The Rescue Journey
Posted at 12:23PM - Comments: (6)
In my “editor’s note” in the July issue, I mentioned that I recently got to experience the power of a well-organized, energized rescue group. I was at a loss as to how to best help Buddy, a very handsome but very boisterous young hound, who had been in my local shelter for going on two months without finding a home – and whose behavior was deteriorating by the day. His best outlet for his frustration at being locked in a kennel day after day was to loudly bark (as only a hound can, WAAOOO, WAAOO!) every time he saw or heard a person in the kennel, and to leap wildly at his kennel door as anyone approached. This made him not so appealing to would-be adopters. No matter that once you took him outside and let him run around a bit, he was a sweet, affectionate, smart guy. People have a hard time seeing past that WAAOO!
About a year ago, I had reached out to this hound rescue group, the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue, on behalf of another hound my shelter had trouble placing. She was a gorgeous Black and Tan Coonhound, and I found the rescue group by googling for rescues for her breed. Just before we were about to transport her to the rescue, however, an adopter showed up at the shelter and she found a home after all. So, despite the fact that Buddy the Loud Hound was a Treeing Walker Coonhound, as week after week dragged by – and I saw the shelter staff increasingly grow frustrated with Buddy’s behavior – I reached out to the group again. Could they help with a non-Black and Tan?
To my delight, they said yes – and within a week, Buddy was transported by a chain of volunteers over a thousand miles to an experienced hound foster home. And within 2-3 more weeks, the group had found him a PERFECT home with an experienced hound family. (And both the foster family and his adoptive family found him to be a well-mannered, calm, sweet dog – not at all like his frustrated, stressed self at the shelter.)
Here’s the hitch: Once you discover the power of a good rescue group, it’s addictive. When you see the photos of a once-threatened dog, now a beloved and well-adjusted member of a healthy family, you think, I want to do this again! You find yourself bidding on or donating items for a fundraising auction. Or, like me this morning, you find yourself signing up for a leg in another journey, transporting some lucky hound from a shelter to a new life in a home. Or, you may jump in with both feet and raise your hand (metaphorically) to volunteer to foster a dog until the perfect home can be found for him. (I’ve done that a bunch of times, but not yet for a hound; my home is not well set-up for large or potentially predatory dog. I have two cats and three chickens and not super-high fences.)
If you find a good rescue group, consider giving it a whirl. It’s a great feeling. And if you don’t know how to recognize a good group from the ones that can drain you, emotionally and financially, stand by: Our September issue will contain a great feature on how to identify a good rescue from the bad ones.