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View Full Version : Need some advice on a rescue puppy



eward
20th June 2007, 05:05 PM
Hello. Long time lurker, first time poster :)

I found cavalier puppies at a rescue organization less than an hour from my home and am considering adopting.

[link removed by Karlin]

What kinds of questions would you suggest I ask? Any sort of general feeling on this kind of cavalier adoption?

Thanks!
-Eward

nxhawke
20th June 2007, 05:30 PM
I would only go to a rescue that is a non profit! Also ask if the puppies have been given all there shot including rabies and if they have been fixed. Most all reputable rescues will give all shots before the puppies leave and they will be fixed. That is what your adoption fee covers. Also they should have seen a vet!

[one sentence removed; edited by Karlin -- please note as the Getting Started section says, I cannot have comments made on specific breeders or rescues especially if the comments are not verifiable/proven to be true/a matter of public knowledge -- opinion or something someone else said is not an adequate libel defense -- though I know and appreciate the comment was only made in trying to be as helpful as possible. :thmbsup:. I have covered the basic point more generally below, but send a PM to eward if you'd like :).]

Karlin
20th June 2007, 05:32 PM
Hi and welcome to the board. :)

A rescue dog is a wonderful choice but isn't right for everyone. I'd suggest reading this good article, which suggests some questions to ask the shelter:

http://www.padsonline.org/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=4

I also have a lot of links for further reading pinned to the breed rescue section.

Most likely these puppies are unwanted puppies from a puppy mill being offered through a rescue (many legit rescues get puppies in this way). These have papers though -- which is a little odd -- I'd be wondering why a rescue would sell on rescue cavaliers WITH papers as that makes them prime targets for disreputable breeders. I'd ask the rescue why they are giving them out with papers, and highlighting this. The reason why, is some 'rescues' are actually fronts for actual puppy mills to sell on surplus puppies or problem puppies. Few legit rescues would be offering unneutered rescue dogs with papers to avoid any possible risk of a new owner trying to breed for profit (saying they must be neutered later isn't usually adequate for a rescue if they are also giving out the papers). So I'd want to sound out this rescue a bit to understand how and why they are offering puppies in this way and make sure I was satisfied with the answer.

Regarding the pups themselves: I'd want to know why they are available and I'd want an honest answer as they seem fairly young to be unsold from a pet shop for example -- such puppies sometimes come into rescue but usually are much older.

The other consideration on a rescue of any sort is, you don't now the health background of the puppies. These almost certainly will not be from a breeder who has ever done so much as a single health test on the breeding dogs, putting them at higher risk of health problems, and there are some serious health issues to learn about in the breed: MVD and SM in particular.

That said: any puppy can have problems, most cavaliers will eventually get MVD, and the fact that a puppy or rescue dog comes from an unknown background and might be at higher risk doesn't make them any less adorable and deseving of a good home. It's just that not everyone feels ready for those uncertainties and people should be honest in weighing up what they feel ready for. If buying a puppy through a breeder it is very important to research breeders meticulously. The plus of a good breeder is they will know their breeding dogs and lines well, will choose for the best health and appearance, and will always be there to offer full support and will always take back a dog (as will a good rescue of course!).

I run Irish Cavalier Rescue and have a rescue cavalier myself amongst my crew of three. :) I do always go thru the health issues with new owners and prospective owners so they know what to watch for; but I'd never want the health issues to dominate anyone's concerns. Just as with people, any dog can unexpectedly get sick. But I do want prospective owners to understand that rescues are always a bit more of an unknown because their background is unavailable to the rescue, most of the time.

If you opt for a rescue or a breeder puppy, we have plenty of knowledge and support for you here on the board. :)

I'm just removing the Petfinder link as I don't want to risk further specific comments on the rescue involved. No implications implied but I don't want to have further public comments specific to these listings. :thmbsup:

eward
20th June 2007, 07:34 PM
First, a huge "thank you" to both of you for replying. And so quickly, too! :) I appreciate your both taking the time to so carefully list out such important points for me to consider on this.

I'm quoting one of the puppy summaries as it's just easier to respond:


"This little guy is 9 weeks old. He is purebred with papers, but they will not be released until he is neutered. We require that he be neutered at 6 months of age, when he is old enough. He is good with other dogs, cats and children. He has been vet checked, is healthy, up to date on age appropriate shots and dewormings. Adoption fee of $500 applies. This pup was from a "Back to the Kennel" Auction. He is blenhiem and white. If you would like to come and see him please email us."


I'm trying to be completely impartial and avoid feeling overly suspicious as I think through this. Not entirely in my nature, so it's tough. I'm torn between the pull to provide a home and my need to be sure that this is a totally legitimate animal-focused organization.
It looks like they've seen a vet and have the first set of shots
I agree with your concern that this is a bit young for Cavalier puppies to be separated and taken home. To your point, if these dogs are up like this as opposed to being "prime sellers" at a pet store there must be a reason. Still, I've generally found that most places will foster puppies until they deem them of sufficient age and health to go to their forever homes.
I am not at all familiar with a "back to the kennel" auction. Your kind replies and this snippet prompted me to look up a bit more on puppy mills. I was stunned to learn of the idea of a puppy auction. Sickened and stunned. If I were to guess based on the pets listed and this one blip of text, it sounds like this rescue is intervening at one of these auctions to recover unsold puppy mill puppies prior to their being re-introduced to a kennel environment? But at such a young age I wonder why they were not picked up by a pet store.
This is definitely the highest adoption fee I've ever seen. Ever. Maybe that's just me, though. I can only say I've investigated shelters in our local area that can max out in the high $300 USD mark, but tend to be far lower.
The question about the papers is one that troubles me as well. I've never seen any puppy in an animal care facility who had this kind of documentation . I can only assume this is related to the way the puppies were obtained. I'm not interested in breeding dogs, so my main focus would be on trying to ensure the puppy's health and ideally gleaning some information on the parents' health from these. Frankly, I don't much care for the papers beyond the health information as my motivation is to help the dog and find a companion, but maybe that's just me being naive. Still odd, though.
The group indicates they will hold the papers until the puppies are neutered / spayed. It appears the puppies have not yet been fixed, but beyond that that the group will not supply papers untilt he dogs are fixed makes me believe they are, in fact, trying to avoid the disreputable breeders. I'd agree that most of the organizations I've dealt with insist on the puppies being fixed before they can leave the care facility. Are the puppies simply too young to be fixed?


I have no way of knowing the true motivations of this particular organization, so if these are puppy mill rescues and in need of a good home I will need to do my fact checking and see if I can make a bit more sense of this. I suppose there is a substantial amount of trust in this or any new puppy family member adoption, but I want to at least feel confident I'd be doing the right thing.

Thank you again for your replies. They have both given me a lot to think about. My apologies for popping that link in. I didn't mean to raise any hackles there and I appreciate your correcting my boo boo. ;)

Thanks,
-Eward

Karlin
20th June 2007, 08:16 PM
No hackles raised at all; it is just that it is easier to allow people to comment without having a direct link as it is less open to legal problems. I have had the situation arise of being threatened with a board closure due to someone being referred to as a puppy miller, so I follow strict legal guidelines to avoid the possibility of being sued. :thmbsup:

I had missed the bit where they said they wouldn't release papers til after the dog is neutered so that is a better situation. These WILL be mill rescues though, as they have come from an auction. Only millers sell dogs through auction. Puppies are often sold as young as 7 weeks in such situations. A 9 week old could be neutered but I'd not neuter so young, I just wouldn't hand out papers and I'd follow up to make sure the dog was neutered.

Some general comments: this adoption fee actually is not high at all for a purebred dog. Usually cavaliers are much higher than this (indeed I think it is pretty low as adoption fees go for cavaliers from rescue, especially for a puppy. Puppies are very hard to get in rescue. The average for cavaliers generally in rescue is $500-800 in the US, from what I have seen). If you search Petfinder you will see this is the case. And rescuers typically have costs associated with rescue, and also, want to be sure the new owner places a financial value on the dog they adopt, so this would be pretty standard. :) Most rescues will have invested time, fostering, gasoline, vet care, food etc in any given dog. Some dogs cost far more to treat/transport/kennel than others (fosters aren't always available for 'free' boarding, though I'd love if there were more fosters! :lol:). The adoption fees are still the same price per dog and a basic fee evens out costs across all the rescue dogs taken in over a year.

It is also worth noting that people have very different views of different rescues and how they operate. Rescue is also an area full of rumour -- rumours go around about whether particular rescues are or are not a front for a miller, are or are not making money off the dogs they place, and so on. All of us doing rescue have heard these stories and often it is hard to tell the real story unless you know the rescue. I can say I have heard accusations made against various rescues many, many times that I KNEW were not true. So I tend to be both skeptical and cautious all around and look into things myself and that's what I would advise. I will take on board what other people say and what they think may be the case, but if I am happy with how a rescue operates, then I will have no problems supporting it. If it looks fishy, or someone can show me actual proof that the rescue is indeed problematical, then I will avoid it. I am just not comfortable with hearsay or rumour as I have seen some good rescues badly damaged by same. Sometimes not even deliberately, just someone passes along something they heard or understood that may or may not be correct and it takes on the aura of fact.

eward
20th June 2007, 08:37 PM
Some general comments: this adoption fee actually is not high at all for a purebred dog. Usually cavaliers are much higher than this (indeed I think it is pretty low as adoption fees go for cavaliers from rescue, especially for a puppy. Puppies are very hard to get in rescue. The average for cavaliers generally in rescue is $500-800 in the US, from what I have seen). If you search Petfinder you will see this is the case. And rescuers typically have costs associated with rescue, and also, want to be sure the new owner places a financial value on the dog they adopt, so this would be pretty standard. :) Most rescues will have invested time, fostering, gasoline, vet care, food etc in any given rescue. Some cost far more to treat than others. The adoption fees are still the same price per dog and a basic fee evens out costs across all the rescue dogs taken in over a year.

OK, now this makes sense to me, then. The financial part of my brain understands what you're saying about cost recovery and the idea that the price would more or less average out across all of the dogs in a rescue across a year. I never considered how that might all work together.

Thank you for the level-set on the expected Cavalier rescue pricing.


It is also worth noting that people have very different views of different rescues and how they operate. Rescue is also an area full of rumour -- rumours go around about whether particular rescues are or are not a front for a miller, are or are not making money off the dogs they place, and so on.

I'm getting a sense of the difference of opinion by reading around. I have absolutely no problem supporting an organization by paying more so they have a pool of ready cash for expenses, food, vet bills, etc. as well as being able to cover their own time investment. I've worked in non-profits and they still must be run as though they're revenue generating businesses. They fail otherwise and that's not something I'd want to see happen. Anyone willing to put that much of their life into an effort like that is typically doing it at their own expense in some form. I just want to feel confident the motivations are for the well-being of the dogs.

I need one of theose "Easy" buttons from Staples right about now.

Thanks,
-Eward

Karlin
20th June 2007, 08:52 PM
One further note: local shelters tend not to charge anything like what volunteer rescues will charge -- they tend to have cities/counties paying for basic costs and staff and have funding for a remit of helping to either home dogs or humanely pts.

I can't vouch either way for the rescue you are dealing with; I just like to have people start from a neutral point then do the investigations they need to do and understand some different rescue perspectives.

I have bought dogs directly from puppy farmers to bring into rescue as have a lot of rescue folks (actually that is how some rescues operate, full stop) -- so as long as the puppies are going into homes rather than back into breeding situations I don't know how judgmental I'd be even on places that are connected in some way to millers as the other option is often to put down the dogs, often quite brutally (eg why pay a vet for an injection). It really depends on how the people operate, as some I may totally disagree with as to their approach and function but nontheless feel they serve a decent purpose in their own way. A lot of people have problems with anyone buying any dogs into rescue and that goes for well known cavalier rescues like Lucky Star down to more local operations. But if I can get a dog at a low price I have no issues with getting an individual out of a very bad situation (cavaliers however do not cost nearly as much over here so it's a more manageable cost). Most auction dogs are being sold into breeding in cages -- not to a pet owner -- and I'd rather have them out than in. That's personal perspective. A lot of breeders and club rescues are very opposed to anything of this sort. A lot of general rescues do not believe there should be breed rescues and feel they 'cherry pick' easy to place breeds. I regularly deal with hostility from general rescues, who don't like it if you are not dealing with all dogs or at least, rescuing breeds that are hard to place, like greyhounds, collies and bull breeds. So lots of different perspectives are out there.