Rehoming orphans of the South


Frequently Asked Questions and darn good information:

Why do you send rescue dogs up north?

The Northeast shelters do not have the overcrowding problem that most of the southern shelters have.  This makes it difficult for folks up north to find desirable pets when they visit a shelter.   Despite the low cost spay and neuter programs that are offered to low income families, pet owners do not have their pets altered and this is the major factor in why most southern shelters are consistently overcrowded. There is simply not enough pet seekers to adopt the dogs, especially in the rural shelters. Our mission as a rescue, is to save as many shelter dogs as we can. Most of them find families up north. We comply with the USDA regulations to import dogs across state lines in to the northern states by providing the required tests, vaccines, and health certificates. For states requiring quarantine, we have relationships with veterinary hospitals and quarantine facilities that work with us in those areas.

What is the difference between a shelter and a rescue?

A shelter is a glorified description for dog pound. The shelter is where stray dogs are taken when they are picked up by animal control, or a facility where dogs that are no longer wanted or can no longer be cared for, can be taken by their owners to be surrendered. Most southern shelters will give a time limit for dogs to be rescued or adopted by the public before they are euthanized. Time varies depending on the shelter and how much space they have. Southern shelters are over run with dogs and most will need to euthanize weekly to make space for new dogs coming in. The rescue pulls these dogs from the shelters and has them vetted and evaluated and made available for adoption.

Why is it more expensive to adopt from a rescue than a shelter?

Because most shelters can only and will only adopt out young, healthy dogs… Rescues will take the sick, elderly and wounded, rehabilitate them to make them adoptable, and therefore incur more expenses. The shelters will euthanize any old or sick dog that they feel is unadoptable or beyond their ability to help. (Shelters also receive state funding and grant money to help them cover costs). Rescues rely mostly on private donations and fundraisers.

Can we meet the dog that we are interested in prior to adoption?

Sure, but only if you are in Tennessee.(We do have foster dogs in homes up north on occasion). If you are out of state, then we can provide you with video footage of the dog that you are interested in. We can kid test, cat test, and dog test on video upon request. We understand that adopting a dog without meeting it first is not for everyone, but we do our best to show potential adopters the dogs personality and behavior. We do not want to send our orphans to their new homes until we have evaluated them for that specific family. We want our adopters to be happy and we want our dogs to succeed.

Does the rescue train or temperament test the dogs?

No…we are not trainers or behaviorists, nor do we have the funding to pay for such luxuries. Our foster homes may teach the orphans some basics like, “sit”, “no”, or begin house training and crate training them… but the rest is up to you. Some of the larger shelters that we get our rescues from do have behaviorists on staff to temperament test, but most shelters do not. We rely on our foster homes to let us know if the dog has any issues or concerns. If the dog does seem to have a problem, then we will let the potential adopter know what they might be dealing with… for example: food aggression or storm sensitivity. We do not sugar coat anything and are very honest when it comes to the dogs’ temperaments. Dogs are known to bond with the person that trains them. We strongly recommend that you make training a family event and have everyone involved and on the same page. Consistency is important. It is important to get the kids involved no matter how young they are. Dogs need to know that the human is the pack leader even if the human is only 5 years old. Research your training options and look for one that uses “positive reinforcement”. Training is all about the relationship and building a bond. This bond that you create by training your new friend makes learning fun and the relationship and interaction between family and dog the reward.

What if the dog that I adopt doesn’t work out… can I return the dog?

Per our adoption contract, our orphans MUST be returned to us, no matter the reason. If possible, we ask that the adopter continue to care for the dog until it can be rehomed through our adoption process… especially dogs that have been transported north. Transport can be stressful on the dogs and if we can prevent them from having to endure a long return trip by rehoming them in a nearby area, then that is our goal. If the current home can not keep the dog until it is placed, then we will get the dog scheduled on a return transport as soon as a spot is available.

Are the dogs potty trained?

Maybe…. but please understand that most of our dogs were strays that were picked up by animal control so initially we have no way of knowing if they are potty trained or not. We rely on our foster homes to begin working with them and sometimes they are able to get them fully potty trained before they get adopted. From our experience, adult dogs that are not house trained usually catch on within 2 weeks (by using key words, positive reinforcement, persistence and consistency). They are generally much easier to train than a puppy because they can hold it longer and because they understand commands and do not want to disappoint their human. They also crave reward and praise.

Do require your adopters to have a fence?

No we do not require a fence….but we love it when you do have one. Fences are a security perk and make your life much easier as a dog owner, but we realize that sometimes it’s just not possible depending on the neighborhood or property. We are not fans of the electric fence. Rescuers hear stories all the time about dogs that are stolen by evil doers, snatched by coyotes, dogs that wander off because the batteries died, the power goes out and the dog takes advantage of the situation, or dogs that just take the shock and run. A lot of stray dogs show up at the shelter with their electric collars still on. Electric fences are fine for families that want their dog to be able to run and play ball or Frisbee without having to worry, but they are not ideal for leaving dogs unattended while owners are away from home.

Does the dog come with a crate?

No. The out of state transporters re-use their crates each week after sanitizing them. If you plan to use a crate and do not know what size or style to get, we suggest that you shop at thrift stores, yard sales, and online classifieds to find a less expensive crate when you first adopt. Puppies outgrow crates quickly and need bigger sizes before you know it. Some dogs don’t need a crate once they get adapted to their new environment…and some folks intend to use a crate and then realize that it isn’t necessary or change their minds once they get to know the dog. Please bleach your second hand crates thoroughly (inside and out) before using them so that your new friend isn’t exposed to anything that could have contaminated the crate.

What size crate should I get?

Puppies should have just enough room to turn around and lie down – if the crate is too roomy, the puppy may “ do it’s business” at one end and live at the other. Because most budgets can’t afford to get a crate every time the pup grows larger, if purchasing a new crate, you should get an appropriate size for an adult and make it smaller with a divider for the pup. Adult dogs should at least have enough room to stand up straight and somewhat stretch out when they lay down.***REMEMBER*** To make sure your dog is completely safe in his crate, not collars, leashes, harnesses, or other attachments should be worn in the crate!

What vaccines do the dogs come with?

All of orphans have the “required” vaccines to travel on a USDA certified transport, but there are additional vaccines that you should consider once you receive your new pet. Our orphans receive rabies vaccines if they are old enough, a distemper combo, and a bordatella. North east dogs (especially Massachusetts), should absolutely have an annual lyme vaccine due to the high percentage rate of lyme disease in the area. Canine influenza is a relatively new vaccine, but is being suggested more and more often, and if you adopt an orphan that will spend time in the woods, hiking, or at the ocean or lake you should consider the leptospirosis vaccine. (some distemper vaccines include lepto).

What does my adoption fee include?

For northern adopters who require transport: your tax deductible donation of $450 includes age appropriate vaccines (Dh2PP, rabies, and bordatella- puppies will have a minimum of 2 boosters and may not be old enough for rabies at time of adoption), heartworm test, fecal test,(deworming if positive for parasites), microchip, spay/neuter, a collar, USDA certified transport fee, and required health certificate issued by certified veterinarian. Optional or additional testing or vaccines are the responsibility of the new owner, (canine influenza, lyme, leptospirosis, etc.). Should you choose to have your new pet delivered to a quarantine facility, that fee will be added and can vary depending on location.

Quarantine-Many New England states have laws prohibiting delivery of rescued dogs within their states that we must abide by. If you live in either Massachusetts or New Hampshire , your dog will either have to be picked up from transport in CT or VT, or they will have to be picked up from our quarantine facilities in Manchester, NH or the Massachusetts quarantine facility located in Andover. If you complete the process and are chosen to adopt a dog, you will need to choose one of these options.

The cost of quarantine at the New Hampshire facility will be an additional $75 charge and Massachusetts is $100. These fees will be added to the $450 adoption fee. We agree that this is inconvenient for our adopters but our rescue is eager to comply with any laws and regulations that might be a protection for them from fraud and bad experiences with sick puppies, kittens or dogs coming up from unlicensed groups and rescues.

Tennessee adopters: your tax deductible donation of $250 includes all of the above minus the transport and health certificate. (This fee also applies to folks who are located in a nearby state and can pick their dog up in Knoxville).

Do you offer discounts?

Yes! We offer a 25% discount to foster families, military, college students, and senior citizens. We also offer our senior dogs at a reduced rate based on their age and medical condition. We also participate in Best Friends Network Partner promotions that often offer a significant discount to all applicants.

What type of leash and collar should I get?

We recommend martingale type collars, (one is provided for each orphan) and sturdy leashes. A nice regular 5 foot leash with a sturdy clasp is what we recommend. “Flexi-leashes” are NOT recommended…ever. Dogs should be kept 6 feet or closer to their owner and kept “under control” according to leash laws. It can be darn near impossible to take control of a dog with a hand brake from 15-feet away. And – if you drop the handle as your dog bolts away, he may run even faster as he is startled by the sound of the hard plastic handle bouncing along behind him. Flexi-leads allow the dog the freedom to go 20-25 ft from their owner which can be very dangerous. Dogs can be hit by cars (while the owner is still holding the handle), attacked by other dogs, and depending on where you live, the dog could even be pepper sprayed for approaching someone that doesn’t welcome its advances. Basically, dogs do not need this unlimited freedom. Additionally, the cords on these retractable leashes get tangled very easily and they can cause rope burns in both the dog and the walker. It is also hard to teach a dog to walk politely with a loose leash using a flexi-lead. They are being taught that it is ok to pull. If you have a large, strong, hard to handle dog, then we can recommend that you try either a prong collar or a gentle leader type harness. If you have a dog that insists on pulling and chokes from the leash tugging on the collar, then we recommend a snug fitting harness that the leash will attach to across the back.

Dangers of overhead runs and tie outs:

Although tie-outs and overhead runners prevent your dog from running away or damaging your garden, the only way to safely use either device is when you’re outside and supervising your dog. Overhead runs can cause strangulation, tangling around legs cutting off circulation, and makes the dog vulnerable to attacks by other animals. According to the American Humane Society, tethered dogs are nearly three times more likely to bite a human. Dogs who spend the majority of their lives attached to a tie-out or runner are at risk for developing undesirable behaviors including excessive barking and territory aggression.

What foods are toxic to pets ?

According to the Humane Society, The following foods can be dangerous or toxic to your dog:

Alcoholic beverages, Apple seeds, Apricot pits, Avocados, Cherry pits, Candy (particularly

chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic

sweetener Xylitol), Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans), Garlic,

Grapes, Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener

Xylitol), Hops (used in home beer brewing), Macadamia nuts, Moldy foods, Mushroom plants,

Mustard seeds, Onions and onion powder, Peach pits, Potato leaves, peels, and stems (green

parts), Raisins, Rhubarb leaves, Tea (because it contains caffeine), Tomato leaves and stems

(green parts), Walnuts, Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets), Yeast dough This

information was compiled from various sources

Does a spotted tongue mean that the dog is a chow mix?

NO!! Any breed can have a tongue with dark pigment that ranges from blue to black in color, however there are some breeds that are more prone to it. Some have tongues that are entirely black with little to no pink and some have varying degrees of spots and patches. The blue/black on a dog’s tongue are areas containing extra pigment. It is like a freckle or a birthmark on a person. Dogs can have these same spots on their skin, which are often covered by their coat. There are over 50 breeds of dogs known to have spotted tongues…ranging from wheaten terriers and Bichons to golden retrievers and German shepherds.

Are heartworms contagious from dog to dog?

According to the American Heartworm Society, No. Heartworms can be transmitted from animal to animal only by the bite of a mosquito carrying the infection stage of the larvae. Heartworms release live young (microfilaria) directly into the bloodstream of a dog. When a mosquito takes a blood meal from an infected pet, it may become infected by several microfilariae. The larvae then develop into an infective stage within the mosquito. As the mosquito bites another susceptible dog or cat, the infective larvae can be left behind to cause infection. The life cycle of the heartworm requires the mosquito as an “intermediate host.” Without the mosquito, heartworms can not be transmitted.

What sort of food should I feed my new dog?

We recommend finding out what your new friend is currently eating and have some on hand when your pet arrives, even if it’s not what you intend to keep him on. A slow, gradual transition, from old food to new food, mixing the two together a little at a time, is best to prevent stomach upset. Do your research and read your labels. Like the food pyramid, Dog food breaks down the percentage of carbohydrates (50 percent), fats and oils (25 percent), and proteins (25 percent) that dogs need as part of a complete and balanced diet. There are two things to look for on the packaging, 1- It should say that is 100% balanced/complete nutrition, and 2- Veterinarian tested and recommended. Some high dollar pet food companies will make you think that their food is better than the competitor, but they are not tested/recommended by vets, or nutritionally balanced. In the past you just grabbed whatever was on the shelf, and that’s not the case anymore. Ingredients are listed based on quantity, so look for high-quality proteins to be listed among the first few items. Pet owners should buy food based on the appropriate life stage, particularly during those puppy years.