Dog Rescue: The Power is Yours

Dog Rescue Success

As I thought on what I wanted to say today about dog rescue, I became a little discouraged. My experience is so limited. I’m no John Gagnon, driving from city to city, pulling dogs from high-kill pounds. I’ve only adopted a single dog from my local no-kill shelter. What do I know about saving lives?

In so many ways adoption was the easier choice for me. For one, it was a heck of a lot cheaper. Not only did I not have to pay upwards of a thousand dollars for a purebred puppy, but Shiva came to us spayed and will all her initial vaccinations. We even received a free first vet check-up. With all we would have spent that first month on a puppy, the nominal adoption fee seemed positively cheap!

I’ve shared this chart before but I think it is a great example of how much you can actually save by going to a shelter, even when compared with the free pets one can find online.

Secondly, adopting an older dog with a normal-sized bladder meant I didn’t have to wake up five times throughout the night to take Shiva outside. Shelter dogs are often already house trained, which was a huge selling point for me. We didn’t have to waste time with pee pads or cleaning up accidents, we could just get right to enjoying our lives together mess-free.

Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t find adorable puppies at a shelter or rescue, if that is what want. You are just far braver than I!

The third reason adoption seemed like the easier choice was that I knew there was a chance the dog we chose would already have some manners. Many dogs are surrendered to shelters and rescues because their owners can no longer care for them. These dogs are already used to living in a home and know some pretty handy skills. Also, depending on the shelter or foster home, many dogs receive foundational training while waiting for their forever home. For example, check out this video of a dog at my local shelter.

Though I wasn’t this lucky with Shiva, I can’t help but think how awesome it would be to have a dog who already understands the concept of recall. You can skip all the boring stuff and just get right to the fun!

For all of the above reasons, it really don’t feel like I did anything that special or sacrificial by adopting my dog instead of purchasing her from a breeder. At the time it seemed like the practical thing to do for a woman of modest income who works full-time. And yet…

When I see the statistics for the number of dogs killed in shelters and pounds every day, I have to wonder. Shiva may not have been in danger of euthanasia but hundreds of thousands of other dogs are. While I may not have technically saved her life, I do have the power to  save other dogs, just by sharing her story. Perhaps she can serve as a sort of adoption ambassador, helping convince others to adopt some of the dogs who are in serious danger.

As hard as it is to believe, there was a time when Shiva didn’t snooze on the couch with her blanket and pillow pet, when she had to scrounge the streets for garbage and hide from potential dangers outdoors. You wouldn’t know it to look at her now but life wasn’t always so cushy for our silly dog. The way she was able to rebound from her early difficulties is an inspiration. Her time as a stray is long forgotten. She is just a regular dog now, no different than any other.

That’s just it, I think. Dogs are dogs, it doesn’t matter if they cost thousands of dollars or if they were rescued from the side of the road. You are just as likely to find a pretty awesome companion either way.

Besides all poop, even the expensive show dog kind, is disgusting when you pick it up. May as well save a few bucks, right?

What do you know? I guess I had something to say after all.

Thanks to Blog CatalogDog Rescue Success, and  Be the Change for Animals for organizing today’s big dog rescue event. If you would like to join in, there are many ways to help:

  • Write a blog post related to dog rescue
  • Leave comments on other blogs and share the links with your social media network
  • Share your dog’s adoption story with friends and family
  • Donate to a local dog rescue organization
  • Contact a local rescue organization about adoption or fostering
  • Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue organization
  • Spread the word and encourage others to join in

No matter how small you think your actions, you have the power to make a difference in the lives of animals. You never know what Tweet or Facebook status or blog post will find a dog his forever home.

*All photos used in this post are of dogs listed on



21 thoughts on “Dog Rescue: The Power is Yours

  1. Shiva is lucky and I know you consider yourself lucky too! And as Nola and her mom point out, you did make a space for another dog, and that dog would thank you if he/she could!

    Terrific idea to use photos of adoptable dogs too! 🙂


  2. All your posts over the years have brought attention to the great possibilities waiting for someone at a shelter or rescue. I don’t think you’ll ever know the impact of your writing. But I’m sure it’s much greater than you could ever imagine.

    Oh yeah, and I can see how Dawson caught your eye. He looks like a great dog.


  3. This is a really really important point–you don’t have to be a great self-sacrificing activist to adopt rather than shop; adoption is in so many ways just easier! And to those who would protest that they don’t want all the behavioral problems of rescue dogs, I would tell them about all the neurotic purebred dogs out there who were purchased from a breeder and are now driving their owners completely out of their minds 🙂 You are absolutely right–adopted pups are wonderful and adopting them just makes sense.


  4. Love this post, Kristine! And I think you are the new owner of my favourite quote on the internet:

    “Besides all poop, even the expensive show dog kind, is disgusting when you pick it up. May as well save a few bucks, right?”

    It’s funny how overlooked the costs of owning a pet are, especially when it comes to free ones on the internet. A shelter organization is a great place to get a pet with a good foundation of vetting and training.


  5. You are so right that dogs are dogs. I have two purebred dogs with impressive pedigrees and two mixed breed mutts and they have no idea that they are different. When I walk them together people always think the mutts must be expensive breeds because they are with the obvious purebred Poodles.


  6. Good points. I don’t actually understand why people DON’T pick up a pet from the pound. They come in all sizes, ages, colours, degrees of furriness, temperaments, breeds. Maybe there’s still not enough publicity out there, strange as that may sound given blog hops like this one.


  7. In a way, I’ve felt the same way that you do. I talk about rescues all the time, retweet adoptees, donate to rescue….and Elka came from a breeder. It’s ultimately a choice, and everybody has reasons for it, but I do support rescues, and adoptions as well!

    And you’re right. Poop is gross. And I never talked about it so much ’til after we got Elka!


  8. LOL. I love your perspective on things. Of course you had something to say!

    Interesting on the cost comparison. I hadn’t even considered the initial costs involved with a new puppy. Good point.

    I really loved seeing the video of Dawson. He’s cute and he’s well-trained. What a win for anyone who chooses to adopt him. That’s one of the things I loved about adopting Indy. She was an absolutely awesome dog who had been well-trained. I used to get compliments on her behavior all of the time and I had nothing to do with it.


  9. I think you and Shiva are the picture perfect example about the potential of rescue dogs – you guys have accomplished so much! So many people think rescue does are “broken” in some way. You guys are evidence that’s definitely not the case.


  10. Great post Kristine, but I have to disagree with you on the smell of a show dogs poop, Sherman and Leroy’s poop smells like sweet roses:))) Just kidding, it’s gross:)

    You always have something great to say!


  11. You have a very good point on choosing a dog from a rescue group. Those are also the reasons why my child’s first dog is a rescued one. The best part of it is that he is already house broken, so there is no need for further training at all.


  12. “That’s just it, I think. Dogs are dogs, it doesn’t matter if they cost thousands of dollars or if they were rescued from the side of the road. You are just as likely to find a pretty awesome companion either way.”

    Your statement sums up every dog I have ever met. Just awesome.


  13. They say that people are 4 times as likely to adopt a dog when they know a family member or friend has adopted one. So, even before you wrote this post, you were a positive example with a positive influence.

    But I love that you aren’t talking the emotion or moral outlook. For some people that doesn’t matter as much. But tell them they can save $ but doing the right thing, well that can change a few opinions.

    Great post!


  14. Hi Kristine, my sheltie brother and sister came from a breeder but my biological brother and I were puppies from a rescued mom dog. The people who rescued my mom didn’t know that she was pregnant with six of us. My mom and dad adopted us because we’re cute and because we were the last two and the people who rescued my mom wanted us to stay together. My dad was a little reluctant because I bit his thumb but he sais okay after I said “sorry”. My mom and dad went from no dogs (they had two before but they passed away from old age) to 4 puppies within a span of 6 months. They were a little ambitious…


  15. I am glad you do not go over the top about how you saved a dog’s life or how you “rescued” Shiva. Still, you did rescue her by giving her a safe, loving home she never had. She is one happy dog! Thanks for sharing the cost differences between adopting vs. buying a dog. Sometimes people are deterred by the high adoption donation fees, but even if the fee is $200 or more you will generally still save money.

    I got my mutt Ace for free from a woman who just didn’t want him anymore. He was already neutered and up to date on shots and potty trained and kennel trained and good with other pets. Couldn’t have asked for a better dog. When I get another dog I might just search for another free “hand me down” dog on Craigslist.


  16. What a great post for Bloggers Unite Kristine! It is hard to imagine Shiva before she came into your arms. Where would you be without her? 🙂

    Dogs do so much for us, and every one adopted is another one saved. Thanks for saving Shiva – and for pointing out all the good things that come with an adopted dog. You know my three are a handful too, and I’m STILL not ready to do the puppy thing!


  17. Well said. I especially like your point that “dogs are dogs” – it’s so true. Some people do tend to view rescues as damaged or somehow inferior, and in my opinion they are really missing out on something wonderful.


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