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What Rescues Do

By Robin Tierney

NOTE: The content on this website cannot be used in connection with any profit-seeking activity due to agreements with the writers, editors and sources contributing to the content. These articles may NOT be reproduced in any form without author permission. To contact the author, email Robin at Tierneydog@yahoo.com.

Here are several perspectives on rescue and adoption guidelines from animal rescue group volunteers.

From Zaron Van Meter of SK9 Scottish Terrier Rescue (www.zaronsdogforum.com):

Unfortunately, there are no standard "rescue guidelines" by any governing agency yet. For all rescuers to conform to a standard, there would have to be mandatory laws and then training classes. Much work is needed in this area.

The following guidelines were developed by SK9 Scottish Terrier Rescue. Although they are based on dog rescue, most of them apply to any animal and can be used as guidelines for rescuing and placing any animal.

A veterinarian sees the rescued animal within 24 hours. The rescue stays in a designated rescue room prior to the veterinarian check up. Veterinarian conducts the following:

- Test for heartworm disease - Teeth checked for decay and damage - Take temperature - Check ears for mites and infections - Check skin for fleas, infestations or diseases - Scan for a computer chip. If no chip, one is placed in the animal - Vet reviews animal's shot records; administers shots as needed - Trim nails as necessary - Check body for any lumps - Check eyes - Check heart - Check (such as stool sampling) for worms - Schedule neuter/spay for intact animal. All rescues must be spayed/neutered prior to adoption

- Note the animal's reaction to the vet's examination

Temperament test the dog to assess responses to humans and other animals.

If no contagious diseases are discovered, the rescued animal is allowed to mingle with other animals after a good bath.

Grooming should be done, but often does not happen for two to three weeks. It may take time prior to grooming to build up trust with the animal.

During this mingle time, watch to see if the animal:

- plays with toys
- tries to dominate other animals
- indicates wanting to go outside
- jumps on the furniture to lie down or sleep
- looks for a dog bed or rug
- is a marker, if a male. If a female relieves itself on the floor
- wants to lay in your lap
- wants to give kisses
- wants to chew on furniture or rugs
- likes to fetch a ball
- cowers when approached to be petted
- plays with other animals
- comes when called
- sits when asked to
- lays down asked to
- understands NO when needed
- chase squirrels or other critters while outside
- barks at beings/things inside or outside; note triggers
- climbs onto chair or table to watch outside

During the next two to three weeks, check the animal for the following:

- Ability to get along with other dogs
- Can food be removed from the animal's bowl with no growling or biting
- Reactions to riding in vehicles
- Behavior while greeting other people
- Behavior on leash
- While walking, reaction towards other dogs and people; make note of triggers
- Does the animal like to be brushed
- Reaction to being given any medication

After any medical concerns are eliminated, and the animal has been passed for temperament, it is now time to review applications for a forever home. An average evaluation time and medical treatment is four weeks.

Some key adoption considerations:

Placing any rescue in a home is the hardest part. Many elements must taken into consideration. Among them:

- Children in the home. Generally, it is best for children to be at least 9 years and older. At this age they can learn sharing, caring and responsibility of helping care for a dog.

- If there is a dog in the home, particularly one who has lived with another canine, there is a good chance of accepting another dog of the right temperment and age. If the dog in the home is nine years old or older, a puppy can be too much excitement for the older dog. A better choice would be a dog three years and older.

- If the resident dog has never shared its domain with another dog, careful evaluation is needed. Many times such an "only dog" may not tolerate another adult dog.

- All dogs should be introduced to each other during a long walk on neutral territory

- Other species in the home; consider how the animals will get along. Also consider prey drive; for example, some dogs instinctively regard and treat other animals such as cats as prey. If the rescuer has made careful evaluation of all animals involved, the adoption will likely be successful.

- For the protection of the rescue and the dog (or other animal) already residing in the home, never, never, never leave them home alone for at least four weeks. Always separate them before leaving during this adjustment period. If there remains any reason for concern about possible fights or attacks, keep the animals separated whenever a responsible person is not there to supervise.

- Many rescue dogs exhibit a "honeymoon period" of good behavior for 2 to 4 weeks.

FYI: Zaronís motto is "People have choices, animals donít."

From Moira Gingery, Best DAWG Rescue (www.dawg-rescue.org):

It's good for people to know that they have to be qualified and may even be rejected in regard to a dog's adoption. Animals should not be treated as commodities or prizes.

Unlike some rescue organizations that take dogs from shelters and place them without regard to the dog's personality or health, or the adopter's qualifications or needs, reputable rescue organizations take dogs from shelters to take care of them while they find them appropriate homes, regardless of how long it takes.

These rescue groups provide as much medical treatment as they can afford. Most rescue organizations provide minimal medical services, such as spaying/neutering, testing for heartworms and tick-borne diseases, evaluating for general health, vaccinations, full blood analysis in select cases, and microchipping. Many dogs require specialty services, from heartworm to orthopedic treatment. Although most rescue organizations have arranged for discounted veterinarian services, often specialty services are not discounted. The expenses accrued to each rescued dog amounts often amounts to several hundred dollars or more, despite a nominal adoption fee.

Each dog can spend months in a rescue organization's care as they recover from kennel cough contracted at a shelter, receive necessary medical services, then go to adoption shows and home visits preceding adoption. Temperament-testing helps determine the most appropriate adoptive home. Dogs often go to several adoption shows, giving potential applicants time to interact. If an application is preliminarily approved, the dog is taken on a home visit; in fact, several home visits may occur for each dog.

Although the ultimate adopter is responsible for training, each rescue dog receives crate-, house-and/or basic training to focus the dog.

Hours of time, from handling at the show, to taking dogs on home visits, are provided by volunteers during their free time. In fact, most volunteers regularly give up a majority of their weekends to help dogs become adopted. These volunteers have years of experiencing in knowing how to match dogs and potential adopters. The objective is to take the time and make the best decision possible, rather than to place hastily and to the first people who show an interest in a dog. Rescue dogs travel a long road, and the last stop should be a home that is as thoroughly evaluated as the dog was upon entry into the rescue organization.

Choosing a Rescue by Lynne Keffer

http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_ChooseRescue.html

What is "Adoptable"?
Within the rescue community, debates continue over the meaning of "adoptable" Ė a word that often makes the difference between life and death.

http://ee.dcexaminer.com/content/e-edition/2006/01/21/2/24.pdf

Related article on Adoption Application

http://ee.dcexaminer.com/content/e-edition/2006/01/07/2/22.pdf

Fostering

http://www.gazette.net/stories/022206/enteent160923_31946.shtml

Temperament Testing

http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_Temperament.php

Aggression Assessment

http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_AgressionAssessment.php

Roadside Rescue Tips

http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_RescueRoadside.html

Disaster Rescue Training

http://standeyo.com/NEWS/06_Animals/060318.pets.in.diz.html

Shelter Dog Adoption Tips

http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_ShelterDogAdoption.php

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For more Dog Tips and Pet Tips, see http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/dog_tips.html

Last Updated: June 23, 2013 (LET) PawSupport