Nobody’s Perfekt Dogs Advocates Second Chances
“My dog’s a rescue.”
Sitting through many hours of adoption showings at the local pet supply stores, I hear, “My dog’s a rescue” a lot. Most of the time, it isn’t a conversation starter, but more like the equivalent of, “Sorry, I have no change” when you encounter a person looking for a handout on the corner.
Occasionally I will have the opportunity to ask where the person got his dog. A woman with an unneutered male dog in tow said she adopted it from the local shelter . . . yeah, right. Another family got their pure bred “rescue” dog from a breeder who gave them a discount because it was the last puppy . . . OK. I’ll hear stories about dogs being thrown out of cars or taken from an abusive neighbor’s yard. Then there are the dogs people adopted from a shelter or rescue group like ours, Nobody’s Perfekt Dogs.
The definition of “rescue” is subjective (sometimes too subjective). When we started our dog rescue group, we had to define what “rescue” meant for us. We had limited resources (people and financial), so we needed to keep our focus very narrow. We made the decision to be a “rescue of last resort” for shelter dogs. Due to our limitations, we only focus on one or two local shelters. We typically only take dogs “from the back,” the dogs that are unable to pass the shelter’s temperament testing and that no other rescue group will take (which unfortunately seem to be synonymous).
We will also pull dogs from the adoption galleries that have been in the shelter too long, have medical needs that require intervention, or don’t “show well” in the kennel. All our dogs are on, or destined to be on, the shelter’s euthanasia list.
A few of the dogs with behavioral issues need to go to homes with experienced dog owners. However, we have found that the overwhelming majority of the “problem dogs” we pull become totally different once they leave the shelter. We have taken dogs from the vicious ward or those that were unresponsive to human interaction, afraid and hopeless in their kennels. Within a few minutes away from the shelter on the ride to their new foster home, they became the sweetest, friendliest dogs—tails wagging, snuggling in our laps, giving us kisses—with zero effort on our part, other than to just give them a chance.
I want to close with a couple of challenges. To those families looking for a new pet, I encourage you to start with your local shelter. Dogs bond very strongly with the first people that take them directly from the shelter. Don’t pass over that dog in the kennel that may not greet you at the kennel door with its tail wagging. The chances are excellent that dog will be the greatest, sweetest, loving dog as soon as you get it home. It will remember, for a lifetime, who rescued it.
To our fellow rescue groups that pull dogs from the local shelters, I encourage them to take a chance on the dogs “in the back” that are so terrified and traumatized from being dumped by people they once trusted. Leave the truly challenging dogs for groups like us to pull, not the ones that just needed a few minutes away from the shelter.
Rick Hollander is the founding director of Nobody’s Perfekt Dogs, a new shelter-rescue foster home organization in the San Leandro/Hayward area. Visit NobodysPerfektDogs.org to learn more about the rescue and to meet all the current adoptable animals.