A commenter left this comment on my post about Pit Bulls. I was going to reply to it, but I feel it deserves a whole post aaaalllll by itself.
“Jescargill- contrary to your statement rescues do not “sell” dogs. they charge an adoption fee that is used toward their organization continuing to help other dogs. One “bait dog” or other dog with medical problems can cost upwards of $3000 to treat, but you can’t ask a person to pay that to adopt the dog. Or are you just anti rescue???.”
(From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
v. sold (sld), sell·ing, sells
1. To exchange or deliver for money or its equivalent.
Which means that, unless you are giving away the dog for free (gifting) or giving the dog away for a service (trading) you are, by necessity, selling the dog.
Rescues exchange dogs for money. This is selling – and I don’t have a problem with this. Second- or third-hand dogs make just fine pets, 99% of the time. But adoption organizations (I hesitate to call most of them “rescues” because most of their dogs are simply traded in dogs, either for a “model” that better fits the family’s lifestyle, the dog is too much trouble because of aggression or other behavior issues, or because they can’t afford to keep a dog around anymore.
Unless you pulled the dog from a burning building or a river, it wasn’t “rescued” from anything other than intentional euthanasia.) have to weigh the cost of taking on medically needy dogs (like the $3000 repair on a dog that was hit by a car, etc) versus their overall operating cost and adoption rate.
It’s simple economics. No matter how pure your intentions, you are always subject to economics. Because we don’t actually have a pet overpopulation problem (this effect isn’t as obvious in the south and in economically disadvantaged areas, of course), this means that you have to take into account what the public wants in a second-hand dog. The ones that you can’t “sell” are the ones that stay in shelters for 10 years or are euthanized.
Rescue organizations like Stray Rescue have rainy-day funds (the Stracks fund in this case) that they fill with donations, rather than depending on their average adoption fee. This is how they are able to reconcile the conflict between high overhead and adoption rates. This is a perfectly acceptable methodology.Other rescues choose only to take on dogs that they know they can turn over – small and fluffies, puppies, that sort of thing.
There are several in my area that use this stratagem. They adopt out a lot of dogs. Organizations that choose to take on hard-case, high overhead dogs without an emergency fund face the possibility of not being able to stay functional because of the lack of funds, or alternatively being able to adopt out very few dogs.
I guess it depends on your ethic what you decide is important – adopting out a lot of dogs, or adopting out dogs you see as “more worthy” because of their hard case. As a trainer, my ethic has always been trying to adopt out a high volume of dogs that will STAY in their homes. This would mean investing in training for these dogs and trying to work dogs that naturally will be easygoing in a home environment.
I’m a trainer that has worked with a large volume of aggressive or otherwise unsuitable dogs – mostly because myself and my master trainer are the only ones in the area that will.
I appreciate the hard-case dogs. But I know too just how rare it is for people to be willing to work it out, and how unsuited most are for the task – and for the majority of people, it’s unfair to expect that of them. They aren’t dog people; they just want a pet. I am a realist. If “rescue” wants to be effective, they need to get off their moral highground and be realistic too.
I’m sure a gearhead would be absolutely appalled that I’ve left my check engine light on for a week without following up on it (which I have), and appalled that I wash my car about . . . oh once a year. I give it good gas and change its oil and get new tires for it, though, but it’s full of stock parts and I try not to spend money on it. As a Dog Person (somebody really committed to dogs and dog ethic, training, etc), I cringe when non-dog people (read – regular pet owners) feed their dogs Purina and never take them to training.
But realistically, I’ve come to accept that my onus is to try and show people the joy of training and caring for their dog, not shame them for not being as invested in it as I am. I give a lot of small advice freely to try and improve peoples’ lives and their dogs’ lives. Dogs are much more important now than they ever have been, so the ethic is changing for the better – after all, 20 years ago nobody had inside dogs in Oklahoma.
So no. I am not anti-rescue.I am, however, against the moralizing, finger-wagging, and holier-than-thou attitudes of rescues whose priorities are hard-case dogs and their sad narrative without ever considering the human equation. Randy Grim’s Stray Rescue is a beautiful example of an organization that considers both. It’s possible – but raging against reality and shaming tactics – “Are you just anti-rescue???” won’t accomplish a damned thing other than make me reject every rescue that engages in those tactics – and deprive them of a potentially valuable resource in my training.
I’ll just work with the crappy hard-case dogs they foist off on inappropriate people after they come home.
At least the regular “average pet owner” adopters will listen because they don’t have a giant ego plugging their ears.