a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: What is a Rescue Dog anyway?

Saturday, May 18, 2024

What is a Rescue Dog anyway?

SUMMARY: It's a very debatable question
Taken from a facebook thread about a mixed breed (purpose-bred border collie/papillon) winning agility at Westminster
I would love to see some sort of championship for rescue dogs

DS -  Mixed breeds and purebred can be rescues. Mixed breed dogs can compete in every venue for championships.

Ellen Levy Finch
DS  Some clubs sometimes offer special prizes at their competitions for specific categories of dogs-- e.g.,highest-scoring mixed breed (not as much any more), highest-scoring shelter dog...
The challenge is in defining "rescue dogs". We've had a lot of discussions about this. Is a rehome a rescue? What if it's from a really bad home? What if it's from a loving home? What if it's facilitated by a rescue group even if they don't handle the dog directly? Is a dog adopted directly from the shelter a rescue dog? What if a rescue group saves the dog from one shelter and places them into a more friendly shelter? What if the dog spends a lot of time in a shelter and then a rescue group pulls them out and finds a new home? Is a dog found in the street (or abandoned in the hills, etc.) and the owner can't be found and is then adopted by the finder who basically served as their own Rescue, is that a rescue dog? Do we have to be sure that the dog was abused, neglected, or abandoned by a previous owner to qualify? Does giving to a shelter count as abandoned? Etc.

rescue dog
in British English
1. a dog trained to assist rescue workers See also search dog
2. a dog that has been placed in a new home after being abused, neglected, or abandoned by its previous owner
Collins English Dictionary

Where do rescue dogs come from?

we like to refer to rescue dogs and cats as Mutt-i-grees: any dog, cat, puppy, or kitten who has been adopted into a responsible loving home, or is still waiting for that perfect family. 
Rescue dogs are homeless due to a variety of reasons.
They may have been surrendered by owners who could not care for them anymore, found on the street, or perhaps they were part of a litter born in a shelter. Animal League America also rescues dogs from puppy mills; these are often animals who would have been euthanized because they were determined no longer viable for breeding. Sometimes dogs are found after a natural disaster, when pets get separated from their owners, who then can’t be found.
What they all have in common is the need for a family of their own.
North Shore Animal League

Sheba -- the only one of my dogs who came directly from a shelter. Remington, Jake, Tika, and Zorro all spent some time in custody of rescue groups, although  Jake was first adopted by my agility instructor and then came to me. I believe that Tika, Zorro, and Remington spent some time in shelters before that.  Chip was a rehome directly from the previous owner. And Boost and Amber came from friends who were their breeders--intentionally in the first case, accidentally in  the 2nd.

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