My wife and I experienced the same thing a few years ago looking for another Scottie. Gave up on that process and found one an owner couldn't keep.
Just wanted to vent here......your more then welcome to tell me if I'm wrong.... I started looking for a bird dog. I've had them before, This time however, I thought that i would give a pooch a second chance. So now I go looking......checking out some rescue societies. What are the requirements? Some I need letters of reference, who's my vet, do I have any other pets? So on and so forth. A little much in my book but doable. Where do I live? Do I have a yard, is it fenced, how close are my neighbors? Ok, now I'm getting a little annoyed here. But I continue. Ok. now my application has to be reviewed. IF I am approved, the pooch I was thinking about rescuing, may still be available. IF it is, I would have to come up with anywhere between 350, and 750 dollars. Depending on what breed it is and how old it is. At the time of the hurricanes down south I was looking. Same thing.....So, I have come to the personal opinion, and yes only mine, that I am not rescuing a dog, I would be buying one. It's one thing to ask for a donation, but to put an amount that high on it, is definately not a donation but a fee. I cannot see those monies going to the foster families. Don't get me wrong, I would love to rescue a dog, but IF I am going to pay that amount, I can go a little more and buy one as a puppy from a breeder. And no, I'm not looking for field champion stock, nor am I looking for a trained dog. I'll do that myself. I did my last ones. I want a nice dog, with decent lines, and good health. You get that from every reputable breeder. My last one, and English Springer was 750, was the runt of the litter, that no one wanted and turned out to be one of the best dogs I, or any of my friends hunted over. So, unfortunately, I think a rescue is off the table. Makes me feel bad.....it really does. How am I wrong here?
My wife and I experienced the same thing a few years ago looking for another Scottie. Gave up on that process and found one an owner couldn't keep.
The local shelter is also nosey in their application to rescue an animal, already destined to to be put down. I don't mind them wanting to know a few things, and am glad they don't just hand these poor creatures over to just anyone. There are many real nut cases out there with evil spirits. Vetting the new parents of a helpless dog or cat is common sense.
They charge about $90 bucks locally, and they alone weeds out some undesirables. But it also may stop a young family starting out that just wants a pet. $750 bucks is outrageous if you ask me. It better have papers and some proof of good breeding. That is "buying" a dog.
I'm okay with buying a dog, as my little ankle biter was $400 bucks (toy poodle the wife wanted), but paying twice that for a rescue is over the top in my mind. I would look elsewhere.
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You said a puppy from any reputable breeder will be "a nice dog, with decent lines, and good health" and that you would provide the needed training. The rescue organization wants to know much about you. For that price I would want to know much about the dog. Do they verify that the dog comes from decent lines, and is likely to remain in good health (which is a part of coming from decent lines)? Not every dog that is a member of a hunting breed comes from a line of hunters, and ones that do are easier to train. For that amount of money, I'd want verification.
Don't confuse the local shelters with the breed specific rescue societies.
The shelters accept any dog with hope of placing that dog with a new owner. They will accept any breed, and usually any age, adult or puppy. However, if the dog is ill, or aged, of an unstable temperament, or does not get adopted within a certain amount of time that dog will be put down. Some shelters are "no kill" but these are often full or crowded with unadoptable dogs. Shelters require that all animals are neutered before adopted out. The chances of finding a specific breed at shelter is very low, except for the very common breeds. The vast majority of shelter dogs are mixed breed.
Rescue organizations are run by breeders as an act of dedication to their specific breed. The advantage of choosing a specific breed is that an potential owner can select a dog that has a temperament that is described and established within that breed. You should have a very good idea of what the temperament will be when you select a Golden Retriever, as opposed to, say, a Jack Russell Terrier. In fact, potential owners really ought to give more credence to the temperament of a breed, than to selecting according to a dog's appearance. For instance, the breed most likely to bite is the Dachshund, believe it or not. About 1 in 5 ends up biting someone. Not all dog breeds are suitable, nor are they trainable, to a specific task. A Bloodhound will never make a good protection/attack dog for police or military.
So a breed specific rescue organization is pretty much for someone who knows that they want a dog of that breed. The rescue dogs are vet examined, and quite a few require heart worm treatment, temperament testing, socialization, and basic training at the foster home pending placement. The application for adopting a rescue dogs is pretty much identical to the application for buying a purebred dog. Responsible breeders are extremely committed to, and invested in their animals. They would rather keep all their animals then to have them go to a bad home. A responsible breeder will have the buyer sign a contract containing many specific expectations for their dog, including whether or not the dog can be bred, whether it must be neutered, and most breeders will require that if the owner can no longer keep the dog, that it be returned to the breeder and not be turned in to a shelter or placed with another owner. An honest attempt is made to place a specific dog with an owner, according to the dog's temperament and the adopter's needs. Understand that many times a rescue dog will have some faults related to problems with the original owner's failure to train or properly handle the dog, or the dog's personality--not getting along with the other dogs or cats, barking, timidity, or aggression to some degree or another.
Acquiring a dog from a responsible breeder is a process, requiring a series of conversations, interviews, and visits. Anyone buying a specific breed for a specific purpose should want to meet their dog's (pup's) sire and dam, and see the breeder's facility. We are not talking puppy mills here.
Of course the process is streamlined if the breeder has already placed a dog with you, or if you have had others of the breed, or you are a competitor in dog sports such as showing, obedience, agility, tracking, etc. If you participate in these dog sports, you will probably already have a good idea which kennel, line, or breeder you want your next dog to come from.
The fees of adopting a rescue dog are significant but are usually about half what a pup of that breed would cost. Responsible breeders not make money on their dogs. There are stud fees, vet fees, registration fees, puppy food, etc. For rescue dogs there are vet fees, kennel fees (quarantine), transportation costs, and also food. It is costly to keep a dog pending rescue.
All this is in contrast to adopting from a shelter. You will get a much more knowledgeable assessment of an animal from a rescue organization than from a shelter. There are a lot a wonderful dogs available from a shelter, but overall, it's a crap shoot, according to personality, temperament, and even ultimate size of the dog. Remember, many of the shelter dogs never enter the adoption process, but are put down if they are thought to have potential problems. Temperament is not predictable in a mixed breed, even if the breeds of the parents are known. They may not get the best characteristics of the two breeds. Sometimes they get the worst characteristics. You don't know, and you can't predict. I've seen plenty of problem mixed breed dogs from shelters.
From may perspective, my last eight dogs have been purebred, because I can narrow down much more likely what I will get in terms of size, appearance, temperament and personality of the dog. A responsible breeder who knows their pups can very often select a pup for an owner's specific purpose. For my last dog I requested one suitable for a therapy dog. Bingo! We visit hospitals and nursing homes. Other dogs from that litter went to requested show homes, obedience, and agility, well matched all.
If you know you want a dog for hunting birds, you would best be served by contacting a breeder who breeds dogs primarily for hunting. Very few show breeders hunt their dogs, and they certainly don't select them for hunting.
Hope this helps. I'd be glad to answer questions on this topic, if I am able.
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I ahve had too many issues with pure breeds the last few years and went to a rescue organization on purpose to get a mixed breed. Now, when one talks "bird dog" that usually means pointer which are scarce around here. However, my last pure breed was a golden retriever and a good dog, but had health issues, which has been happening with other pure breads. Had two that had cancer. Add to that, a couple of my better dogs were cross breads or mutts and I will not look at a pure breed any more. The cross breeds were as good and lasted longer. As I now do not bird hunt much if any, I went to a shelter and bought my little terrier cross. For her type and cross she is a good dog and if trained would kick up birds. She would be an excellent squirrel dog. I could have gotten a lab cross at the shelter which probably would have been a good flusher.
For me the cross breeds would be OK. However, for one wanting a pointer it might require a bit of spending. Getting a dog from a shelter may require more of a wait and one has to be a bit flexible. I went through a bit of a screening process but nothing major and understood why. The cost for my little terrier cross was about 250. However the dog came neutered (which I would not necessarily want if getting a good pure breed) with all shots, and chipped. Vet fees would have taken a big chunk out of that 250. Over all I am content with my little dog and think I would have been with another dog. My one daughter has rescue dogs and is happy with hers. My dog was shipped up from Texas and was due to be put down but the local one is a no kill shelter and rescues dogs like mine from those that have to euthanize.
The decision is based on ones needs and what one expects. For me it was a reality check with my age and the current bird hunting situation. A good duck dog might be in order but duck hunting has been pretty spotty lately. Local grouse are pounded ruthlessly now. Grouse do not necessarily need to be hunted with a dog as do pheasant. Pheasant hunting requires a 3 hour drive for a crap shoot. I just went with a rescue dog that could work out if I get a desire to go out, but what the heck, chicken tastes better.
Last two dogs were from the same rescue... 1st one had a fairly extensive check, what vet, what experience with dogs, and a home visit from the rescue to check out the area were the dog would live... The 2nd was just a cursory home visit... Now that the 2nd passed they waited a few months and e-mailed me to come pick up another dog whenever I wanted to, no strings, just come to the rescue and leave with a dog...
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Good luck on training a dog that has been a family pet. Might be ok if it is pup but a dog of 2 or 3 yrs old is hard to break. My dad kept Engish Setters that were trained on grouse. He usual had 3 dogs and were kennel kept. A couple times he got dogs from people, mostly because they were moving where they couldn't keep them. A Britany and a nice Black Lab. The Brit was a total loss it wouldn't do anything even worked with the Setters, it was about 4 and had been house pet. The Lab was happy to be there and was a bad dog if you wanted a flush dog. It ended up as family pet and it was only 21/2yr and had also been a pet. The only dog I ever had of questionable background that took to training was a Irish Setter. She just took to it naturally and at the time didn't have other dogs to hunt her with. Age 5-7 yrs old when I got her.
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My wonderful German Wirehaired Pointer, Clark, died earlier this year. My wife and I had almost convinced ourselves that we weren't going to replace him. He was a huge part of our lives. But... A Rescue opportunity came along from the National GWP Rescue - and here I am - with another one of the danged things:
Yes, working with the National GWP Rescue was an eye opener. I felt like I was applying for a high level job, or security clearance! All those same questions mentioned by the OP - and then the actual visit to my home! Well... Okay. They don't want the dogs falling back into another neglectful or abusive situation. I get it.
The costs bugged me a bit. Here we were, willing to take this dog into our home, and yet... The bills have mounted:
$400 adoption fee to National GWP Rescue
$900 in training fees - I agreed to training with him, and it's not inexpensive
$100 for a used crate & bed for him inside our home
$50 for a used crate for in my Jeep
$150 ? or so for a trip to the vet
And on it goes... Yet, he's worked out remarkably well. A nice addition to our family, to our life. And... The bird hunting training has started, a bit at a time. The dog has a strong prey drive, and is a natural pointer. When we're done with the obedience training, I'll plunge headlong into bird hunting training. I'm not going to rush it, but I suspect that we'll be hunting birds late this season. Chukar, quail and pheasant most likely.
So - it is a big choice. Big decision. I'm happy with our choice, but I completely understand how much of a barrier the Rescue organizations have raised with the background check, as well as with the fees...
About 20 years ago we went rescue only. Cannot imagine doing anything else now. With so many guys out there it just is the only path for us.