A recent discussion led me to this post because I realized that the process of a rescuer pulling a shelter dog probably isn’t fully understood by the general public…or may not even be much of an interest. 😉 However, a little information on it is good to know, for it may help to explain why rescue fees are higher than shelters, why we are more in depth with placement, why we have to raise funds, etc. So let’s start at the beginning.
Rescues are Contacted
Rescues receive phone calls and emails daily about animals who are in shelters and need out in order to escape euthanasia. MANY phone calls and emails. Tens, hundreds…you name it (this doesn’t include the average person calling because they want us to take their dog or when someone has found a stray). Shelter emails can contain one specific dog in need or 20, 30, 50…again, you name it.
When there is an animal that we can help we contact the shelter to let them know. They give us as much information as they can on the animal, and we prepare to “pull” the pet. Pulling translates to adopting the dog, paying the fee, and signing the contract that states we are taking the dog into rescue.
When pulling a shelter dog, the rescue has to make sure they have the foster home set up, vet appointments, transportation and the pull fee paid (we must cover the fee for medical work done at the shelter – we’re good with this.). Once all is set up and the animal is spayed/neutered (granted the shelter does the spay/neuter), the individual pulling the pet heads to the shelter to get it and the rescue venture begins.
There are a few scenarios once the rescue pulls the dog.
1) Local rescue pulls:
When, for example, we pull a dog from a local shelter, we are able to take the dog straight to the veterinarian and foster home.
2) Out of state/town rescues (i.e., rescues of significant distance) pull the animal
In these cases, the out of state rescue depends on local assistance from volunteers who are willing to pull the animal, house it short term, and help with transporting the animal to the foster home. In some cases a vet visit is also needed. The volunteers and shelter staff who assist in making long term rescue come to fruition are a huge blessing (as are all volunteers!) because without them the out of town/state rescue could not save the animal. Whether it’s picking up the dog and driving it to the next volunteer or fostering it overnight or even two weeks, it makes a huge difference and the effort is valued.
***Note: It is always VERY important to research the rescue pulling prior to offering assistance to make sure they are reputable. One safe bet is national breed rescues (e.g., National Great Pyrenees Rescue), but there are many other other legitimate ones…just check them out thoroughly before committing to help because there are, on occasion, “rescues” that pull from out of state because they’ve been banned locally due to improper care, ethics, or worse.
3) I mentioned veterinary visits…these are a very important piece of the puzzle. Upon pulling an animal it is vital to make sure it sees a doctor. Shelters of any kind are overloaded with animals, and as a result viruses and bacteria are easy to spread. They make home on floors, walls, bedding, etc. and are even airborne, causing a new animal entering the shelter to catch a virus, some sort of bacteria, etc. It’s not that shelters don’t work hard to clean, it’s just that these viruses and such are bullheaded buggers who refuse to die. THIS DOES NOT SUGGEST THAT YOU SHOULDN’T PULL/ADOPT A DOG FROM A SHELTER. It simply means that when they come out they may need some medical attention for something as simple as kennel cough or something as difficult as parvo…but these are TREATABLE if you are responsible in parenting and take them to a vet immediately, then watch for any signs of illness for the following week or two. ***I do realize that parvo can be deadly, but fast action and good vetting can make the difference in most cases.
In addition, you want to make sure the animal is parasite free, check for heartworms or talk to the doctor about the proper protocol for treatment, have a proper exam completed, and tend to any additional issues such as ear infections, fleas, ticks, limps, skin issues, pregnancy, etc. Most need to start medication right away of some sort, and by nailing things down from the get-go you are immediately getting the pet on its way to proper health. This is good for the new rescue and also important in regard to other animals in the foster home. Lastly, if being transported to another foster home out of state/town, then the animal needs to be in good health for travel (Stress has a tremendous effect on the body, and travel can be stressful. A sick dog can rapidly go downhill if already ill or even face death).
All Settled In
Once the dog is pulled, taken to the vet and to the foster home, it is ready to begin its new life. It begins the healing process, the learning process and receiving love and attention. The road is often long prior to even moving to the adoptable stage, but it’s all worth it. Once that baby is healthy and in good spirits, emotionally and physically ready to move on, it is placed up for adoption.
An Ongoing Process
Every time we see an animals that we can help, we start all over again. As long as we can hold out, we will continue to save as many as we can and walk through the details until the pet finds a new home. It’s not glamorous, but it’s fruitful, and it’s one of the best feelings you could ever imagine to watch the animal grow and find love.
So if you ever want to volunteer with k9.5 or another rescue and help get these animals to safety, be sure to let us know. I’ll go ahead and thank you in advance for everyone. 🙂