Beware of "* ******* *****" Dog Rescue
lease read the story below and forward to all of your contacts.
In mid-September I surrendered my three and a half year old male chocolate lab, Oliver, to a dog rescue for an number of reasons -- the most important being my infant daughter was developing an asthma condition that we believed was exacerbated by dog dander. I spent six months prior to the surrender trying to figure out how the two could co exist to no avail. You see, I loved my dog. I loved his quirky nature, his fierce loyalty, his palate for fruits and vegetables. I loved that he would lie with his head in my lap, how he would lick away my tears when I was sad and leap with glee when I showed excitement. Yes, I loved him in all of his brown-long-legged glory. But as a mother (and as a responsible dog owner who could see that he was suffering from the lack of time I could spend with him because I needed to keep him away from my child) I knew I had to let him go.
I chose a rescue because I thought it was his best bet. Yes, there were friends and family in my life that would have taken him. But they would have taken him for my sake and not his. And he deserved better. He deserved someone who wanted him. Who chose him. Who saw his picture and met him and said "yep, that's the one."
I went on-line and searched for rescues. When I typed the words "Toronto Dog Rescue" into Google one of the first hits was an organization called **** ****** ****. I read about them and liked what I read. The said they would find my dog a new home. That they would screen potential adopters to ensure a good fit. That they would check-in on the family over time. And that they would let me know the outcome. This all sounded right to me. I filled in the EXTENSIVE surrender application. I disclosed everything I knew about my dog -- from the fact that he loved and craved attention, to the fact that he could be food possessive, to the fact that he loved cherry tomatoes. I also disclosed that he had seasonal allergies. I said that untreated, these allergies could lead to SERIOUS problems -- including skin infections that can be difficult and expensive to treat. (I spent almost a year diagnosing these allergies -- and after many trips to the vet and a few misdiagnosis -- we found a medication that worked for him). I gave the name and address of his vet and gave permission for the disclosure of his records.
I sent off the application and within a few days Oliver was "accepted into the program." I felt devastated and relieved. I was told that the surrender fee for Oliver was $300. That seemed like nothing if it meant a good home -- and a guarantee that I would know the outcome. There was an additional assurance that if for whatever reason it did not work out, Oliver would return to the care of **** ******* ***** and they would find him a new home.
A few days after he had been accepted, a woman named **** came to my house. She had a clipboard and took notes. We spent over an hour with her talking about Oliver, his likes and dislikes, his specialness. She was helpful and reassuring. We signed a contract stating I was surrendering ownership of Oliver. I gave her $300. I gave her a bottle of his allergy medication. I packed up a huge box of his toys and belongings and I walked Oliver to her truck, I hugged him, I said good-bye. They drove away. And then I cried.
I watched his picture go up on their website -- he looked so handsome. I inquired a few days later and was told he was doing well. A week after that I was told he had been adopted by a nice family. They loved him and took him jogging every night. I was promised pictures at Christmas. My heavy heart was lifted at the thought of him jogging. He loved to run and I am not a jogger.
Almost two months later, I received word that his allergies were really bad. I was asked if I was sure they were seasonal. I explained that it was my understand that they were -- he had never had a problem in the winter -- I gave a few suggestions. The next day I received a call. **** was SCREAMING on the other end. Apparently, someone had finally gotten around to looking at his vet records. His new adoptive family was frightened by the number of times he had seen the vet in the previous year (a total of six times -- four of those times were before the allergies had been diagnosed, one time for his annual shots, and one time to treat a skin infection caused by his allergies). Even though the medication that solves the problem costs $60 per month, the family panicked. They did not want Oliver anymore. **** felt as though I had downplayed the allergies. How do you downplay allergies? 1 in 3 Labrador Retrievers have allergies. It is commonly understood as a problem with the breed. **** runs a dog rescue. Should she not know this? **** was not interested in a discussion. She said she could not place Oliver and I needed to come and get him. I explained we had a contract, that she had agreed to find him a home, and that I was not in a position to bring him back into my home. She screamed some more. Something about it requiring a millionaire to care for him. I asked her to call me back when she was more coherent.
She didn't call me back. Last Friday I returned home to find my beloved dog in my backyard. My gate had been locked so we believe she had help hoisting him over the fence. He was cold, shivering and wet from the damp day. There was a box on my front steps with a grocery bag full of kibble (there was no indication of what brand or how much he had been eating) along with a prescription bottle with some medication from a different vet (the label had been ripped off so we don't know what vet). All of his toys, his food bowls, his collar and his leash were missing. He was frolicking in the backyard with a ball he had dug out of the bushes. His old ball. His old home. His old family. He was thrilled.
**** at **** ****** **** never told me she would be dumping Oliver. She never called or e-mailed to see if he had been found safely or to let us know what had happened. She certainly didn't return the $300. I have since called her and asked she return Oliver's things and the fee I paid to her. Not surprisingly, I have not heard back.
What rescue would do this? What dog lover would do this?
I believe that **** ****** **** is driven by profit. If they choose to buy and sell dogs, than that is their business -- however they should NOT claim to be a rescue.
Oliver has found a new family who is not at all bothered by his allergies. I believe that he is finally home. With that looked after, I am turning my attention to ensuring that everyone and anyone knows about this story.
What can you do?
E-mail and register your concern about their practices -- let them know that abandoning a dog is an unacceptable thing for a rescue to do. They can be reached at E-mail Petfinder (a database of dog adoption organizations) and register your concerns about **** ****** ****. They currently list their dogs on this website (which is meant for reputable organizations that do not stand to profit from the adoption of animals).
Tell all of your dog-loving friends to avoid this organization.
Continue to offer your support to reputable rescues -- and there are many. I can't tell you how many wonderful people have contacted me since hearing Oliver's story. Dog lovers who have offered suggestions, assistance, and words of encouragement. I have learned that **** ****** **** has a terrible reputation -- something I wish I had know before. Together, we can get the word out and protect future dogs from harm.
If you have had your own experience with please let me know. I have already heard from folks who have had their own horror stories. You can e-mail me at .
Thanks you for your support.
Last edited by Capt. Jack; November 16th, 2008 at 05:32 PM. Reason: See moderator post