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How to tell if online dog rescue organisations are trustworthy? (WARNING-Dog related content)

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It's been a while since my dear old Beagle was put down and I am finally ready to adopt another dog.

I've been looking online for the last 6 months or so and have seen quite a few websites of dog rescue organisations (e.g. ****-in-not.de, shelta and others), and while I'm sure many of them are above board, I can't readily or easily determine if these "vereins" are truly working for the dogs' best interest. (Many of these vereins don't register on the tierschutzbund.de website.)

I know the dog trade is full of scummy, low-life miscreants and I certainly don't want to line any of their pockets.

 

Anyone here with detailed knowledge of how it works with these rescue organisations?

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indeed.  I tried to adopt a cat via one of the "rescue" orgs and I finally begged off as I had zero indication that the cat I wanted to adopt even existed (or was still adoptable).  I think the org was technically legit, but since they don't actually have many of the animals in hand, so to speak (they are housed in shelters in various places abroad), they can't and/or don't offer detailed info about the character or possible issues an adoptee might possess.  They could not answer basic questions about the cat, kept pressing the topic of being open to hiring an "animal psychologist", while insisting she didn't have behavioral or other problems - just weird, yellow flag stuff that left me doubting their expertise and level of honesty, frankly.  There's the concern of how traumatizing the transportation solution might be for an animal which can throw new twists on top, as well - "oh it's fine, they don't mind!" - really?  a 15+ hour drive is fine for a cat that's already been living in a stressful situation?  hm.  yeah.  no.  or maybe.  regardless, it didn't pass the smell test for me.

 

This strange experience reaffirmed my view that meeting a pet prior to adoption is an absolute must for a variety of reasons, so whether it's via a tierheim or private adoption or whatever, finding a pet with a local org is pretty important to me.  It's just too hard to suss out possible issues with the rescue orgs IMO.  ETA:  some rescue orgs do seem to have animals that have already been brought to Germany.  This would be loads better than a "sight unseen" adoption of an animal that is shipped directly to you from abroad.

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I agree with Lisa - it would be much better if you could visit the dog first to see if you two might suit. My aunt adopted a dog from Spain, she drove for hours and picked him up at some border. The description she received beforehand was absolute crap and full of lies. Existing medical conditions were omitted, behavioral problems as well. She had the knowledge, the willingness and the cash to deal with both and dearly loves her dog today. But it could have turned out very differently had he been adopted by someone else. 

 

I would also suggest the local Tierheim or other rescue organizations in Germany (ideally with e.V. in the name as they have to jump through quite a few hoops to prove they are actually charitable). Animal shelters can be very picky about adoption. Mostly because they want to avoid any boomerangs and want the best for their animals. Some because of personal preferences and power-happy individuals. 


If you would like another beagle, you could check http://www.beagle-in-not.de/notbeagle.asp for dogs in your area. 

Or you could contact a breeder in your area. They often get asked to help rehome dogs they sold as puppies if the owners cannot keep them for any reason. 
 

If you are thinking about a German shepherd, take a look here: https://www.altenburger-schaeferhundhilfe.de/ 

Small, new rescue organization which also lists shepherds or shepherd mixes in shelter on their website aside from the dogs they are actively trying to rehome. (Disclaimer: I am a member, so I am slightly prejudiced….:P

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As fate would have it..have been out and about today and have seen this post but also got snail mail post today from Germany..including a Christmas Card from a vet I used to take my dearly departed cat Hemingway to in Hamburg until we moved to Crete six years ago.

:rolleyes:

 

Anyway, I will try to give my thoughts on this thread tomorrow or so and based on our experience..though it will mostly be based on Cretan experiences...

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My first dog was from a tierheim so the local tierheim was my first stop before I went out "surfing the net" (I don't think anyone says that these days!!) It didn't have anything that really appealed to me (mostly fighting dogs) but I do keep revisiting it (or at least their homepage). There was a timely reminder yesterday about the depressing puppy mill trade from the city where I live.

I definitely want to visit the potential adoptee before I sign on the dotted line. More so to see if we get along and to suss out possible potential problems than anything else.

@maxie  Thanks for those links! What does the "e" in "e.V." stand for? Are these organisations constantly checked on or is the certification a one-time hurdle to cross? Much as I loved my old beagle, I won't be looking another one anytime soon! In fact, I didn't go out looking for him come to think of it, he just literally walked into my life all those years ago!

I'm looking more towards a plain vanilla retriever type mongrel if truth be told. I'm trying to avoid purebred dogs where I can as increasingly, I can't support the idea of limiting the gene pool at the expense of the overall health of the canine family.

 

Thanks for all your suggestions!

 

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1 hour ago, Boggsdollocks said:

Thanks for those links! What does the "e" in "e.V." stand for?

 

e.V. stands for eingetragener Verein (registered association). 

 

I got my dog from Spain through such an association 10 years ago. I chose him online and the whole transaction was above board. I was also visited for evaluation before I was accepted as an adoptee. He was neutered just before departure, with inocolation pass etc. I had to sign a contract and pay a token fee of 290 Euros, which covered the medical and surgical costs etc. I was lucky that he had no behavioural issues, but I was prepared to deal with any if he had. I chose a two year old dog to bypass the puberty issues and started training him straight away. He was a quick learner and I'm very, very happy with him. 

 

Since I got him I have learned that many of these former street dogs are taken over by lots of German Tierheime and/or foster homes. So I would look there first as they are desperate to find good homes for them. 

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Thanks @bramble!

I've just been in contact with one of these organisations about a dog that is now at a German tierheim. I think I will visit the dog later with my daughter to see if there's anything in this.

The dog was from Turkey. What questions should I be asking in terms of medical history and the like?

 

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The most important question would be whether the dog has been tested for Mediterrainean diseases such as Leishmaniasis and others. Everything else medical wise will probably be above board. The dog will certainly have an inoculation pass and will be wormed. Good luck with the visit. Quite exciting. :)

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I'm no expert, but I'd also ask about signs of malnutrition and/or physical abuse and past serious injuries, all of which can have detrimental effects throughout the dog's life.

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Leishmaniose is pretty much the same word in German. The other one is "Mittelmeerkrankheit". I regular Tierheim would have made a thorough medical examination when they took the dog in. The cannot afford to infect all the animals in their care. And they should normally be pretty open about what you can expect. 

 

Good luck! 

 

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Our main experience is on Crete for obvious reasons..the support at public level (both with individuals and the Government/local administrations ) is still way below the way we would wish it to be as dog lovers.

There are no Tierheime as far as I know.

There are some individual " heroes" here eg Takis close to us and another Greek guy in Heraklion who leads an even more hermetic existence than Takis.

They rely on donations.

There are other organisations which exist at semi-legal level but get hassled by the authorities..there have been cases of their being shut down--partly because they reflect badly on Greek society. An example was last year when some people (foreigners ) set up a stand to distribute leaflets in a tourist area..and they were forced to move away (obviously, because it reflected badly on Greece. )

 

There are individuals..Brits, Germans etc who rescue dogs and have their network of people willing to fly them off as " Paten " and then have the dogs picked up at  a  German airport. But sometimes the people who adopt the dogs in Germany adopt them for the  " wrong reasons"..ie they are cute for their small children ( same reason many Greeks temporarily " get " a puppy and then discard them after Christmas or the summer holidays or leave them on the beach or throw them out of cars etc ).

 

Totally agree with bramble and El Jeffo. If the dog is living outside Germany---the potential sicknesses count. Make sure all the jabs are through and potential lifelong  illnesses (Leishmaniasis is a BITCH...we have adopted dogs here and given them their medication but, at some stage, they die painfully.)

 

I really feel the potential adopter should visit the dog in the foreign country and not just adopt online or whatever.

ALL of them look cute and want to be rescued.

 

Double check how the dog reacts to you, double check the dog´s history at the sanctuary..is it, for example, an Angstbeisser? Is the dog suitable for you if you have young children?

We " sent " a dog to Germany once and the family had kids..and they played football with the dog--kicking a football onto its head.

 

ALL dogs in rescue centres have their issues...they have all been abandoned, torn away from their mothers too young etc. They are ALL disturbed in some way...

 

Are you prepared to love the dog come what may?

 

Edit: re the appropriate dog. Our friend Pete here is 80 and a dog lover and had two dogs...one very sick one who lies around in Pete´s bedroom most of the day and a younger one who had kidney failure and had to be put to sleep last week. Pete wants another dog...he lost his wife last year, can´t walk and is himself fragile otherwise.

Some well-wishers are looking for a new dog for him but what if a lovely new dog from a rescue centre has " issues " eg bites or if the dog is big ( which he wants..for security reasons ) and can easily knock him over, even whilst showing its affection? Then Pete crashes to the floor and breaks yet another time a rib etc..and then? And he can´t find his mobile phone or use it? And then? And if it´s two in the morning?

 

Dog kills owner headlines.

 

 

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Together with my daughter, we drove to the tierheim this afternoon to meet the dog. I wasn't sure what I was going to see as all I had to go on was one small picture of an almost silhouetted dog from the animal rescue website. It was described as female, roughly a year old, a retriever-mix, with no outstanding health issues.

When we got there, I asked to see the dog (Paula) and some young praktikantins brought out a small, cheerful, cream-coloured Golden Retriever to me.  They (praktikantins) were promptly given a telling off by the Chefin who was quite obviously displeased with those girls for some other previous misdemeanour. It turns out that the animal rescue organisation responsible for Paula (the dog) placed her at the tierheim as tierpension, and the tierheim itself had very little information about the dog. So in a way, nobody really knew who, what, where, when and how.

Anyhooooo, we took Paula for a short walk. I observed her to be typical of her age - active, curious, excitable. She was sociable, didn't exhibit fear, and like all Goldies (and dogs in general!!) fixated on the bag of treats. She pulled on her lead a fair bit but that is to be expected of a young dog in these circumstances. Her lower left eyelid doesn't sit flush with her eyeball so I suspect ectropion. The lady I spoke to on the phone did mention she was being given eyedrops but my Deutsch isn't good enough to fully understand everything on the first pass. I wasn't able to verify if she was checked by a vet for all the previously mentioned Mittelmeerkrankheit, so that means more double checking if I wish to take the next step.

 

Personally, I have a very soft spot for Goldies. My first dog whom (yes, whom! He was that special to me!) I adopted from the tierheim was a beautiful Golden Retriever. I am convinced to this day, he "brought" me my two girls and departed when his job was done shortly after my second daughter was born.

But am I willing to take Paula? I asked my daughter what she thought as we left, but she was no help. She wanted all the dogs she saw there!! Bless her!:lol:

 

So that's that at the moment.

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Thank you for the update. 

I think I would have the same problem your daughter has if I walked into a Tierheim. ^_^

 

The eyedrops could also be for Konjunktivitis follikularis. It is quite common in young dogs and - if I remember correctly - has to do with the fact that their immune system is not fully developed yet. If you pull down the lower lid a bit, the inside looks slightly spotted, a bit like a strawberry, and red. Our dog had it off and on until he was about 1 1/2. In the past, they used to do a small surgery to scrape off the tissue, but now they usually wait until it disappears on its own. Unless the dog is in too much discomfort or it gets too bad. 

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