Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dog rescue

Dog Rescue - Do You Have What It Takes?

Volunteers are the unsung heroes of dog rescue. They put thousands of miles on their cars and vans transporting dogs, spend a lot of money that they are sometimes reimbursed for, but more likely are not, lose their hearts on a regular basis to abused, sick or injured dogs, senior dogs, puppies, three-legged, blind and deaf dogs; dogs that, were it not for these human guardian angels, would be euthanized unnecessarily or simply thrown away like garbage.

Every single one of these volunteers chooses rescue. Some volunteers make a deliberate choice to get involved. Still others adopt a dog from a rescue group and before they realize what's happened, they are spearheading the adoption activity in their community.
That's what happened to me 20 years ago when my family adopted our first ex-racing greyhound. Back then, the fact that ex-racers existed was little known outside of the dog racing industry. Less than a month after bringing our male, ex-racing greyhound, Comanche home, my husband and I were volunteering to transport dogs.
Five months after that, I had taken on a leadership role in coordinating all of the adoption activity between the race track in New Hampshire and the central and western areas of New York state. I held the title of Volunteer Director for 7 years.
You could say I have an insider's understanding of what it's like to be a volunteer for dog rescue organizations. Here are a few reasons why you might want to think about volunteering. Just to hold nothing back, I'll include one very important reason why you shouldn't volunteer.
If you've never had a dog, volunteering can be a rewarding way to learn about lots of different dogs or about one specific breed. Think you might want to learn about German Shepherds? Look for a German Shepherd rescue group in your area.
What about Dobermans, Pitt Bull Terriers, Jack Russells, or Boxers? For these and every breed of dog, there are breed specific rescue groups. Any one of them would welcome an extra pair of hands.
Before you contact any dog rescue groups, think about how much of your time you want to commit. If you've got a couple of hours over the weekend and like to drive, helping out with a transport might be a perfect use of your time. Regardless of when during the week you have time, be careful to set boundaries around your availability so that you don't end up living rescue 24 hours a day.
Are you dog-knowledgeable and is your yard fenced? You might want to think about providing foster care for a dog in need. This is a big time commitment. More importantly, it's an emotional commitment that will test your ability to love a dog on a short-term basis. This is also the biggest hole in any rescue group: the majority of groups can never have enough foster homes.
Are you dog-knowledgeable and unable to have a dog of your own? Find out if any of the dog rescue groups include obedience classes for their dogs waiting to be adopted. Maybe you can commit to taking one of their dogs to obedience.
There are other ways to volunteer if you don't want to have direct contact with the dogs. If you're a computer geek, offer to assist an organization with their web site or online promotional materials. What about offering to help set up and tear down for a public event where this group will be showcasing their dogs?
What about being a guardian angel for a dog that needs surgery before it can be adopted? Make a monetary donation that is within your budget and be supportive in a way that not everybody stops to think about.
That said, what about helping out with a fund raiser? Lack of funds is always a challenge for rescue groups and they are always looking out for ways to raise money.
You can see by this list, that there are lots of ways for you to become actively involved in dog rescue. If this is true, why would I caution you away from this type of volunteer work?
Quite simply, if you are one of those people afraid to have your heart broken not once, but more times than you'll be able to count, you may find this kind of volunteer work more than you bargained for. Dog rescue is not for the faint hearted. And, it will change you in ways you never imagined.
So, if you think that you're fine just the way you are and you never want to risk falling in love with God's creatures, stay away. Stay far away.
Kathy H Porter blogs about rescue dogs and how they transform our lives. Visit: to claim your free report for tips on how to change your behavior by what your dog can teach you.

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