The Dog Files is excited to have our first guest editorial today. We’d like to thankÂ Dale H. Roberts of Missouri for taking the time to write about something that has been on a lot of our minds recently.
If you have something you’d like to get off your chest and think you have what it takes to write a great editorial, send it to: [email protected]. Of course, we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to post it, but I promise, we’ll give it our best!
The recent post regarding Rhodesian Ridgebacks led several of us to comment â€œIâ€™d like to have a RR, but I am morally compelled to rescue.â€ Does the rescue mindset limit us to mixed breed dogs? There is nothing wrong with a mixed breed and many times the sum is greater than the parts, or at least, healthier. Nevertheless, we know that certain breeds have retained the characteristics for which they were bred (my ex had a purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback and, true to form, we never saw a lion in the neighborhood while we had that dog.) A desired trait in a mixed breed dog is difficult to identify.
Bad news / Good news: The bad news is that divorce, financial hardship, and CPS (Christmas Puppy Syndrome) result in as many homeless purebred dogs as there are homeless mixed breed dogs. The good news is these dogs are easy to find, they need homes too, and every breed from A to Z operates its own rescue group. (Alright, Iâ€™ll admit the AKC list of breeds stops with â€œYâ€ for Yorkshire Terrier. But since Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, I have been referring to our Rhodesian Ridgeback as a â€œZimbabwe Zipperback.â€ So, A-Z.)
Rescuing a Specific Breed: My first Bull Terrier came from a breeder and was a â€˜show dog.â€™ He died just before his 14th birthday and I quickly realized I couldnâ€™t live without a Bully. But in the meantime, I had served on the Board of Directors of the local Humane Society and wanted to rescue. During my show years I had become acquainted with, and supported, Bull Terrier Rescue. One telephone call and I had a list of gorgeous needy Bullies that were ready and waiting for a good home. I had my choice between young and old, male and female, white or colored, along with location and every other variable imaginable. A few days later I was in my car and on my way to Sioux Falls, S.D., to pick up an 18 month old, white neutered male. â€œOdysseusâ€ had already been in two homes and needed permanency in his life. (Another side note: My undergraduate major was in Latin and Greek. Odysseus was the Greek hero who had traveled the globe trying to find his home. I was convinced he was destined to find me.) In this case, I was not asked to pay any fee, my willingness to travel 800 miles, round trip, was enough. In many cases the rescue group will ask for a â€œdonationâ€ to cover their costs.
Where are all these homeless pure bred pups? The sources are limited only by your interest. The easiest place to begin might be the AKCâ€™s rescue page. Sadly, some dog owners donâ€™t know enough to surrender their dog to the breed organization (or the owner is too ashamed to do so) and the pup ends up in a local shelter. When I worked with Central-Missouri Humane Society, we frequently received purebred surrenders. Our shelter had a (fund-raising) policy that allowed a prospective adopter to pay a $25 locate fee. With payment of that fee, and the type breed preferred, the client was ensured immediate notice and first opportunity to apply for adoption if that breed came in the door. But there is another way to accomplish the same result. Simply visit Petfinder.com and type in the breed you are looking for. This organization maintains a database of available purebred pets all across America. If nothing else, open any search engine (Google, Bing, etc.) and type in the name of the breed you seek.
Best of both worlds: Whether you want a Chihuahua or a Irish Wolfhound, those dogs are out there waiting for your to provide the stability, safety, security and love they have never known.
You cannot change the world by rescuing one dog â€“ but you can change that rescued dogâ€™s world! I rescued Odysseus Labor Day Weekend, 2004.
Dale H. Roberts
â€œI rescued Odysseus once, he has rescued me 1000 times since then.â€