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Keeping Up With the Joneses

We try very, very hard to ensure that every Sheltie in the area we cover (Utah, Idaho, parts of Nevada, parts of Wyoming, and elsewhere as needed) who is in need of a new home gets one. But it’s not easy. We’ve rescued Shelties from all of the following sources (and probably others that I can’t recall just now):

  • Animal control
  • Animal shelters
  • Relinquishing families
  • Craig’s lists and other web-based sources (such as radio/television stations with “public service” pages)
  • …and, of course, our all-time favorite – wandering loose in the streets

Some cities’ animal control departments are rescue-friendly, while others are not. The same goes for animal shelters – some will work closely with rescue groups, while others would rather just kill the dogs before letting a rescue group get involved. And animal control departments and animal shelters vary greatly in how long a dog has between arrival and euthanasia if not adopted.

Relinquishing families sometimes are able to keep the Shelties for a few days or weeks, but many want the dog gone right now. And Shelties found on Craig’s lists or other web-based sources are usually in the “gone right now” category…or (perhaps worse) in the “…only $200″ category which usually turns into the first category after a while.

Overall, in the 15 years or so that we’ve been doing this, we’ve done a fairly good job of bringing most of those Shelties into the program. But every now and then, we miss one. Within the last month, at least two Shelties have fallen through the cracks. One, a very elderly senior, ended up euthanized because we didn’t learn about it in time to arrange a rescue. The other was given away (by a “relinquishing” family) to the first stranger who answered the ad, in part because we were unable to connect with the guy’s schedule with the transporters available at the time. (Who wants to bet that we’ll eventually get that particular Sheltie into our program?) Please note that I am not implicitly or explicitly criticizing anybody! It just happens this way some time.

There are just so many places where Shelties in need of rescuing are found. We rescue and place between 25 and 40 dogs every year (which, frankly, isn’t nearly as much as some rescue groups face). At those levels, we who have day jobs are overwhelmed trying to keep up. What we need is one or more volunteers who are willing and able to do the leg work for us.

That person (or those persons) should contact every shelter in Utah at pretty regular intervals, short-keep shelters more frequently than long-keep shelters (and, of course, avoid mentioning rescue when talking to non-rescue-friendly shelters). He, she, or they should also watch Craig’s list, KSL and other radio/television stations’ public service pages, Petfinder and other web-based pet adoption portals, newspaper classified ads, etc. every day. And it would be great if he, she, or they could also take leadership roles in talking with relinquishing families and being certain that Shelties are picked up within the specified time.

Maybe that way we won’t lose any more Shelties.

Volunteers will be gratefully put to work :)

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