When It Comes to Rescue Animals, You Probably Have It All Wrong (though not about many of the human animals who dump them)

Shadow, Border Collie mix, whom Half-Way Home Animal Rescue, Orland Park IL would like to “free”

Unless you have adopted or fostered a rescue companion animal. Then you probably know this:

Myth 8:  I’m unsure about getting a rescue dog, because I’m afraid he won’t bond to me.

That sound you hear is all the people with rescued dogs falling over laughing.  Because the exact opposite is nearly always true–your rescue dog will CLING to you.

Look at it from the dog’s perspective.  She’s spent the bulk of the last year on a 6-foot chain in someone’s back yard because she committed the unconscionable sin of no longer being a puppy.  At some point during the day, someone may remember to bring her food and water.  The only attention she gets is when they yell at her for barking.

Finally, they take her for a car-ride–dumping her in a wooded area where she can have a “fighting chance.” Despite everything, she waits there for their return or tries to get back home.  She finds water somewhere.  She raids trashcans and gets sick.  If she’s extremely lucky, she survives long enough for an animal lover to find her and bring her to the shelter.

Then she sits in the loud, scary shelter run, starting to lose faith that her family will ever find her.  The kennel people are nice, but she is one of a hundred needy dogs they have to care for.

Finally, the shelter calls us.  And you take her home.

You not only bring her into your house, you give her her own bed and bowl, and a crate where she feels safe.  You speak quietly.  When she messes on the carpet, you don’t seem to mind–you just take her outside and then clean it up.  You feed her regularly AND give her toys and treats and Nylabones.  She sleeps in your room.  She may even have a big brother or sister to play with.  She gets kisses.  And when she goes out in the car, she always comes back.

Your rescue dog’s biggest fear is that you will spontaneously combust.

She’s not going to let you out of her sight for one minute.  People with rescue dogs learn to function with a 70 pound shadow following us everywhere.

That said, there are some dogs who just never learned to connect with people, but that becomes apparent very quickly–long before we place him with you.

Source: Myths About Border Collies

I tripped across this article researching a possible foster. I was texting back and forth with Angie about Shadow, a border collie. By the time I saw the plea on the HWHAR FB page, all the smaller dogs had been taken. Shadow was one of the only dogs left that Half-Way Home Animal Rescue wanted to “free” from a high-kill shelter.

But then the family who had committed to one of the small dogs couldn’t do it.

So hooray! Tomorrow pm. I’ll now be picking up Riley, a basset hound mix. I don’t have any other particulars yet, other than this (not age, not weight, not what the other parts of “the mix” are.

But no matter.

I think Shadow made the “manifest.” I hope so. Like many animals, Shadow had a “due date.” Euphemism for being euthanized. And as often is the case, simply because there was NO room at the inn.

As of 2:00 this afternoon, Tasco had not.

Image may contain: dog
Tasco, a Dalmatian and ??? (Australian Shepherd maybe) with the sad, pleading eyes of a dumped in a shelter animal.

update: as of 10:00am July 7th, Shadow was not on the list. Tasco made it out alive.

As I have argued, there are many reasons why people give up their animals. Life is unpredictable, and sh*t happens. For many if not most people, giving up their animals is one of the hardest things they have had to do. Including even those who just dump their animal at the shelter or on the side of the road.

Okay maybe more than a few are just heartless people who just grew tired of the responsibility and see little wrong with dumping a living, loving animal like you would an old couch.

Which fries my a** @#!%$#@!! And sends me into one of my “human animals can be such a-holes” rants.

Besides spray and neuter (whose why not and why forths I won’t get into for now), it would help if more people would adopt homeless animals. Or foster if they can’t adopt. Part of the problem is the many negative myths about shelter/unwanted animals and adult animals in particular. It’s bad enough with dogs and cats. Now I am seeing more guinea pigs, chinchillas, reptiles, and of course rabbits, than ever before.

Which fries my a**.

But enough about that. Let me put on my smiley face and open my heart so Riley [Riley is out, more on that later] Hailey, a two-year old spaniel has a wonderful experience with us. One that helps him in her quest to become adopted. And one that reassures her that not all human animals are heartless a-holes.

Put Humane Society Calumet on your short list if you are considering companion animal adoption (or fostering)

Right after Candy got adopted, I decided to take a couple of weeks to revisit my decision to wait on getting a new dog. So back online I went to find companion animals I wanted to consider.

One of the dogs that caught my eye on Petfinder was Banjo, whom I originally thought might be a rat terrier because of his photo and description as “mixed breed.”


No doubt I saw a similarity to Candy, my first foster dog, which explains my initial attraction to Banjo.

Banjo, a probable yellow Labrador Retriever mix, at Humane Society Calumet, in Munster IN, Saturday, July 6th, 2019.

Once I saw him, Banjo had “lab” written all over him which the volunteer said he probably was. Banjo came from a high-kill shelter in Mississippi and besides passing all the behavioral tests with flying colors, Humane Society of Calumet knew little else about him.

The above photo was taken inside the vestibule on the Animal Clinic side as Banjo had come down with an upper respiratory infection. They graciously allowed me to see him there, after making clear that I couldn’t interact with any animals after that. I’m thinking that as I didn’t have any animals at home, as well as mentioning, how I had fostered Candy through her bordetella stint may have played a part in their decision as well.

What else made for a great first impression were the cheerful attitudes and welcoming, inclusive demeanor of everyone I dealt with–from the adoption coordinator and reception volunteer on the phone to both the staff and volunteer Christine who brought Banjo out to meet me.

Gayle, Chicago South PAAWS

Agreeing to let me see Banjo was very accomodating . After seeing that Banjo was a much larger dog (larger dog and lab=energy on the high to extreme end was my thinking) than I was looking for,Christine took it up a notch by making me feel good when I made mention of this (still sharing their adoption process information including the affordable $150 adoption fee that included neutering) by telling me “It always help the dogs to get out and have interaction with people” regardless of my decision to adopt.

As I told several people afterwards, this is the kind of reception I expect to get from a shelter or rescue that I am considering adopting an animal from or working with.

What a wonderful thing to say…and come across as you absolutely mean it!

Yes animal homeless shelters are very, very busy places–like people shelters, there is always more to do than people to do it– but the decision to make an interaction “short and snappy” should be balanced with long-range thinking. And that is, even if the person who walks through your doors doesn’t end up adopting an animal that day, they could adopt later and send others your way.

Also remember that each person who walks through your door could be your next fostering parent, all-around volunteer, sponsor, or donatee. Small donations add up too!

Many people end up adopting animals because they feel guilty or feel pressure (often unconscious for sure) by the animal sheltering people. However when the animal isn’t a good fit personality or lifestyle wise, it does neither you nor the animal any good.

Which is why I cannot recommend enough that you check out Humane Society Calumet (formerly Hammond Humane Society, which I never knew, though living in the area for many years)…click here to learn more about the Humane Society Calumet back story and rebranding effort).

Also note they have some great reviews on yelp as well…

Image Credit: NWI Times

“The organization has grown and changed so much since I started as a volunteer in 2004,” CEO Rachel Delaney said. “I’ve had the pleasure of watching us transform from a small animal shelter to an organization that also includes a low-cost spay/neuter clinic, wildlife center, education center and resale shop.”

Source: nwi.com

Wonderful people to deal with.

And they are a hop, skip, and a jump from the Chicago South Suburbs too.