This is Levi. He came out of a local kill shelter years ago. His eye was horribly swollen and his tail was hanging by a few strips of skin. He had obviously been hit by a car. But his vet work went well and he lived for many happy years here at the sanctuary.
We rescued Levi in 2003. At that time there was almost no possibility of special needs dogs finding an adoptive home. Seniors were impossible to place. Almost no one was interested in taking in a dog that would need extra vet care.
The other rescuers in our state and all across the south were in a horrible spot when they rescued a senior or special needs dog because they knew it would most likely be a permanent foster for them. This took up a spot that could be used over and over again to rescue healthy young dogs that could be placed in permanent homes. So the sanctuary took in lots of dogs from other rescuers. They would take one or more of the healthy dogs we had rescued in exchange for us taking a senior or special needs dog from them.
I remember so many times sitting in the waiting room of the vet clinic with a blind and deaf dog, or a dog missing a limb, or a dog with one, two, or three devastating ailments. People would ask me why I would spend so much time and money on an ill or disabled dog when I could rescue and re-home several healthy dogs for the same money. My answer was always the same. Their lives matter too!!
We have always loved every animal that ever stepped foot on our land. They all received the very best we had to offer, and unfortunately sometimes that was not enough. But we had to try!
Don’t misunderstand my meaning here. Every rescue group I have ever dealt with wanted desperately to help ALL the dogs they came across in need. But the financial and practical reality of the situation was that when a senior or special need dog came into their care, it prohibited them from rescuing many healthy dogs. Hard choices had to be make. And many rescuers took in those senior and special needs dogs anyway. But when we opened our doors and gave them the option to rescue those babies and not lose a foster home for several years or longer, they were as thrilled as we were.
Today, there are many sanctuaries and groups that specialize in seniors. And I’m sure there are some that take in special needs. But back in the day when we first started we were breaking new ground, in our area anyway. Everyday I have conversations with people that love the senior dogs. Many people now have disabled dogs as well. But that is a new face for rescue that was not the case back in 2001 when we first opened our doors. What a thrill that is for everyone that loves these precious babies!!!
4 thoughts on “The Changing Face of Rescue”
I am so glad that you are bringing attention to the special ones. We have an autistic son we are raising. Our doxies whom we had taken in from puppy mills knew immediately when we brought him home that he was different. (He’s adopted.)
My dogs were never socialized and they are terrified of strangers, even family members. I remember being scared that they would bark and hide from him. Instead they jumped up on the bed and started welcoming him. They knew that like them he was scared of the outside world. I think they wanted him to feel safe here. 😊
Christina, I believe that the therapeutic capabilities of dogs is an area of medicine that needs to be exploited more. They do wonders for so many conditions. My father-in-law has been in and out of the hospital and rehab for the last year or so. He just had his 91st birthday, and he always does better when he gets to spend a little time with his little Dachshund.
God Bless your family,
Hi my name is Marti Recktenwall – I am the Indiana Representative for Midwest Dachshund Rescue. We take in about 250+ dachshunds annually young -seniors. We recently brought in Wags an 11 male. Wags is neutered, UTD on all vaccinations and micro chipped. Wags was surrendered to a shelter when his owner passed away. Wags is on meds for seizures. He is taking Phenobarb and Kepra?. We have done a full senior blood/urine panel on Wags and checked his pheno levels -which are good. Wags’ seizures are under control, but we feel that because of his lack of activity or emotions he will have a very hard time finding him a forever home. On any given day he wakes up may softly cry to go out to go potty – he will go potty on his own and eat-take meds. He might go on a SHORT walk – if guided to go in a straight line-path. Then Wags will rest/sleep for several hours. He may get up go potty and begin walking/stumbling in circles. Next he will nap again and must be awakened for his meds. The cycle just repeats. He is not in pain and putting him down is not an option for us. But we really cannot provide a santuary care either. Our vet feels he is about as good as he can be. Wags is a gentle loving boy and deserves to be able to spend the rest of his life with someone who will love him. Can you help Wags?
I can most likely make a place for Wags? Do you have a way to get him to West Texas?