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.

Rescue is an Effort, Not a Science

Rescue is an Effort, Not a Science

The point of this blog post is to explain what adopters should expect when adopting a dog from a shelter, pound, or rescue.

Before I explain in detail, understand when you go to a shelter or pound, and ask the questions:

  • Is he good with other dogs?
  • Is he good with cats?
  • Is he good with children?
  • Is he housebroken?
  • Does he bark a lot?
  • Does he play?
  • Does he like to escape?
  • Is he crate-trained?

The answer most of the time will be, “I don’t know.” You can not judge a dog’s temperament when it’s scared to death at a pound.

Yet, those are questions that we pride ourselves in being able to answer for you.

We do not carry DNA tests in our back pocket, and are not veterinarians; there are many questions that we can not answer. Let’s face it, most of our dogs are strays. Even the dogs that are owner-surrendered do not come with the complete truth.

We try to deal with honesty and integrity, not perfection.

Rescue is an Effort:
In rescue, we are not promoting a cookie-cutter product, like shoes, cookies, or hamburgers. We cannot guarantee the way in which the product was manufactured, the ingredients used, or how the product will be delivered.We cannot guarantee the age of a dog, just provide a guess. We rely on the shelters to age a dog, we consult with our fosters, and our own veterinarians. We average the estimates, and come up with a range. We can’t even give a definitive answer to the age of a puppy, just an educated guess.

No rescue, pound or shelter makes a dog heartworm positive, their previous owners do, out of sheer neglect. We do not give dogs worms, kennel cough, or make them become emaciated, they come to us that way.

Nor can we guarantee, without paperwork, a dog’s breed. We sometimes stare at photos and debate for long periods of time. Some of our adopters have had DNA testing on our dogs, and we always enjoy reviewing the results.

Do I believe that Lady Di, Sugar Ray, China, Kiss, Baby Ga Ga, Tim Tebow, Big George, Chelsea, Trixie Belle, Dudley, Valentine, Gemini, Rex/Bolt, Radar, and many others are purebreds? Yes, I do. Can I prove it? No, I can’t. Only Shy Shannon and Titan have come to me with AKC registration.

While we work very hard with our shelters and pounds, our fosters, and our vets, this is rescue. We work with the information that we get, decipher emails, interpret phone calls, and document as much as we can as new information arrives. We do the best we can. We make mistakes. We admit it. But they are honest mistakes. We want our adopters to be able to trust us. That is why we spend so much time writing on the website, on facebook, on the phone. We want you to know our heart.

But we will make mistakes. If a person cannot tolerate an error in age, breed, health, etc., then they are surely better off going to a source that has the full history of its dogs, i.e., a quality breeder. If, however, they just want a great dog and the knowledge that they saved the life of an abandoned pet, then we hope that they will consider adopting from us, warts and all!

14 thoughts on “Rescue is an Effort, Not a Science

  1. Good Blog, we all live and learn in whatever we do, you will continue to make mistakes, what I admire is that you learn from all of your mistakes no matter how big or small and your hearts are squarely in the right place. You and Holly LOVE your dogs without reservation and look for the best home possible….anyone that wants any guarantees should NOT get a living thing, with life ANY life there is no guarantee!!! All you can guarantee and you do is you will do your very best for your dogs!! Love you guys Lou

  2. I am happy to hear that it's been "so far so good" with Amy's Chas…We've been doing a lot of research since learning Rex was HW+, and from what we've reading, the Imiticide treatment is the only real option we have. He's not asymptomatic, and we fear what kind of damage the adult worms could do while waiting for a preventative to work as a remedy. What surprised me the most about her story was that her vet berated her for having a HW+ dog, since the disease is only transmitted by the dog being bitten by a mosquito. We brought Rex into the house with another dog, and our vet assured us she was not at-risk. As for Rex's age, he's still a young dog, and while we understand his age was estimated, we just anticipated a closer match, since we were told he was with a vet and presumed they'd have been in the same neighborhood as our vet in the estimation, with his teeth as a guide. If our experience helped establish new protocol and saves others from some unnecessary heartache, then some good has come from it. We'd appreciate everyone sending positive thoughts Rex's way as he embarks on his medical journey.

  3. Your update is very well written and informative. Thank you for all you do for our dog community. I hope to someday soon welcome one of your Borders into our home. So miss our precious Molly girl.

  4. Excellent post. The dogs are lucky to have all of you! Once we finish our remodeling we hope to contact you about adopting.

    Keep up the good (and hard) work!

  5. Nina, I believe I may have been unclear in explaining my vet's reaction to treating Chas with the slow-kill method rather than the Immiticide. She meant that by using Heartgard and thereby keeping Chas HW+ for a longer period of time, I was exposing area dogs not on HW preventative to the disease. In other words, a mosquito could bite HW+ Chas, then bite an unprotected dog and infect that dog. In retrospect, my response should've been to tell her to direct her ire at the owner of the unprotected dog.

  6. Very informative post, with a lot of heart. It saddened us that you even have to write such a post and provide so many explanations. We can only hope that these people that are the cause behind the negative aspects are the minority. As the Bard says "To err is human", it is whether we learn from them which is more important. And really those people who expect perfection are probably the same ones who never learn from their own mistakes. Speaking of cookie cutter, our 70 lb BC mix, Nougat, (aka Bling) certainly and shockingly to many broke that mold!

    So many people come up to us, telling us how beautiful she is (we beam proudly every time) and/or how well behaved. They always ask what breed she is. Of course we tell them she is a BC mix and a rescue (go into that later)and although that means she is intelligent, that they do not automatically come this way. You have to train them, along with large doses of love and patience. We can't tell you how many people we have had to convince that getting the same breed does not mean you will get the same dog. We explain that we researched the breed, knew we had to come up with things to stimulate and challenge her and schedule plenty of activity time, this was before we ever called Giselle. Then when we explain she (and all our animals) is a rescue, sadly 70-80% are shocked that Nougat could be a rescue. Changing this perception is what all of us are doing.

    Ron & Dawn S.

  7. Amy,

    We just had to respond to your comment. You are so right, your vet's anger was misguided, it needed to be directed at the irresponsible dog owners not the responsible one standing in front of her.

    Ron & Dawn S.

  8. I am saddened and confused by your comments regarding Buddy. I did disclose his origin–abandoned in city park, half-starved–when I initially contacted you. His resource-guarding and trust issues were mentioned then and repeated in multiple correspondences.

    I made no claim to his vetting other than rabies, one deworm/deflea and a heartworm test. We had the rabies proof–he had a tag and certificate. The only heartworm test evidence to be had was a handwritten note from the vet tech on the back of a business card from the low-cost vet clinic. No, I do not know if that went to you… I am not sure what paperwork was able to be retrieved from his earliest days after being found in that park.

    I am extremely grateful to you for taking Buddy after I made so many pleas for him…please do not misunderstand that. I am happy he is with you now and I believe you will give him the best chance at a future.

    But, I feel like your comments suggest deception or withholding of information on my part. Perhaps, they aren't meant that way, but I felt I was completely honest with you regarding where he came from, what had been done medically, and what all his issues were, from the very beginning.


  9. Carlyn, please, no worries. This happens very often, sometimes paperwork is lost in transport, sometimes it's with someone that we can't track, and sometimes the female dog arrives as a male! It's really no big deal for me.

    I do believe that a third-party at once time mentioned he was fully vetted, but if they are as busy as I am, I understand how facts get confused when you're managing so many dogs at once.

    We talk to many people each day, and answer literally hundreds of emails. When the dust settles, we review the paperwork, and try to make sense of it all.

    Buddy is doing great.

  10. your blogs are full of good information….. thanks for taking time share your experiences for all of us in rescue to continue to learn…. is there a way to share each blog on my facebook page? thanks
    wendy mcarthur

  11. Beautifully written. I foster the heartworm positive dogs. MY DOG is not heartworm positive and I am 100% certain to give him his preventitive monthly, as prescribed. Still, I have heartworm positive dogs passing through my home regularly. Yes, I am putting the other dogs on the block in danger IF thier owners have not treated thier dogs as a responsible owners does. If those dogs are not preventitivly treated, is it my fault that thier dog got heartworm? No it is not…. no more my fault than if I had not treated my own dog who then caught it from thiers. Do they care? Obvously not, if they are not using preventitive. We cannot controle the actions of others – only our own. If we could controle everytone else, there would be no need for rescue….

  12. and the drama continues, as the country runs out of immiticide to treat heartworm positive dogs… now what? Use the slow-kill method we’ve been talking about for years? I think I see a bunch of vets nodding their head now.

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