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What does it mean to make a lifetime commitment to your rescue dog?

January 19, 2017

Previous adopters, potential adopters, and supporters... Please take a few minutes to read our first blog post. 

I am writing this with a heavy heart. I know this is part of the job but it never gets easier. No matter how intensive our application process is, no matter how in love and dedicated a potential adopter seems to be, no matter how much time is spent trying to educate our adopters, no matter how comprehensive our policies are... dogs will get returned. And for each dog that is returned to us, my heart breaks.
I want to make it clear why we are so strict on our policies, why we offer lifetime advisement to our adopters, why we are full disclosure about strengths and weaknesses with our potential adopters, why we ask that our adopters seek professional training advice when they encounter behavioral issues, why we ask for personal references, why our adoption fees are higher than many shelters-- the list goes on. 
First and foremost, WE WANT IT TO WORK. We want the dog you adopt from us to fit in perfectly with your family, we want their adjustment period to go as smoothly as possible, we want your new dog to be a FOREVER member of your family. That is our goal. 
These dogs live in our homes with us. For many of them, we are the first family they have ever had, the first love they've ever known. They are a part of us-- each and every dog that has passed through our hands has touched our hearts. They've slept in our beds, been a shoulder for us to cry on, protected us, and loved us unconditionally. We have seen each and every one of them make immense progress in trust, training, and temperament. We work with these dogs every single day to get them ready for a family that we can only hope will treat them with the respect and love that they deserve.
We put as much work into every single dog as is possible for us... but we can't do it all. We have high expectations of our adopters to continue the work we have begun for the rest of their new dog's life. No dog-- whether you get it as a puppy or as an adult or as a senior-- comes without catches. Every single dog, especially a rescue dog, has issues. We expect each and every adopter to work with their dog through any issues that may arise. To call us for help when they are at a loss for what to do. To seek professional training advice for behaviors that they don't know how to correct. We do not expect you to be the perfect dog owner but we do expect you to try. If you have children, you will be teaching them a great lesson in perseverance, commitment, and respect for animals. 
We expect you to give your new dog more than a week to settle into your home-- moving is stressful, change is scary, and your new dog is simply asking for your patience. 
We expect you to address behavioral issues as they arise and not let things slide until they get out of control. 
We expect you to accommodate your pets as your living situations, work schedules, and family dynamics change.
Rescuing a dog is NOT easy but nothing worthwhile is.
Please do not contact us about adopting a dog if you do not expect to be able to make a lifetime commitment-- through the good and the bad. Through all the bumps in the road. 
 Please research the breed of dog you are interested in adopting, research professional trainers in your area, ensure that you are able to take on any and all possible expenses that come along with owning a dog, don't make the decision based only off of emotions-- make sure you are ready. 
Finally, please take into consideration how traumatizing it is for these dogs-- many of whom have not been dealt a fair hand in life to begin with-- to be returned after becoming attached to your family. We see it every single time a dog is returned to us-- they cry at the door. They watch for you out of the windows. These dogs have bounced around from place to place for their entire lives. They long for stability, security, and love. When you give up on your dog, you are simply adding to the list of everything that is working against them.
Dogs are family. They are not disposable. They have emotions and they can feel. They are so special to us and it hurts to see them hurt when they are abandoned by their families. 
We can't imagine a life without our own personal pets-- we would move heaven and earth for them. It has not been an easy road for us with our dogs-- Sheba who was born blind and grumpy, Betty who has had countless medical issues, Gypsy who took FOREVER to house train, and Jasmine who had never been shown compassion by humans, who rarely leaves her closet, and who has had irreversible damage done to her before she was adopted by Lauren. Our dogs are our best friends and the work, money, training, accommodation, etc. has had a huge payoff. 
We make a lifetime commitment to every GSRR dog because we can't always trust our adopters to make that same commitment. We will never give up on one of our dogs. 
We are here to help. If you are struggling with your GSRR dog, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We want it to work.

I have included some images of a few of our dogs who have been adopted and returned. Some have already found their forever homes, some are still waiting. Take a look at our available dogs on the home page of our website if you agree with this post and think you are ready to make a commitment to a new family member. 



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