What we do with our "Spare Time"!

The following is an actual exchange between a dog owner and a rescuer. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Message: 1

Jackie, my name is John Doe. I'm not sure if my wife Jane has contacted you yet or not. We have a WONDERFUL 1 year old female dalmation (sic) named Spotty. We got her as a rescue from the pound in Monty. I've done basic AKC obedience with her (sit, stay, she is very good on the leash). We've had her 4 months, but fortunately, my wife is pregnant, we already own 2 Weimariners (sic), and I've just been reassigned to Phoenix, AZ. We just can't handle her. We would like to find her a new home before the end of April. [Note: it is the first week of April now!]

Do you have any openings for her or can you recommend another rescue or adoption agency that would find her a GOOD home. We absolutely love our dogs and are torn up about having to find Spotty a new home, we'd be even more torn up if we found out her new family kept her outside all the time or didn't interact with her. She's been spayed, kennel trained, house trained, and is GREAT with other dogs. She has her mischevious moments (particularly with tissues out of the trash), but is well behaved. Her kennel would go with her wherever she went. Please reply to **@**.com. We greatly appreciate your consideration and understanding of how hard this is for us.

Thank you,
John Doe

Message: 2

Hello John:

I can appreciate your situation with a move and pregnancy. However, your hopes of a rescue helping find a home for Spotty are pretty optimistic.

Considering how many Dals are in area shelters, the rescue resources must go to those poor animals who have no owners at all. Posts are sent far and wide to help those dogs in horrible shelters be saved and a good many of them are not. They die with strangers, alone and scared.

When I receive a request like yours I wish so much that I could help more, but then I know I have to save my group's efforts for the truly homeless. Could you advertize yourself for Spotty? Take the cost and the time that we'd have to do for a homeless dog and do the home check, the screening and the phone work that must be done to find that right home for your little girl?

Unfortuntely, with the rescue efforts growing in this country and rescue groups becoming much more visible, it is the natural tendency for people to just want to turn dogs over to rescue groups. Believe me, we don't WANT one more dog! We are all volunteer, all unpaid, and all OVERWORKED!

A sad situation believe me. In 13+ years I've not had a day or weekend free of urgency for a life, fear for a life, etc. I'm exhausted and burned out...and yet I can't stop....a life depends on that.

SO, I'm just suggesting that you consider either making the move happen so that Spotty can go with you (Arizona does allow three dogs!) or advertize yourself and maybe ask a rescue person to help you screen any potential adopters that might come your way. I don't mind screening at the end stage if an owner will do the necessary work for his dog's future. You see, for every minute I spend on your dog, it is a moment less than I spend on a truely homeless dog. I only have so much time and energy left in this tired body. One more dog can break the camel's back (smile).

You know, Spotty is aging and starting to mature.... she won't be a puppy forever. Being pregnant is no fun and your wife will have less time, but what about you taking on the care of the dogs once the baby arrives? You will be tired too, but you would have to care for the other kids that came before the new baby, so why not care for the three you have? Three is hardly more effort than two actually. It will be more convenient to have one less dog for sure, but you did commit to Spotty and I'd sure like to think that you could work out a solution, thus keeping her with you, and thus not taking a home that a truely homeless dog needs.

The sad fact is that there are thousands of dogs being euthanized every day in every community. More dogs are produced than there will ever be good homes for. There are not enough homes for all the dogs, so why not work on keeping Spotty and then another dog can have the potential home you might take for her? Just a thought. It's not her fault you got pregnant; nor is it her fault you're moving. It is ultimately your responsibility to find Spotty a home if you can't take her along like the other two. But, why not place a mature dog that another family is more likely to accept than a puppy? That's another thought. Why Spotty rather than one of the Weimaraners?

Please don't think that rescuers aren't willing to help if they can, but the simple fact is that ALL of us are overworked and understaffed, and underfunded, and have no real life outside of rescue. It's no sin to ask for help as you did, and I apprecaite you want the best for Spotty, but we all want the best for our homeless, abandoned dogs, too, and we in reality must fight for those dogs first. We tell eveyone that shelter dogs come before foster dogs unless by moving a foster dog that shelter dog can come out. But, the dog in the most need is our first concern, so since Spotty has a loving home, in my state she'd be at the bottom of the list.

Please consider keeping her and making this move work. Pregnancies pass faster than you think, kids grow up, moves are accomplished, and things get back to "normal"...she deserves to be part of the move and the home if at all possible. She didn't chose to be the last pet or the youngest or the most dispensible. See it through her eyes and maybe you can figure out a solution. Doggie day care facilities are springing up everywhere and are very useful for young dogs with owners without enough time. Great resoursces!

Or, if you find you MUST give her up, homes are more available out West than in this area. You'll find that the attitude toward dogs is much more open the farther West you go, as a generality. You might have more opportunities in Arizona to place her.

If you stand the expense to advertize and do all the other work (phone work, home checks, vet chedks, reference checks, etc.) that a rescuer will do (with a zillion other dogs to save), then you can be a rescuer too!

Thanks for listening.

(Try writing five or six emails a day to people who are moving and can't take the dog, no longer have time for the dog, now have a toddler and are afraid the dog will hurt him or her, or are getting divorced...or any of a 100 reasons for giving up their dog!)

March 8, 2005

Email Jackie Threatte at ccdal@comcast.net for more information.

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