Contributed by: erik Sunday, August 04 2019 @ 12:47 pm EDT
WHAT MAKES A RESCUE WORK? What Makes a Rescue Work?
Rescues come in all shapes and sizes. They deal with different breeds and animal types, and they are in hundreds if not thousands of locations world wide. Each rescue typically has a written mission which is usually the concept of the person or persons who conceived and started the program. Some rescues are for-profit businesses, while most are 501C3’s or non-profit corporations. Rescues have different skills. Some take in animals to rehabilitate them, some deal with medically challenged animals and yet others, like us, are basically a way-station for German Shepherd dogs who are displaced and need re-homing. Regardless of the mission, animal classification, size or corporate status, each does something to help these creatures who cannot speak for themselves and deserve a second chance at a quality life.
Southwest Florida German Shepherd Rescue is a foster based rescue. Unlike many who have kennels or farms or sanctuaries, we work with foster families to facilitate keeping the dog until it is ready to go to its forever home. From the time we get the dog in to the time when they leave us, our fosters work miracles and transition these worthy dogs from whatever situation (good or bad) they were in, into a new lease on life with a new family unit who will make their life far better than their former situation. Fosters make the rescue work. They are the way-station, the heart and soul of the rescue transition and the means by which we perform our magic to get dogs in and out of here as quickly and as efficiently as we can…. All the while insuring they go to a great home with loving, caring and dedicated people as their new guardians.
No rescue situation is perfect. Dogs come it with baggage (physical and mental) and it is up to the foster families to recognize these transitional challenges, be they behavioral or personality based, and address them with understanding and training. Foster moms and dads are the eyes, ears and conscious of the rescue, and it is they who see and translate behaviors into usable information from which we can address a fix if possible. Many adoptions go bad because no one made these observations nor acted on them. No one told the prospective adopter what to expect and how to deal with these transitional issues, hence many adoptions from other rescues fail. Many adoptions from shelters are notorious for not providing adequate information about the pet to the prospective adopter. Shelters rarely have the ability to see behaviors as most of these dogs are kenneled and not in a home environment where behaviors become more apparent.
Adopters should always check out the rescues mission, since not all are the same. Many will take in random dogs without the proper scrutiny and evaluation of the dog and then attempt to rehabilitate the dogs behavior if possible. These rescues tend to present themselves with unbelievable challenges since not all bad behaviors can be modified or corrected and unfortunately not ever dog can be saved and re-homed. Not many rescues have the band width, personnel and facilities to keep dogs for long periods of time while their behavior is attempted to be corrected. Some rescues will adopt out dogs in the same manner as shelters, where no information is given to adopters of what to expect, which leads to many returned dogs. No one wants a dog to be returned. The trauma on the dog is then exacerbated by the number of transitions it has to make from home to shelter to rescue to a new home and back to the rescue. Shepherds and long memories but they are typically pragmatic in their ability to move from one family or situation to another fairly seamlessly. We try to make the transition a one time event by providing information, gained from our fosters experiences with the dog in their home, to prospective adopters thereby helping everyone be on the same page. Kindness and skill combined with experience and compassion are the hallmarks of our foster team.