7th September 2006, 02:14 PM
I am reasonably new to this site and intrigued by what goes on behind the scenes running a rescue shelter/homes for ckcs ? Most of all how do you fund the project. I would imagine it is a very costly exercise and can't imagine the donations flooding in? Negative ole me !
I was also very disapointed when I attempted to search for cavalier specific rescue places in my country and found only one which is in a completely different state. We do not even have a cavalier kcs club in my state. Boo hoo.
Anyway I wondered what is involved in the process. The good the bad and the ugly. How did those of you who run rescue homes start out etc.
7th September 2006, 08:36 PM
I worked with general rescue for a while, and decided to set up as cavalier rescue in Ireland because the club won't really deal with pound, most cruelty or special needs cases, as I discovered. Through involvement with general rescue, I was the de facto person trying to rehome the cavaliers when any came in, working in particular with the support of Tara and Lisa (Dog Training Ireland's two trainers and now my good friends! :) ). But because I didn't have any organisation -- eg fosters and potential homes listed -- it was very hard to deal with the usual last minute cases. So I bit the bullet and set up as a rescue and started to take applications for dogs and slowly get a foster network.
I get lots of support from Lisa and Tara who are far more experienced than I and they also have become honourary cavalier people by helping so many cavaliers find good fosters and homes. They also do assessments on dogs for me and giving support on behaviour issues to people who adopt a cavalier than might have a specific issue like food guarding. :flwr: They are now very up to speed on cavalier health issues and at their training centre, always recommend getting any cavalier into a harness rather than collar and lead for training, too. :)
I recuperate most of my costs through adoption fees for a given dog. I just charge to cover my vet costs for a check and neuter (I would never rehome an unneutered dog). I haven't had to deal with severe cases that have run up big medical bills so my costs are fairly modest -- deciding whether to try and get more of the cruelty cases from puppy farms into rescue would require a careful rethink of what I do as this would introduce extra costs.
Rescue generally is tough and can be time-consuming -- it isn't just a matter of helping with the easy dogs but making a commitment that you will be the person who can make very hard decisions on whether to pts with a very ill dog, can provide full backup to fosters and new homes, take back any dog (just like a responsible breeder). You get calls from panicky people and angry people. You see some dogs in terrible situations that you can't get them out of. Inevitably urgent cases arise just when you are leaving the country or have your own deadlines in your 'real' life. I think I have the ability to do this because I love the breed but can be very detached as well if needed. Otherwise I'd go crazy! Or I'd want to keep all the rescues. :lol:
I also couldn't do what I do without a network of fosters, generous people who give their time, and especially, Tara and Lisa, who give support and advice at all times.
It is really important to try and get some experience working with other rescues so that you get a sense of what is involved and how to handle things. Consider that you need to be able to assess a dog before placing it, having enough dog experience or having access to professional behaviouralists to know if a dog would be OK with kids, other dogs, is aggressive or just fearful, etc etc. It is very important to home to the right place and be able to assess the prospective home as well as places that sound good often aren't when you go to visit. Hence you need to know what makes a good home which also comes with getting experience working with others. One problem experienced rescues have is with inexperienced people who mean well setting up as a rescue then panicking at the inevitable problems they don;t know how to handle, and placing burdens on already overstretched established rescues who have to come in and clean up the mess. Because I'd seen this happen so many times I have been very careful ind efining how I am willing to help and won;t take on more than I can manage. Fortunately not many cavaliers come into rescue so I am not dealing with a stream of dogs but occasional dogs for which I have waiting lists. I could do more if I knew more people around the country to homechecks (vet homes -- something that is very important) and foster.
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