Finding a Responsible Rescue

Charybdis

Post   » Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:15 pm


Since most rescues operate privately, without official licenses or public facilities, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between a responsible rescue operation and someone who is often referred to as a "collector."

Some people may not even be able to distinguish between a rescue and a breeder, and to make matters worse, some collectors/breeders will call themselves a rescue even if they don't, in fact, rescue animals.

I'm sure that many other rescuers who post here can contribute definitions that will add to this distinction, but here is the simplest way to tell.

A rescue saves animals from situations that threaten their life, health, and well-being. These animals are treated for any illnesses and behavior problems, given lots of TLC, and adopted out after a careful screening process. The rescuer takes steps to educate the public on proper care and also reduce overpopulation.

A breeder breeds animals. They may possess all of the qualities of a rescue; they may even save animals from shelters. However, a breeder, whether or not they operate for profit, does not share with a rescue the aim of reducing the population of guinea pigs.

A collector is the most difficult type of these three to identify. A collector may or may not rescue animals from shelters. They may or may not breed. They may or may not offer animals for adoption. Sometimes someone who breeds and rescues may be called a collector. Sometimes someone who "rescues" only from pet stores will fit this definition as well. Whatever their methods of acquiring animals, a collector can be distinguished by their basic lack of control over their operation. Poor conditions, overcrowding, lack of ability to care for their animals are some qualities that you may find in a collector. They are not usually involved in public education, as they are usually barely keeping their head above water in caring for all their animals.

If you are looking for a rescue animal and are not sure what category your local rescue falls into, do some checking. Ask for references. Call other rescues and ask if they have heard of this person. Are they listed on a prominent animal adoption site like Cavy Rescue? Do they have a home page on Pet Finder, Save-A-Pet, 911Pets, or another rescue/adoption network? Sites such as these do not allow just anybody to post as a rescue. They usually require references, including a letter from the rescuer's veterinarian.

If you are still unsure, visit the facility. Take this list with you and see how close the rescuer is to being an "ideal" rescue.


An Ideal Rescue:
  • Philosophy
    • No breeding.
    • No showing.
    • Does not actively seek out animals.
    • Does not purchase, even at a discount, animals from pet stores or breeders.
    • Has only as many animals as they can care for.
  • Community Involvement
    • Provides education as well as adoption.
    • Has a good relationship with local shelters and animal control.
    • Is recognized by his/her peers as a rescue and can give references.
  • Husbandry
    • Has an advanced knowledge of animal care.
    • Separates males from females.
    • Houses animals inside, in an area sheltered from the elements/predators.
    • Uses large uncrowded cages, clean and properly maintained.
    • Provides quality feed.
    • Provides fresh food in clean dispensers off the floor.
    • Stores all feed and medications in a sanitary manner.
  • Health Care
    • Quarantines new animals.
    • Treats sick animals.
    • Separates sick animals from well ones.
    • Does not have an excessive amount of sick animals.
    • Has a basic working knowledge of common illnesses.
    • Is proactive in keeping up with the latest care and health information.
    • Keeps a supply of common medications on hand as well as first aid supplies.
    • Ill pigs are seen by a qualified vet.
  • Adoption Practices
    • Provides education as well as adoption.
    • Maintains a care sheet, application, and contract.
    • Screens adopters according to solid guidelines accepted by peers.
    • Welcomes visits to the facility.

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Sunny

Post   » Wed Mar 05, 2003 4:57 pm


Charybdis - what about people who take "mistakes" from breeders? They breed two different breeds but the results weren't what they wanted so they get rid of the "mistakes." What is the feeling on this as far as a "good rescuer" is concerned?

Charybdis

Post   » Wed Mar 05, 2003 7:19 pm


Sunny, I feel the same way about this as I do about people taking guinea pigs from pet stores. It relieves the breeders of responsibility for taking care of their "mistakes."

Would't it be nice if breeders could have a safety valve like that? Everytime they want to experiment with breeding Dal X Dal, they could just call a rescue to take the lethal whites while they made a profit from the few healthy offspring. We could also take females who were no longer of breeding age, Abbyssinians without enough Rosettes, and any animal who isn't qualified to bring in a ribbon or carry on a line. Would that make it easy enough on the breeders?

When Teresa mentioned (on another thread) that I should have added that an ideal rescuer does not show, It crossed my mind that I should have been more specific on the relationship of rescue to breeding. In my mind, a rescuer should not further the aims of breeders or pet stores in any way. And this includes cleaning up their messes.

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Sunny

Post   » Thu Mar 06, 2003 10:28 am


I agree. I have a potential adopter trying to decide between my pigs and a breeder's "mistake" ("they need to be rescued too!"). I was hoping you could give me a good response. This will work. Thanks much!

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Xanlexian

Post   » Thu Mar 06, 2003 3:32 pm


WOW!! Paravati and myself seem to do EVERY one of those twenty-five things! And we're STRICT about them!

I guess that makes us a "responsible rescue".

yay us!!!


--Xan

P.S. -- http://home.attbi.com/~taxin

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Rose
Wheeks and Cheeps

Post   » Thu Mar 06, 2003 10:15 pm


Very well written Charybdis....
Now if we could get more people to understand that difference of collector versus rescuer that would be a very big acheivement...

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Mar 06, 2003 10:23 pm


P.S. It is a daunting list. I would add main categories something like this, and parse the advice out appropriately.
  • Philosophy
    • No breeding.
    • No showing.
    • Does not actively seek out animals.
    • Does not purchase, even at a discount, animals from pet stores or breeders.
    • Has only as many animals as they can care for.
  • Community Involvement
    • Is recognized by his/her peers as a rescue and can give references.
    • Has a good relationship with local shelters and animal control.
    • Provides education as well as adoption.
  • Husbandry
    • Separates males from females.
    • Houses animals inside, in an enclosed area sheltered from the elements/predators.
    • Does not mix sick animals with well ones.
    • Does not have an excessive amount of sick animals.
    • Does not have untreated sick animals.
    • Has large cages that are not overcrowded.
    • Provides fresh food in clean dispensers that are off the floor.
    • Has a sanitary environment and observes quarantine procedures.
    • Stores all feed and medications in a sanitary manner.
    • Provides quality feed.
  • Health Care
    • Has a qualified vet who sees their animals.
    • Keeps a supply of common medications on hand as well as first aid supplies.
    • Has a basic working knowledge of common illnesses.
    • Has an advanced knowledge of animal care.
    • Is proactive in keeping up with the latest care and health information.
  • Adoption Practices
    • Provides education as well as adoption.
    • Maintains a care sheet, application, and contract.
    • Screens adopters according to solid guidelines accepted by peers.
    • Welcomes visits to the facility.

User avatar
Xanlexian

Post   » Thu Mar 06, 2003 11:17 pm


Excellent list, Lynx!

Would it be okay to print this out and post it on the bulletin board at our vet's along with our "Atlanta Guinea Pig Rescue" information on it? Paravati and I already follow this to the 'T', and I'd like more people to know that a rescue is just so much better than a petstore.

And these guidelines really sum it up.

Thanks!
--Alex (Xan)

P.S. -- entirely unrelated, Paravati: If you're reading this post, dig the date and time :)

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SandraVE

Post   » Thu Mar 06, 2003 11:26 pm


Oh Xan, I just looked at the time and it also has meaning to me. Today March 6th is our 21st wedding anniversary, and 10-17 (Oct. 17) was our first date. Funny coincidence.

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Xanlexian

Post   » Thu Mar 06, 2003 11:31 pm


Again, unrelated to rescues:

3 and 6 (as well as 9) are "my numbers". 23 is Leslie's, and 117 is my other "number".

We always find those numbers together when it's something that the both of us do.

Example: simply because of the date and time of that post and the content, I get the feeling that Leslie and I are supossed to be doing this and it is the right thing to do.

Weird, I know.

Would you believe I also do numerology? hehe. Math is indeed the divine languge. So, I look at numbers everywhere. I'm such a dork.

--Xan

P.S. -- Happy Anniversary!!

Charybdis

Post   » Fri Mar 07, 2003 1:51 am


Lynx, I like the way you've done that list. Why not just replace mine? I don't have to claim authorship--most of those ideas came from discussions on this forum.

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Rose
Wheeks and Cheeps

Post   » Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:52 am


Lynx, also very well written...This really is something that anyone going to a rescue needs to know. There are way too many people out there making the rescues who work their butts off look bad. It's not an easy job having high expectations of your rescue and really knowing what you're getting into (education, paperwork and so on and so forth). This would also be a great list to hand out to anyone wanting to start a rescue. I think many people don't realize just what's involved. I'm sure that's wahy so many that started after we did in this area have folded.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:53 am


If anyone else has suggestions for regrouping, let me know. I kind of threw this together as an example of how it could be organized.

Sure, I can replace the original list if you want. I'm going to edit a couple sentences for length/clarity (already did a few).

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Paravati
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:54 am


I think it sounds good Lynx.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Mar 07, 2003 10:22 am


I did some more reorganization. Looks a bit better.

I think we could add more ideas, like encouraging surrenders to keep their pigs (education) or at least foster them. Provides them with tools for placing their own pigs (petfinder and perhaps a copy of your own contract so they know what they might want to look for in a new owner).

Some rescues do home visits. The list could go on and on. I do think each rescue has its own style.

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Slinky

Post   » Fri Mar 07, 2003 4:54 pm


Does not actively seek out animals.
I would like a little more clarification on this one.

The rescue I volunteer for doesn't normally seek out animals. But the founder says that, when we've adopted out most of our guinea pigs, she'll start calling around to shelters to see if they have any that need saving. Yes, she always starts at the shelters with the higher kill rates.

Would this be considered a no-no for a rescue? If you're well below your limit of animals that can be cared for, isn't checking shelters to make sure no cavies are being put down considered a good thing?

Erin8607
Knee Deep

Post   » Fri Mar 07, 2003 4:59 pm


I think by seeking out pigs, it means like the ad over by pitbull13. Someone posting an ad that they are a rescue, and will take in any pigs, blah blah. Definatly taking pigs out of a kill shelter to rehome them is not seeking out pigs, that's just taking them out of the kill shelter to give them a chance in a rescue.

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Teresa

Post   » Fri Mar 07, 2003 5:21 pm


Working with shelters is definitely not seeking out animals. HOWEVER, the rescue should give the shelter the appropriate time for that shelter to rehome them first--assuming the animals aren't at risk during that time. Otherwise, the rescue is jumping the gun and potentially taking in pigs that might be in more need down the road.

Charybdis

Post   » Sat Mar 08, 2003 1:19 am


What do you consider at risk?

--a pig in danger of being euthanized?
--a pig in danger of becoming snake food because of low adoption fees?
--a pig who is getting mouse food and no hay or veggies?
--a pig who is not being treated for a medical condition?

Just curious. I'm sure everyone will have different answers.

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jessicariekena
Pigs n' Pine

Post   » Sat Mar 08, 2003 1:39 am


I put out cards that tell about the rescue I foster for and to contact us if they have a surrender. Is that seeking out? I guess my reasoning is that I want people to know that we're out there. Putting up your pet for "free" comes with all sorts of risks, and I'd rather foster the pig than have them dropped off at a shelter. This way they have a clean, quiet enviroment. No dogs barking, and can talk to the other after quarantine.

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