Sometimes good pet owners can’t keep their dogs. And often the dogs that end up in shelters would make good pets. That’s why Beverly Sack started Good Dog Rescue.
One day while Bev was walking her Doberman, a man asked her about her dog, and soon he was telling her about the dog rescue where he volunteered. About six months later, when her Doberman died, Bev contacted the Doberman rescue to adopt a dog and volunteer with the breed-specific rescue. She ended up enjoying rescue so much that in 2009 she started one of the first mixed-breed rescues in Nebraska. On average, Good Dog Rescue rescues about twenty dogs per year, with each dog taking about maybe six months to get adopted.
We are most frequently asked: “Why is this dog in rescue? Was it mean or sick?” People often think it’s the dog’s fault that it needs a home.
Good Dog Rescue prides itself on not just taking on dogs that are easy to place. While the nonprofit does rescue young, healthy, and cute dogs, it also takes on older dogs, bigger dogs, black dogs, and even less healthy dogs. Highly adoptable dogs would certainly be better for the rescue’s bottom line: less time in foster care means lower food bills, fewer vet bills, etc. But finances aren’t everything, and so Good Dog Rescue also helps the dogs those that are most at risk of being euthanized in shelters. These dogs cost more because they’re slower to adopt out, but they are just as deserving of a second chance as the dogs that are more easily adopted out.
Sometimes the reasons for relinquishment are due to the owner’s circumstances and nothing to do with the dog. The owners have fallen ill and need hospitalization, or they can no longer care for themselves and need a nursing home. Other times the owners have lost their home due to foreclosure and can’t find an apartment that allow pets, or they have been let go from their job due to downsizing and can no longer afford a pet.
The poor training is usually the reason we get them into our rescue. Thus, we really value the input of our trainers!
At times, owners will relinquish a dog due to it being hard to live with. The owners may have misjudged the needs of the dog or they may not have trained the dog. Untrained dogs tend to mouth, jump on people and counters, and/or pull too hard during a walk. The dogs don’t know any better. When owners of such dogs call Good Dog Rescue, the first response is to offer the phone numbers of skilled trainers. Sometimes pet owners will then contact the trainers and continue to work with their dog and relinquishment is avoided. Other times, people will tell Good Dog Rescue that they’ve already worked with a trainer and are now at the end of their patience.
The training provided our dogs starts with where the dogs are when they arrive at our rescue.
In the latter case, Good Dog Rescue will accept the dog and retrain it with the help of professional trainers and University of Nebraska student volunteers. Some dogs have fear issues. Good Dog Rescue allows these dogs to “chill” for at least a couple of weeks and focuses on simply letting them know they are safe and fed. Other dogs lack obedience training and so they’re taught basic commands: sit, stay, down, leave it. Eventually, dogs are also taught to walk calmly with a leash. Finally, Good Dog Rescue provides any needed follow-up support after the dog is adopted.
If you’re interested in helping Good Dog Rescue, it would appreciate assistance in a variety of ways: more trainers to suggest individual plans to help make the dogs more adoptable; more volunteers to walk dogs, bathe and brush dogs, supervise doggy play time, and just spend one-on-time with the dogs. Good Dog Rescue could use help with promoting its rescue and its dogs through social media. Finally, while Good Dog Rescue does seek out grants, donations are always welcome.
There remains a pressing need for animal rescues. Of the 18,000 dogs and cats that enter Nebraska shelters each year, about 5,000 are euthanized. Check back over the months ahead to learn more about how Good Dog Rescue and similar groups help animals find their forever homes.
Rescuing dogs is a sort of addiction. There’s always another dog that’s in serious need of a home. It’s challenging to figure out how to handle that dog to make it adoptable. And also, each dog is so unique, and so we learn from each dog. It’s almost like having a bunch of children, but dogs are easier.