To the rescue Dog or cat, there’s a foster group for every breed
By Lisa Reicosky
Copley News Service
Peg Monteleone got a call recently asking her to give foster care to an abused 1-year-old schnauzer. The dog’s owner had poured chemicals all over him. He had two of his toes amputated.
While shocking, the call is typical to Monteleone and others who volunteer their time working for animal rescue groups. The phone calls come at all hours. Graphic e-mails detail cases of abuse and ask for help.
“His hair is growing back,” she said of the schnauzer she has nursed back to health. “He’ll make someone a great pet for the next 15 years.”
Through her work with Second Chances, an Ohio rescue group for homeless and abused dogs and cats, Monteleone gives foster care to many animals. She has three foster dogs, along with her own three, as well as a pregnant cat and several kittens that need homes. She takes them to a nearby Petsmart where the group maintains cages for animals that customers can adopt.
She also heads a rescue group called “Pets 4 Life.” Through this organization, she recently placed a 10-year-old cocker spaniel with a 96-year-old woman.
“(The dog) is sedentary and just wants to be petted,” she said, adding that the companionship is beneficial to both the dog and the elderly woman.
Her two rescue groups, combined with a regular job, four children and a husband, make for a busy life for Monteleone.
“The entire family helps out,” she said. “And my daughter wants to be a vet.”
It’s hard to miss the frustration in her voice when she says, “If people would just spay and neuter!”
Her organization estimates that 50,000 kittens and puppies are born every day in the United States. Only one in nine will get a home and, on average, 64 percent of all animals in shelters will be euthanized to make room for more.
She said she tries not to think about the statistics.
“You have to go animal by animal. If you think of the whole scale, you will drive yourself nuts,” she said. “Each time I place one, it’s a victory. We go to the pound and the faces haunt you, but we can’t save them all. One at a time.”
But, if you think kittens and mutts are the only animals that get dumped at shelters, you would be sadly mistaken.
“There’s a breed rescue group for every breed out there,” said Lori Lawrence of Dachshund Rescue of North America. She and Colleen Dundon of Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue are two Ohio women who find homes for abandoned “wiener dogs.”
“I just happen to love dachshunds. I grew up with them,” said Lawrence. “I measure my life in dachshunds.”
Breed rescuers take their jobs seriously. Potential owners have to fill out an application, supply references and their veterinarian’s name, and have their home visited by a dachshund rescuer to assure the home is safe for a dog with short legs and a long body.
“We want to get a feel for the person and see if we feel comfortable,” said Dundon.
Through the national network, they transport dogs all over the country with members driving legs of the route.
Breed rescuers often leave their name and phone number with area shelters, requesting that they be called if their specific breed shows up there. The Humane Society recently called Lawrence to get two dachshunds that were confiscated from a backyard breeder.
“I picked them up, had them spayed and neutered, given shots, and adopted them out to a family in Pennsylvania,” she said.
The growing number of breed-specific rescue groups can be attributed to backyard breeders and puppy mills.
“It boils down to animal abuse. They will breed until the dogs die giving birth,” said Lana Kirby, a rescuer of Old English mastiffs.
Money to rehabilitate animals comes out of the rescuer’s own pockets, although some national organizations will help. Kirby gets help from the Mastiff Club of America.
Dundon warns that potential pet owners should do some research with breed clubs before buying a dog from a newspaper ad or a pet store.
To locate a breed rescue group on your area, contact your local animal shelter.