A month in the life of a Breed Rescue Person

12th December 2012 - in General

I thought it may be interesting for people to see what happens in Breed Rescue. We are still a fairly small breed (in numbers) in the UK but we are increasing and not always in a good way. An eye catching breed, but not one for the faint hearted…at 8 weeks they are a multi coloured bundle of fluff, at 2 years ago they may well have developed a strong working urge and if you give them an inch, they will take a mile. Below is what has happened with me in Rescue during last month, as well as working full time.

Three to Rehome

We had a call from a gentleman who had two dogs and a bitch, recently imported into the UK from the USA. A dog and bitch age 6 and a bitch aged 13. The gentleman worked away and was about to start a two year contract abroad and his wife died suddenly. A decision was made to rehome the dogs, which was not at all easy for him to make and they became available. After a total of seven e-mails and numerous telephone conversations, a Saturday was spent with us doing a 450 mile round trip down to Gloucestershire to meet them and for one of the bitches to meet her new mum and dad. She had already been assessed by an experienced breed person and deemed suitable for rehoming. We spent four hours on a muddy field while she spent some time with her new owners and their male dog getting to know one another.

After deciding to take her home to Devon, a rough couple of weeks ensued with numerous phone calls while everyone found their feet. Weighing in at a hefty 42kgs, which is grossly overweight for the breed, this girl has taken her time to settle and is now steadily losing weight and starting to run on the beach and over fields with her male companion. She is not without her issues, but her owners are working through them and she is happy.

Driving home, my thoughts turned to the old bitch… she really was the one that worried me most… who would take on a 13 nearly 14 year old bitch who was fit and healthy but nevertheless elderly? This bitch was the other end of the scale and weighed around 17kgs so needed to gain weight. She was vet checked and passed and my prayers were answered by a long time breed person who was an Angel . This elderly bitch was taken to her new owners’ home and she is now enjoying life with her new best friend, the family Labrador.

The dog has been more of a challenge… he is a dog that is quite needy but protective of his pack. He went to his new home the following weekend which again was a 200 mile + round trip and after spending three weeks there, his home has sadly not worked out. He was then transported from East Anglia to Devon and is currently with a foster mum while a new home can be found. He is a lovely boy, but he needs a strong willed owner who preferably has another dog. He appears to need to be part of a pack but it needs to be strong for him to cope.

Third Home

Then along came a beautiful 4 year old dog who was on his third home. His third owner did love him very much, but he wasn’t coping with her increasingly long hours at work. Two people came forward to meet me in the Midlands who had just lost their dog to cancer and met me and loved this boy on sight. Another larger dog weighing in at 39kgs, he now lives in Shropshire and is enjoying days out with them working in the forest. Running around all day, the weight is slowly coming off and he is a happy boy.

During this week, we had been advised of a 6 year old bitch who was looking for a home as her owners no longer had time to devote to her with two children under the age of 1 year. The following weekend we drove to Scotland to pick her up. She was a happy girl who loved children and other dogs. After a period of assessment, she met her new owners who already had a rescue male and has fitted in well so far, with no problems. She will play all day, chasing a ball or stick and is settling nicely.

Never Quiet

Just when we then think things are going quiet, we receive a telephone call from a kennel in Leeds… well what can I say…. 20 month old bitch….thrown from a moving car after being tormented by a group of teenage lads, she was picked up by a dog warden in Leeds. A frantic phone call followed from me to a breed person as I was at work. This person picked her up and took her home, and promptly fell in love with her. It became apparent that she may not be a full pedigree breed bitch, but what a character she was. We took her to the Midlands a week later and two people came to look at her. It became apparent that she was too busy a bitch for their lifestyle so she went to stay with two foster carers. A month on, she is still there and can be found gracing their sofa upside down most nights. She is feisty, but lovable and will be going nowhere as her foster carers cannot part with her. She keeps the rest of the house boys in check and they know she is the boss.

So, we reach December and we have the 6 year old dog still needing a home, an 18 month old dog dumped by his breeder and are now aware of a dog in rescue kennels in Newcastle. Some rescue kennels and centres appear to be notoriously bad at working with breed rescue which I cannot for the life of me understand. Why would you keep a dog, when you have breed rescue offering to free up your resources and kennel space? It is beyond me to be honest…

I am hoping things will now quieten off for rescue. Some breeders need to screen homes more thoroughly before selling a puppy. Our breed is not an easy one to own and certainly not one for the first time dog owner.


Most of my weekends and evenings over the last 6 weeks have been taken up sorting dogs out and arranging paperwork/rehoming contracts and making phone calls. The support from a lot of breed people is also very much appreciated. When I have counted, in the last six weeks for rescue I have written 59 e-mails, completed 6 rehoming packs/contracts, made a total of 46 telephone calls and drove a total of 1175 miles. I have also shed a bucket load of tears of joy and frustration at times. Would I swap doing Rescue? Never…. The joy I get from seeing dogs in new homes is immeasurable…

  • 21st March 2013 11:02 - Posted by : Helen Seddon

    I think people like yourself taking on the role of 'rescue and rehoming' dogs are the UNSUNG HEROES of the canine world!

  • 19th September 2014 21:27 - Posted by : cathrine marrison

    I have two Australian shepherds and have been so lucky with star and bella and have had so much help from the breeders.
    I applaud you in what you are doing and wish you well for the future. Only wish I could help