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Breed-Specific Rescue; A Rant

Posted by foreverhomepetrescue on September 19, 2008

Let us preface this by saying that we are fully aware that all rescue is RESCUE… dogs, cats, birds, wildlife…. and we are also keenly aware that it is all volunteer work and that anyone willing to do ANYTHING to save lives is good, good people. The way we look at it is like this: if you only want to rescue blonde long-haired dogs with one blue eye and pink paw pads… then WHATEVER. At least for those few blonde, long-haired, odd-eyed, pink-pawed dogs you have made a difference…. and making a difference for a few is a far cry better than sitting on your ass and watching tv like the rest of the world. 

That being said, however, “breed-specific” is not a term we are fond of.  Not in any forum. We could live with “breed-preferred” or “breed-mostly”. Maybe we could even live with “breed-specific” if someone could explain to us why a dog that looks exactly like the picture on the AKC website is more deserving than a mix with a fantastic temperament? Far too often we’ve heard that a dog was evaluated at a shelter by a B/S rescue and although it had a wonderful temperament it wasn’t “purebred” so it was left behind. This bothers us… but again, WHATEVER. We keep having to remind ourselves that these people are still doing good work. Their cause is no less important, no less difficult, no less emotionally draining than ours. We just don’t understand it, that’s all. Our not understanding it does not make it any less of a fantastic thing they do.

It is also extremely important to mention that MOST B/S Rescue organizations DO work with mixes – and very often with Heinz 57 mixes too. It is not uncommon to see a German Shepherd mix at a Miniature Schnauzer & Friends adoption event, for example. This rant is not about you. If right now you’re looking out your window and seeing five mostly-Golden Retrievers, a Pit mix and a Pointer mix… this isn’t about you, either. Your willingness to take action and save lives is obviously NOT breed-specific. Breed-preferred, maybe – but not exclusive… and you rock.

What set us off on this tangent is an email we got yesterday from a B/S rescue organization. A couple of days ago Foreverhome got an email from a private party who had found a couple of dogs running the streets (a Lhasa-type fluffy dog and a Shepherdy lookin’ thing) and had taken them to SLA shelter in the hopes that their owner(s) would come get them… but alas, as is far too often the case, the dogs are still there and in danger now. Our organization does not have a foster home to take them – so we did the next best thing and we put together an email blast and networked them to the rescue community.

This was the reply we got from one B/S rescue – who shall remain nameless:
“Sorry, we’re a XXXXBREEDXXXX rescue. No sense forwarding stuff like this to us.”

WTF? Why “no sense” forwarding it to you? It makes PERFECT sense to forward it to you. We realize that the dogs in the pictures are not the blonde, long-haired, odd-eyed, pink-pawed dogs that YOU rescue, but are you completely incapable to forwarding the email to your contacts? Are you telling me that if an email isn’t about EXACTLY the breed you work with that these two dogs’ lives aren’t worth five minutes of your time to forward on to others who may be able to help?

In defense and support of B/S rescues we must also say that most mutt rescues have certainly relied on B/S rescue folks to provide us with information about a breed when we come across one – there is certainly something to be said about the knowledge that comes from knowing a breed so well. Most mutt rescues also owe a debt of gratitude to the B/S orgs that have taken dogs from us because they are “your breed”… we thank you for that. We all do the best we can with what we have to work with and, as we’ve said over and over, rescue is not about us – it’s not about you or your breed or your “policies” – it’s about the ANIMALS, dude. Forwarding an email is not so tough a thing. Really, it isn’t.

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