Rescuing and the things you should know

As I have become more & more involved in the rescue business, I have learned so much. I have been heart broken over dogs we couldn’t help. I’ve fallen in love and had to say goodbye to foster dogs. I have gotten a glimpse of just how many dogs are out there that need help. I have been angry at the humans who ditch their dogs for sometimes no reason at all. I also have been inspired and motivated by other humans who help dogs and people that they’ve never even met before. So, I thought maybe if I share some things I’ve learned, it will enlighten someone. Maybe it will answer a question that someone has wondered. And maybe it will inspire someone to help in whatever way they can.
*Disclaimer: The things I have learned are in my own words, based on experiences I have personally had while working with Last Hope Rescue. It does not mean that this applies to every rescue group, or that every volunteer has the same experiences.
Things I’ve learned about the rescue business
  • Last Hope Rescue, and most other rescues that I have learned about, are run by ALL volunteers. Volunteers who have full time jobs, not related to rescuing. Volunteers who have families, including their own furry kids to care for. This means every email, every phone call, every event is coordinated by a volunteer who is taking time away from their personal life to help a dog in need.
My family: Oscar the pocket pit, Jayden the human, and Lucy the Boxer
photo 5 (3) 3ofus
  • How we communicate. As I said, the rescue is run by volunteers. That includes all of the social media sites too. One volunteer (me) does the Facebook, PetFinder, RescueMe, & Pinterest pages. Another volunteer does the Last Hope Rescue page. Many volunteers help check applications, write thank you notes, complete bank deposits, return phone calls, apply for grants, put on events, etc. Because there are a handful of us helping, we need one form of communication when it comes to important things like adoption inquiries, and THAT is why we use email. If you follow Last Hope on Facebook, you will see MANY times, we say “Please EMAIL Last Hope Rescue at” You probably have also seen replies to people requesting info on a dog, with the same sentence. The reason being is that our president, Angela, knows the most about the dogs in the rescue. She is also the foster coordinator, so she is the one to get a potential adopter in touch with the foster parent of the particular pup. It wouldn’t make sense to have a bunch of us answering questions when we may have never even met the dog in question. Angela is also the one that knows if the rescue can take in any more dogs, and has LOTS of resources to share, if we can’t help. Now don’t get me wrong, the other volunteers are VERY knowledgeable, and are a true blessing! But in most cases, when it comes to the initial communications from someone, it only makes sense to have that come from Angela.
  • Fosters. As of this moment, LHR has 28 adoptable dogs, and 26 courtesy posts. And that is actually a low number for us! LHR, as with most other rescues, depend solely on foster homes to rescue dogs. This means if we do not have an available foster home, that can fit the needs of the dog, then we can’t rescue it. Many times we get asked why we pulled one dog over another. This usually has to do with the foster homes available. For example, if the dog does not like cats, and the only home available has a cat, we obviously can’t place that dog there. Or if a dog is not kid-friendly, and the only home open has kids, we can’t pull that dog. It is always our goal to save as many dogs as we can. BUT we also have to keep everyone involved safe, healthy, and happy. It is also important to realize, for every dog, there is a foster parent. So not only are we busy answering inquires on adoptable dogs, courtesy posts, and people needing our help. We are also checking in on our fosters, bringing them supplies, helping coordinate trips to the vet or to events.
  • Vetting. The rescue does NOT get free vet care!! This is SO important to understand. LHR spends THOUSANDS of dollars a month on vet care. There is a charge for every exam, every vaccine given, every micro-chip, every spay/neuter surgery. FYI: Heartworm treatment alone costs roughly $1000 for one 100lb dog. LHR currently has TWO dogs that need to be treated for heartworms, and we are CONSTANTLY asked to save dogs that are heartworm positive. Expensive vet bills limits the amount of dogs the rescue can take in.
  • We are not a shelter! I already mentioned that LHR depends on foster homes, but this is important so I am going to reiterate. LHR does NOT have a facility. We get asked all the time “Can I come see your available dogs?” or “what are your hours?”. When someone wants to meet a few dogs (which is totally fine!), that means we have to coordinate meet & greets with multiple different fosters. We don’t have a facility, like a local shelter, where people can just stop by and see multiple dogs at once. BUT we do hope to have something like this one day, and the community’s continued support will get us there!
  • Help us help dogs! Because the rescue is an all volunteer program, with no local facility, there is no monthly government assistance. The rescue runs completely off of donations and adoption fees. We do have a volunteer that works on applying for grants, which helps with things like getting micro chips, bedding, and sometimes funding; but there are hundreds of other rescues applying for the same grants too, and not everyone can be awarded the grant! On an average, LHR spends $300 to $500 on each dog that comes into the rescue. The adoption fee is $125. Now, you do the math! SO many times, I have heard people ask why we charge so much, or can’t we offer a cheap price to help a specific dog. THIS is why. The adoption fee maybe covers half of the expenses for an adult dog who is in pretty decent health. But what about the dogs that are heartworm positive, then treated & healthy prior to adoption. Or the puppies that have to be vaccinated, micro chipped, and fixed. Or the dogs that get some kind of illness, whether it be intestinal parasites, parvo, etc. All of this adds up, but our adoption fee stays the same, no matter how much has gone into caring for the pup.
  • Courtesy Posts. Just because we can’t take any dogs in, does not mean the pleas for help stop. Every single day, there are MULTIPLE calls and emails from people asking for help. Either they found a stray dog, but can’t keep it. Or they have a dog that they can no longer keep for whatever reason. Instead of turning them away, LHR tries to help by doing courtesy posts. We list the dog on Facebook, PetFinder, & RescueMe. Those who are interested in a courtesy post are still required to fill out the Courtesy LHR application, and go through a screening. All of this is the same that we do for the dogs in our program, except we do NOT charge an adoption fee. Remember I said we currently have 28 adoptable dogs, and 26 courtesy posts? So keep in mind, for HALF of the dogs we are currently helping, we will not get an adoption fee.
  • FUR-EVER. If you adopt from LHR, you will sign a contract. Within that contract, it states that if at any time you can no longer keep the dog, he/she MUST be returned to the rescue. You might wonder how often that really happens. Well, I’ve been fostering for just over a year, and have had seven fosters. Petey (x3!), Toby, Chelsea, and Sassy were all returns. So trust me, dogs DO get returned to the rescue.

While we can’t help every dog, and sometimes it gets so frustrating and over-whelming, we keep on keepin’ on! We might have to beg for donations. We may have to give up a beach trip on a sunny day in order to attend an adoption event. We might use up all of our money on gas for transporting dogs. But it is all worth it. We are dog lovers. Through and through.

Animal lovers are a special breed of humans,
generous of spirit, full
of empathy, perhaps a little
 prone to sentimentality, and with hearts as
big as a cloudless sky. 

-John Grogan

*PS-All of the dogs in this post (except mine, of course) are available for adoption through Last Hope Rescue. Please contact us if you are interested in any of them!

7 thoughts on “Rescuing and the things you should know”

  1. Thanks for the great information. It is good to get a picture of the inner working gears of a rescue like Last Hope! You all do such a great and wonderful job! Thank you all.

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