Five myths about rescue dogs

You might have heard them, you might believe in them, all the myths out there about rescue dogs.

I admit, before I started to work with dog rescue organizations and rescued dogs myself, I had a handful of negative perceptions about rescues. Now, having met and photographed hundreds of rescued dogs, heard their stories and seen the unconditional love they both give and receive in their new homes, this topic is very close to my heart.

At the end of this blog post you'll find before and after photos of three dogs. The images are filled with both heartbreak and hope. The reason I wanted to share them is to show you not only the transformations of the dogs, but what a difference you can make by adopting.

But first, let’s talk about myths. Here’s what Kristine Weathers, Owner and President of the nonprofit organization
GreenDog Foundation said, when I asked her about the most common myths about rescue dogs:

Myth #1 - Rescue dogs come with issues

It’s true that rescued dogs may have “issues” to deal with, but many dogs that end up at the shelter are there under extenuating circumstances. Owners die or get so sick that they cannot care for their pet any longer and have no family available to take their pet in.

In the last decade, many wonderful dogs ended up at the shelter simply because their family lost their home and, unfortunately, most rentals do not allow for pets or charge high rates to accommodate them.

Then there are those who just got lost and their owners couldn’t find them.

(Helén’s note: I’ve found that the different reasons to why owners are surrendering their pet are oftentimes very hard to understand and has nothing to do with the dog’s behavior.)

On a darker side, there are “cyclers” (a term rescuers use) who adopt a dog as a puppy and then turn them back in again when they are an adult, just to obtain another puppy.

The best way to obtain a rescue dog is to adopt through a rescue that fosters its dogs. If the dog is being fostered in a home environment, you can be sure to know everything you need to know about the dog prior to adopting.

Myth #2 - You can’t find a purebred rescue dog

This is very far from the truth. In fact, we have had multiple
Coton De Tulears within our rescue! We have also had many beautiful purebred dogs ranging from Border Collies to Yorkshire Terriers to German Shepherds and sometimes owner-surrendered purebreds even leave pedigrees along with the dog!

(Helén's note: There are also bread-specific rescue organizations out there.)

Myth #3 - Rescues are too expensive

Yes and no. This is rather subjective. Most adoptions can run $250 to $300 to adopt an adult dog and puppies are sometimes a bit more; however, one must take into consideration that all of the vetting has been done…well, let’s clarify here a bit. Every rescue has their own procedures, so it’s best to do your due diligence and find a rescue that fully and completely vets their dogs. Fully and completely means that every dog must be spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated (including Rabies), micro chipped and if the dog is a senior, it should have a blood panel to make sure the dog doesn’t have an underlying illness. A full anesthetic dental should also be performed. If the dog has a hernia or tumor or any other medical condition outside of the ordinary spay and neuter, this should also be taken care of by the rescue. When you take into consideration all the vetting that is given, the adoption fee is hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars less than what you’d be paying outright.

Myth #4 - All rescues are old

While many rescues do have more adult dogs than puppies, this is not necessarily a bad thing. (Helén’s note: I’ve met and photographed many brand new rescue puppies.) While a puppy is adorable and oftentimes an impulse buy because of their cuteness, you have to keep in mind that you will have a year and a half of chewing up things, peeing on things, pooping on things, and everything else that goes along with having a “child” at home for the first 18 to 24 months. Puppies require a LOT of time and work in the beginning, and unfortunately, many young dogs end up in the shelter simply because people didn’t think this through and decide that they’ve had enough when the puppy is 6 to 12 months old.

For most people, a dog 1 to 2 years of age is ideal to work with, unless you have full-time to devote to a puppy. And seniors (whom you will never know how special they are until you’ve adopted one) are ideal for someone who wants a low-energy dog or just a companion and who can’t commit to 10 to 15 years.

Myth #5 - Rescues don’t bond like a new puppy does

Nothing could be so far from the truth. Anyone who has ever rescued an adult dog can tell you adamantly that rescues have a sense of gratitude that puppies never have. It is so difficult to explain, but it is a prevailing truth. Rescues are gracious and grateful.

Thank you, Krissy for sharing all the information!

And dear reader, please don’t hesitate to contact either me or GreenDog Foundation directly with any questions you may have.

GreenDog Foundation
Phone: (951) 609-0765

Below are the before and after images I mentioned earlier.

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion” - Unknown

Dakota the day he was rescued. The shelter said he was a senior that nobody wanted. When GreenDog Foundation took him to the vet, it turned out he had baby teeth and was about 4 months old.

Dakota after some love and care.

Kami was a stray.

Kami was one of the very first rescue dogs I photographed and seeing her transformation was amazing.


Kelly had a bladder stone so big she couldn’t stand up because of the pain.

Kelly after the surgery.

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