There are times I am a bit naive. I have an idea about how the world works and then I find out that my idea has no relationship to reality. I never would have thought to feel betrayed about the world of dog rescue, but disillusioned is exactly what I am feeling.
It’s hard to tell where to start this story. Many moons ago, when I first entertained the idea of getting a dog, I picked up a book on raising a dog and discovered a pet shop is not the place to acquire a pet; the only ethical place to get a dog is a reputable breeder or a rescue. Truer words have never been written.
Even the term “reputable breeder” has a lot of room for argument. I’ve seen knowledgeable dog people breed dogs with thyroid conditions without caring that it’s a genetic condition. I’ve seen winning kennels overproduce puppies trying to get that “one winner.” It’s very difficult to know where to draw the line.
I while ago I made the decision that I would only get dogs from rescue.
Over the years people who know me and know I am a mildly knowledgeable dog owner have asked me questions about getting a dog. I’ve counseled many people that if they want a specific breed to go to a breed rescue; dogs come through rescue for lots of reasons, most of which have nothing to do with the dog itself.
The Search Begins
My lovely, talented, adorable, and otherwise perfect boy Finn is getting older. Now 14+, he is arthritic, deaf, and pretty blind. Still, he loves his kibble and is always willing to go for a walk (though they have to be short walks now.) As long as he’s happy, I’m happy.
Still, he is getting older and a few years ago I decided to apply to a breed rescue in case “the perfect dog” showed up.
I’ve wanted a corgi for years, so I applied to Columbia River Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club and Cascade Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club (Washington). Corgis are not thick on the ground, so I wasn’t expecting to get a dog immediately But in two years, I would have expected a phone call acknowledging they had received my application and that I was on a waiting list. I’ve applied a couple times, sent emails, and even called. Nothing.
In the last year I’ve also applied to Golden Gate Pembroke Welsh Corgi Fanciers (Northern California) and Cardigan Welsh Corgi National Rescue Trust (national) and even (recently) the Corgi Connection of Kansas (they are on Facebook and seem to have a lot of dogs.) Only Corgi Connection of Kansas contacted me back; their first question was, how are you planning to get a dog all the way to Oregon?
I know it’s silly, but I’m shocked that so many rescues would be this… Lazy? Careless? Uninterested?
Recently the The Portland Oregon Corgi Meetup Group posted a picture from a local rescue, Herd U Needed a Home, that had a corgi. Within minutes I had filled out an application. I waited 48 hours (the amount of time the website recommended) and then called. I waited another couple of days and called. And emailed. On the Herd U Needed a Home Facebook page it said the dog had an adoption “pending.” And the dog went off the page of adoptables. So I hoped he found a home. Then he reappeared. So I called again. Finally I got an email that said, “He has been adopted.”
I’m have no desire to point fingers. I am sure this group is doing good work and was just over busy. They are volunteers doing this in their spare time for the love of dogs.
Okay, so the advice I’ve been giving to people for years about going to a breed rescue and being patient doesn’t seem to be working out in this case. I’ll admit to doing some soul searching about “do I really want a corgi”. I THINK I’ve made a decision to just keep a spot open for the perfect dog (corgi) to come along until either I’m dogless (in which case I’d just go get someone cute) or more settled into life in Salem (and really KNOW I need a dog,)
That’s a great plan, but anyone who knows me knows that I’m incapable of giving up on a goal. So, recently I’ve been doing a daily search of all the pounds and rescues I can find to check out if any corgis show up.
In the 15 years since I’ve last searched for a dog, the world of rescue has changed.
First: Chihuahas. The last time I was looking for a dog, it was practically unheard of to find a dog under 40lbs in the pound. Now… well, frankly if they don’t outnumber pitbulls, it’s a close call.
Second: “Second Chance” Programs. It is possible that these existed the last time I was in the market, but they were not nearly as prevalent. The concept is pretty simple; big (or at least bigger) dog shelters in population centers go to smaller shelters and take younger, healthier, more adoptable dogs to their bigger shelter in order to get them adopted. The Oregon Humane Society, for example, posted it had 196 adoptions last week; not all of those adoptions are dogs, obviously, but that is A LOT of animals.
In theory, I don’t have a problem with this. A lot of animals get adopted and everyone wins. I hear grumbling from friends that OHS is not as selective as they should be with matching animals with owners, but it’s impossible to have a foolproof system.
What I do find disheartening about this is that there are dogs that I have seen in smaller pounds or humane societies for an adoption fee of $100 or so; when they are shipped up to OHS, the fee jumps to $200-$300.
Obviously, it’s a supply and demand situation. It’s senseless to get upset that an unwanted dog gets more expensive the further north it goes.
That doesn’t stop it from making me feel a little icky.
The Real Logistics of the Situation
So, until something changes I guess I’ll be combing through dog shelters for a corgi. Daily searches of 36 counties should be that bad…
- Baker County – served by Best Friends of Baker; New Home for Eastern Oregon Animals also available
- Benton County – served by Heartland Humane Society
- Clackamas County – Clackamas County Dog Services
- Clatsop County – served by Clatsop Animal Assistance
- Columbia County – served by Columbia Humane Society (St. Helens)
- Coos County – served by Friends of Coos County Animals
- Crook County – served by Humane Society of the Ochocos
- Curry County – Curry County Animal Shelter
- Deschutes County – served by Humane Society of Central Oregon (Bend) and Brightside Animal Center (Redmond)
- Douglas County – served by Umpqua Valley Humane Society, Saving Grace Animal Shelter, and the Roseburg SPCA
- Gilliam County – unable to find
- Grant County – Grant County Animal Outreach
- Harney County – Harney County Save a Stray Rescue (Note: No list of current animals found)
- Hood River County – Hood River Adopt a Dog / Hukari Shelter
- Jackson County – served by Friends of the Animal Shelter (FOTAS); also served by Southern Oregon Humane Society
- Jefferson County – served by Three Rivers Humane Society
- Josephine County – served by Save the Whiskers/Shelter Friends, Supporting the Josephine County Animal Shelter; also served by Rogue Valley Humane Society
- Klamath County – Klamath Animal Shelter
- Lake County – served by Oregon Outback Humane Society
- Lane County – served by Greenhill Humane Society
- Lincoln County – Lincoln County Animal Shelter
- Linn County – Linn County Animal Control ; also served by Safehaven Humane Society
- Malheur County – served by Ani-Care Animal Shelter
- Marion County – Marion County Shelter; Willamette Humane Society also available
- Morrow County – served by the Humane Society of Morrow County
- Multnomah County – Multnomah County Animal Services; Oregon Humane Society also available
- Polk County – served by Willamette Humane Society
- Sherman County – unable to find
- Tillamook County – Tillamook Animal Shelter
- Umatilla County – served by Pioneer Humane Society / Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter (PAWS)
- Union County – served by Blue Mountain Humane Association (also noted to serve Baker, Wallowa, Grant and Umatilla Counties)
- Wallowa County – Wallowa County Humane Society
- Wasco County – served by Home at Last Humane Society
- Washington County – Washington County Animal Control, shelter named Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter
- Wheeler County – unable to find
- Yamhill County – Yamhill County Dog Control
Oh, and the private rescues.
- Oregon Dog Rescue
- Indigo Rescue
- The Pixie Project
- Herd U Needed a Home
- Senior Dog Rescue of Philomath
- Family Dogs New Life Shelter
- Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals
- Displaced Pets Rescue
- Payette Partners