This is the fourth post in our Rescue Best Practices Manual inquiry series, in which we are working with 20+ upstanding, reputable rescues to create a best practices manual for private animal rescue organizations.
Today we explore why someone would start a rescue, and what competencies a person who starts a rescue needs.
Thank you to Nebraska Border Collie Rescue for helping us get started about what it takes to start a rescue. Here are President Karen Battreall’s thoughts:
Considerations when starting a rescue
When starting a rescue you need to consider many things. Do you have the space to house the dogs? Do you have the finances to support them and do you have the time required to care for them, recruit volunteers and do the necessary paperwork.
You should start by getting your organization incorporated and then your 501c3. Depending on the state you have your rescue, you may need to get a license.
Put up a website to showcase your adoptable dogs. Talk to your vet and see if you can get a discount on their services.
Set up a time to go to various pet stores like Petsmart and Petco and set up a table. This will give you the exposure you need to recruit volunteers and potential adopters.
Start pulling dogs in danger from your local shelter. Be careful not to over extend yourself in this area. To often a rescue becomes a collector. You must condition yourself to understanding YOU CAN’T SAVE THEM ALL.
Why start a rescue?
That is a good question. We started NBCR when we saw many border collies being put down simply because they were acting like border collies. We believed that someone familiar with the breed should be working with the dogs and finding appropriate homes for them
We also felt that the public needed to be better educated on the breed. Since the movie Babe many people were buying border collie puppies without a clue as to their needs. Rescue could not only save dogs from being euthanized but also teach the new owners how to work with their dogs.
Necessary skills and competencies
I believe a person starting or running a rescue should have considerable knowledge of dog behavior and especially a great understanding of the breed they are working with. Loving dogs and wanting to save them isn’t enough. I think a background in working with dogs is important. Management skills help and you should be able to communicate well with people. And you need common sense.
I would like to see more people in rescue who actually train their dogs in the area the dog was intended to work in. This would at least give them some insight into how the dog thinks. Of course the toys and non sporting breeds would not be trained for work but they could train them in obedience.
In our organization we encourage our volunteers to attend herding trials and if possible, work their dogs on livestock. We have volunteered to help at the National Cattle Dog Finals and the Nebraska State Fair herding trials. We have regular meetings to discuss training procedures. We want our volunteers to understand the breed they are working with. Some of our volunteers have become proficient working with livestock as a result of their training.
We also encourage fosters to train their dogs in obedience and agility. We have members who volunteer to help at agility trails, setting up courses, timing and scribing.