried a couple here when we moved to TN and found our best one was a clinic that makes farm calls and has a no nonsense approach to vet care.
     
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  15. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Well-Known Member

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    XD My dogs are both fixed too.
    I'd like to keep trying to do rescue. But if I have to resort to a breeder, I will. :p
     
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  16. wiscto

    wiscto Well-Known Member

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    Yea I hear you. Like I said before, they probably assume that they know your dogs better than you do, and so obviously they're going to think they know the rescue dogs better than you, and they assume there's just no way.
     
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  17. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    There are a ton of Aussies being bred by hobby breeders around here. They seem to clog the various farm sale pages. Much attention is given to eye color it seems. They couldn't possibly all end up in herding homes with maximum opportunity for high drive type dogs. I think the majority are filling the nitch of pet/eye candy, they look good riding in the truck that pulls the trailer hauling horses everywhere, often without a cow or sheep in sight. It is possible that the rescues get a high percentage of the high drive type dogs that don't come with an off switch.

    That is one thing that often perplexed me about the high drive herding dogs, the border collies and such. I've been around some that didn't seem to be able to turn off. My own hounds are very highly driven. They will run for days on end. They are ready to go at the drop of a hat, but when it is not go time they could teach cats a few lessons on how to lounge. And lounge they will, for days on end, until the time is right. I've seen nervous, high strung hounds. They usually get called "kennel runners". They will run their race in the kennel and have no energy left when it's their time to run. They don't typically get bred to, not considered desirable, don't perform well. Why is it that the very best in competition bred herding dogs seem to be nervous and high strung? I guess part of it is that they often live where they can see stuff that they could be herding. My hounds see stuff, but it is not stuff they are allowed to chase. If there were bears and things grazing next to my kennels, they might seem more nervous and high strung.
     
  18. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I’m in rescue. We do home inspections for a dog, not a human. One home had a half dozen dogs each in a small crate on the back porch. No, they did not get a papillon from rescue. Another would keep a Boston terrier as an outside dog. it would die from the cold. The home may be unsafe for dog or child, broken glass etc.

    I think an Aussie, a ranch dog, would not serve your needs. Since yours would still be a hobby farm, you can train your animals. A little bit of grain or a piece of carrot goes a long way in getting sheep, pigs, or cattle to come when called. You can teach them to hand signals as well to go left or right or stop. I think another dog like the one you have might work well for you as a good farm dog.
     
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  19. wiscto

    wiscto Well-Known Member

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    Hahah, yea that might do it.
     
  20. Jreed

    Jreed Well-Known Member

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    The last thing I will let anyone ever do is come do a home inspection, if that means I dont get a rescue dog I could care less .... If I wanted that kind of scrutiny I would sign up for food stamps which my sheep shearing income would certainly allow me to do. The flip side is that you can go to pretty much any larger city shelter and there is no questions asked. I have taken a could small high drive dogs from high kill shelters. When the dogs showed interest or lack of interest in my work they were given to the right family farm after a small amount of work.

    I dont know if that is possible for you but friends in the city might be able to check websites and pull a prospect at little cost with a 30 return policy ....
     
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