Most dog breed clubs have rescue organizations designed to find homes for dogs that come close to the breed standard and would otherwise end up in shelters and very possibly be euthanized. Those giving up these dogs come up with all kinds of excuses as to why. But primarily, they did not do their homework and learn about the specific needs of the breed.
Jane Burlison is part of Border Collie Rescue and also runs her own Australian Shepherd Rescue. These two breeds are working dogs which require jobs and training. People get them as puppies because they are so very cute and because they see them on TV working in agility and herding sheep and they hear that they are highly intelligent.
However, it does not take long for new owners to realize the challenges that come with this high intelligence and drive. This high energy must be channeled. If they do not have the time, the interest or the knowledge, too often these young dogs are turned in to the humane society.
Gail Chadwick, vice president of the rescue group, says, "With Border Collies, their legendary energy becomes apparent and if the family doesn't train or do enough with the dog to keep it occupied and positively engaged, trouble happens. Our average rescue is only a year old."
Members of the Border Collie Rescue Group visit the two large shelters in Maricopa County at least twice a week, walking the rows of kennels looking at the new arrivals. Jane is also on the look out for Australian shepherds. New Hope Partners, part of Maricopa County Humane Society, works with breed rescue organizations, which in turn work to find homes for these dogs.
Border Collie Rescue and other authorized rescue groups are able to take these dogs from the shelter. Generally, they bring them to their own homes and spend a few days evaluating them. Then they are placed in foster homes. Information about these dogs and a photo are posted on their own Web site and on Pet Finder, a Web site dedicated to dog adoptions. In the meantime, the dogs are neutered, given all shots and microchipped.
Inquiries come in. A questionnaire is mailed out to those interested in adopting one of these dogs. The questions are aimed at determining the suitability of this home for one of these dogs. Do you have a fenced yard? How much time do you have to devote to training and exercising a dog? Have you ever relinquished a dog? Where will the dog sleep? If all questions are answered appropriately, a member of the rescue group will make a house call. If the family is approved, they pay $200 for the dog. Because of the strict standards, the success rate of the Border Collie adoptions is very high. Foster homes are always needed. Border Collie Rescue has fund-raisers and collects food so that food and medical care are provided for the dogs in foster homes.
So far, 74 Border Collies have been rescued this year. There were 118 that were rescued in 2005, 87 in 2004 and 75 in 2003. All but two were adopted and these two were found to be aggressive and not suitable for adoption.
Linda and Larry White foster and frequently adopt rescued Border Collies. Of their seven dogs, six are rescues and one is being fostered. The Burlisons have eight dogs of their own and 7 foster dogs. Jane also rescues kittens and cats. At this time of year, there are lots of them. Jane urges everyone to do their homework before adopting a dog and always spay and neuter.
For more information about rescuing or fostering a Border Collie, go to www.azbordercollierescue.com or call Jane Burlison, (928) 468-0250.
"Katrina's Animal Rescue" will be shown on Public Television, Channel 8, at 6 p.m., Saturday, June 17. This is a repeat showing. I saw it last week and it is incredible. Watch it if possible. You will not believe it. You will realize how important it is to have a disaster plan in the works ahead of time.
Canine Good Citizen, CGC, and Therapy Dog International, TDI, evaluations will be conducted at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 24, at the Pine Horse Arena. You can bring your dog for evaluation or you are invited to observe so you can see what is involved and prepare your dog for testing in the future. These tests will be $10. Testing will also be done at this year's Dog Day in the Park, which will be Oct. 21.
Christy Powers is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by snail mail at HC1 Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.