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View Full Version : Having a rescue and adding a puppy



anniemac
15th July 2011, 02:52 PM
Some of you may know I have been looking into getting a puppy. I know it will take some time and I'm willing to wait. I am still not sure if I may show in the future or not which will be something a breeder would want to know. There are breeders that health test and show and you know I will be wanting one that has been tested. Anyway, there is a 4 year old ACKCSC rescue a friend has. I think Debra (Gracie) knows who I'm talking about. My friend has 2 Cavaliers but I asked her how Elton would be with a puppy. Keep in mind it probably will be a year before I add a puppy. I know with rescues you do not have health background. Since Elton is 4, I think if he had severe CM/SM that was symptomatic, most likely I could tell. I know it can appear later but early onset is what I've heard is worse.

The breed club rescues are great at working with vets and checking hearts etc. If there were patella, hip or eye problems, I would imagine they would already know? It would not do any harm to visit but my main concern is that I really want a puppy at some point.

Any opinions?

anniemac
15th July 2011, 03:16 PM
Sharon said he does great with other cavaliers. Here are some photos.

http://i270.photobucket.com/albums/jj88/anniemacmac/268544_10150253865496506_515876505_7557118_145195_ n.jpghttp://i270.photobucket.com/albums/jj88/anniemacmac/270715_10150253863786506_515876505_7557113_3033014 _n.jpg

GraciesMom
15th July 2011, 03:38 PM
Could you see how he does with puppies by bringing a young dog with you to visit him?? What does the foster mom think about this? Is there any way she could "borrow" a couple of puppies to be around him? From what I understood, he has a very good temperament. Is there anyone in Charlotte area who would "loan" you a pup or two to take with you for a visit? I know that is not a complete test but at least would have an idea of his response. She did say he gets along well with other dogs in the home.

anniemac
15th July 2011, 05:28 PM
I'm going to visit but I don't want to make a quick decision. I want to make sure I can handle everything financially and emotionally

GraciesMom
15th July 2011, 06:15 PM
Could one of your friends in Charlotte loan a young dog to take with you for visit? Or could the foster mom get one there?

mommytoClaire
19th July 2011, 04:24 AM
He is adorable! When you say financially, can you not get insurance for Elton? That would help with any future issues.I've heard bits and pieces about him losing his family, what happened?

anniemac
19th July 2011, 05:01 AM
I can get insurance but I want to make sure nothing is going on with elton. I don't think I would want to take on another unhealthy cavalier right now especially right after ella passed away. He's a sweet, happy guy, but I want to make sure I know exactly what I would be dealing with, financially, behaviorally, etc. Some just are perfect for different people. He needs the best home possible. Whether its with a single family, one with other dogs, etc.

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Karlin
19th July 2011, 12:49 PM
Hasn't the rescue done a thorough vet check? :confused: That would be standard, and if their vet cleared him then I would get insurance based on their vet's clearance (and make sure you can do that even before considering him). But consider that unless you MRI him and doppler him and do DNA testing for episodic falling etc there are many things that will not be picked up on a routine vet visit and may leave you with a dog that has illnesses that will crop up down the line. If you have any concern about whether you should take on a dog that may have illnesses, I certainly would not be considering a rescue. It just is not fair to the dog or yourself. Insurance may not cover an older dog like this -- the company could debate something that comes up was an underlying condition. And see the caveats about basing ANY decision on insurance, at the very end of this post -- I just do not think getting insurance should be the basis of a decision to get any dog because it is too uncertain.

That aside, there are a number of considerations that I haven't seen discussed in relation to a new dog and that concerns me a bit (maybe this has been discussed in detail offline or I missed the threads but things seem to be moving surprisingly fast to an outside observer like me who nonetheless knows what you have been through with Ella and you've posted about your own feelings even very recently, where you are still having a very hard time with her loss :flwr:).

To start with, I really would not right now focus on a puppy. That is a decision well off in the future and needs to be based on your situation at that point and it just seems very abrupt and hasty to be concerned about adding a puppy when you don;t yet even have a first dog, nor seen how that dog will fit into your life for a year or more :eek:. I'd decide first if you feel you can make a lifetime financial commitment to Elton and forget totally about thinking about a puppy -- is this the dog you really want to make a lifetime commitment to?. A rescue with unknown background can have anything in its future -- more likely than with a puppy from a known breeder who health tests etc. Can you manage taking another dog through SM? Maybe, taking two? That is Ella all over again -- something you have found so hard over the past year. Those are really the issues you need to consider.

I also feel it is really important for each dog to be considered on its own, especially a rescue which may always need more time and effort than a dog from a known background. If I were homing a rescue, I would be concerned if a main focus was on adding a puppy sooner or later, rather than simply on caring for and loving and providing for the rescue dog needing a home. If at some more distant point -- and it should be at least a year to let a rescue settle, go through some obedience classes, get a chance to be socilaised and become part of one's life -- a puppy seems like a great idea and can be managed emotionally, financially etc, then have that come on to the table a year or more on. But really: I don't think it is fair to have that be any of the focus of taking on a rescue.

I'd either make the thorough commitment to this dog, starting from an assumption that he is for now, and may always be, the only dog. Or, I'd wait for the right puppy and make that purchase down the line, and let the rescue go to a home where he will be the sole focus. Not thinking of two already.

But the more important issue is that to me, it seems pretty fast after losing Ella to be making such major decisions both emotionally and financially -- as tempting as it may be. Just to take on one is a huge, huge commitment; be considering managing two dogs seems a really rushed decision.

I know we are all different in when we feel ready to bring in a new dog after the death of a loved companion, but this is a huge, HUGE issue and decision. It is really critical to take the time to grieve and feel absolutely ready to put the memory of the lost companion into a special place where she can be remembered with love but is not causing continued and heart-rending grief, because a new dog will need all your time and most of your emotional commitment. If your feelings are still raw for Ella (as from your posts, they understandably seem to be), if the memories are still painful and draw tears, I would think it way too early to bring another dog in. I personally would not home a rescue or a puppy into such a situation -- I'd want the person to be more settled and ready (but that is me). If I were in the position to be considering another dog after losing Lucy, I do not think I could be ready to start that process for months yet. In the case of Jaspar -- who is my 'heart dog', the onec-in-a-lifetime special dog for me -- I would want a year or more, and then to carefully work with a trusted breeder to get just the right dog in outgoing personality and intelligence (along with the health clearances of a good breeding programme). The really special ones need a lot of grief time and my heart could not be open to a new dog very quickly after Jaspar. He's the one I cannot bear the thought of losing and who I know, will take a long, long time to grieve for.

It might be worth working this through with a pet bereavement counsellor on where you are in this whole process, and where emotionally you might be at this point, as it would be very hard to find the decision to bring in a new dog -- or two -- was the wrong decision.

If you really feel now is already the right time to add a new cavalier: then make a total commitment either to a rescue, or to finding the right puppy, and make sure you can manage the emotional and financial commitment.

But remember that insurance is NOT a guarantee -- companies can change policies at any time and I do think it may well be nearing the point now when SM and/or MVD will be removed as illnesses that will be covered as they are so widespread and potentially costly. Or a company may change the policy so that only initial treatment will be covered, leaving the owner to have to pay for the dog's future treatment. I don't think getting insurance can be the basis on whether a dog is considered 'affordable', as it is a very uncertain, changeable basis. An owner needs to be able to manage a dog and potential costs regardless of whether there would be insurance cover.

anniemac
19th July 2011, 01:16 PM
Karlin,

He has been to a vet visit. I've been talking to pat, Holly and Rod (who was eating oatmeal) offline. I'm actually going to talk more. Elton is a rescue from Atlanta. There are things concerning me and I got him for a week. You raised good points. I will talk offline more to them but there are things I am thinking about.

Ellas neurologist read ellas blog and emailed me saying I may want to go to a grief councilor.



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anniemac
19th July 2011, 02:51 PM
Karlin,

I definately want to know what I am getting into and that is why I told others when they wanted to buy me and others give me a Cavalier that I wasn't ready. I am a little upset after reading this again. Even though I appreciate your advice and grieving over Ella is definately a factor but I just took that the wrong way as to how it was said. Like I said, I have been getting help offline and like I said in my previous post, there are things I was considering. I too have had these thoughts.

I have the rescue help I need but I wanted to address the puppy. I know I should not be thinking of the two and I would not be adding a puppy now. As you know, that would be a year long process to even find a breeder. It would be something I would research and wait for the right breeding. I do not see anything wrong with talking to breeders and telling them I would not be ready right now but wanted to know about maybe a year or what in the future they are planning. In fact, I think I would advice many people to do that and not just jump into getting a puppy without research.

Anyway, I think I have been getting help that I need and I would rather talk offline. To those that wanted this to work out, know that I need to do what's best for me and a new cavalier.

Believe me, I have not wanted to make rash decisions and I have these considerations to think about.

sunshinekisses
19th July 2011, 09:22 PM
Well, I am really in minority...I think there has been other threads about the possibility of adding another dog and others had said not to. But I live and my dogs thrive in a multi-dog home. It is double time for training, attention, walking, double poop clean-up, double vet bills, and makes vacation time a hassle. But it can be done and it can be fun. And because I am a firm believer in rescue I applaud you thinking of adding a rescue now that needs a home but still keeping a spot for your special dog.

I think the worry is, now you are still so heartbroken that perhaps you are not thinking clearly. It would be bad decision to add a rescue you don't want and find out later, vs waiting. This is why I give the advice of fostering a dog or two before final commitment. I also know you had some concern about your work schedule. In the end you will do what you feel comfortable doing for your family. I am eager to hear some good exciting news anyway.

Karlin
19th July 2011, 10:11 PM
I don't think anyone would disagree that having a dog companion can, for most dogs, be a far richer and happier environment for dogs. :)

However, the issue really isn't about whether to acquire another dog at some point in the future if the circumstances allow, but that it is IMHO way too far in advance to be worried about this as an issue when even getting one dog has not yet been decided upon. And taking on a rescue means it is really impossible to know what the future may bring–to a greater extent than taking on a puppy from a known background and situation.

A vet visit for a rescue is not going to be anything more than very generally informative–most of the problems that cavaliers are prone to are not going to show up on a quick vet visit, especially if those health issues are not currently symptomatic.

It also can never be a wise decision to get a dog and rely on insurance to make it possible to deal with any problems that might arise. While this is a good form of risk management for anyone with a dog, there are many things that can change in a policy over time and there are many things with an adult dog in particular, that an insurance company may refuse to pay out for regardless of what showed up on an initial, cursory once over by a vet.

So getting a dog really needs to take into account financial issues–as Margaret has pointed out in another thread, anyone who chooses to take on a cavalier simply has to also take on the responsibility of the potential cost and health issues from the very start. There are ways to minimize risk as much as possible by working with a good breeder, but rescues are always going to be a much higher risk for both behavior and health issues and I don't think it's a good idea if someone is trying to minimize both of these, to be looking at rescue dogs because it probably isn't fair on the rescue dog to be expected to come up to a certain standard–that just isn't what homing a rescue dog is about. I also think that we just need to accept that there is a health risk any time we take in a dog of this breed, whether a puppy or an adult. Most of us must assume that our dogs will at the very least end up with mitral valve disease, and many of us will also be dealing with syringomyelia. Many insurance companies already do not cover either of these things in dogs, and I think this steady compilation of research that shows just how high the incidence is of both of these conditions in the breed may eventually cause them to be exclusions on policies (and that will affect people who already have insurance, not just the newcomers).

There is also the consideration of emotional burden for anyone who has found it especially difficult to deal with illness and death, in a breed where there is a higher than 50-50 chance that either of two serious health conditions will occur in any cavalier. Especially (and sadly) when this has caused recent distress, the commitment to a cavalier has got to include a consideration of whether one could bear to go through this process again, perhaps over many years of caring treatment, and how a work schedule would be able to accommodate this. I know these are already active considerations.

And there is always the issue of taking in a new dog sooner than one is really ready to–at a point when another dog is still so present in the memory, and the memory is so upsetting and painful, that the lost companion still probably needs to take up the dominant role in the person's life and heart because there isn't quite yet room enough for a new companion. This does change over time for most of us :flwr: but it can't be rushed and adding in a new dog too early is not fair to the new dog or to the person who still needs time to heal and recover. It is better to have come peacefully to terms with the death so that the new dog becomes a companion in its own right, without being perhaps expected to fill a role that it simply cannot. Over many years of doing rescue and working with other rescues, I can say that one of the leading reasons a rescue dog does not work out in a new home is if the new home has expectations that the new dog will be like their old dog–it never is. The new rescue dog almost always carries in a few behavior issues and quirks, and often needs a lot of time and attention to help them settle in. I know people understandably get excited and encouraging about the prospect of any new dog in any of our lives on the board :) but it is important that this not encourage the wrong decision. The serious and uncertain elements need to be honestly weighed up.

If behavior and health were ever flagged to me as important considerations for taking on a rescue dog, I have always suggested people instead go and find a puppy with a reputable breeder instead.

GraciesMom
20th July 2011, 02:37 AM
I know this is a difficult issue for you... and you want the best for Elton too. Hoping you get the direction you need in your heart.

sunshinekisses
20th July 2011, 04:49 PM
If behavior and health were ever flagged to me as important considerations for taking on a rescue dog, I have always suggested people instead go and find a puppy with a reputable breeder instead. This I completely agree with, all rescues come with baggage, so to speak, very rare a great dog ends up in the shelter or rescue. Many times there are hidden health issues that the previous owner did not disclose. And same with behavior issues. I have rarely found a previous owner tell the whole story about the dog, and sometimes it was just lack of knowing because they never interacted with the dog. And even though a foster home may get to know a dog better, sometimes things aren't known until a year into ownership.

I guess it just depends on what the new owner is willing to deal with. Personally I work around the dog as issues come. Health can always go south and this is where every pet owner should have a back up plan. If pet insurance is a primary source for medical bills then there must also be a back up plan. Same with behavior issues, every owner should have a plan. If an owner is willing to go the extra mile no dog would be found homeless. (except of course, in extreme situation)

Pat
20th July 2011, 05:59 PM
very rare a great dog ends up in the shelter or rescue.

Wow - I totally disagree with this statement. Over 40 years, I have owned 20 rescue dogs (12 of them Cavaliers), so I have a good base of experience. I've also fostered many dogs during that period of time. The vast majority of my 20 rescue dogs were GREAT, well-adjusted dogs with no "baggage." The others with some issues were helped by me to become good dogs. These dogs were all in rescue for various reasons - death of owner, retired from breeder, off the street with zero history, from puppy mill raids, surrendered by horrible owners, surrendered by good owners (new babies with allergies) etc. I had the pedigrees on 9 of these Cavaliers, 3 were a complete mystery as they were off the street. Every one of these dogs lived into their mid teens (with the exception of one Cavalier that died at 13). Current four are almost 14, 11, almost 9 and approximately 3-4. The only major health problem I've dealt with were Darby's eyes.

Second quote from Sunshine Kisses: Many times there are hidden health issues that the previous owner did not disclose. And same with behavior issues. I have rarely found a previous owner tell the whole story about the dog, and sometimes it was just lack of knowing because they never interacted with the dog. And even though a foster home may get to know a dog better, sometimes things aren't known until a year into ownership. End of quote.

I agree with that statement. I've been communicating with Anne, and I told her that my rescue philosophy is the same as Greg House from the TV show - EVERYONE LIES - and that includes some rescue people also. Because of this, I always do a full medical and temperament evaluation myself. There was one instance in 40 years in which I returned a dog (Cavalier) to a rescue group because I was unwilling to take on his problem (bullying my two 13 year old Cavaliers). And after that Cavalier was returned, Tucker arrived and was very gentle and respectful of the seniors.

I will never, ever purchase a Cavalier puppy from any breeder. At this point in the breed, it is a risk that I am unwilling to take. I am far more comfortable evaluating an adult dog for both health and temperament. But this is my personal philosophy rather than something I would advise in general. It helps that puppies hold no special appeal for me - I really prefer adults and seniors. I realize that I have been extremely lucky with my Cavaliers as far as health and longevity, but I like to think that I also have some skill at evaluating potential adult dogs that I bring into my life.

Pat

Pat
20th July 2011, 06:20 PM
I know we are all different in when we feel ready to bring in a new dog after the death of a loved companion, but this is a huge, HUGE issue and decision. If I were in the position to be considering another dog after losing Lucy, I do not think I could be ready to start that process for months yet. In the case of Jaspar -- who is my 'heart dog', the once-in-a-lifetime special dog for me -- I would want a year or more, and then to carefully work with a trusted breeder to get just the right dog in outgoing personality and intelligence (along with the health clearances of a good breeding programme). The really special ones need a lot of grief time and my heart could not be open to a new dog very quickly after Jaspar. He's the one I cannot bear the thought of losing and who I know, will take a long, long time to grieve for.

Karlin, I hear what you are saying and agree with much of it, but I don't think there is a hard and fast "rule" for this.

Capers (Kilspindie Capercailzie) was my "heart dog" - he came to me at 14 months and was the major focus of my life for 15 1/2 years. He was with me through many tough experiences including the death of my mother. I was pretty much with him 24/7 for the last year and a half of his life. Losing him was a terrible ordeal in many ways.

Tucker came into my life about three weeks after Capers died. Three weeks. About a year after Tucker arrived, I lost my other "heart dog," Nominee. I don't know what I would have done without Tucker. Five years have now passed. It was absolutely, positively the right decision for me AND for Tucker. I realize that it's a little different for me because I am a multi-dog home and also because I am sadly well experienced in losing a beloved pet. Nevertheless, it can be "right" to bring in a new pet soon after a loss for some situations. For me, the important issue was finding the RIGHT dog for me (and my other pets) rather than the timing.

Pat

anniemac
20th July 2011, 07:19 PM
Thanks everyone. I feel like I have the guidence I need. I agree with Pat about adding a new dog after a loss varies but is personal. I trust myself and know what will be best for a new addition and for me. I would never take any of this lightly so I thank those that have steered me in the right direction. If anyone wants any updates, I still have my blog www.fightforella.blogspot.com


(http://www.fightforella.blogspot.com)