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Now ye're talking - to someone who runs a dog rescue charity

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  • 08-07-2019 2:58pm
    #1
    Boards.ie Employee Posts: 12,597 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Boards.ie Community Manager


    Our next guest has been involved in dog rescue in some way, shape or form for the last 17 years and founded a small dog rescue 15 years ago which is a registered charity. Here's what else they have to say about it:
    I do this on my own on a part-time basis, but helped out by a good crew of volunteers, without whom it simply couldn't work.

    We take in dogs that owners don't want any more, for whatever reason, and we also take in strays from the pounds around the country. We get a good feel for each dog, so that we know what sort of home is best suited to it.

    On the other side of the coin, we process applications from people who'd like to adopt a dog, and we do pre-adoption vetting, just to make sure they can provide the sort of home we're looking for. Then, we match them up as best we can with a dog, as well as matching the dog up with them!

    We provide support for each dog until the end of its days, so if things aren't working out in their adoptive home, for whatever reason and at any stage, we'll always take the dog back. This doesn't happen too often due to our careful selection of adopters, and the trouble we take to match them up with the right dog for them, but sometimes life throws curved balls even at the best people, so we're here if they need us.

    I know there are many, many dog lovers on Boards so hopefully you will al enjoy this AMA.


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 229 ✭✭YNWA27


    Do you find that there is a prevalence in the number of certain breeds abandoned?

    German Shepherds
    Malinois
    Siberian Huskies
    Dobermans
    Rottweilers

    Etc?


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Freakily I suspect I might even know who this person is :) The dates line up anyway!

    As for a question - does Ireland take in many dogs into our Dog Rescues from other countries? I know from contacts I have in Germany and Spain that they are often taking in dogs from Eastern EU countries where there is less of a structure of support. Or do we tend to focus solely on dogs in our own country?

    What do we do for dogs who have undergone some long lasting psychological trauma? Do we treat them in any way before finding them a home? Or do they go directly to a home? I know my father took in a rescue dog relatively young but even today she is terrified of _everyone_ except him. Whatever her trauma was as a puppy - she has basically never recovered from it. I always wondered what policy is there on such a dog. Can anything be done before homing them? Or do we just try to find the best fit home that will hopefully allow them to cope with those issues.

    What dogs are abandoned or ditched most often? My contacts in Germany tell me that weirdly by far the dogs they get most often are black dogs. If a dog is all black in colour they get ditched more often than any other. Probably a fashion thing one hopes - and not some throw back to more racist times in their country.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,483 ✭✭✭RosieJoe


    How long was the longest resident with you for? And was there any specific reason why they were with you for that amount of time?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,887 ✭✭✭Rows Grower


    What are your average running costs per annum?

    If you never received another donation how long could you keep doing what ye do?

    "Very soon we are going to Mars. You wouldn't have been going to Mars if my opponent won, that I can tell you. You wouldn't even be thinking about it."

    Donald Trump, March 13th 2018.



  • Registered Users Posts: 179 ✭✭IJS84


    Myself and my partner have considered either adopting through one of these services and/or fostering to help out. Our only concern is that we are gone 10/12 hours a day with work and commuting and if we call to friends/family after work on an evening. I would imagine for most rescue services this would be an issue due to the time the animal would be alone, for us on a personal level we couldn't have it on our conscious being away for so long in the day.

    Keep up the great work and I would imagine the this will be a great AMA


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,722 ✭✭✭pawrick


    Do you think animal rescues nationally could do more to work together / share expertise and or equipment where possible at a local level?

    Economies of scale seems to be something missing when I look around my own area and see how many rescues overlap with each running different campaigns rather than pooling together.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,572 ✭✭✭khaldrogo


    Is this the dog rescue place in St. Margrets in Finglas?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,941 ✭✭✭Cherry Blossom


    What's the bigger challenge, finding enough good homes for dogs or finding enough funding to keep doing what you do?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,558 ✭✭✭Slutmonkey57b


    How awesome are dogs?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,795 ✭✭✭Mrcaramelchoc


    if i volunteered for a dog rescue charity what would i be doing?ive often thought of doing it but never got around to it.(do you take volunteers?)


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 18,268 ✭✭✭✭uck51js9zml2yt


    Got a rescue dog and cat recently. Lovely animals

    Currently building a pen for the dog.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,442 ✭✭✭Choc Chip


    Thanks for doing this!

    I've got a few questions (I foster for a rescue but I imagine running a rescue is a whole other ball game):

    What do you think dog rescue charities in general (not you personally) should be doing better?

    I feel like dog charities are very disparate and have completely different policies and procedures. I'd love for them to work together but I don't know if that's feasible with so many different personalities involved. Do you think they could ever work together nationally?

    Do you think breed-specific or purpose-specific rescues work well?

    What do you think the government should be doing?

    If someone gave you €16.8 million from a ring-fenced source in the morning, what would you do with it to improve Irish dog welfare?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,292 ✭✭✭em_cat


    How do you fall on ‘rescuing’ ex breeding and always having puppies?

    I am conflicted about rescues that always seem to have them and wonder do they pay the puppy farmers, there by putting money in their pockets... I support a variety of different rescues, but often find it quite difficult when I find out they spend monies in this way.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,688 ✭✭✭VonVix


    Slightly controversial question possibly, especially as I had worked alongside a rescue for many years! Do you think rescues don't do enough to help promote how to find a good breeder and what to look for (health tested parents, puppies raised inside the home, etc), if an individual is unwilling to rescue or are looking for a specific breed? With puppy farms being so prevalent in this country, do you think better education for the public on breeder vs. rescue would make a difference rather than the general shunning of anyone who wants to go to a breeder?

    Thanks so much for doing this AMA!

    [Dog Training + Behaviour Nerd]



  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    Hello all! Thanks so much for your posts so far... some great questions and observations there!
    I'll work my way through them bit by bit, hopefully I can help folks to understand the whole world of dog rescue in Ireland a bit better!
    I will say, it's a relatively very small rescue I run compared to some of the big hitters, so I may not have my finger fully on the pulse these days compared to a number of years ago when I'd have been volunteering myself for other rescues as well as running this little one.
    I don't involve myself much in any politics that can go on, life's too short!:o
    Anyway, here goes!:D


  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    YNWA27 wrote: »
    Do you find that there is a prevalence in the number of certain breeds abandoned?

    German Shepherds
    Malinois
    Siberian Huskies
    Dobermans
    Rottweilers

    Etc?

    What dogs are abandoned or ditched most often? My contacts in Germany tell me that weirdly by far the dogs they get most often are black dogs. If a dog is all black in colour they get ditched more often than any other. Probably a fashion thing one hopes - and not some throw back to more racist times in their country.

    It seems to me that when it comes to purebred dogs, the frequency that they show up in rescues is in direct proportion to their "popularity" at that time. Different breeds go through waves of popularity... Amongst the big breeds, German Shepherds in the 80's, Rottweilers and Dobermann came after them, then in the noughties it seemed to have been all about the sled dog breeds: Siberian Huskies and Malamutes in particular... actually, both are still showing up in disproportionate numbers.
    The past few years, the big, strong mastiff types such as Presa Canario, Cane Corso, Dogue de Bordeaux etc seem to be the popular big breeds, and sure enough, they seem to be showing up in greater numbers in pounds, free-ads websites, and rescues now.
    Similarly, amongst the smallies, there are more and more "designer crossbreeds" showing up... the -doodles and -achons and -aliers.

    The black dog theory is quite well known, and has been tested via research.. it is a *thing*, and not just in Germany! It's weird, isn't it? One theory is that they're harder to read, because it's harder to see their features. Anecdotally, people always seem to find black dogs more intimidating... maybe because they can't read them as well?
    Certainly with greyhounds, the black ones seem much more difficult to rehome. Is it because they're maybe not as flash looking as their lighter coloured counterparts?


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 16,287 Mod ✭✭✭✭quickbeam


    Certainly with greyhounds, the black ones seem much more difficult to rehome. Is it because they're maybe not as flash looking as their lighter coloured counterparts?

    If you've trouble rehoming any black greyhounds, drop me a PM and I'll have one. Beautiful dogs!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,306 ✭✭✭✭Drumpot


    My mum looked after my dog while I was away and she’s now thinking of getting a rescue. I knew she’d love Monty.

    She is looking for an older dog (not that old but maybe less energy) and probably with a relaxed demeanor. I’m not sure she can excercise the dog much but they would have lots of company and would prob be spoilt rotten. Can people in these rescue places help fit the dog with the owner?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,108 ✭✭✭boombang


    Thanks for doing an AMA.

    1. To your knowledge why is it that Ireland hasn't been able to control the puppy farm thing? I would have thought it would have been easy to stamp out with a bit it enforcement of animal welfare regs.

    2. What steps would you like to see taken in order to eliminate this problem?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,277 ✭✭✭Your Face


    You do great work.
    I got my dog from a shelter and he is the best.

    How do the dogs come into your care and where, in your experience, do they come from?


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  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    Freakily I suspect I might even know who this person is :) The dates line up anyway!

    The time I got into rescue was a real heyday in terms of rescues being set up, in response to shamefully enormous numbers of healthy, unwanted dogs being euthanased in pounds. So there are quite a few of us that have been doing what we do since about the same time :)
    As for a question - does Ireland take in many dogs into our Dog Rescues from other countries? I know from contacts I have in Germany and Spain that they are often taking in dogs from Eastern EU countries where there is less of a structure of support. Or do we tend to focus solely on dogs in our own country?

    Anecdotally speaking, I have met a few rescue dogs in Ireland that came from Eastern Europe in recent years, having never come across it before. We seem to mirror what's going on the UK, albeit we often seem to be a few years behind them, but there is certainly a growing number of rescues in the UK dedicated to rescuing dogs from Eastern Europe and Asia.
    On the flip side of that coin, Ireland sends a LOT of rescue dogs to the UK, and a smaller number to Scandinavia, particularly Sweden.
    What do we do for dogs who have undergone some long lasting psychological trauma? Do we treat them in any way before finding them a home? Or do they go directly to a home? I know my father took in a rescue dog relatively young but even today she is terrified of _everyone_ except him. Whatever her trauma was as a puppy - she has basically never recovered from it. I always wondered what policy is there on such a dog. Can anything be done before homing them? Or do we just try to find the best fit home that will hopefully allow them to cope with those issues.

    Good question! There does seem to be quite a wide disparity between different rescues in how they handle rehoming the more difficult or complex dogs. Personally, I feel that owning a dog should be a pleasure for the person who has adopted that dog, or at least, the good times should make the bad times worthwhile!
    Different people have different expectations, abilities, circumstances, and commitment when it comes to what they want from a rescued dog, so there are people out there who can take on a more difficult dog that needs work, and there are others who just can't, for whatever reason.
    In my opinion, it is wrong to saddle the latter type of person with a problem dog, or with a dog that doesn't tick a lot of their boxes. It affects the bonding process, it causes frustration and resentment, and most importantly of all, it seriously increases the likelihood of that dog being sent back to the rescue, which, for a sensitive, fearful, traumatised dog, is a bit of a nightmare to be honest. It also makes that person far less likely to explore the rescue route again.
    So, to answer your question, matching the right dog to the right home is terribly important, as is providing support and back-up directly myself, or by pulling in favours from behaviourist contacts who'll go visit the adopter with their new dog to design a bespoke treatment program for them. But, as a general rule, I will get the more complicated dogs into experienced foster homes, both to get to grips with what's going on with the dog, and to start off the process of trying to repair that dog before he goes off to a carefully selected home, again giving direct support to the fosterer, or if necessary, getting professional help in. Fostering is fab, because it gives me fantastic information about what each dog is like to live with, what he's good at, what he's not, from an unbiased carer.


  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    RosieJoe wrote: »
    How long was the longest resident with you for? And was there any specific reason why they were with you for that amount of time?

    We've had a good few dogs that were with us, in foster care, for 6+ months. These would have been dogs with medical issues, usually which had been allowed get out of control by their previous owner, leaving us with a bit of a mountain to climb that could have been avoided had the owner sought help earlier. But, related to a previous reply, if we can at all, we'll send each dog to his new home so that it "hits the ground running", ie that he has started and made progress on a behaviour modification program if required, and/or that he is on the mend medically if required.


  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    What are your average running costs per annum?

    If you never received another donation how long could you keep doing what ye do?

    Hmmm, interesting. Without wanting to go into too much detail, and bearing in mind this is a small rescue which rehomes 30-100 dogs per year, depending on how busy the year is, bills could run into 5 figures. We try to minimise kenneling fees by seeking foster homes, and we twist the arms of vets to get reduced medical care, including vaccination, neutering, microchipping etc. If we get a healthy, unneutered, unvaccinated, unchipped male dog in (castration is cheaper that spaying), and use a foster home, each dog will cost us a minimum of €110. Neither I nor our volunteers charge for their time nor fuel, which keeps the costs right down.

    Edited to add: I forgot to answer your second question! At best, a few months is as long as we'd last.


  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    IJS84 wrote: »
    Myself and my partner have considered either adopting through one of these services and/or fostering to help out. Our only concern is that we are gone 10/12 hours a day with work and commuting and if we call to friends/family after work on an evening. I would imagine for most rescue services this would be an issue due to the time the animal would be alone, for us on a personal level we couldn't have it on our conscious being away for so long in the day.

    Keep up the great work and I would imagine the this will be a great AMA

    Thanks for your kind words :)
    With the right dog and the right management in place, working full-time and owning a dog is do-able, but it does mean having to make sacrifices, and there is a ceiling beyond which many rescues simply can't entertain when it comes to how long the dog will be left alone. Unfortunately, 10-12 hours is just too long for a social animal to be left on his own without utilising something like doggy daycare (which not all dogs much enjoy), and which racks up the cost of ownership.
    There is a good bit of research to back up that dogs do suffer emotionally when left alone for long periods regularly, and it's a fact that many rescue dogs come with attachment issues *because* they've already lost one home, so it's not just the rescues trying to be awkward!
    You've made the right decision, and you're to be admired for that, because there are far too many people who ignore that inner voice, and go ahead and get a dog anyway. Hopefully at some stage your schedules will change so that you can share your lives with a dog :)


  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    pawrick wrote: »
    Do you think animal rescues nationally could do more to work together / share expertise and or equipment where possible at a local level?

    Economies of scale seems to be something missing when I look around my own area and see how many rescues overlap with each running different campaigns rather than pooling together.
    Choc Chip wrote: »
    I feel like dog charities are very disparate and have completely different policies and procedures. I'd love for them to work together but I don't know if that's feasible with so many different personalities involved. Do you think they could ever work together nationally?

    Don't get me started :o
    I referred earlier on to a "heyday" in rescue about 17ish years ago, when the national annual figure for euthanasia in healthy, unwanted dogs in Irish pounds was heading for 30,000, so there was a real sense of having to pull together to do something about it.

    There was no social media, just one or two dedicated rescue forums where rescues could look for help from other rescues, or from volunteers, and there was genuinely a great sense of community and mutual support across the country. And it worked too... the euthanasia rate fell immediately, and has fallen every year since then, with a concurrent increase in rehoming rates.

    But, between the advent of social media, and too many differences of opinion, and perhaps some egos getting out of control, that community pretty much fell apart. It's never been the same since really, although I'll always help out rescues that contact me for help, and I have a good group of contacts across the country that I can call on when I need to. I don't get involved in any silliness, as it's not about us, it's about the dogs.
    There is a National Stray Dogs and Cats Forum organised by Veterinary Ireland every few years, where vets, rescues, and other dog related charities get together to discuss issues with unwanted dogs and cats, and what can be done. This is probably the closest we get to a cohesive gathering of rescues these days.

    There have been attempts made over the years to at least have some sort of industry standards set, so that members of the public would know that if X rescue was signed up to a central Code of some sort, they'd know what they could expect from that rescue in terms of service, pre-adoption processes, costs, support. But again, the politics of such an idea has made it difficult.


  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    khaldrogo wrote: »
    Is this the dog rescue place in St. Margrets in Finglas?

    No :)


  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    What's the bigger challenge, finding enough good homes for dogs or finding enough funding to keep doing what you do?

    Another good question that's got me thinking!
    Having pondered on it a while, I've concluded that for us anyway, it's funding. Generally, you'll find a home for each dog eventually. Having the moolah to keep a dog in the longer term is always a worry though, and it takes a fair bit of ongoing effort to fundraise. There have been times when there'd be a glut of dogs coming into us all at the same time, all needing money spent on them at the same time... aaaaggghhhh!
    This might be different for other rescues though, particularly those that specialise in harder-to-home types/breeds of dogs.


  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    How awesome are dogs?

    Absolutely, totally, completely AWESOME :D:D:D


  • Company Representative Posts: 25 Verified rep I run a dog rescue charity, AMA


    if i volunteered for a dog rescue charity what would i be doing?ive often thought of doing it but never got around to it.(do you take volunteers?)

    Most rescue charities need volunteers to foster, or to drive dogs from A to B, or to do home visits. Larger rescues which utilise kennels will also appreciate people to walk and groom and goof around with their dogs for them. Indeed, some of the pounds will invite people in to walk the poundies... you've got to be fairly steely to do this though, as pounds often aren't nice places to be, and there's that emotional drag of knowing the dog you're walking faces an uncertain future in this setting in some pounds :(


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,985 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith


    Fantastic! We are at the very early stages of thinking about getting a dog. A rescue dog is our first choice. Our kids are 10 and 8 and are great with dogs, but I'd be worried they'd be a bit full on and stress out an already stressed dog.

    I keep asking people who have received rescue dogs, but they keep telling us horror stories.

    Not sure if those goes a bit beyond what's allowed in the AMAs but any advice you could give would be great. Are we rescue dog unsuitable?


This discussion has been closed.
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