People often think a rescued dog will be more “grateful”, and therefore more loyal, than other dogs. While that may sometimes appear to be true, in my (totally biased and uneducated) opinion it has more to do with the dog’s character than with the fact s/he was rescued. If a dog's gratitude is your reason for getting involved in rescue, consider this your fair warning.
Most rescued dogs adapt back into sharing their lives with humans pretty fast. The bond between us and dogs goes back a long, long way; it’s in their genes to love us, and to put up with our cluelessness. Even dogs who have been abused will respond favorably when re-homed.
Then there are the problem kids; the rebellious teenagers of the dog world. No matter how you try to explain it, they’ll never understand that what you’re doing—what you’re trying to do—is for their own good. They’ll never trust you, not completely, and certainly not enough to let you close to them.
We have no way of knowing what a dog like this has gone through. The things s/he had to learn in order to survive. Rescue dogs often are escape artists; impossible to enclose. (Remember that dog who dragged her rescuer on rocks? She also chewed her way out of a "foolproof" Sky Kennel.) They come with phobias—of humans, of men in particular, of men with hats even more particularly, of children, of cars, of open spaces, of enclosed spaces, of cameras, of garden hoses, of fire, of… Well. You name it. They might be protective, or territorial. They might not get along with other dogs.
But these Rebels Without A Cause also need a home. They need love—human love—even if they don’t know it, or don't know how to ask for it. People who adopt them need to let the dog take the lead on how much loving and how often and when. They need to allow the dog to just be.
It takes a special kind of someone to do that. Which is why I'd like to close with a shout-out to long-time blog friend Keith Channing and to new friend Ann Bennett, both of whom are precisely this special kind of people. You're awesome, you two.The other reason rescues might need special homes is because, besides behavior issues, they might have health ones too. You'll find a run-down of those on the Health Issues post.
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