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Rescuers Need Rescuing

Oct
24
2007

It’s been a week of upheaval during which all I’ve come to believe has been turned on its head. Charles Shultz was depressed, Dumbledore is gay, Joe Torre isn’t a Yankee and the Mona Lisa had eyebrows.

Well at least all is as usual in Hollywood, what with the nitwit paparazzi getting too close to the train wreck that is Britney Spears and Ellen DeGeneres using her celebrity to get her way and upend pretty well established dog rescue policies. The stars are in the heavens and all is right with the world.

Well. . . sort of. The world of canine rescue – and the folks who do the actual work of saving the dogs – is taking quite a blow from the DeGeneres inciden and, since I am the official Spot-On Canine Commentator (I made the title up in case I need it on a resume), I need to chime in on behalf of my fellow rescuers.

Rescuing abandoned and discarded dogs is a heartbreaking and difficult task. A dog usually enters the rescue system for one reason only: the failure and arrogance of a human to see this dog as a living, breathing, feeling organism.

Among our dogs in the Jackson household is Gaspode, who was abandoned because the former owners thought it would be cool to own one of those “Wishbone dogs” (Parson Russell Terrier) and expected him to be confined to a small crate for 23 hours a day. When the inevitable behavior problems resulted, Gaspode was dumped. Parson Russell Terrier Rescue came in and found us, his permanent home for the past six years. Yes, he was difficult to rehabilitate, as we expected of a rescue dog and as it states in every single rescue contract, including the one given Ellen DeGeneres.

So, Ellen’s first mistake was adopting a rescue dog. The press has slid right over the statement she made when this whole incident began: not that the dog couldn’t get along with her cat, but that they didn’t have the time to train the dog and cat to get along (actually, Ellen said she spent money to have the dog trained but ask any dog reputable trainer about the success of training a dog without the owner’s participation. In this case, it’s obvious.).

Then, of course, there is the clause in the signed contract Ellen ignored that prevented her from passing on ownership. There is a very good reason for this, especially in Hollywood. The area seems to have more than its share of people who treat pets as attention grabbers or fashion accessories. I wouldn’t trust a celebrity to find a new home for a cactus, let alone a dog that has to be tended to on a daily basis.

And as for the poor, broken-hearted girl from whose arms the dog was so coldly snatched: give me a break. This is a 12-year-old. If her family and Ellen hadn’t kept this issue alive, she would have gotten over it five minutes after the dog left and her cell phone went off and it was a girlfriend squealing, “Ohmygawdyouwereontvanditssototallyawesomeyaknow. . .

There are more flexible rescue groups than Mutts and Moms, where DeGeneres found her dog, just as there are ones even stricter. But really, Ellen, have Your People do their homework. Better yet – and I know this is radical – since you’re doing the adopting, how ‘bout you do the homework – before you start throwing money around? Then you can choose something more in keeping with your situation. . . or your décor. . . or whatever else is the reason is you want to adopt a pet in spite of not having the time to care for it.

I apologize if I’m explaining what is obvious to everyone else. But I do find a lot of people don’t understand the commitment and intent of rescue organizations. This was obvious with a repairman who came into our home. Because Gaspode was next to him, jumping up and down for attention, I felt I had to explain that he was a rescue dog and needed a bit more understanding. But he misunderstood.

When I left the room and the repairman figured I was gone I heard him say, “You’re a rescue dog? What the hell could you rescue?”

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 11:27 AM | Permalink

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