This blog would never have existed if it has not been for our sweet dear Biscuit. He changed our lives and he brought us our beloved Victory, who we absolutely adore, as well. Doug and I cannot imagine our lives without a furry family member, and we will always choose to rescue a dog in honor of Biscuit and Victory. However and importantly, we hope to not be in the position to rescue another dog for quite some time — we absolutely love our sweet Victory and we cannot ever imagine life without her. Alex and Victory love each other, too, and I am so grateful that Alex gets to grow up with Victory! Below are some ideas and considerations for those of you looking to possibly adopt a dog who truly needs a home. I am also excited to share my long-term photography project, inspired by Biscuit, on the topic of dog rescue, hopefully in the near future. The revisions are finally close to completion!
Start looking on Instagram or online: There are thousands of stray and abandoned dogs all over the country that need homes. Looking at rescue organizations on Instagram or online will help provide a sense of the landscape of the rescue dogs available for adoption. If you see some dogs you are interested in, you can usually meet them in person at regular adoption events.
Go straight to a shelter: There are shelters all over the country where many dogs are available for adoption. Shelters are usually the only open-admission facility, so space can be at a premium for these dogs. As a result, some of these dogs are facing being euthanized, so remember that time is of the essence for these dogs.
Go straight to a rescue: There are also many dog rescue organizations all over the country. There are breed specific dog rescues as well all over the country, especially if you have your heart set on a particular breed of dog.
Do not be swayed by the “cutest” dogs: Many times some of the more “sad” looking dogs just need to get cleaned up with a good bath and grooming along with receiving some much needed love. Also, a lot of these dogs are in cages for the first time in their lives. Thus, it is important to keep this in mind. It also takes a while for these dogs to really come out of their shells. This was the case for both Biscuit and Victory. Once they knew they were in a safe environment, they both blossomed physically and emotionally. Now, Victory and Alex literally run our household! Doug and I are constantly providing ‘cherub care and support!’
Ask Questions: When you are contemplating adopting a rescue dog, ask the shelter/rescue many questions. For example, Are they good on a leash? How do they respond to children? How do they respond to strangers? Do they enjoy being petted? How do they react to other dogs? Do they like to play? Do they show any aggressive behavior(s)? Do they respond differently to men versus women? Ask anything that you believe is important for you to know. Of course, after asking your questions, if you are interested, it is best to meet the potential rescue dog in person to see how you feel and connect with the dog. Many times, people have told me that they just felt a connection with a particular rescue dog and knew that the particular rescue dog was meant to be adopted by them. Or, alternatively, others have told me that a particular rescue dog reminded them of another dog they lost. It is all very interesting how animals come into our lives.
Consider a senior dog: Puppies, like babies, are a lot of work! Older dogs have benefits because they are calmer and usually potty trained and socialized, depending upon the dog. Many older dogs need homes and need people to take a chance on them. Our beloved Biscuit was an older rescue dog, likely older than what we were told, but we had the best two-and-a-half years with him, and we would never trade our time with Biscuit for anything.
Prepare to sell yourself: Rescue organizations, in particular, will want to know your living situation: Who lives with you, and how old are they? They will want to know your dog history, and if you have one, they may want to speak to your vet. They will call references and ask if you have a plan to walk the dog while you work. They are looking to see that you are not a fair-weather dog parent. A good way to convey that you are not is to ask a lot questions. Later there will likely be a home visit, at which point the rescue group will want to know how you will treat your new dog by asking you questions and providing possible scenarios to gauge your responses.
Prepare for your new rescue dog: It is important that you find a good vet that you like and trust; purchase a leash and the requisite dog gear for your new furry family member; consider pet insurance; register your new rescue dog with your local health department/government agency; and most of all, get ready for your life to change in a wonderful way! You will save a dog’s life and in turn, your life will be equally enriched.
Most of all, I hope, that if you are interested in getting a dog, that you consider dog rescue! Our sweet Victory and Alex are pictured together below!