Thursday, May 22, 2014

Animal Rescue Experience

Let me just start off by saying, I am happy there are animal rescues. I'm happy there are people out there who devote their time protecting animals that can't easily survive without human accompaniment. I only wish they understood these animals better and could match the specific dogs' needs with the human applicants' needs to maximize the happiness of both (this statement is based solely on the experience I had with a select few rescues/shelters).

Before we got Higgs I did a lot of research to determine the best dog for us. Here is our list of needs:
• Medium sized
• Moderate energy
• Good with livestock (a puppy that we can raise with chickens)
• Double coat for cold winters
• Guardian
• Hiking companion and possibly a water dog

Initially, we planned to keep our dogs as outside only dogs. The plan was, at any given time we'd have 2–3 dogs in the yard. They would have an insulated doghouse and access to the entire backyard. I see no problem with this at all. They would have the companionship of their dog pack and then be with us in the evening and weekends for yard work, livestock care, hiking... They would have everything they need: leaders, a dog pack, shelter, and purpose.

I was denied by the first shelter I applied to because of this. Because these dogs "might be working breeds but they belong in the house with people".  I'm sorry, what?! I decided if we were going to adopt a rescue we'd have to put in a doggie door. I applied to another rescue stating that we would have the doggie door for the dogs and they would have access to the kitchen at all times as well as an outdoor doghouse. I was questioned profusely again. I was questioned over why they had a doghouse and a doggie door. First, we already built it and second... I'm pretty sure a double coated dog might actually enjoy the winter and prefer being outside. This time they stated the rejection was because we were out of state and they have problems with out of state adoptions when dogs need to be returned. I think there was more to it than that.

The overall experience has been annoying. I felt bad for wanting outdoor dogs... which is silly. Why can't a farm dog be happy? Why can't he also be a companion?

Instead of adopting a puppy from a rescue or shelter, I began to think I'd have to buy a puppy. Which would be fine, it's just, why increase demand for breeding when there are so many dogs without homes?

Fortunately, I heard of a family with a litter of pups they were trying to find homes for. I am so grateful to this family, and also to my friend, Jannelle, who connected us. Higgs is an amazing animal. I planned on having two puppies this summer but Higgs' sister died very young, before we even got Higgs, so I'm still looking for another pup. I think I am done dealing with rescues, however. I feel like I'm being interrogated, I have to agree to random drop-ins by volunteers, and I've found it can take weeks for a representative to contact me. I don't like feeling like a bad person for trying to do something good. This has just been my experience with a few rescues. Maybe I just had bad luck. And, for the record, I did correspond with a couple that I had no real problems with, except for the volunteers stating that if I planned on keeping a dog outside all the time I'd be denied.

If any of our readers have a litter, or you have a friend or even a friend of a friend with a litter, please let us know. We're still looking and I promise to give that pup a good home (indoor and outdoor).


  1. First of all, you have a great blog, i love it.

    Second, i can undestand perfectly your situation with shelters. They forget that dogs are dogs, and they will be better in a house with loving people than the streets. I live in Chile, and saddly we have a huge problem with straight dogs and ,even so, we had the same difficulties as you...

    Well, now we have an outdoor/indoor beautiful dog (he sleeps outside) and he is very happy, healthy and most important A DOG!

    Sorry for my poor english

    1. Thanks for the comment. Our puppy has turned out great. He loves being outside and once I install the doggy door, he will be able to go back and forth whenever he wants to. Right now we are crate training him in the house. Most importantly, he has to ability to be a dog and protect our chickens! Good to hear from someone in another country, thanks for reading the blog.