GUIDELINES, THOUGHTS & COMMENTARY ON EFFECTIVE
CANINE RE-HOMING SERVICES
by T. Resleure
PROTOCOLS, RULES & GUIDELINES
FOSTER HOME QUESTIONAIRRE
FOSTER HOME AGREEMENT
PREPARING DOGS FOR PLACEMENT
HOME VISIT GUIDELINES & REPORT
You will need Adobe
Acrobat Reader to view & print the pdf documents below. Click
for a free Adobe Acrobat Reader download.
California Italian Greyhound Rescue (CIGRescue, CIGR) provided 3 years of outstanding placement and educational
services to IGs in need and their new owners. CIGRescue will continue
to function as an educational resource and offer free behavioral and
training advice but are no longer taking in dogs except on an individual
basis and depending on our personal finances.
CIGRescue was founded by Tia Resleure and several other
active Italian Greyhound Club of America (IGCA) members.
This core group of people brought their numerous combined
years of experience with dog training, care, sensible dog management, and
especially, their concern for the well being of IGs, to CIGRescue at a time
when a lot of IGs in need were slipping through the cracks in California.
This failure was the result of internal rescue politics,
poor communication and an unwillingness to find ways to improve the situation.
Since a couple of us were placing the vast majority of the
dogs for IGCA Rescue anyway, it was easy enough to start a new rescue organization
and bring in the much needed applications. While CIGRescue was unsuccessful
in getting listed at the IGCA Rescue web pages, a good amount of applications
and enquires were forwarded on to us. We had a sort of "Unofficial
With the formation of CIGRescue, the number of dogs coming
in and being placed in CA skyrocketed. This wasn't a coincidental
explosion of unwanted dogs, it was just that the people needing to re-home
their dogs were finally able to find the people who would actually take
the dogs in.
Our ultimate goal was to some day merge back into the
national IGCA Rescue. National IGCA Rescue does an admirable job
and has many many wonderful volunteers but we didn't want to re-join
unless certain critical issues were addressed regarding consistency
in the guidelines. We spent countless hours brainstorming on ways
for national rescue services to become more effective as the numbers
of unwanted IGs grew. The following are just some of the ideas
we came up with:
Since IGCA Rescue has become so large we felt it would be
prudent to work towards having the various regional groups get individual
non-profit status and be managed only by rescue representatives with well
Over all basic guidelines of organization, insurance issues
and fundraising would be governed by the IGCA Rescue. They
would be in charge of keeping track of and publishing placement
statistics including statistics of all dogs coming into rescue.
Finding a way to proactively deal with unplaceable
dogs without draining valuable foster home resources is critical to
the future well being and effectiveness of rescue.
Regional groups would be in charge of managing foster homes
and their training and setting fee schedules based on costs in their respective
The IG Rescue Foundation would financially supplement the
regional rescue groups only when necessary.
So what happened? Well, a couple of things.
IGCA Rescue started accepting dogs in CA again and taking on new reps.
All of a sudden we were getting calls from people who wanted dogs we had
listed who said that they were "already pre-approved and home checked".
That a separate rescue organization operating under more stringent guidelines
in CA existed was apparently never explained to these applicants.
This widening of the gap in communication was a huge
factor in our decision to stop taking in dogs. We were having
to spend far too much time explaining to confused and frustrated people
that if they wanted a dog from us they would have to be screened through
our process: get on our waiting list and learn how to care for the dog's
teeth and nails. We also felt it would impact our ability to get
in as many applications.
We also suffered from a lack of dog-experienced volunteer
We publish our guidelines, protocols and rules here (and
some additional commentary) with the hope that other rescue groups will
find them of some benefit. We found that these guidelines contributed
to smooth rescue operations and especially to the stability and well
being of the dogs we placed.
PROTOCOLS, RULES &
Several things set us apart from other rescue groups.
A strong emphasis on education and follow-up counseling,
(which is only possible when dogs are placed close enough to easily
meet up with an experienced volunteer mentor) how we prepared dogs for
placement and our commitment to encouraging responsible breeding/selling
We clearly addressed the serious problems of animal rights
propaganda/language/emotional manipulation and it's impact on responsible
pet ownership and sensible dog management.
CIGRescue was dedicated to proactively dealing with the
one of the major issues that all successful rescue services must face: That
of finding and training volunteers that are willing to learn, who have the
time needed to prepared dogs for successful placements and who can respect
the rules that are critical to the continued health and success of the rescue
for the CIGRescue Protocols, Rules & Guidelines as a PDF file.
FOSTER HOME QUESTIONAIRE:
Designed to help evaluate a potential foster home's experience
and willingness to learn how to best prepare an IG for placement.
How long a person acts as a foster home before attaining
rep status was not dependant on a time schedule but rather on their
ability and confidence with crate training, training a dog to accept
teeth and nails grooming and dealing with minor behavioral issues.
Likewise they would have a good understanding of all protocols rules
The greatest challenge to rescue has been finding foster
volunteers that are as willing to learn as the homes we end up placing dogs
with. We see fostering as a potentially valuable resource for learning
from experienced mentors.
A high percentage people attracted
to rescue have huge hearts but don't necessarily have the knowledge and respect of canines as a unique species.
I consider this the differnece between a Dog Lover and someone with Dog Experience. Dog Lovers may have owned dogs for decades but not know how to pronounce their favorite breed's name or think that it's normal for dogs to have rotten smelly mouths. Many have a strong
compulsion to save something, but not to learn what is in the dog's best interest. These people
can be very helpful in many ways to rescue but are not the best situation
for long term foster care or preparation of most dogs for placement.
Rather than compromise our standards out of desperation
we chose to focus on quality placements rather than quantity placements.
If we felt we couldn't meet the dogs preparation needs we could not
take the dog in.
To many that will sound unbearably heartless but please
understand that when doing rescue one must be realistic in the face of heartbreak
and make some very difficult decisions. Most rescue groups can barely
make ends meet with the easy to place dogs. With limited resources
one must have perspective on the overall situation. What is best for
the greater number of dogs.
Frequently a choice must be made about applying resources
towards an elderly dog with serious health problems. Sure, desperate
calls can go out to private individuals to make huge donations for extensive
and radical treatments on elderly dogs but is this this really fair
to the rest of the dogs that are being rushed into new homes with inadequate
preparation? How about the next puppy that comes in with a broken
leg? Is it really even fair to the dog that gets this heroic treatment?
How much quality has been added to this dogs life?
It would be great if some day rescue could be self sufficient
enough to take care of the needs of the easy to place dogs AND provide excellent
long term retirement services for difficult to place dogs. Unfortunately
we are no where close to that and must be realistic about being financially
This is an aspect of rescue that is rarely discussed and
all too often dogs end up being warehoused or kept on hold indefinitely,
alive but without the best of attention, sometimes until the dogs go
crazy. (I learned this from a no-kill shelter worker). It
can also turn a rescuer into a hoarder.
for the CIGRescue Foster Home Questionnaire as a PDF file.
FOSTER HOME AGREEMENT:
for the CIGRescue Foster Home Agreement as a PDF file.
PREPARING DOGS FOR PLACEMENT:
These are the basic preparation guidelines for foster homes.
We keep dogs a minimum of 1-2 weeks to prepare the dog for it's new home.
While this is almost unheard of with other rescue groups, we find that this
prior conditioning makes for a more successful placement and is smoother
transition for the dog into it's new home.
for the CIGRescue Preparation for Placement Guidelines as a PDF file.
Our Dog Profiles were one of our more valuable assets.
They were designed to keep track of the individual dog's training and care
progress. They helped foster volunteers maintain focus on the dog's needs
and and gave the new owners important details on how to manage and care
for the specific dog. They were also very useful for sending to people
who were interested in a particular dog and letting them know about the
dog's specific needs.
for the CIGRescue Dog Profile as a PDF file.
HOME VISIT GUIDELINES
for the CIGRescue Home Visit Guidelines & Report as a PDF file.