ADOPTING A RESCUE NEWFOUNDLAND
Thank you for considering adoption of a rescued Newfoundland! While it can bring you tremendous joy over the years, it is not a step to be taken lightly. Please take a moment to read the information on this page. We hope it will help you make a fully informed decision that will be best for you and for our dogs.
The Rewards of Providing a Forever Home
Somehow, every rescued dog seems to realize what has happened: a bad situation has turned around, and they are safe and cherished at last. Such a dog's gratitude and loyalty cannot be equaled even by the innocent love of a puppy. Your sense of accomplishment, as a formerly neglected, ill, or abused dog comes out of their shell and blossoms into a vital family member, is incomparable. The human friendships you make in the rescue community are strong and vital, based as they are on love, compassion, and hard work on behalf of the dogs.
The Costs of Providing a Forever Home
On the other hand, rehabilitation of most rescue dogs is not easy. The combined financial costs of adoption fees and vet bills (immediate and future) may be more expensive in the long run than buying a healthy puppy. But more important, rescued dogs have a history that is not entirely happy, and they carry that history forward with them always. Rescued dogs may take more attention, effort, and understanding to maintain than a dog whose home has always been stable and positive.
We do not want to discourage you from adopting a rescued Newfoundland. However, we do want to emphasize that someone who aches to own a Newfoundland, but finds the purchase price of a puppy or adolescent is cost prohibitive, should not usually seek a rescued dog. The larger breeds are expensive throughout their lives, not just at purchase time. Rescued dogs can be the most expensive of all.
Overall, a rescued Newfoundland is not a wise introduction to the breed. If you have never had a Newfoundland before, a rescue is probably not for you. Even if you have, unless you have previously trained and dealt with behavioral issues, you should think long and hard before adopting a rescue. And you must be able and willing to risk a significant financial commitment.
Understanding the Rescued Dog
What is canine rescue? No, it's not sirens, fire trucks and ambulances with lights a-blazing. It's not shining armor and valiant steeds and saving damsels in distress. A dog rescue may involve urgency and some drama, but equally often it doesn't even mean immediate action is necessary. Rescues take many forms and happen for many, many reasons. The following sections will give you some idea of what can be involved.
Three Easy Rescue Scenarios
No Longer Wanted
Puppies are often purchased with little thought and less research. The cute, fluffy fuzz-muffin starts to grow. What started as an eleven-pound darling becomes a rambunctious ninety-five pound adolescent, still growing. The owners realize they have taken on more than they bargained for and want to return the dog. Unfortunately, they purchased from an unethical breeder who refuses to take the dog back. What do they do now? They try to sell the puppy but it's hard to find someone who's willing to buy their problems. The problems mount and they simply give up, taking the pup to a shelter. We are all lucky this time. The shelter workers recognize that gangly black thing as a Newf adolescent and call Newf Rescue.
The scenario starts like the first, but when the breeder won't take back the puppy -- now a dog -- the owner is determined not to take a loss on the investment. They can't stand the dog anymore, so they tie it outside. No shelter, no love, no discipline. In the southern heat, this northern breed begins to develop health problems which go ignored. The dog continues to grow and now he's barking so much the neighbors complain. The dog begins to receive beatings. But by now, the neighbors have told others who tell others - and finally someone calls Newfoundland Rescue.
Often, these situations are heartbreaking for owners. Someone who has owned a Newf for five years, since it was a pup, gets married. The spouse doesn't care for dogs, and the animal is banished outside. Affection is scarce. Ultimately the original owner realizes the hopelessness of the situation and calls Rescue.
Divorce can have a similar effect, especially when the new living arrangements for the one who got custody won't permit a pet. Or a longtime owner may have to move into assisted living, where even the most loyal and beloved companion cannot follow. These are cases where human circumstances impact both dog and owner powerfully and painfully.
Other situations are less poignant. A young couple gets jobs in another state, with stellar career prospects. The Newfoundland is left behind with the old furniture and carpets.
These are sad but not hard situations. They do not create unusual problems for the dog or their new home. The dogs just need affection (lots of it), discipline, modest veterinary care, and in many cases, intensive grooming! It is the hard cases that make Rescue volunteers bite their tongues, cringe, and sometimes cry at night.
Some Harder Rescue Scenarios
An old dog, neglected and matted, with eyes so weepy she couldn't see. We took her straight to the vet only to discover she had a tumor on her chest the size of a grapefruit. If her owners had taken the time to give her a loving pat, they would have known. Or -- maybe they did and that's why they finally decided to dump her.
A Dog with health problems that owners can't afford to treat. A cripple that can barely walk. Serious discipline problems after years of neglect. These are the majority of rescues, and they are not cute fluffy puppies. Often these dogs have eyes that look far, far away. They have shut themselves off from humans and other animals after too many years of affection starvation, or the physical pain they are suffering.
These dogs require determined, experienced, and unfaltering human love. Hopefully, their physical problems are treatable, but they are usually not cheap. Their diseases or disorders may have progressed extensively so that intensive care and sophisticated treatment are required. Many will require special medications for the rest of their lives.
What to Expect In a Rescued Dog
All rescue dogs require lots and lots of tender loving care from their new homes. The adjustment period may not be short or easy on either of you. The dog will not understand why they are suddenly in a new, strange place. It may not eat for days on end from being nervous. It may forget basic training and housebreaking.
Worse, the dog may have lost its confidence in humans. It gave humans its love and love was not returned. It may have fears that normal puppies do not have. It cannot speak to tell us what and why it has fear. It is up to you to interpret the dog's reactions to various stimuli to determine what the fears are. Sometimes the fears cannot be assuaged and we must simply tolerate and deal with it forever. It isn't hard to imagine why a dog would tremble and cower at the sight of a broom, but it may be impossible to reassure that dog about brooms.
Dealing with SENC Rescue, Inc
Rescue volunteers are angels, but they have tough hearts. For example, our resources are limited, so when a call comes in that a Newfoundland needs rescuing, we first make sure the dog is purebred. We tell other organizations about mixes, but we do not pull them -- even from high-kill shelters. Our volunteers often deal with high stakes (life and death), and they are extremely loyal to the dogs we do acquire. Their working motto is "NEVER out of the frying pan into the fire!"
By the very nature of the work, rescue volunteers see some humans at their worst. They don't take much for granted. Please don't take it personally when they ask lots and lots of questions. As you can see, placing a Rescue is even more delicate than placing a puppy. The criteria are strict. You must have a fence for the dog to run, but the dog must live inside with you. Your actual experience in dealing with discipline and health problems is important. We will not place a dog with potentially serious health issues with a family if they do not exhibit patience, realistic expectations, and sufficient financial ability. And SENC Rescue, Inc is very serious about verifying these and other requirements.
But every rescue volunteer does this heart-shredding work because we believe in dogs and we believe in people. Our goal is to find a match between dogs and families that will lead to rich, love-filled lives for both. We deeply hope to do this for you too.
We hope that this information will assist you in deciding whether you really want to be a rescue home. If you are still interested after reading the pros and cons, God Bless You! If you reside in Alabama, Georgia, North or South Carolina, please fill out an Adoption Application. We cannot place our rescue Newfs outside the states we serve. If you live outside our region, please visit the Newfoundland Club of America Rescue website.
If you still have questions, please take a moment to read our Adoption FAQ’s page.
If you’re not ready to adopt, how about fostering a needy Newf? Please read through our Foster FAQ’s and then decide.