We've seen all the Goldens on TV, and
we want to adopt one just like those! Perfectly
trained, please, and in excellent health, of course, and
young, so we can be guaranteed a long life together.
We know you must have many such dogs that you need to find
homes for, and we'd like to be the generous family that
agrees to take one of them off your hands. Please call
us tonight so we can make arrangements to pick up a dog
tomorrow. Thank you!
The letter above is fiction ... well, sort
The truth is, we regularly hear from people
with those very expectations. They imagine that
contacting a Golden Retriever rescue group assures them of
finding a perfect Golden right away. And they
are more than a little surprised when we tell them the REAL
truth: That our Goldens are FAR from perfect, and that
there are wait times to adopt.
Are there wonderful, well trained, young,
healthy dogs who enter rescue solely due to unforeseen
family circumstances? Yes, absolutely -- but rarely.
Overwhelmingly, dogs enter rescue as a
consequence of neglect.
Perhaps the neglect has been of a somewhat
benign nature -- he's been well fed and vetted, but
has never gotten proper training or attention. So he
pulls and he jumps and he barks and he digs -- until his
family decides enough is enough and calls rescue to find him
a new home.
Perhaps he was a Christmas puppy from the pet
store. Once cute and cuddly, he's now an untrained,
unruly 1-year-old bundle of constantly shedding energy --
and the family, realizing their errors in judgment, calls
rescue to find him a new home.
Perhaps he's an older dog of 9 or 10 or
11-years-old, never much trouble until his person fell in
love with someone who wasn't a dog lover. Now he
spends his days (and nights) barking out of loneliness in
the laundry room, until the couple calls rescue to find him
a new home.
Perhaps the neglect has been more
severe -- he's been tied up in a garage all day, every day,
with little food or water and no vet care. Completely
unsocialized, unbearably thin, with a severely matted coat,
nails that go on for days, and rampant ear and skin
infections, he's also fearful of many things and knows
nothing about living in a home with people or other pets.
One day his family decides to use the garage for a new car
instead, and calls rescue to find him a new home.
Perhaps his former life is a mystery.
He's landed in a shelter, so sick, tired, emaciated and
filthy that it's too much work for him to wag his tail and
show visitors what a great dog he might be. So
no one claims him, until rescue does.
Every day, GRRI volunteers help dogs like
these. THESE are the dogs in rescue.
Thankfully, rescue volunteers aren't the only
ones capable of seeing beyond the imperfections and catching
glimpse of the potential in these dogs -- GRRI and other
rescue groups like it are fortunate to have a generous
waiting list of qualified, committed adopters ready, willing
and eager to do the same.