No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Many that have adopted from me have been turned down by other rescues. Many simply never got a response to an email sent. Many could not find a phone number to contact, or their calls went unanswered.

I hear what others say regarding their experience with other rescues, I do not comment, but I listen. No one is perfect. We’re all scrambling to do our best, and that’s what we do, our best.

The reason why I started The Dog Liberator’s website in the first place, many years ago, was because I was volunteering for local area rescues. I was learning a lot, and I was learning how people hated rescues, and it didn’t make sense to me. I explained to one of my clients that I wanted to start a website, and he came up with the name The Dog Liberator. I busted out laughing, and decided to use it. The website itself was to explain the dog’s world. Later, I wrote a children’s book about puppy mills and temperament. The more I learned, the more I wrote on the website. I never dreamed I would ever rescue, my goal at the time was to educate people about puppy mills, gassing, breed-specific legislation, breeders, shelters, pounds, rescues, surrendering a dog, adopting a dog, and so on.

It has been brought to my attention that my style of rescue is not only under scrutiny but being judged and criticized.

Even the name of the rescue has been judged, and my style has been labeled as “weird”.

My hefty adoption fees have been judged, and if I’m a non-profit or not is a topic of discussion. All Non-profits pay salaries. You think The United Way doesn’t pay their employees? I do not draw a “salary”. My adoption fees are value-based and based on current expenses. You may not remember, after I received an unsolicited donation last December, I lowered the fees of all of the Scruffy Puppies!

Everyone has a right to their opinion I say. What concerns me however, is the fact that I am so open and honest about everything that we do. If people would read, and ask questions, then they wouldn’t have to judge. If you are a rescuer, and wonder what I’m doing, ASK ME!

Many rescues do not divulge where their dogs come from, I do! I may change a dog’s name… let’s face it, how many Lady’s and Bandit’s can one rescue handle, and that’s even besides the point… Holly will veto a name in a heartbeat, and what Holly says goes! Look, when I name a dog Tim Tebow or Tom Selleck, you know I’m trying very hard!


Yes, we are different. I guess I march to the beat of my own drum. No one ever trained me how to rescue right, but I sure learned how to do rescue wrong. I was inspired after I volunteered for Pet Rescue by Judy. There, I met some incredibly talented and experienced people that taught me quite a bit. I was quite happy working under Judy’s umbrella, until it just got too complicated, and she urged me to launch my own rescue. I knew that I didn’t want to call it Pet Rescue by Gisele, because it’s not about me. I can’t do this alone. I pictured this rescue as being supported by a group of people, and wanted the freedom and flexibility to grow…. so I kept the name The Dog Liberator and created this blog.

There are few things that I will never change:

– I will always be honest
– I will always fully vet
– I will not horde

Whatever it is that I do after those top 3 things is icing.

But the fourth would have to be, I will not judge.

Fenced in yards are great, but do you realize how many times my Ozzie has escaped? What a dufus he is!

When I got my first Border Collie, I didn’t even know she was a Border Collie. I found her under a shed at the Herman Park Medical Center’s Rose Garden in Houston, Texas. She was 4 weeks old. I managed to bring several home with me, and I found homes for them. I was 19 years-old, and I was cute back then… heavy sigh. It was a Houston Power & Light Meter Reader that told me that my Troubles was a BC. Never heard of the breed, and didn’t care. At first I thought she was a black sheltie, but she grew, and grew, and grew. I still didn’t care. I lived in an apartment, and let me tell you, I’d break up with a boyfriend in a New York minute over my dog. And when it came time for me to move back home to Florida, my mother insisted that I give her away. HA! Right! It cost me a fortune, but I bought her a crate and an airline ticket, and she never left my side until she died at the age of 13. After she died, I purchased (yes purchased) my Lady Reckless, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Those of you who know me, know that rescue found me, and I fought for a very long time not to get started. Woops! It hasn’t even been a year yet, but soon. I think I’ve re-homed about a 125 dogs, give or take. I don’t know, I’m tired of counting. But this isn’t about numbers. My return rate to date is almost non-existent because the dogs that have been returned to me, those families get another dog FROM ME!

I’ve known dogs that could scale a 5 foot fence, but would never dig out or escape. I’ve known escape artists that Houdini himself would write them fan mail. I’ve had Velcro dogs that are so afraid of their own skin, they would never leave. I’ve matched known fear-bitters with the right people, and yes, those sick ones… broken legs, HW+, emaciated, pneumonia… somehow I’ve realized, through the wisdom of my friends, to trust in the fact that there’s a person (or family) for every dog out there. I just have to work harder, and be patient, and pray that they find us.

There is no formula to successful rescue. You wing it, you work hard, and you trust your instincts. The internet is a wonderful tool that allows me to research and screen potential adopters. Oh sure home visits are great.. but have you ever gone out on a first date with a guy that seems perfect? That is, until you get to know him! Home visits are good, but I use the internet, it’s detailed!

I believe that my time should not be wasted on finding ways to say NO. My time is spent on finding ways to say YES.

I don’t need you to have a 15 foot fence, and 20 acres, no kids, and be a millionaire. I need you to be honest, dedicated, loyal, and loving. I trust my adopters because I spend time with them face to face. I’m not so big that I’ve stopped listening. I never want that to change. If it did, I would fail.

Every day that I say no to a potential adopter, another dog dies. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve said no many times. When you tell me that you want to adopt Edmund and you have little kids, I’ll say no – but I’ll show you Pebbles. When you want a dog that’s an athlete and you choose Collie Gisele, I’ll say no, you want Titan. If you want a dog that can become a therapy dog and you choose Boscoe, I’ll say no, you want Tim Tebow.

I say no a lot, but I rarely say never. And if I don’t have your dog, I’ll find him. When I was contacted by a family who wanted a flat coated retriever, I knew that Becky had just rescued one on the side of the road. I shared with them information about Nick Nolte, the Moose, and had him transported to me. He was vetted and neutered (all 90 pounds of him) and after he recovered, and was temperament tested he was adopted. He was a special order!

There are too many dogs out there right now that need us. That just means we have to work harder, and no, I’m not perfect! Never claimed to be perfect.

I’m not here to judge people, I’m here to help them.

Update: I must admit, most of the harmful comments that were made where posted when our rescue was very new – still they were posted without my knowledge. At the time, between the months of August-November, I was start starting out in rescue. By December, however, I hit a record high for adoptions, and the comments were still being made with regard to my motive and my honesty.

I would hope that today, there is nothing left for me to prove, but a lot to show. My filthy carpets, no grass whatsoever in my yard, and my gray hair are three items of interest!

More TDL Articles

National list of No-Kill Shelters

Email us for more information: TheDogLiberator@gmail.com







5 Comments

  1. Gisele

    04.09.2010

    Maureen Janousek writes on Facebook: Are those that questioned your "hefty"adoption fees from another planet? A dog that has been fully vetted, microchipped, updated on shots, spayed/neutered and fed, transported etc is a total "bargain" at your adoption fees! I am ashamed to admit I paid $900 for my Sheltie Molly from a pet shop (most likely she was a puppy mill puppy). My brother paid close to that amount for his backyard breeder Doxies. From now on only rescue dogs for us! And one last thing I hate to mention because there are devoted animal lovers reading this…puppies and dogs given away free or too cheaply are being used as live snake food and for illegal dog fighting rings training animals. There is even a warning in our Tampa newspaper in the pet section about this. Keep up up your high screening standards Gisele…you have an exceptionally keen ability to match the perfect dog with the perfect family.

  2. Gisele

    04.09.2010

    Kim Sullivan Dahan writes on Facebook: Thanks to you and all of those who make dog and people dreams come true. I agree with Joyce. This is about the final outcome, deserving dogs given a second chance at life. And happy endings for all. Not a competition. Whatever works (and obviously it IS working), that's what counts.

  3. Gisele

    04.09.2010

    Maureen Janousek writes on Facebook: A milion thanks to you Gisele for doing such a great job and to all of those out there that help with the difficult job of rescue. There may be many different approaches but the end result is what matters most of all…connecting unwanted, sick, abandoned/abused/neglected and homeless dogs with forever homes and families that love them dearly.

  4. Gisele

    04.09.2010

    Karen Saltzman-Spadaro writes on Facebook: I love that you stick to your beliefs. Not sure who is questioning you but everyone has their way of doing things. You are passionate, caring, loving and doing a service that is so needed.
    Bottom line… these dogs are being SAVED. You give these dogs a voice. Not only are you helping these dogs, you are an important role model…Obviously you have touched Erika's soul as she has yours 🙂

  5. Gisele

    04.09.2010

    Jesse Moranti writes on Facebook: I'm looking foward to the next installment. Those that can't "do" criticize; perhaps if they spend less time judging others they would reach more dogs in distress in time. That reminds me I've got dogs that need tending to…have a great day!

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