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Classes



Week One
August 31, 1998 - September 4, 1998


Introduction to Rescue


Day One

Subject: CLASS: Introduction to Rescue
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 12:40:27 -0400
From: Vicki DeGruy - 72074.676@COMPUSERVE.COM

Good day, everyone!

Welcome to our second session of Rescue classes! My name is Vicki DeGruy and I've been involved in the rescue and placement of Chow Chows since 1985 when Wisconsin Chow Chow Rescue was founded. I've been the national Chow Chow club's rescue & welfare coordinator since 1990. I really didn't know a thing about rescue when I started and have learned a great deal from experience and the experiences of others. (I really could've used a class like this when I started!)

The sharing of experiences and knowledge is our primary goal with this class and this mailing list. There are a *lot* of people here, probably the biggest collection in one place in the country, with years of experience and we intend to let you pick their brains so that your rescue work will be more effective, more professional and more satisfying. As one of my mentors says: "Learn from the mistakes of others - you won't live long enough to make them all yourself!"

Before we get into our first class subject, I need to let you know what to expect, at least from me. Those of us in charge of each week's subject are meant to be *facilitators* rather than instructors. In other words, we are intended to make it easy for you to learn from *each other*, rather than our giving lectures. The class is a discussion with ideas and experiences to be shared for the benefit of others.

What I'll do in my session is give you a topic of discussion for the day or ask a question for you all to answer. I'll help keep the discussion on track and put in my 2 cents when appropriate but I'm really counting on the experienced people here to fully participate and share their knowledge. We are to be teaching each other rather than my simply teaching you.

We want to keep the sessions civil and avoid flames. Rescue deeply involves and affects our emotions and we each have opinions that we feel very strongly about, sometimes so strongly that it's hard to accept that anyone might feel differently and yet still, for their particular situation, be right. Topics involving strong emotions and opinions are going to pop up and while I don't want to avoid controversy, I would like to avoid conceptual arguments that take time away from those who've come here to learn the basics of rescue work. I think debates of that sort would be better served on the mailing list itself and that's where I'll send you if I think the argument is becoming a distraction.

Most of us have responsibilities that will interfere with timely replies to questions and discussions during the class. My schedule is such that I won't be able to monitor and guide the session 24 hours a day. I mention this so you'll know to have patience if a question you've posted doesn't get answered right away. The list has members in all time zones so there's bound to be a lag in replies and also some problems with replies "crossing in the mail". I don't think this is going to much of a problem as long as everyone understands and has patience with each other.

One last thing before we get on with the lessons.....I would appreciate it *very* much if each of you would sign your posts with your full name, the name of your organization (if you're part of one) and the breed/type of animal it serves. Many rescue procedures are specific to the breed or type of organization people belong to. People's opinions are also often specific to the breed they rescue. There are a lot of new people on the list who've signed up just for the classes and don't know the regulars here like I do. Putting this information in your signature will help a lot toward our getting to know one another and to understand where we're coming from in our thinking.

Okay....are you ready? Let's go!!


Our first week's session is "An Introduction To Rescue". Here we'll talk about what rescue is, why we do it and how to get started on the right foot.

My first Chow was 5 years old when I adopted him in 1980 from a family who was giving him up. I'd never heard of "rescue" and didn't think of this as such; I just wanted a Chow and he happened to be in the right place at the right time. A couple years later, I read a letter in Dog World magazine by someone who was involved in Chow rescue. I remember thinking this was something I might like to do but I had no idea what was involved. The thought must've lit up a neon sign on top of my house because the phone started ringing shortly after! An animal shelter called to ask if I could take a Chow off their hands. Well, uh, sure, why not....

That was the spring of 1985 and the dog was "Dasha". Like my first Chow, she was 5 years old at the time and nearly as wonderful. She was placed with a nice couple that, unfortunately, brought her back to me a year later when they had their first child and decided a dog was too much. Perhaps it was fate (something that seems to play a big part in rescue) because Dasha went next into the home where she not only lived out a long life as a cherished companion, she saved her mistress' life one day.

Dasha showed me what a difference rescue can make to the dogs it saves and to the people who love them. This probably best explains why I'm still involved, through lots of ups and downs, 13 years later - *rescue makes a difference*, even if it's only one dog at a time.

Looking back on those early years, I learned rescue pretty much by trial and error - I really didn't know what I was doing when I started. I learned that good intentions aren't enough to make a rescue successful and happy endings alone aren't enough to keep you going when things get hard. In short, there's a lot I know now that I wish I knew then.

So....today's question for discussion is:

What do you recommend that people starting out in rescue do first? What kind of planning is important before taking on their first rescued dog?


Looking forward to your thoughts,

Vicki DeGruy, Wisconsin Chow Chow Rescue
72074.676@compuserve.com


Subject: Re: CLASS: Introduction to Rescue - First Things First
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 14:21:00 EDT
From: Janine Peters - NenePeters@AOL.COM

In a message dated 8/30/98 1:29:56 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
72074.676@COMPUSERVE.COM writes:

<< - set limits; allow ample time for yourself, your family & your own dogs. >>

Now, that is the easiest to say and the hardest to do! It seems that things just creep up on you if you are not careful! But it is the most important to at least give a good try at doing!!! If you burn yourself or your family out, then you cannot help any of the dogs that need you!

Janine Peters
Louisiana
Officially Basenji, but will work with most breeds if needed.
(see, I can't set limits!)


Subject: CLASS: Introduction to Rescue - First Things First
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 13:25:48 -0400
From: Vicki DeGruy - 72074.676@COMPUSERVE.COM

Here are some of the points that were made in our last session of Introduction to Rescue. Feel free to add to the list or elaborate on them.

When starting a rescue, it's important to....

1) Ask yourself -

  • do I have the time, money & facilities necessary?
  • am I willing to be often inconvenienced?
  • will my family participate or at least support it?
  • am I able to foster dogs?
  • would I rather work on my own or with an already established group?
  • do I have adequate knowledge of my breed and its personality traits?
  • do I really *want* to do this with all my heart??
2) Plan ahead -
  • where/how will you house the foster dogs?
  • check local regulations - is it legal for you to rescue & foster?
  • how will people contact you?
  • find a mentor to guide and counsel you
  • find an understanding veterinarian
  • recruit volunteers
  • establish basic procedures for screening dogs & adoptive homes
  • formulate fundraising plans
3) Advice from those who've "been there" -
  • start small, one or two dogs. It is far easier to expand than to cut back.
  • accept that you won't be able to save every dog.
  • recognize that "rescue" is as much about education and solving people's problems with their dogs as it is about fostering.
  • volunteers who cannot foster can still be highly valuable to a rescue program or shelter
  • set limits; allow ample time for yourself, your family & your own dogs.

Take care,
Vicki DeGruy, Wisconsin Chow Chow Rescue
72074.676@compuserve.com


Subject: CLASS: Questions and my answers
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 14:39:28 -0400
From: crabtree - jakekc@INFINET.COM

What do you recommend that people starting out in rescue do first?

  1. Be sure that your skills in evaluating dogs is adequate.
  2. Know that foster homes are few and far between. Build a list of potential foster homes and keep in touch.
Decide what breed or breeds you will rescue, whether or not you will "refer" certain dogs to club rescue orgs, and be absolutely sure that you will take the time needed to place the dogs into a good situation.

What kind of planning is important before taking on their first rescued dog?

Take into consideration the animals you have and decide what "terms" you will live with. Will you bring a sick animal home? What about a dog that is "unknown"? How about the cat situation? Lots of dogs are cat aggressive.

Do you have a kennel facility? If so, do you feel that will "foster" the dog?

I feel that being in the home is a very important part of evaluation. How can you place a dog into a home without knowing what skills the dog possesses?

Just a few of my thoughts.

Jenny Crabtree
Australian Cattle Dog Rescue/OH


Subject: Re: CLASS: First things First
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 20:32:34 -0400
From: "JENNIFER E. FREY" - jenfrey@WELCHLINK.WELCH.JHU.EDU

Being relatively new to rescue (not even a year) the hardest thing for me to have to learn is that I or even we as a group can't save them all...

we will all have to let one go at some point. Having to so no I can't help you is probably the hardest thing to do...

The next thing to learn is save maybe just a little bit of time for yourself, because if you can't take care of yourself how can you care for the dogs...

Jen Frey Chesapeak Bay Ret. Relief and Rescue
MC SPCA (MD)
jenfrey@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu


Subject: CLASS: What kind of planning....
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 23:23:29 EDT
From: Marsha Ardoin - MArdoin@AOL.COM

Have a place, not in your home around your other pets, to be used to house dogs coming in from shelters. I keep them there 14 days before I will introduce them into the areas with the other dogs. I have had many a distemper dog look perfectly healthy at the time of pick up and be sick in a few hours. This area should be air conditioned/heated for the comfort of the dog. I use a portable building with a t.v. there for company and a monitor so that I can see and hear the dog from inside my home. I hate to separate them this way but it is for the safety of all....

Marsha Ardoin
Maltese
MArdoin@aol.com


Subject: CLASS: What kind of planning...
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 19:25:10 -0700
From: sanya - sanya@LIPS.COM

What kind of planning is important before taking on their first rescued dog?

Plan on placements falling through and be prepared to take back rescue dogs. Know that they can come back at any time and the timing is never good, so always keep space available for returned dogs. A rescue friend of mine was asked to take a dog back after 7 years of placement...it can happen with best of homes. When you rescue a dog, you have a responsibility to remain committed to him for his lifetime, even though he's not physically with you.

Sanya Dunn
sanya@lips.com
Rescue individual - mostly terriers


Subject: Re: CLASS: First things First
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 22:33:54 -0400
From: Judy Marion - iluvdogs@HUSKYNET.COM

Being relatively new to rescue (not even a year) the hardest thing for me to have to learn is that I or even we as a group can't save them all...

Jen Frey, Chesapeak Bay Ret. Relief and Rescue
MC SPCA (MD)

Hello,
I am your neighbor in MC MD and I do Rottweiler Rescue. I have for the last 15 years or so. Yes that is the hardest thing and after all this time it is still hard. I still cannot ever say no to any Rottie puppy. I probably never will. The older ones I can say no to much easier. The babies for some reason, I feel the incredible need in my heart to save them.

Judy

NoVa Rottweiler Rescue League, Inc/MD,DC,VA
http://waikaloa.huskynet.com/rottirescue/rescue.htm
find out how you can save a life:
http://waikaloa.huskynet.com/rottirescue/ror.htm
"you only have one day left" I heard the shelter worker say. Does this mean I get a second chance? Am I going home today?


Subject: Re: CLASS: What kind of planning...
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 20:30:01 -0700
From: KMayer - rottlover@SYSPAC.COM

sanya wrote:
What kind of planning is important before taking on their first rescued dog?
Plan on placements falling through and be prepared to take back rescue dogs.

I've had to learn that most of the people who inquire about adopting are not sincere enough to actually complete an adoption application.

Personally, with two female rotts of my own plus an elderly male gsd/lab, I've had to plan on foster dogs not getting along with at least one of my dogs and have some way to keep them separated. I have a dog run in the backyard, but in the summer here it's way too hot to keep a dog outside.

Karen Mayer - Mesa, AZ - rottlover@syspac.com
Rottweiler Rescue
http://www.rottlover.com/rescue


Subject: CLASS: starting out in rescue
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 23:00:58 -0500
From: Dixie Davis - dixie@FLASH.NET

What do you recommend that people starting out in rescue do first?
What kind of planning is important before taking on their first rescued dog?

Well, some people are planners, some aren't. I plan some things, not others.

Before you start out, make sure you'll be able to commit to extra dogs for weeks or even months. Make sure you have room for them, both physical and emotional/mental space. Try to find backup people if you want to leave for a weekend.

I have wood floors, and I love my wood floors. Already, my floors have been stained twice by rescue dogs. Make sure you're willing to swallow the risk and loss.

You should have some sort of plan of how you're going to find homes for them.

Financial:

How much can you afford to spend each month? how much can you afford to spend per dog? How long can you go between outlay and reimbursement? (I have put $1000 into my rescue dogs in the past month, and gotten $125 back so far. I'm *hoping* to get more shortly. But this ain't cheap, folks.) Along these lines, what conditions will you treat? Will you treat for heartworms? Will you work with a dog that needs some time and work because of temperament/training problems? The answer doesn't have to be the same for every dog. You can invest more in some dogs than others. But you need to have an idea as to how much you can afford to spend on a dog.
Time/Commitment:
How many dogs can you take care of/keep in your house/yard? Do you have friends or know people who might agree to foster a dog or two? Are you prepared to take back a dog at any time, for any reason?
Emotional:
You will almost certainly, at some point, have to put a dog down. Either because the vet bill will run too much, or because it's a fear biter, or whatever. The dog will look at you with happy eyes and tell you it wants to live, and you're going to have to make the decision to put it down. It hurts like hell.
Legal/liability:
You run a legal risk when you do rescue. If a dog you adopt out bites someone, you could be held partially liable, *especially if the dog has a history of any biting or aggression whatsoever*. This means you have to be careful in your placements, both careful of the dog and of the people you're adopting out to.
"Marketing":
How will you find prospective homes? How will you advertise/get the word out about your dogs?
Limits:
Will you take in mixes? more than one breed? How will you decide what to take in and what not to? I do corgi rescue, and take in mixes. Right now I have 2 mixes, one fear aggressive corgi, and 2 non-corgis that were dumped at my parents. I don't have an adoptable full-blooded corgi in the bunch. Mixes are much harder to find homes for.

Dixie Davis
Austin, TX
Corgi rescue, some Great Dane rescue


Subject: Re: CLASS: First things First
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 01:06:50 -0400
From: Pam Rudd - pamrudd@GATEWAY.NET

Hi all,

I'm an old hand at rescuing; I've been dragging home strays since I was a child. I've never been associated with breed rescue or any pet organization before, just kinda muddled through on my own. I've had cats and dogs, mixed and pure. I've never had anymore difficulty adopting out a mixed breed then a purebreed.

The greatest advice I can offer is to never take on a cat or dog you're not willing to keep for the rest of its life. One of my cats is a stray I never could place.

I'm forging a relationship with the Australain Shepherd rescue folks, and have offered my services as a foster home. I'm here to learn.

Pam Rudd
SC


Subject: CLASS: starting out in rescue
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 00:38:10 -0500
From: "Virginia M. Elliott" - vmewlw@ntws.net

One of the biggest errors I made when I started was not doing my homework on the odds. The odds of having a sick dog in a very healthy looking rescue. This was a lesson I've learned the hard way.

The odds are that a young puppy in the pound will be exposed to parvo and/or distemper before you can get it out. Don't even look at them until you have more experience cause it breaks your heart to have to euth. a puppy after loving it for 3 weeks.

The odds are that you are going to bring home something that could make your own dogs very sick. Before you go to your first shelter or bring home your first dog make sure your own dogs are well vaccinated and don't forget Bordatella. Hearing your baby cough all night for weeks is a real guilt trip.

The odds are one of your rescue dogs that you thought trustworthy will suddenly flip out over nothing and injure or kill another dog. Yes, I said "not to me" also. It happens and all you can do is to be reasonably careful and please crate or separate dogs if you are not with them.

The odds are you are going to bite off more than you can handle at one time or another. Please remember that you aren't in this alone. There are many of us out here in rescue and we'll help if you ask us.

Virginia Elliott
Paradise, TX
Pekingese and all small dogs
vmewlw@ntws.net


Subject: Re: CLASS: What kind of planning....
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 00:59:53 -0500
From: "Virginia M. Elliott" - vmewlw@ntws.net

I have a question.
Do you limit your intake to one dog at a time? How are others coping with quarantine?

I have a travel trailer that I use for quarantine but if I stick to the quarantine every dog routine our vet recommends I can only take in one dog every 3 weeks. He says older dogs are not likely to have parvo and our experience here has been mostly with distemper, kennel cough and the parasites.

Our vet recommends each dog to be kept in a crate or pen that is at least 4 feet from another dogs crate or pen. Nothing from one dog can touch another dog without being disinfected. Dogs are to be walked on a leash in their own spot. Feed and care for healthy dogs first then quarantine dogs. Do not have air blowing from one dog to another. I wish for these facilities.

Virginia Elliott
Paradise, TX
Pekingese and all small dogs
vmewlw@ntws.net


Subject: Re: CLASS: First things First
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 01:22:56 -0500
From: Beverly Coate - bcoate@CWIS.NET

I agree with Pam here. In 35 years, I can't remember a time we didn't have at least one stray here. Most Mothers complained when the dogs followed the kids home from school. Here it was the other way around.

I am not officially affiliated with any rescue association either but over the years have place many. To be honest I didn't even know there were organized rescue associations until I got on the internet and the Pyr-L list.

I don't ever remember getting a dog that I even worried about it being to aggressive with people except one male Pyrenees a few years ago. I never could trust him around my husband so he lived his life in a kennel until I found a single lady he took up with. He is still with her and they get along fine.

Again I agree with Pam, an animal never comes here wondering if it will have a home next week or next year.

Beverly Coate
C&C Farms Stigler Oklahoma USA
bcoate@cwis.net


Day One - Part 2







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