It occurred to me when thinking of new dogs and old dogs and wanted dogs and unwanted dogs that there is a huge benefit to doing rescue work. You know all those posters who want the perfect dog? If you have enough fosters go through your house, you either give up the notion that it is just this dog/breed/whatever and there is another perfect dog out there or you admit that you are incurably delusional. Having had to housetrain puppies and adults and submissive pee-ers and stealth pee-ers and stubborn independent dogs and soft spooky dogs, you appreciate your basic dog instead of wondering why the hell it still has some accidents when you have had it a whole week.

People worry about shedding, and rightfully so, but once you have had a lab running around, you hardly consider a cocker spaniel mix or a GSD a shedder. When you have worked with dalmatians because there was a huge need for dals to be trained to be good kid dogs even though it is not your favorite breed but one of them turns out to be one of your favorite dogs ever, you learn to look at the dog's heart and behavior in addition to, and even more than, its breed.

When that heart dog was one who drove you completely nuts and made you feel insane to ever have taken it on, you learn that love can be built from service and sacrifice as much as by cuteness and puppy breath. When you have washed dog beds and carpeting daily and torn out your hair dealing with an incontinent dog for years on end, not much can phase you. You don't expect a no mess dog. When you have a dog who blows you off no matter what you say or a dog who curls up in horror at being told no, you learn to get to know the dog and treat it accordingly, as an individual with its own personality and issues, and to do so patiently.

You learn to appreciate any qualities a dog has and not to judge a dog on its bad qualities. You may even figure out that many of the behaviors that drive you nuts are reflections of the very qualities that you will love down the line once you learn how to deal with its negative side. You realize working with enough dogs that not all dogs are right for you or right for your family or home, but you can love them anyway and accept that your home is heaven for some dogs and hell for others and make your decisions accordingly.

You definitely feel the pain of knowing without any doubt that you can't save them all. But you also know the joy of saving that one or two or ten. And you know the joy of not being one of those pains in the *** that lectures everyone about saving them all or how to do it right.
As I sit at a crossroad and try to decide where dogs fit in my life and which dogs fit in my life, and my kids' lives, I am really grateful for all of the dogs who have run around my house(s) driving me bananas at times and cracking me up at others and taught me so much about communicating with dogs and unconditional love as well as anger management. I am glad that I learned how to give other families the gift of a dog I have worked with and finally got through to and am finally getting to think I might want to have around long term.

I am glad that I have learned to be open and take chances. I am even grateful for those moments that wouldn't be shown on the dog food commercials because that is where I learned to appreciate and love real dogs, not just dog fantasies. So whatever my choices and whatever the down sides to opening up my heart and home, I have to be glad I've done it and I don't think I will ever be able to completely stop doing it.

Paula
"Anyway, other people are weird, but sometimes they have candy, so it's best to try to get along with them." Joe Bay
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It occurred to me when thinking of new dogs and old dogs and wanted dogs and unwanted dogs that there ... one of those pains in the *** that lectures everyone about saving them all or how to do it right.

Amen, sister
As I sit at a crossroad and try to decide where dogs fit in my life and which dogs fit ... to be glad I've done it and I don't think I will ever be able to completely stop doing it.

Bravo. Outstanding post.
flick 100785
It occurred to me when thinking of new dogs and old dogs and wanted dogs and unwanted dogs that there ... one of those pains in the *** that lectures everyone about saving them all or how to do it right.

I agree with all of your points and figured out a long time ago that having had such a variety of dogs come through the house, not to mention being the person responsible for all of the other dogs in the rescue at that time, sweating the small stuff was not only insane but suddenly the small stuff became insignificant stuff which then became "huh, what do you mean that's unacceptable behavior?! Emotion: wink
I can fully understand a person's demand for 100% obedience and I not only appreciate that as their right to expect but I also respect their ability to achieve that goal (assuming they achieve it and dont' just expect that feeding and watering a puppy will make it grow up perfect). I, OTOH, am quite happy with my occasional counter-crusing, trash-raiding, bitchy, bossy female Boxer because that's the extent of her issues. I adore my counter-cruising, trash-raiding, dominant-one-minute and pathetically-regretful-the-next boy Joe Joe. Unfortunately his case appears to be one of right dog, wrong home.
I've had the extremely fearful, severe SA, confinment anxiety, dog-dog aggression, dog-human aggression, possessive aggressive, easy-peasy, aloof, hemorrhoid, poop-hider, clean-clothes-marker, health problems galore, handicapped and I'm sure there are some others in ther so I've become a bit (maybe alot) desensitized to dog problems and find that what I consider normal for my breed or maybe even for dogs in general can sometimes differ strongly from other people's perception of the same.
There's the OMG I cannot live with that to the OMG why can't my dog be more like that to the My Dog? S/he's perfect! What never ceases to amaze me, in a good way, is how adaptable dogs and sometimes fickle dogs are. You take a dog from a shelter or situation where he was neglected and/or sometimes mistreated, often with treatable health issues making him ill, and introduce him to a healthy and pampered life as an indoor pet with all the perks.

The dog should love you and want to only live in your home forever right? Well, dog gets adopted and adoptive home sends pictures and email updates that clearly spell out just how happy the dog is there and it even, gasp, sounds like he's happier there than when he was with you and, well, wtf am I just chopped liver?
As I sit at a crossroad and try to decide where dogs fit in my life and which dogs fit ... to be glad I've done it and I don't think I will ever be able to completely stop doing it.

Hear, hear! I don't know if Mollie is the catalyst for this reflection but I wouldn't be surprised if she is. So many times I used to want to quit, not because of the dogs, because of the politics, the overwhelming & unyielding demands & needs of rescue people and shelter folks, all on behalf of the bottomless pit of dogs needing help and the lack of daily, happy adoptions which help remind you that you are making a difference and that someone is happy with your contribution.Then, just as I was ready to be done, I couldn't take any more because my stress level was through the roof and my morale was at an all-time low (that happened alot or so it seemed), a dog more desperate than any I'd seen for a few weeks comes along and that's all it takes. That dog to look at me, curl up on the sofa here, nuzzle my hand or tentatively move its nub when I gave it attention.

And it didn't even have to be here with me but pictures and info from the foster home who did get the dog even though they too had alot going on. I was back in 150% and damn anyone who tried to stop me. I'm no longer involved like that but I'll never fully be uninvolved and I think, one day when Amie is more grown, I'll jump headfirst back into full-time rescue.

Tara
The dog should love you and want to only live in your home forever right? Well, dog gets adopted and ... sounds like he's happier there than when he was with you and, well, wtf am I just chopped liver?

Well, yeah, but have you noticed how crazy dogs are about liver?! Emotion: smile The bad news is that they don't always feed our savior complexes. The good news is that they don't always feed our savior complexes.

It was a whole combination of things that set off my thinking. Partly Molly and partly someone who wants one of my dogs that I've had for a long time and is happy here, but may well be happier in the new home. (Chopped liver, here I come!) It was a lot the reaction I had with Diva, not just after she was gone but all the emotions that came with her last months here. I loved her, but man was it hard to take care of her. Much of her life, really, but really bad at the end. When you love having dogs and hate having dogs at the same time, it has to stir some deeper thinking, I guess.

Paula
"Anyway, other people are weird, but sometimes they have candy, so it's best to try to get along with them." Joe Bay
Well, yeah, but have you noticed how crazy dogs are about liver?! Emotion: smile The bad news is that they don't always feed our savior complexes. The good news is that they don't always feed our savior complexes.

It really is good news. There's nothing more relieving than finding out that the dog you've been worried sick over, wondering if he/she is adjusting to yet another move, is doing okay. To find out the dog is doing better than okay is wonderful.
It was a whole combination of things that set off my thinking. Partly Molly and partly someone who wants one ... love having dogs and hate having dogs at the same time, it has to stir some deeper thinking, I guess.

I can relate. Summer wasn't hard with things like incontinence but she broke me in for life as the owner of a different dog. She had problems from the time she was a puppy and for every step ahead we took it seemed like we somehow managed to slide 5' backward. She was my first abnormal dog and I was pretty green but perfectly willing to overcome that status. There were times when I swore someone was punishing us (moreso her) and other times when I felt someone knew what they were doing to throw us together.

After I put Summer down I withdrew from the other dogs and kept them at a distance. It took a while and a good many foster dogs coming through and unsettling Fancy before I allowed myself to start getting attached again. Fancy, luckily, is a dog who refuses to be ignored so she campaigned for my attention and undying devotion (she'll accept nothing less). She's going to emotionally cripple me when she dies. I hope its not for about another 40 years.

Tara
She's going to emotionally cripple me when she dies. I hope its not for about another 40 years.[/nq]Yes, I understand. Diva was my Fancy, and my Summer. Going through everything we did bonded us even closer. I think a lot of it is that problem dogs cause us to try even harder to understand them so that we can figure out what the heck to do with them, if we decide to try to do something with them instead of just giving up on them as soon as the going gets tough. The more you get to know them and concentrate on them, the more you understand them, communicate better with them and appreciate them.

The harder you have to work for the relationship, the more you have had to really open yourself up to that dog to have the relationship. You either find you can't stand that dog or you love that dog. I haven't found it possible to be ambivalent about difficult dogs, though I am certainly capable of being ambivalent about dogs. That's a good thing, too, since it would kill me to have every adoption rip my heart out. It's nice to have some that you don't worry about leaving but don't worry about whether they end up staying, either.

Know what I mean? But they are never the ones I have really had to get to know inside and out to deal with.

Paula
"Anyway, other people are weird, but sometimes they have candy, so it's best to try to get along with them." Joe Bay
I could not have expressed it any better!
Even though most of my fosters have been GSDs (or GSD mixes) there is such a wide range of personalities, coats, drives, etc., that it is almost like having different breeds of dogs.
One of my very favorite fosters, ever, was a huge black GSD/Chow mix named Martin. He was slated to be killed on Martin Luther King's birthday of this year, and he got a last minute reprieve into our rescue group. I will admit that once I saw him and saw that big old Chow Chow head of his, along with his black tongue, for a brief moment, I thought to myself, Oh my doG, what have I done? He turned out to be a total gentleman, perfect manners, affectionate and very well behaved. His new owner is totally crazy about him.
We have fostered hundreds of dogs over the last ten years (seriously!) and the only two that I officially adopted were two that caused me more aggravation than most of the others! One escaped from the car without a leash and we chased him for six weeks before we finally caught his hairy butt and the other came into my home, attacked another foster dog, left puddles of diarrhea the size of dinner platters and then opened by sliding glass door and jumped our fence and disappeared into the night. She has turned into such a nice old girl and she absolutely adores my partner John.

You cannot explain the overwhelming feel of pure joy that fills your heart when you see the dog you fostered go from being scared, sick, sad and skinny, metamorphosis into a gorgeous, happy, healthy pooch and then watch them get adopted into a new family who adores them. Our annual reunion is always a very emotional day for our volunteers when we get to see a whole slew of our previous foster dogs all in one place.

Keep up the good fight!
Yours in GSDs, dogs, and rescue,
Lea
www.shepherdrescue.org
The bad news is that they don't always feed our savior complexes. The good news is that they don't always feed our savior complexes.

On another group, someone has this signature:
A man should carry two stones in his pocket. On one should be inscribed, 'I am but dust and ashes.' On the other, 'For my sake was the world created.' And he should use each stone as he needs it.
I really need to find out where it comes from..
dainerra
On another group, someone has this signature: A man should carry two stones in his pocket. On one should be ... And he should use each stone as he needs it. I really need to find out where it comes from..

replying to myself... Emotion: smile It's a quote from an unknown/anonymous rabbi, date also unknown.
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