Happy Tails Books provides many resources for people interested in animal welfare, rescue, adoption, and human-canine relationships.
If rescued dogs could talk…
…they would ask you to consider dog adoption for the following reasons:
-Many times, rescued dogs come from good, caring people who experienced an unfortunate change in their situation. Examples of this include when people need to go into nursing care, have an illness or lose their jobs. The dogs in these situations are usually potty trained, have a good temperament and are in good health.
-Rescued dogs come in all shapes, sizes and emotional states – there is one out there that fits your needs and personality
-Rescue groups have return policies for when the dog doesn’t work out. In fact, most rescue groups require you to return your dog if she/he isn’t a good fit. There is no shame in this as the result is usually a better life for you and the dog.
-Usually, even dogs who come from puppy mills or bad situations end up as the best, most grateful companions. They are resilient, and can bounce back from trauma they have experienced with leadership and love from their new owner.
-Most dog “challenges” are overcome with patience, love, attention and positive reinforcement training.
-Going through the process of rehabilitating a wayward dog is an amazing experience for both human and canine. It can create positive, lasting change in both lives.
What is Rescue?
“Have you ever heard the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? Well after 10 years of rescue, I can say the same about dogs and cats. There are the dedicated shelter workers who contact the rescues and also the rescues that manage to squeeze in one more dog or cat. Foster volunteers tend to the animals’ health and well-being, while transport, home inspection, marketing, and other volunteers work in the background to help dogs and cats find the perfect forever homes. Kind-hearted people then adopt these distressed dogs and cats, but that’s not the end. Somebody needs to share their stories! It’s not just one person that accomplishes these Happy Tails… It’s a village.” –Angie Persch, Rockin’ “P” Rescue
A Tail to Consider
Ever since I was a child, I always had an interest in animals, especially dogs. They intrigued me in that they seemed so innocent, but yet so loving and loyal no matter what the circumstances. I recently made it my mission that I was going to help them.
It hit home one day when I started to see television commercials that showed different dogs and cats that were locked up in cages, apparently against their will, in animal shelters across America. These animals were there because either they escaped from their home, were rescued from a tragedy, or their family decided that they were “too old” and didn’t want them anymore. They were the faces of abuse and neglect. The sad eyes seemed to be looking right at me during that particular commercial, and they spoke to my heart.
Animals really don’t have a voice, so I thought that I could maybe do one small thing to try to be their voice. I was willing to do whatever I could, whether it was to help by donating money to protect them or volunteering at places in need. I knew that I would have a very hard time volunteering at my local shelter – God Bless those who do – I just couldn’t accept that the same animal I spoke to and played with the week before may not be there when I returned the next week. I was okay that they had a chance to be adopted, but couldn’t even fathom that they could also be euthanized against their will. That was the main reason I choose to get involved with Northeast Boston Terrier Rescue (NEBTR).
NEBTR is a non-profit organization, comprised of about 179 members who expand from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. Our mission is to rescue Boston terriers, and place them into foster care, with the objective of finding them a permanent forever home. I have been a member of the rescue since December 2007. I started helping transport needy dogs to different locations. However, my passion was always to foster a dog in need.
I currently live near Lancaster, PA. If you are unfamiliar, it is also known as the “Puppy mill Capital of the East”, in dog talk. In case you are unfamiliar with what a puppy mill is, it is a place where a mass of different dog breeds are stored in small cages, in all kinds of horrific conditions, who have had little interaction with people, and are used for the purpose of breeding. My first transport involved transporting a puppy mill mama to another member who was willing to take her in as a foster. A lady by the name of Laura, who is known by many “puppy-millers”, contacted our rescue. She operates a rescue in which she is contacted by puppy-millers in the area who are done breeding a particular dog and want to be rid of them. She will then contact different breed specific rescues to see if they have foster homes available for them. She is truly an amazing lady! She sees what goes on inside of those mills regularly. I asked her how she could go into these mills, seeing the conditions that these poor dogs were in, and having to leave so many others behind. Her answer was simple, “I try not to look at the dogs, and sometimes I have to be medicated.” It is a very sad situation indeed. From that point on, I decided that I wanted to foster one of these special dogs. After seeing how filthy, neglected, and timid they are at first, I wanted to take a jab at trying to rehabilitate one of these deserving creatures. That is what I did, and it has been one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. Seeing the little progress that they make each day and teaching them how to trust has become my passion.
The particular rescue groups I work with is not only comprised of puppy mill dogs but also of needy Boston terriers that come from all situations and all different backgrounds, which I believe is the case for most rescue groups. Some of the dogs we place in foster care have come into rescue from families that want to surrender them for a multitude of different reasons. We are also contacted by different shelter organizations that may be having a hard time placing a particular dog with a family. Reasons such as: they may be very frightened in the shelter environment or they are older dogs that a lot of families pass by because they want a puppy. Over all the years of the operation of the rescue, about 70% of our dogs have come from owner surrender’s, 25% come from shelters, and 5% come out of puppy mills. I have also learned that it is a never ending cycle. Just when you think that you have a handle on a situation where all the dogs coming in are in foster homes, more arise out of nowhere who need our help.
This is all the more reason to consider adopting a homeless dog instead of buying. I am one to confess that I bought both of my two Boston’s, but since being involved in rescue, I will never do it again. I do love my dogs very much, but after seeing how many dogs that are out there needing good homes, I could not accept but to rescue a dog in the future.
I have fostered six dogs for NEBTR in the year-and-a-half that I have been a member, four of the dogs being from puppy mills. I am grateful to be a part of this organization. It truly has been a blessing in my life. Finding forever families for these dogs is the most rewarding part. Some of them came to me very introverted and knowing nothing about life. Being able to rehabilitate them, and teach them all the good things that come from human hands are a real treat. Our adoption process is very detailed and I would have it no other way. We are required to have the dog in our home for at least two weeks to analyze their behavior, and also to decide what kind of family will be best suited for them. We have a website where we can receive applications and also post our dogs that are ready for adoption. This allows our dogs the most exposure so we have many different adoption options for the particular dog. We require an application, an initial phone call with the family, reference checks, and a visit to the family’s home before we allow any of our dogs to be adopted. I have found that talking to a family on the phone about a particular dog is the most helpful part for me. It definitely helps play a major role in my decision to adopt out a dog to a particular family.
Traits that make for the best adopters include a family that is able to provide the time and dedication it takes to being a great pet owner. Owning a dog takes a lot of time and commitment. It is realizing that you are adding a family member, not just a dog. It is for better or worse. If the dog becomes sick or elderly, it cannot just be abandoned or ignored. You do what you can to make it work. It is also educating yourself about the specific breed that you are interested in and knowing the risks and demands it takes to having that particular breed, and whether it will fit into your lifestyle.
Playing an active role in helping out animals has been a joy indeed. I have learned so much, and am amazed at what I have accomplished for these dogs. You really can be a voice to an animal who doesn’t have one. Please consider adopting a dog from your local shelter or animal rescue. They will not only become your friend, but also a truly faithful companion. If you are unable to adopt, due to certain circumstances, think about getting involved with a rescue or animal shelter. They are always needing helpful volunteers who can provide their time to a needy cause.
-Tiffany Didyk, Northeast Boston Terrier Rescue