Rescue... or not?

You know me.  I'm all in for rescuing dogs and help them find a forever home.  I can't stand seeing dogs in shelters, having nobody to love them and cuddle with them and show them that life can be wonderful with a good human by your side.

I'm such an advocate for the cause that i insisted when it came to Bree's adoption.

Which raised an interesting question.  Are we being fooled when adopting a doggie?  Do previous owners or shelters workers tell us the truth about the dog or are they so eager to find a home that they omit to tell important facts about that particular dog?

Don't throw rocks at me yet.  Bree is our first adopted anipal and we may have been the unfortunate ones.  We did not adopt via a shelter but via owners.  And they might have "forgotten" to tell us that Bree was a biter, in order to get rid of her as soon as possible AND without having to deal with the dreadful decision, put her down or not...  Better leave that decision to someone else, right?

Bree is my humans' 10th or 11th dog.  They are very good at training and never had any problems with their dogs, big or small.  But Bree is in a class of her own...

She is beautiful, no doubt about it.  She already shares a bond with mum and listens to her most of the time.  She is playful, funny, potty trained, she sleeps in her crate.  80% of the time, she is a great dog.  The only problem is that she bites.  A lot.

Of course, the owners didn't tell us about it.  Just said that she "tried" once or twice to bite the human baby...  We suspect that she did, and more often than once or twice...  Her behavior shows that she cannot deal with discipline, with dominant dog or human, except mum.  It's not a breed characteristic, it's a behavior problem.

The point is, when you adopt, are you being told the truth?

I know, there are no bad dogs, just bad humans, i'm the first one to say it loud and clear.  I believe that you can rehabilitate almost any doggie with love and patience.  But if we were told the truth about those dogs we want to rescue, maybe it would be a lot easier on them and on the new owners.

We won't get rid of Bree.  Not yet.  We will try our best to show her that biting is not an option and that she needs to behave in order to have fun and live a wonderful life with us.  She is a lucky girl and we hope that she'll understand that we kind of saved her life.  But what if she bites someone while on the road?  What if the relation between us two gets worst?  What if i hurt her, or worse...?  What if we can't help her?

I always loved meeting new friends and i never had any problem interacting with other dogs but what if i change my mind and see other dogs as threats because of Bree?

Rescuing is a big decision.  It changes the family dynamics and we have to be prepared for that.  I know that finding new homes for these anipals is very important but please, please, tell us the truth!  Like it or not, some dogs cannot be rescued...  Sad but true.

What's your opinion? I would really like to know.  Did you have a bad experience rescuing a dog or know someone who did?  Do you feel you had all the informations needed?  Do you agree that all dogs can't be saved or do you believe that we can save them all, no matter what?  And what would you do if your rescued was not the dog you thought it was?

Rescuing, besides being a gesture of love, is also a moral question.  We may be facing a behavior that will shake our values and beliefs.  Are you prepared for that?


  1. Poor Lulu, you look really discouraged.

    I have a little story for you.

    Once I adopted a little Yorkshire named Benji, he was 5 years old. The lady who put him up for adoption told me that SHE was sick.

    She didn’t tell me how Benji could be annoying most of the time.

    Benji was perfect as long as he was in public, outside, or in the stores.

    He also accepted my cat very well.

    BUT at home, with humans, it was something else.

    He could not stand it if humans were talking for few minutes without talking to him.

    He would then start to bark.

    We were 6 people living together : 2 adults and 4 teen-agers.

    He sure barked a lot and got on everybody’s nerves.

    During the night he would go and pee on the hallway carpet. (I didn’t have a crate, it was my first dog)

    And even once, as I was gone 3 days on holidays, he was so upset that he peed (and pooped) on someone’s bed.

    I decided right then that he had to go.

    Happily, I knew an old couple who were retired and were always at home.

    They took him and talked to him all the time, so he finally was happy and never caused any problems to them.

    I guess that sometimes, it’s not easy to find the right people for dogs that were not trained properly when they were young.

    Good luck with your sisfur, but I’m not sure it was a good decision.

    Imagine life in the van with a biting dog ! Phew !

    1. Hi MarieBo,

      we still don't know if it's a good decision or not. Bree is not that bad, she is a joyful bundle of energy, she's fun, happy, ... she just bites, which is a big problem in itself, i know. And the question is, are we willing to keep a biter or not because "bites one, will do it again..." as dad says...
      we are thinking about it, we'll see

  2. Great post and question. Having fostered a number of dogs, I know I've always been brutally honest with the potential parents. I'd rather they say no then bring a dog back. But we've also adopted 3 dogs from various rescues and I know we didn't have the full picture. Our latest adoptee, Maggie, who was rescued from a breeding farm, had severe fear issues. She as frozen for almost 2 months, wouldn't eat for several days, wouldn't leave the house, scared to death of dad. It was painful. We really questioned whether this was the right place for her - she was so fearful of men, we thought maybe she should be in a home with females. Luckily we worked with our trainer to help her get over those fears and I'm happy to say she is one happy dog today and has turned into the little lab princess we expected. Yes, she still has some issues and she always keeps an eye on dad so she knows where he is, but it has been a tough 8 months. If we had know of the extent of her fear issues, I'm not sure we would have adopted her, or at least I may have prepared myself better for it.

    It's a tough situation - you want the dogs to find homes but I know its true that some behavior issues don't manifest right away and some may be driven by the current situation and how the dog is being treated. Best of luck with little Bree. Hopefully with time she settle into her skin and appreciate her new home.

    1. Hi! Is it a tough situation and the question is not should we keep her or not, but rather if all dogs are "worth" saving? I don't mean to be cruel but it is a question that need to be address, as so many thinks that we save them, no matter what, no matter the cost, financial or emotional or even psychlogical, if you have another dog involved and the situation may cause him or her to become agressive towards other doggies.
      We want to put all the time and efforts required to help Bree, but not if it means that I, Lulu, will start behaving differently because of her behavior.
      We also have to think long term because of our future traveling. Bringing Bree on the road would be a challenge in itself if she doesn't behave correctly with me and with others.
      I know it's not a win-win situation. We'll see what we can do about it.
      But the main goal writing this post wasn't really about Bree, but about the fondamental question of saving, no matter what. Like i said, sad but true, we can't save them all, like it or not... There will always be dogs that will be put down, there are too many of them on our planet. We traveled a bit and we saw those dogs in streets of Mexico or other city in South America, North America, Europe, ... and no, humans won't be able to save them. Sadly, their faith is already written...
      It is a game we'll loose, even if we tri very very hard...

    2. I get is a tough question. We had a foster once who started to become aggressive after a week or so. We had two other dogs in the household - dogs that we'd had for years and were very well behaved. Bringing this dog in, even though just as a foster, was becoming disruptive to our peaceful household and we really didn't have the time to work with him. We ended up returning him to the rescue organization so he could be fostered in a better situation. It was hard, even though we'd only had him a few weeks, you become attached and feel like you've let them down. Funny you mention dogs in Mexico...we just posted a guest post on our blog about a family who did exactly that - rescued a dog from Mexico!

    3. i'll go read it! Thanks for the link!

  3. Hmmm. Lots to think bout, Lulu. We have just had a s experience, in that the rescue organisation did not tell us about tail chasing behaviour in our English Bull Terrier rescue. This can be a very serious problem in Bullies, and when we discovered it on his second or third day home last September we were devastated, as we had lost our last beautiful Bullie to a related neurological disorder several months earlier. We fell in love with our boy, though, as he's such a happy boy, but when the rescue organisation sent around a volunteer for the follow-up visit, we told them in no uncertain terms that it is unacceptable for the group not to be completely honest with

  4. Sorry, my ipad is acting up. We told them it is so unfair to the dogs and people taking them on not to be completely honest as in the end both suffer. They were relieved that we decided to keep him, but of course we are in love with him now so what else can we do? Rescue groups MUST be truthful about problems, for the sake of the dogs. Best of luck with Bree.

    1. I so agree with you! Often, the problem is not really the dog itself, it's the lack of info when rescuing.
      We are falling in love with Bree, she's getting better everyday and we will keep her of course, even tho we know we'll have a lot of work to do to help her become a great dog!