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Rescue Questions

1581 Views 19 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  GrayWolf
I thoroughly read the posting regarding "Reputable Rescues." I've only one experience to date, and it was chaotic and disappointing. I have another appointment with a different rescue at the end of the month, and I hope this trip will prove pleasant and possibly successful. I do have some questions about a rescue organization, and hopefully get some help here.
To date, I've completed an online application and was approved within an hour. I received a confirmation Email and a date to meet this pup. I believe I was quickly approved because we are two adults owning our home with a fenced yard and without any pets at this time. I provided excellent veterinary references, and I believe having a career in law enforcement was another plus.
This rescue is affiliated with Petfinder, Adopt A Pet sponsored by Purina, and does have its own website. They describe themselves as a foster based rescue. They host many funds raising event and actively host adoptions via Pet's Mart. They are a volunteer based, non profit, 501c3 organization that literally saves dogs from death row.

Their Mission Statement reads as follows:

"Focusing on saving Death Row Dogs from kill shelters; fostering them in a home; providing them with all the love and medical attention they require until they find their forever homes; educating the community about the animal over the population problem and the importance of spaying and neutering."

I researched all internet postings for this organization and uncovered only one negative remark by an alleged "dog trainer" posted nearly a year ago.

He posted the following comment:

I am a full time trainer and spend my life trying to get dogs into a forever home. In the last year alone I have met 4 rescues on my appointments that were from "RESCUE" that was aggressive and the new owners were not told anything of the kind. I am not sure if they are not properly testing these dogs or if they just really HOPE that they go to this new home, and the aggression goes away. Honest it is heartbreaking and even worse I know one couple that wanted to return the dogs as it was a danger to their family, the rescue said they had no room for the dog, and they would have to wait, BUT they were forbidden to take the dog anywhere else according to their contract. THAT WAS NOT GOOD!!!

Pros: They are trying to do a good thing.
Cons: They are not being honest with potential new owners.

My questions are, should I worry about this negative post? I was not required to have a home visit. As I previously stated maybe the overall vet references played a role in this matter. The transport arrives the night before the meeting, does this seem as though it's rushing? Are there any others questions I should pose? The adoption fee is approximately $250.00 - $350.00 considering the medical care, spay and fostering this is a minimal fee.

Thank you for your assistance in my quest for a new companion it is sincerely appreciated!
Here's her brief bio:
This beautiful purebred German Shepherd who is approximately 10 months old, was picked up as a stray by animal control in the mountains of North Georgia. A rescue picked her up from animal control right before she was to be put down. She is a sweet girl, but is a little shy at first, but she will make somebody an excellent pet. She has been spayed and fully vetted and will be arriving at RESCUE" on September the 29th.
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Everyone should have a home visit. (majority of people have good vet ref's and personal ref's...and say everything right on their app's) it's not you's that they don't do them.

Dogs should be in a foster home for a period of time to assess their true personality work on any issues...and match them to the appropriate home. (good with dogs
...chewer...housebroken...couter surfer...rough...gentle..terrified...shy...scared of thunder...separation anxiety....list goes on and on) So is the dog being properly assessed getting off transport and going to you? simply

It is also a time to assess for any medical issues and have them taken care of........

EVERY rescue should take their dogs if's, and's or but's. If they don't have room...and it's urgent on the adopter's part...then they put the dog in boarding until one of their foster homes open up. Leaving a dog in a home where they family feels they are in danger? not good...
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Some rescues don't take time to let the dogs decompress from what they've been thru so the evaluation can be squewed. This goes both ways, some dogs are timid in the beginning and then show a stronger side once they are in a secure frame of mind. Other dogs act aggressive due to stress because they are in a kennel, once out they are totally different and are complete angels.
I wouldn't let one opinion you've read steer your opinion, but bring it up to the rescue.
Some dogs take up to 6 months to show their true personality, not many are fostered that long.
If the rescue won't take back a dog, it doesn't bode well for success. They should also do follow-ups if possible(and help get the family/dog hooked up with a good trainer), to ensure the dog/family are the right match.

What about you fostering the dog and possibly adopting in a couple months if you feel the dog will be the right match?
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Maybe I should cancel the scheduled introduction? After the transport arrives and unloaded it'll be less than 24 hours. I know how I felt when I drove cross country on a tight schedule. I met myself coming and going. When I got home all I wanted to do was rest. Socializing was the furthest thing from my mind.

The rescue stated after the pup was taken from the high kill shelter she was in a foster environment, but they did not give me a time frame regarding this aspect. The response was the foster family swore she was gentle, sweet and knew basic commands. The pup's listing now shows she is on "hold," I guess mine was the first inquiry, and application submitted on her behalf. I am wondering if I do follow through and spend a few hours with her on the appointed day, if they'd allow her to settle at the foster or kennel for a while. As you've stated this would give her time to decompress, and see if there are any severe health or temperament issues.
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I would 'think' that the rescue would have had her fully evaluated by a vet at this point? If not, I think I'd question that. I would also want to know how long she's been in foster situation, what that situation was, did they have kids? other dogs? cats? did they socialize or take her out in public at all?

There are quite a few on the board here who are familiar with alot of the rescues around, I'm wondering if you could contact one of them and see if they are aware of the rescue itself? Jean comes to mind.

Definately hard to say, do you "have" or are they "expecting" you to just take her when you meet her? What if you didn't "click", are they going to have a problem with you backing out?

I'd ask those questions before any money has changed hands, you don't want to get into the position of deciding against the dog, them becoming irritated and not return your adoption fee, tho I don't see why they wouldn't.
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Did you have a phone interview? It is then that the rescue has the opportunity to ask questions, fully assess your situation, get a feel for what dog is right for your situation, etc. It is ALSO the opportunity that you as the potential adopter gets to ask YOUR questions. Request one.
Adopting a pet is a lifetime committment and not to be taken lightly or with uncertainty...and I applaud you for recognizing that. :)
You can PM me. I'm not familiar with a lot of rescues downstate, but you never know.

There are a few things I don't particularily like.
1. No home check and you were approved within an hour. Was this really time to review it, determine if you would be a good fit, and check references?

2. You are meeting the dog the night after she gets off the rescue. A week for us is generally a short time. A lot of dogs do NOT do well on transports and take a long time to settle in.

3. Also not a fan that they are pretty much basing their evaluation of her off of someone else's opinion. Granted, the could have some pretty good contacts where she is being fostered, but I never like to base my opinion to a potential adopter on that of someone else. I usually hole to dog up in my house/yard for a few days and test them out in some low key situations and go from there.

While BS does not have a strict standard on when a foster can adopt out their dogs, many people (myself included) go off the typical 2-3 week rule. If it's a SUPER low key foster, they might be able to go to Meet & Greet after a week, and if there is someone interested there, then they have to go meet the dog again. Granted, puppies are always little easier because most are pretty "whatever", go with the flow at super young ages if they've been socialized at all.

At the least, I'd specifically ask to be put in contact with the foster that currently has her. Never go off of what someone else tells you someone else said. IMO. Especially if you're meeting the dog the day after it gets here. They DO NOT know the dog. The current foster knows the dog.

Ask what their policy on taking dogs back is. The owner's might not be telling the whole story either. Don't's not the owner's writing those reviews. He's kind of a "3rd person" in the situation. And the rescue might not have seen any "aggression" and the dogs just didn't do well in the new home.

Anyhow, lots of variables and definitely ask lots and lots of questions and make sure you review their entire contract to make sure you are comfortable with it.
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I would want to know a lot of things like everyone said.

Where was she fostered? Was it a kennel setting/holding area, in a home, how many other dogs in the foster home, where did they socialize her, what was her reaction to other people, kids, dogs, cats, going for car rides, etc.

What vetting has been done exactly? Flea, worming, fecals, spay, additional vetting?

Nitty gritty of their contracts and requirements both ways - what you and they are required to do.

I think you are right to question - that list of reputable rescue things is so important. I am a black/white person - then you have room for gray. But if all you have is gray, it's scary. I also like what you said about a long drive! :rofl:

I think you can have good, and you can have fast, and it's hard to have both together. I think it's great that you are researching and trying to find out how things work, and it's hard to figure out because within rescue there are rescues, shelters, brokers (not good) and in each there is a spectrum of awful to great.
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I know that when I adopted Nadia from a local 'rescue' here, they failed her on so many levels. They were ready to send her to anyone & Nadia lucked out that this just happened to be me. They did not do the home check, application, vet & personal reference check. I met them, visited with Nadia for an hour, and Boom...she was in my truck going home with me. Not a lot of info on her previous living conditions, lots of false claims like she was crate trained & house trained(to not potty in the house) but also came with the conflicting story that she was an outside dog all her life(16 months at that time).

After the fact, they tried to claim that I was under contract to take her to a trainer, & to return her to them if I could not keep her-however we had NO contract. I signed Nothing when I took Nadia. They had my name and number because of caller ID only. That's it. When I called & asked questions about her they got mad at me! When I asked about training thru them, they ignored my Q, but later claimed they offered to let me take her to their training classes, which they never offered. Nadia had issues and over the course of the last year, I have managed them, worked thru them with her, & she is MUCH better, but only because I care enough to stand by her & be her leader in all ways. Not because I had the help of the 'rescue' that I got her from.

So I guess my point is, that altho they might claim to be a rescue, unless they are well established, be prepared for anything. Also, a dog with issues CAN overcome them with time, love and Lots of patience & determination on our part!
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I tried going through a rescue, but it never worked out. My experience was all through one woman over the phone after an initial online application, which now I wonder if it was even necessary. She was about 4 hrs away and said she'd drive 1.2 way but she would need another $60 for gas and I would have to take the dog because in her words, she already had 10 dogs in her yard and needed to make room for another who was about to be pts. Not exactly what I'd consider a reputable 'rescue.' I think she went to shelters, adopted purebreds, fed them for a week or two then found people like me who were willing to pay close to $400. The fact that I had to take the dog on the spot when she had never even met me was ridiculous! For both of us
I'm a bit suspicious of this rescue for the same reason GSDElsa stated. 1 hour to approve you? I did a few reference checks when I was a volunteer for GSR-SP and it would take much longer than that just to contact all the people! Their policy is to have a foster for a month.

I would keep looking at other rescues. Look into the Philly rescues such as GSR-SP and SASRA. I know there is a good rescue in NYC but I can't remember the name of it. Make sure to ask if the dogs have been in a foster home or a kennel. SASRA and GSR-SP don't kennel their dogs but some rescues do. It saves more lives if they can put some temporarily in kennels but you might not have a true feel for the dog.
I learned this the hard way- our GSD rescue was adopted in the same exact situation that you describe- picked up as a stray, was in rescue for a week when we met her, got spayed, and was in our home two weeks after she had been picked up. We were told she was sweet, submissive, gentle, and needing to learn some 'manners'. Her stay at the rescue was in a kennel area separate from the rescue coordinator's actual house.
We did not have a home visit either, though this might have been because we were recommended by a trainer and the head of the GSD rescue respects her a great deal.
It turns out that Regen has severe separation anxiety, a VERY high prey drive, is aggressive toward small children (fear-based I think?), and is an incredibly high-strung, anxious, and reactive dog. She had clearly been abused at some point in her life. Had we known this before adopting her, we probably would have held out for a different dog. All of these traits would have been obvious had she spent any time in a foster home.
That said, we made a commitment to this dog and we have spent thousands on her in the four months that we have had her paying for training sessions, classes, new crates, natural medications, vet bills, testing, doggie daycare, prescription get the picture. In addition, we have had to rearrange our house so that our cats can be safe, and avoid situations where she might be around small children. I think eventually she will be the dog we wanted, but it is going to take a lot more time and money than we could have imagined.
Unless you have the patience and support to deal with these kinds of potential issues, I would wait or ask them to take her home on a trial basis for a couple of weeks (as a foster, even).
I don't want to sound negative because I LOVE Regen and can't imagine not having her in our lives, but she has also been a great source of financial and emotional stress and I think that could have been avoided.
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This sounds more like the way a shelter operates. Some shelters check references before adopting out but don't do home checks. They temperament test the dogs and some have foster homes but you don't usually get the kind of support you do from a well organized rescue.

If I choose to go through a rescue who uses foster homes (instead of adopting directly from a shelter) then I want to be able to meet and speak with the foster home directly to get information about the dog. Do they allow you to do that? Do they have local foster homes or do they function more as a broker for shelters down south?

What kind of support do they offer adopters? Do they have adoption events where you can meet with the volunteers directly and meet some of the dogs?

How old is the dog you are adopting?

If it were me I would just go into the situation with my eyes open, ask a lot of questions and decide whether it was important for me to know more about the dog first or whether we could just figure it out as we went along.

I have adopted young puppies directly from shelters where they didn't know much about the dog so I imagine this would be similar if you are unable to speak with anyone about her.
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An adoption like this entails unknowns. How much wiggle space do you have in your life if the dog behaves differently than you expect, and/or has medical issues? As you said already, two adults, no other pets, and a fenced in yard looks like you have more flexibility than most homes, especially if you have a 6' privacy fence (not so much with a 4' chain link fence) and a large yard.

But with New York City as your location, my concern is that the dog is said to be initially shy, and we don't know how shy. Don't know how urban your location in NYC is, and she might do just fine in the city. But some dogs are so fearful that they cannot adjust to urban noise. Ambulances, trucks, roof work on buildings nearby can spook such a dog even in her own yard. For example, a fearful dog could refuse to even go into the yard, or try to bolt out of the yard at the first terrifying noise. If the foster home was rural and they never took the dog to town, they would not know that.

What if she doesn't take well to urban living, can you get rescue backup to take the dog if she has no other major issues? I am so glad you posted your question.

Re questions to ask a rescue organization, here's one list:
Questions to ask a rescue before adopting -

For rescues, it's a terrible dilemma to have the choose between leaving many behind while doing right for a few, and saving many but placing them without really knowing them or the adoptive home. High volume rescues handle adoptions more like shelters do, as Ruth already said.

I volunteer for a low volume/high quality rescue, German Shepherd Rescue of New England, Inc. Dogs are fostered for at least two to three months before becoming available for adoption, and the dogs are taken through carefully monitored situations in their foster homes before the rescue makes a match with an adopter. Likewise, when I placed my private rescues, I hand picked the adopter, too. But I have taken my chances when I pulled dogs, and I am very glad I did, as several lives were saved, and could only be saved by being open for the unknown.

Low volume/high quality rescue organizations for popular breeds such as GSDs can have long waiting lists for qualified adopters. The limiting factor for the number of dogs they can help is the number of foster homes who welcome a dog about whom they know little for a few weeks, and give him/her the gift of being seen and known.
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I'd like to "Thank" everyone who has taken the time to respond to my question. I have garnered quite a bit of information from this post, and I am armed with the appropriate questions to ask on the day of the meeting. Special "Thanks" to "RunSarahRun" for the following link:
"Questions to ask a rescue before adopting - GermanShepherdHome. Net"

From what I read about this rescue the dogs are from high kill shelters in the south. They state the dogs are fully vetted, spayed/neutered, and live with foster families before arriving here. Through my online research of this organization, it reminded me of the Animal Planet's show, "The Last Chance Highway." I say this because of the quick introduction which will be made in less than 24 hours.

The Shepherd I am interested in is a female approximately eleven months old. There's a new listing which caught my eye for older girl age three years. She is an owner surrender because the owner couldn't feed her and three others he surrendered.

Would it be advisable to post the name of this rescue or is this against forum policy?
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Post it and see if anyone recognizes the name, has experience with them, etc
just want to say, graywolf, that you're doing a great job with your research, and yes, i'm sure you can post the name of the rescue. i think the rules are that once you post the name, positive comments can be made in the thread, but negative comments must be made via personal message (pm). just mpo, but if a rescue is anything less than 100% transparent and willing to answer any questions you have, i'd look elsewhere. 24 hours to approval of application sounds way too quick to me. not requiring a home visit is unacceptable.
Thanks Stosh! I wanted to make sure this wasn't against the forum's policy.
It's the "Eleventh Hour Rescue" or "11th Hour Rescue" located in Rockaway, New Jersey.
They do have an online presence for adoption events, adoption reunions, etc. They are listed with PetFinders and FaceBook.
just want to say, graywolf, that you're doing a great job with your research, and yes, i'm sure you can post the name of the rescue. i think the rules are that once you post the name, positive comments can be made in the thread, but negative comments must be made via personal message (pm). just mpo, but if a rescue is anything less than 100% transparent and willing to answer any questions you have, i'd look elsewhere. 24 hours to approval of application sounds way too quick to me. not requiring a home visit is unacceptable.
That's EXACTLY right.

And you may want to just start up a new thread and change the subject line to " Questions about Eleventh Hour Rescue Rockaway, NJ" or something like that. Sure you've seen this Eleventh Hour Rescue, Rockaway, NJ 07866

Dog and Cat Adoption and Dog and Cat Rescue --- Rockaway, New Jersey

Hey, they even have a facebook page!
Thanks MaggieRoseLee! I went crossed trying to research them online. Your first link I didn't find before the last two I am aware of.
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