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Why Your Next Pet Should Be A Rescue

With millions of animals crowding the shelters, rescuing your next pet is the right thing to do.

Have you noticed people like to tell you when their dog is a rescue? That’s because they know they played an important part in saving the life of a deserving animal and have received an amazing companion.

They have every right to be proud; rescuing an animal is the right thing to do. We want folks to spread the word so that others will consider the incredible good and personal satisfaction that comes from choosing to rescue. 

Rescue has been around a long time, but it’s only recently become a part of our mainstream culture. Adopting a rescued pet is the final step in a process that involves a dedicated network of volunteers who devote their time, resources and homes to save these once-forgotten animals from bad situations, and help them find loving families. 

Many people who consider getting a new pet from a breeder or a pet store don’t realize the magnitude of the animal overpopulation problem in our country. Every year, American animal shelters euthanize seven to ten million animals. The overwhelming majority are healthy, loving and adoptable pets whose only fault is they don't have a place to call home.

So, how does this happen? Some were brought into the world because their owners failed to spay or neuter their parents. 

Far too many owners decide that the responsibility of caring for their pet is just too much trouble, and they choose to give them up to a shelter over living up to their commitment to care for them. Most of these owners probably believe that the shelters will find a new home for their pet, but with the enormous numbers and the shelters’ minimal resources, this is only true for the lucky few. That’s where rescue comes in.

Rescues work with the shelters to give these animals a voice and a second chance at life. One of the biggest misconceptions about rescued animals is that they are somehow broken or more challenging, but these are the same dogs and cats who were just recently living in your neighborhood.

Rescue animals from all sorts of circumstances can transition into a well-adjusted, loving member of your family. They are very resilient and quickly adapt to new environments.  They respond well to a loving home. 

Mutts Matter is a dog rescue, so obviously we’re partial to these furry friends, but rescues exist for every kind of pet.  We urge you to seek out a rescue if you or someone you know is considering bringing a new animal into your home.

You can rescue dogs and cats of every age, breed and temperament, from purebred to mutt, lazy to hyper, in all shapes and sizes. These are normal, awesome pets who love and enrich their families. 

Below is a brief overview of how Mutts Matter Rescue works, and how a pup transitions from the shelter or life as a stray to becoming a member of your family. 

WHERE OUR DOGS COME FROM

Dogs find their way into rescue through several different path and most, through no fault of their own, end up confused and alone in a shelter. Why?  

An owner gets sick or moves somewhere that doesn't allow dogs.

An owner adopts a cute puppy on impulse, but is not ready for the amount of work and cost involved in caring for a dog for the next 10 to 15 years.

A new baby enters the family and the parents decide they no longer have time for their four-legged companion.

Too often, owners surrender their dogs because it was just not convenient for them, and sometimes these dogs are taken in by animal control because their owners have neglected them. It's an unfortunate predicament for the poor pup who doesn’t understand why they lost their home and family.

VETTING PROCESS

Dogs coming into the rescue are taken immediately to one of our veterinary clinic partners for a full health evaluation. Every dog is spayed or neutered, brought up to date on vaccines and microchipped before they are placed with a new family.

Mutts Matter requires that of our dogs be spayed or neutered to address overpopulation, and to ensure that they can’t be used for breeding. Mutts Matter dogs are also evaluated for temperament and personality, which helps us to place them in homes that are well-suited to their needs and the needs of their future owners.

FOSTER HOMES

Rescue dogs taken in by Mutts Matter are placed in one of our volunteer foster homes, where they are given temporary shelter, care and an enormous amount of love and socialization until we can find them a good home. Our foster homes serve as a transition for the pup from a bad situation to a new hopeful life. As the dog begins to realize they are safe and loved, they begin to trust and open up, and we can get a better sense of their personality and level of socialization, and understand the type of home and family that will best suit them.

Our foster families vary greatly, from single moms to families with four children, to graduate students, retirees and singles who are looking for companionship and want to give back. They are your neighbors, friends and coworkers who have busy lives, but make time and selflessly give these innocent pups a second chance at a great life -- and sometimes their first positive human experience.

Everyone benefits in the foster process. The foster family enjoys a rewarding experience and is able to see real, tangible results from the time and love they invest.

The foster dog gets a break from a stressful life in a shelter or other unfortunate circumstances, and starts to learn how to be part of a family.

The adopters get a dog that’s better socialized and adapted to home life, and receives first-hand insight and guidance from the foster family who has lived with and often rehabilitated their dog.

ADOPTION PROCESS

If you’re ready to adopt a dog, the first step is to complete an Adoption Application online. You can apply for a specific dog or apply to be approved as a Mutts Matter adoptive family.  We will work with you to find the right pup to fit your family.

Once your application is completed and your references checked, a Mutts Matter volunteer will schedule a phone interview to discuss your application with you. This process helps us get a better feel for the type of dog that will best fit your family and lifestyle.

The final step is a home visit. A Mutts Matter volunteer will visit your home in person to meet you and get a sense of the living arrangements. This is to verify your home is a good, safe environment for one of our pups.  The home visit  also provides us an opportunity to answer any final questions you may have. Once you are approved, we connect you with the foster family and have you meet your pup of interest to see if it’s a match.

HOW WE OPERATE

Operating a rescue can be a very expensive undertaking. Adoption fees help cover only a fraction of our costs, which include routine veterinary checkups, microchipping, shelter fees, fuel for transporting new rescues, food and supplies for all of our dogs in foster care, temporary boarding facilities, behavioral training when needed and supplemental or emergency medical treatment, which can sometimes run into the thousands. We also have basic administrative costs that include liability insurance, adoption marketing materials and website hosting.

Mutts Matter Rescue is a 10o percent volunteer non-profit dog rescue run by people who love animals. We rely on donations and support from our community to continue our work on behalf of the animals.

Dedicated volunteers are the lifeblood of our rescue. Whether helping with transports, application interviews, home visits, fostering or fund-raising events, there are many ways to get involved and help save dogs in need.

If you would like to Donate or get involved with dog rescue, you can fill out our Volunteer Application or contact Suzanne at suzanne@muttsmatterrescue.com

All of the dogs in this article's pictures were rescued by members of the local community from Mutts Matter Rescue.

Kristen Tapia December 14, 2012 at 02:12 PM
We adopted two dogs from the Virginia German Shepherd Rescue (VGSR) and found the adoption process to be thorough and easy. Our first adoption was for our little mix and took 3 days - they checked references, the President came to our home for the home visit/meet and greet and we filled out the application and we were approved. It wasn't that complicated and we found everyone to be communicative and organized. Our second adoption with them was even easier-- since we had already been vetted, we were able to take our Pure GS home with us on the same day we found her. What's more, like most rescues, ours each have a unique story about where they come from and it makes me feel proud knowing that I was able to give each of our girls a chance at a great life that they almost never had. We love the VGSR and we love our rescues!
Angela R. December 14, 2012 at 03:36 PM
If you really want a particular breed, check out breed-specific rescues - just Google it. We have two Cairn terriers (Toto dogs) that we adopted from Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network cairnrescue.com. We now volunteer with Col. Potter and do everything from fostering and transporting to home visits and placement. If you find one organization's process too onerous, then try a different one. At Col. Potter we look at each individual application and dog to determine if it is a good fit rather than just requiring everyone to have a fence or no kids. At the very least I hope everyone will seriously consider the commitment and responsibility they are taking on when they get a pet of any kind, from any where. I have seen too many animals given up because they were old, sick or the family just got tired of dealing with them. Yes, life happens and sometimes no one can predict or prevent this from happening - these stories break my heart for both the pet and the owner. But too many times it's just not convenient anymore. Just take a look at all the pets available on Craigslist any given day - it's horrible. Thank you to all the rescue workers who try to find them homes and to those that open their homes and hearts to an animal that just wants to be loved and cared for.
Mariane Herndon December 14, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Every responsible, educated breeder of purebreds I've ever known requires a contract stipulating that they will take the dog back if problems develop. And every one has had at least one puppy end up in a shelter, or in some other unsuitable situation. The breeder is often the last to know because the original purchaser just "forgot" about the contract. That's not the breeder's fault. Some people find it difficult or inconvenient to honor their commitments, so they just bail on the dog and "get rid" of it. Again, not the breeder's fault. Another thing: most ethical, responsible breeders won't allow their puppies to be placed under the Christmas tree. Our pets are living, breathing, beings, not toys to be set out at the curb when the newness wears off and reality and responsibilities set in.
Mutts Matter Rescue December 14, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Jo Ellen - Mutts Matter does not require a fenced yard to adopt a pup. We have some dogs that may do better with a fenced yard, but it's not required. Also, we would NEVER put a dog down, that's the point of rescue. Once the dog has been taken in by our rescue, they have a home and support for life.
Mutts Matter Rescue December 14, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Thanks for insight on your experience with rescue. A positive experience and finding the right pup match for your family is far more common than the naysayers out there.

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