Do all breeds belong in "All Breed" rescue?

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Calypso
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Do all breeds belong in "All Breed" rescue?

Postby Calypso » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:10 am

I hope this doesn't come off as breedist, but does anyone else think maybe not all breeds should be in a general rescue and are best served in breed rescue?

A friend just adopted a border collie mix puppy. He could be purebred but he was dumped so we don't know. I happen to know the foster home and we met the dog at a Fly ball tournament. The foster home got to talk to my friend and decided he would be a good match. The rescue coordinator had a conniption fit. Apparently there were five or six applications for people who are looking for a puppy in general and they said they wanted an active puppy and so my friend basically jumped to the head of the list about these other people.

The foster home and I cringed when we heard that. There is one thing to have an active sporting dog, it is another to have an active herding breed. Both are active, but it is a difference type of activity. Not that sporting dogs are dumb, but they can be happy with 20 minutes of fetch in the backyard. A border collie would be okay with that, but 20 minutes of fetch plus some kind of training for a job would make them happier. Not to mention the average sporting dog tends to be a bit more forgiving and a little bit harder temperament then the average herding breed. I was relatively prepared for the change from a lab to a collie, but I still had to adjust how I did things with her more than I thought. If Average Joe dog owner thinks they're getting an active dog like The neighbor's lab mix and they get a purebred border collie instead, that's a pretty big jump.

I know that all dogs benefit from a good amount of exercise and mental stimulation, but the amount a beagle needs is different from the amount an Australian shepherd needs. And someone who walks into an all breeds rescue and says they like to hike and don't mind shedding is going to have a different pretty owning experience with a golden vs a German Shepherd. And yes, the rescue should know that and direct people accordingly, but rescue that doesn't always happen.

Maybe I'm just so annoyed at this particular rescue that in painting with too wide of a brush, but I'm leaning towards the suggestion that sighthounds and herding breeds are better off being rehomed through breed or group specific rescue, whereas some of the other breed groups are less, well, quirky, in their needs. Does that make any sense? Not a knock on all breed rescues because they do incredibly important work, but it seems like some of them might bite off more than they can chew when it comes to *all* breeds.

Just some random thoughts. Not sure if they're general or actually because I want to punch one egotistical rescuer in the face when I think of what might have happened to this puppy. And he may have been fine. But maybe not.

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Re: Do all breeds belong in "All Breed" rescue?

Postby SherriA » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:35 am

Honestly, no, I don't agree with that. It IS up to the rescue to make those determinations, and if they can't, they they're not going to last long because their dogs will end up being sent back to them.

My dad "accidentally" ended up with a border collie. He had NO herding breed experience. He had a small yard in town on a busy street, no experience training dogs, and a wife who wanted to restrict where the dog was even allowed in the house (that didn't last long). A herding breed purist would never have put a BC with him. He was an AMAZING home for Rollie, and subsequently had several more border collies.

A friend from my knitting group adopted what was supposed to be a random terrier mix that turned out to be an Aussie (or mostly Aussie). They had no experience (or desire for) a herding dog. They were also an amazing family, though a herding breed rescue would have written them off.

Honestly, I get tired of hearing how herding breeds are so unique and need such special homes. ALL groups - sporting, working, herding, hounds, etc - have unique traits but there are no absolutes. Not every BC has huge drive. Not all Aussies need lots of mental work. I've known plenty of GSDs that loved to work, and also some who were absolute couch potatoes. My friend's well bred lab is a whole lot more work and trouble than my dad's BC's ever were.

Every adoption is a crap shoot. Maybe your friend will be a great human for this pup. But maybe some of the others would have been just as good. Who's to say?

Personally, I'd put a lot more effort into finding the right home for a terrier than a herder, because I think that's a tougher match to make.
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Calypso
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Re: Do all breeds belong in "All Breed" rescue?

Postby Calypso » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:48 pm

I can definitely see that, Sherri. People who never thought of a breed or wouldn't normally be considered can be great homes. And rescue can be a crap shoot. Maybe I've seen a disproportionate number of bad matches because of what I do, so I'm biased.

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Re: Do all breeds belong in "All Breed" rescue?

Postby emmas_mom » Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:14 pm

I think the job of any rescue, all-breed or breed specific, is to find the best possible fit for the dogs in their care - to ask the right questions, to educate potential adopters, to consider not just dog experience or dog knowledge but also willingness to learn, willingness to work with whatever dog they find they have when the dog finally settles into their new home. After all, a dog in a foster home with several other dogs (each with their own behaviours and sometimes issues) may be quite different as a solo dog or with a different combination of fur-siblings.
I do think breed specific rescues (as well as breeders and breed associations) have a responsibility to step up to help dogs from the breed they know so well. But does that mean other rescues can't also do a great job of finding the right home for that breed? Of course they can - if they are a good rescue, do their research, get to know their dogs through appropriate assessment and foster care, and even work in cooperation with breed specific rescues and/or other people well informed on the 'typical' characteristics of the breed.
And that said - I would have never ended up with six herding breed dogs over the past decade or so (a rough collie/border collie cross, a border collie/flat coat retriever cross, and four purebred shelties) - had I been disqualified from the first one and each consecutive one due to lack of 'herding dog' experience. And while each showed a bit of herding character, none were as driven as their breed descriptions might suggest, none of them did herding activities with me, and all of them had a great life with me I think. Given, only one of them came to me as a pup (the first), and perhaps she would have enjoyed herding activities, but she got lots of mental and physical stimulation which seemed to meet her needs. Charley was a very low key gal, even as a young pup, for one who was 100% herding dog. :)
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
My blog: http://www.mylifewiththecritters.blogspot.com

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Re: Do all breeds belong in "All Breed" rescue?

Postby Moemer » Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:31 pm

I'd say yes and no.. but the point of importance is the quality of the rescue, whether breed specific or not. Plus, once you get into the realm of rescues, you really are looking at individual tendencies, rather than breed background. Sure, you can say that typically herders are going to chase moving objects, but if someone lives on a main street in a city and otherwise has great experience and inclination, and a good plan for the dog, there;s not reason not to adopt the herding dog currently in rescue who has never shown interest in traffic.
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Re: Do all breeds belong in "All Breed" rescue?

Postby connie » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:11 pm

Yes, what Emily said.

IMO it's all about the people: there are rescues that are just jokes, and there are rescues that seem to hit it out of the park every time. My former Sheltie rescue is run by a woman who will not adopt to people of color; and she does all the adoptions. So, she's kind of the KKK of rescues. (She's also a big Trump supporter. All I can say is, I'm glad she booted me from the rescue when she did! She's scary!) And that's too bad, because non-white people make great dog owners and homes for Shelties, too.

The BC rescue I've worked with does a good job of sorting the dogs by activity level (companion, active, or working) and matching them with owners who want that level and have experience with it. The downside is they handle relatively few dogs, due to the time they spend on each one. Meanwhile, Natalie's seeding the state with Shelties: if you're white, you're alright, come on down and get a dog. :stupid:

So when you set the bar that low, an all-breed rescue isn't necessarily a bad fit for a certain type or breed of dog, no.

I do think that pits and bully breeds benefit from having breed-specific rescues, with people who understand those breeds and can place them appropriately. There are so many pitties, and they are not just Golden Retrievers with big heads, they have requirements that some of the other breeds don't in terms of home environment, other pets in the house, etc. But that's about the only exception I would make.

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Re: Do all breeds belong in "All Breed" rescue?

Postby Calypso » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:45 pm

As I'm reading these comments I think what left a bad taste in my mouth is this particular rescue. I haven't worked with a lot of all breed rescues, not sure why. But this one is run by someone who lets others foster and do home visits, but she is the final say in placements. Even over the foster home, which I hate, since the foster home should know the dog best.

They currently have 47 dogs in foster care and have placed over 400 dogs in less than 3years. The site says they have over 400 volunteers. I'd never heard of this place until now. What I don't understand is the site says certain dogs are available for adoption, but there are approved applicants. So, why isn't the dog in its new home?

My friend was the first person to have an application in for this puppy according to the person who screens the applications and calls references, yet the head person said she had 5 or 6 applicants ahead. But he'd been adoptable for a week and the foster home never saw an application. That's what's weird to me. That an applicant who specifically wants a dog would be passed over for someone who wants any active puppy, when there were other active breed puppies on the site. And fine, if the waiting list must be honored, then contact the first name on the list! In the meantime, you've got a cute puppy rapidly approaching adolescence, which makes it harder to place.

I've stepped away from rescue volunteering for a couple of reasons and one was the, um, personalities one can encounter in rescue. I guess this experience tells me I've still got too much going on in my life to have patience with people who have "rescue ego". It's certainly not everyone, I worked with some lovely people in Lab rescue, but I'm not ready to wade in again and risk the frustration. I will, just not yet.

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Re: Do all breeds belong in "All Breed" rescue?

Postby connie » Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:21 am

Some of the biggest wackadoodles I have ever met, I met in rescue. I HOPE that my experiences do not represent the broader configuration of rescues in general; I would like to think that I have seen the lunatic fringe, not that the whole rescue movement is peopled by nut-jobs.

The Sheltie Rescue in Illinois is set up so only the director can do adoptions, approve adoptions, and accept applications. The volunteers can foster, can do home visits, can transport, but have no say in placing a dog when the chips are down. And this is a high-volume rescue that has helped many, many dogs. Go figure.

The BC rescue is far more democratic: has a BOD, accepts input from all members on topics affecting the rescue as a whole, and gives the deciding vote in a placement to the foster home. But this is a very small rescue. I don't know how well it would work on a larger scale, and among a section of the rescue public that was not BC-oriented (since BC rescue people tend to be over-achievers, not unlike the dogs they help).

I don't think it's realistic to say there should be licensing or standards for rescues, since those can be just as arbitrary and capricious as the rescue might be. I do applaud the trend of shelters to have foster programs; that often is the best of both worlds, for the prospective adopters. A shelter's profile is more visible than that of a rescue, by and large.

I am sad, though, when I see people stay away from rescue work because there are toxic people in that work. IMO anyone can still help out, by transporting, publicizing, or doing admin work, even if fostering is out of the question. I process adoption applications for the BC rescue, and it keeps me in the rescue picture, and I value that. And finally -- shelters need volunteers too, often for the same tasks that rescues do. I still think that helping the animals trumps the silly ego games.

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Re: Do all breeds belong in "All Breed" rescue?

Postby Calypso » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:09 am

Connie, I agree that helping the animals trumps egos. But I've got so much stupid drama in my life right now, I just can't see adding more. And the local humane society is as bad, if not worse, than a lot of rescue egos. I'm doing what I can with the local guide-dog organization and would love to work with a rescue as a trainer, but just can't devote as much time as I'd like at the moment.

I think my main issue is indeed with this rescue, though, and not all breed rescues. As I think, I do know of all breed rescues and humane societies that do work with people who are breed-specific knowledgeable to get potentially more challenging dogs of any breed into the right home. This rescue goes on and on about how they include a free puppy or obedience class with every adoption. Great. The head lady has now sat on the paperwork for so long that the puppy is too old for a puppy socialization class. And his obedience is pretty awesome, so I'll encourage my friend to take the dog to class, anyway, but it won't have the impact the puppy class would have had. I don't know if they're so backed up that it takes 2 weeks for her to get a new adoption packet out, or if she's still huffy because she wanted to pick the home and not the foster so she's holding up the paperwork, but I'm done with this particular rescue and certainly won't recommend it to anyone else. There are many other rescues with good reputations that I can send people to.


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