The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Decisions, Hard Decisions

Rescue is a strange world. Like all of life, it has its good days and its bad days, victories and defeats, fans and critics, praises and condemnations.

Last Saturday we came together for our first Spring reunion in Melbourne. That was a good day. We got to see so many of our dogs, now happy and safe in their forever homes. Most of our dogs come from kill shelters in rural areas. They had almost no chance of being adopted. The odds were stacked heavily against them. They were supposed to be euthanized. But somehow, they found their way into our rescue. It wasn’t happen chance. It was the result of many different people, most of whom we have never met, putting themselves out to let us know about a dog, going to the shelter to get it out, fostering it until transportation could be arranged, driving for hours to get it to us, fostering it, ….. All the parts of the puzzle that finally come together on that magical day when the dog happily leaves us behind for its loving family. Truly magical days.

And yet, for every dog we rescue, we have to say “no” to dozens of others. We rely on foster homes, and of those we have few. To maximize the number of dogs we can save, we have found that we must focus on those that we believe we can quickly place, reopening up a foster home for the next dog. And so we say no to so many. It isn’t that those dogs are any less worthy of being rescued. Far from it. They are rarely in their situation through any fault of their own. But if we take a dog that will tarry with us for months, how many dogs could we have rescued in that spot during the same time?

You can’t imagine how heart wrenching it is, to be making the choices of who will come to us and who will not.

But the hardest times of all are those when we have to make the hardest decision: to not take a dog. The same day of our reunion, that very happy day, was the same day that we had to make such a decision. The dog is a known biter, we will not put our volunteers, transporters or fosters at risk. We told them no, knowing that the dog will be euthanized.

If you have watched any of the animal control television shows, you’ve probably seen how shelters and pounds temperament test dogs before labeling them as adoptable.

How do you place a dog into a foster or adopting home when it has a history of biting which has escalated to mauling? You can’t. At least, we won’t. Even if a person were willing to “chance it”, we aren’t going to risk it. We simply will not take the risk that a child will one day approach the house to sell cookies and be attacked, bitten and scarred on the face or worse. We don’t believe that is ethical. People adopt from us because they trust us. They count on us to use good judgment. We will not abuse that trust.

And so we make hard decisions. We hurt every time a dog is euthanized, whether it is one we didn’t have room for or couldn’t take because of behavior. And we hurt when we are criticized and condemned for it. We would save them all if we could, but we can’t.

We didn’t cause the pet over-population problem. We didn’t cause the dogs’ behavior problems. We help where we can. We try not to dwell on where we can’t because that wound doesn’t heal.

Maybe there are rescues or people who will take the known repetitive biter. We haven’t found them. Those rescues that say they will, are full. Perhaps that is why they are full. I don’t know. I just know that we are doing the best we can. We don’t want to betray the trust of those who adopt from us. And, quite honestly, we don’t want people to think that we are better than we are. We’re just doing the best we know how.

Today it has rained all day. How appropriate, since today we have struggled all day with the emotions that flow from us and others following the recommendation to put a dog to sleep. Perhaps tomorrow will be a sunny day. Perhaps tomorrow a dog will have its magical moment, leaving us for its forever home. But today, it is still raining.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: