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.

Promise to tell the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth

Promise to tell the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth

I joke all the time that I want to start my own reality show and here’s an example of why!

About two months ago, I was in the process of pulling two dogs from the panhandle. One was from Terry Watts (Gemini) and the other was from a woman will I call “Sally” in this post. Sally is not her real name, and I will not release her actual name, because she is an active cross-poster and saves many dogs. To hurt anyone’s reputation in the world of rescue jeopardizes a lot of lives.

Before finalizing the pull and transport of these two dogs, Gemini (shown left) being one of them, I clearly asked both Terry and Sally if the dogs were heartworm negative or positive. My email clearly stated, it matters not, either way, but I need to know. Both Terry and Sally immediately told me that they would have the dogs tested. A day later, they both replied in an email saying their dogs were negative.

At the time of their pull and transport, I was 2 months behind on my mortgage, and had $120.34 in the bank! Knowing that the dogs were both negative, I knew I had enough money to get Sally’s dog spayed and fully vetted.

I asked both Terry and Sally to provide paperwork that they were negative, so I would not have to pay for another heartworm test. Heartworm status is mandatory in my rescue before adoption. Terry said no problem, but Sally told me she didn’t have any paperwork. I questioned the lack of paperwork, the lack of proof that the test was done, and asked who performed the test, and did not get an answer.

Even though I failed to get a clear answer, the dogs were transported, and I trusted that once Sally’s dog was heartworm tested, the results would show a negative.

Once the dogs arrived, my vet called me to discuss the paperwork. Gemini had been fully vetted and spayed by Terry Watts. She was surprised that Sally’s dog came without any paperwork. She asked me if I wanted a heartworm test on Sally’s dog, and I said yes. The vet called me a few moments later informing me that Sally’s dog was heavy heartworm positive, but would still spay her. Confident that I would figure out a way to pay for the treatment, I gave my vet the green light to have Sally’s dog spayed and vetted.

I felt very deceived, but it wasn’t the first time I had been deceived. Heartworm positive doesn’t scare me, and I have accepted probably 50 HW+ dogs in my rescue since I started it a year ago, but I accept them when I have the funds to treat, and I make sure that my ratio of HW- and HW+ is balanced. Let’s face it, Heartworm positive dogs take longer to adopt. People are afraid of the status, and don’t understand how easy it is to treat.

I called Sally and asked for her help. I needed $125 to send the dog to Dr. Wayne for treatment. I even suggested that she could send the money directly to Dr. Wayne, instead of sending it to me. I asked her if she could raise the funds. She indicated that she had $50 she could use, and that she would get back with me. I was hoping for an explanation, maybe that someone had made a mistake, but no explanation was given.

Moments later, Sally called me and informed me that she wanted the dog back. I asked her why? Clearly, she could receive the treatment with me and I could find her a home quickly. Sally insisted that she was going to arrange transport, and wanted the dog back. But there was another problem. I had the dog vetted and spayed, along with the cost of boarding, we were looking at approximately $75.00 or more.

Again, I asked why won’t you just help me raise the money for the treatment and leave the dog with me? Sally informed me that she adopts out HW+ dogs all the time. If that was the case, why was the dog sent to me to begin with?

I contacted my vet and explained the situation. At this point, I didn’t know what was going to happen to the dog. I had never had anyone say they were taking a dog back.

What I didn’t know was that Sally had contacted another individual who works at my vet, and asked that they find a home for the dog.

That afternoon I was at the vet’s office, processing new dogs coming off a transport, (one of the dogs from that transport was Dudley) when a strange woman walked up to our group, and asked if anyone knew of a young female, spayed and vetted that had been abandoned by a rescue. Needless to say, my blood pressure hit the roof.

Later I spoke with the people at the vet’s office, and assured them that I was responsible for the dog, and the dog’s bills, including boarding fees, and that no one was taking the dog unless it was leaving with me, or going where Sally indicates. In other words, the dog is not going to be re-homed without going through the standard adoption process.

Before I left, I paid for the dog’s current boarding fees and heartworm test, and waited for further instructions.

I later received a call from the vet, that Sally had coordinated transport for another rescue group, and the bill for the balance, which included more boarding, vetting and spay was paid, it totaled $106. My vet and I wondered why that $106 was not used to help pay for the heartworm treatment, and why someone would choose to move a dog around when unnecessary.

The dog was adopted, to a wonderful home, and is getting the treatment she needs.

Dudley, however, stayed at the vet for quite some time. He was not heartworm tested at the pound, the service is not available there. We later found out that he too is heartworm positive, was emaciated, and x-rays showed a bullet in his chest.

Because I agreed to rescue Dudley without any information, once his health issues were uncovered I solicited donations from my supporters. Because I was not told the truth about Sally’s dog, I asked Sally to raise the funds from her supporters. It’s all about accountability isn’t it? When I pull a dog without history, I am accountable.

Dudley is doing great, and was adopted from me by someone who works at the vet’s office.

I have always been very honest about all of my dogs. I publish where the dogs come from, I name the shelter, I name the person who pulls, fosters, and transports our dogs. I write as much as I can about my dogs health, age, temperament, etc. I expect the same honesty in return when someone asks me to take a dog into my rescue.

Being dishonest in rescue will only hurt the dogs in the long run. I ask for as much information as possible about each dog that I pull, and when that information is not available, I take my chances and hope for the best. I make sure I have the funds to cover expenses in advance. One month, I may accept 2 or 3 heartworm positive dogs, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be able to the following month.

If you don’t know a dog’s health, heartworm status, age, breed, temperament, just say you don’t know. To deceive a rescue into taking a dog is wrong. We can’t save them all.

To date, the dogs that are in my rescue, and are available for adoption that are heartworm positive are Jasper, Little Bear, Moonpie, Joey (LillyAnn shown left has not been heartworm tested yet, and was an owner-surrender).

She shelter that gave us Moonpie also told us she was heartworm negative. I didn’t know Joey was positive until after he was pulled and processed. Jasper and Little Bear were owner-surrendered, and we suspected that they would be positive.

In rescue, there is no right or wrong. You do the best you can, and take your lumps. You try to plan what can not be planned. You prepare for the worse and hope for the best, but one thing is for sure, you must surround yourself with people who care about your work, will protect your rescue to keep it alive and well, and expect that the people you work with have the same high standards as you do.

Note: If there was an error in administering the heartworm test, and this was not done on purpose, I apologize for this post. But if this heartworm test was done in error, and gave a false negative, I was not told.

Gisele Veilleux, Founder, The Dog Liberator

6 thoughts on “Promise to tell the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth

  1. Well said, Gisele. I don't know what people think is accomplished by telling lies and half-truths, and then spreading false rumors. It isn't like there is a whole line of people just waiting to jump in and fill a space when a rescue finally gets so worn down it quits. Shame on those who tell lies and half-truths, and shame on those who spread rumors. There is enough real work to be done without such destructive behavior.

  2. I don't really understand why someone wouldn't have wanted the dog to stay with you if you were willing to keep and treat her? It happens all the time that things come up after dogs go to rescue and no one knew about them beforehand. But you weren't turning your back on her, you just needed some help. Even when you thought Valentine was blind, you didn't have a problem with it. The point is to focus on what can we do to make this work and save this dog. Sounds like that's all you were trying to do in this situation.

  3. Aren't there enough of real abandonment, neglect, and abuse cases for supposed responsible rescues to concern themselves with?

    Shame, shame on those that try to cover their tracks by casting judgement on rescues that devote all they've got in order to "honestly" do the right thing.

    It's hard enough to bring some of these pups into rescue with limited background info. There's no shame in saying "I can't afford the testing or vacc's, so can you please help me with this case?" To out and out lie is a dog of a different color.

    I'd like to nominate that party for the "You Lie Like a Rug" award!

  4. Lynne Deal posted on Facebook: I was standing right next to Gisele when she was at the vets PAYING, I was holding Kudos and Breeze on a leash, Roxie in a carrier, when that lady walked up to Gisele, and said about the dog being abandoned, Gisele was right in the building…… sitting on a bench holding Dudley, waiting on another woman to come look at Dudley.

    Gisele tried to explain we were waiting on another rescue to pick the dog up, again though, we were all there in the building, Gisele Holly, RIGHT THERE!

    people really should check their info
    G was a little miffed people were talking about an abandoned dog, when we never left the vets office…very odd

    I heard Gisele even say OUTLOUD dont forget you have another of my dogs back there…and the desk girl said.." which one..(we had so many )
    …the aussie? the collie?"

    then the lady walked up…

    Guess she didnt realize we were all there with Gisele… and saw it all

  5. Its a sad, sad shame that things like this happen. I, too, was lied to by a rescue shelter. Now, don’t misunderstand, it would not have mattered what they told me, I was bringing this old girl home with me regardless. But they told me she was “about 4 years old”…my vet said, “no, more like 9”. They said she had been spayed; she had not. They told me she had ‘vet clearance’….whatever that means. As it turned out, she was nearly blind from entropian with horrible infection in both eyes, she had bilateral bacterial ear infections which I should have known right off from the odor, her skin (she is Shar Pei) was in the worst condition I have EVER seen, 40% of her teeth were decayed, and a host of other things I didn’t notice until I got her home. I drove 5 hours to get her and was so excited to give her a home, the cost to get her where she is today was so worth it. But I wish they had been honest with me. She had obviously been abused, was more than likely a puppy mill breeder (she is a beautiful Shar Pei) and horribly, horribly neglected. I love this dog like you wouldn’t believe…and she loves her new mom!!…but the rescue shelter should have been upfront with her condition(s). It would have saved my vet and I some time in figuring out what we needed to do.

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