View Full Version : Cattle Dog Rescue Carolina-Style

04-13-2008, 11:05 PM
When we decided to make R&R, it was just a re-focusing of what we were already doing as scattered individuals. We wanted to put together something to help other people who have a heart for rescue see how R&R was born and how we function. There are many others on this forum who are looking for a way to help. Many of you are in the same region of the country and could form a rescue using people with different talents and abilities to do something similar. We saw a need in the Carolinas and decided to do something about it. We are no different than any of you who want to help so badly but don't know how. We found a way and wanted to share it with you...

ACD Rescue is being overloaded with cattle dogs and cattle dog mixes from both shelters and owners who no can longer care for their canines. This is both a stressful and a rewarding time for any person who loves our breed. Many of us want to be involved in rescue but have no idea how to become involved. And others have been involved for a while and find the current state of affairs is just too overwhelming. This is a great time for us to pull together and support each other.

Carolina ACD Rescue & Rebound began last July because we wanted to make a difference in ACD rescue in the Carolinas. Seven ladies, who live spread out over both North and South Carolina, formed R&R and serve as the rescue board. We decided on an uneven number of board members since we do everything by majority vote. We do have a chairperson and we chose Ellen Beasley for her long-time experience and knowledge with cattle dogs and her down-to-earth, easy-going personality. The rest of the roles rather fell into place as we offered to take on jobs that we could handle with our talents and strengths. We started out by establishing some guidelines for our rescue. We brought up questions we thought we would have to face often as we decided whether or not to take a dog (medical condition, age, location, bite history, etc.) As a group we voted on these guidelines with the understanding that occasionally the circumstances would dictate a little flexibility on these but that group vote could once again decide just how flexible to be.

We have filed our incorporation papers as a non-profit to the state of North Carolina. As soon as we have that incorporation approved, we will file for 501(c)(3) status so that we can truly become a non-profit and be able to provide our supports with a write-off for their taxes. Meanwhile, we spend a great deal of time raising money for the rescue. We began with fundraisers such as Jake’s Tugs (www.jakestugs.com (http://www.jakestugs.com)), ACD Greeting Cards (pre-order only), and our 2008 Forever Home Rescue Calendar (www.cafepress.com/cacdrr (http://www.cafepress.com/cacdrr)) using pictures of our beautiful foster dogs. The fundraisers helped bring in funds to pay for vet bills, shelter pull fees, and other rescue expenses. We continue to sell Jake’s Tugs year-round and add other fundraisers and new items to our Cafepress.com store. Fundraising for the rescue is not only an essential but also a continuous task. While a specific Fundraising Chairperson was not chosen, Melissa Tooley took on this role since she invented Jake’s Tugs and manages all the shipping for the fundraisers.

Recently R&R member Laurey McElroy designed an eye-catching logo for R&R. Looking professional and organized is important to attracting new supporters and to dealing with city and county shelters who want to know they are dealing with a real rescue. Not only has the logo served as an additional fundraiser through merchandising but it has made us an easily recognizable name in the rescue world. Our rescue newsletter comes out once a month. Being only four pages, it is easy to produce and is full of information for our supporters. Stories cover our current events, new fosters, adopted fosters, and fundraisers.

Being organized is just as important as looking organized. We use accounting software to keep track of our bank account and use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of information on each dog. We keep track of how much money is spent per dog on vetting, food, microchips, flea and heartworm preventative, etc. We keep track of how much personal money is used and asked each member to submit receipts for rescue expenses. If the expense can be reimbursed, we will reimburse it. Often times the member would prefer to donate the expense. We keep careful records of donations (monetary and non-monetary) from R&R members and other supporters. We scan in all receipts so that we have a soft and a hard copy of each. After each deposit is made into the bank account, a copy of the checks in that deposit is stapled to the deposit receipt. We even keep a spreadsheet of dog names and track the names that are used for a new foster. Any time someone thinks of a new great name for an ACD we add it to the list for future use.
We began with three foster homes using the three R&R members who could foster – Ellen Beasley, Sara Griggs, and Janet Broome. Those of us who cannot foster due to one reason or another have helped the foster moms by transporting, taking pictures, and any other way we can think of to lend a hand. We decided that the foster homes should have no more than 1 or 2 dogs at a time so that we can spend time with each dog to not only learn their personalities but to spend time on putting basic obedience manners on each of them. We offer a one month break between fosters to help prevent burnout. Some of our fosters have chosen not to take this break as it was more stressful for them to see the faces of dogs going to be put down because they had no place to go. We have added two foster homes since December. One foster home is in Mississippi and the other is in Tennessee. While we are very thankful to have these two additional foster homes, we often wish they lived closer so we could be more support with any training issues or socialization questions. We would like to add two more foster homes to our rescue but we would like them to be closer to our target Carolina area. Having the foster homes closer allows them to get together with the core R&R group for fun days, public education events, and to exchange supplies. Transports to and from the foster homes to Forever Homes would also be easier and shorter since all of our adopters have been in the Carolina area. A further concern for R&R is that we currently do not have liability insurance for our foster homes although those of us who are members of the national club are under the umbrella of their liability insurance. We do have a foster contract that we use with our foster homes that details what we expect from R&R foster homes.

We pull most of our dogs from Carolina shelters but we have pulled a few dogs from Georgia. We have not limited ourselves to pulling from only the Carolinas but there are plenty of Carolina dogs in need so we don’t have to look too far. Our first concern for all of our dogs is their vet care. We try to immediately get them seen before bringing them into any of our foster homes. A few have been very ill and needed to stay in a vet’s care a few days before they could be neutered or spayed. We aim to have every dog altered, brought up to date on their shots (including a bordatella vaccine), micro-chipped, de-wormed, and heartworm tested before transferring to their foster home. We have in the past treated some heartworm-infected dogs with a low infestation due to the kindness of a vet willing to give us a break on pricing for the procedure. R&R has been able to pay for the majority of the vet care from the rescue bank account and has been able to reimburse the foster mom as soon as possible. We normally use the first week of having a foster in our care to get to know the dog better. After that time we post the foster on our website (www.carolinasrescue.com (http://www.carolinasrescue.com/)) and Petfinder (www.petfinder.com (http://www.petfinder.com/)). A few are posted on ACDRA’s website (www.acdra.org (http://www.acdra.org/)) as a courtesy. We work hard on making their listings accurate but eye-catching. We write our bios from the dog’s point of view as this has proven effective in drawing a potential adopter into the dog’s story. We take pictures outside in good lighting. We attempt to take three specific pictures: one straight-on head shot, one full-body profile shot, and a third photo that displays something of the dog’s personality. It’s very important that these pictures be in focus and close-up. This often proves difficult with the wild energies of some of the foster dogs and is often made easier with a second person on hand to help. Each foster home checks in with the rescue on a weekly basis so we know how the dog is doing with its training, socialization, and any medical or behavior issues. We ask for pictures often since the pictures are what keep us going on the rough days. Being reminded of the ones we can and have saved goes a long way towards morale boosting. The foster homes are asked to work on crate training, basic obedience, and housebreaking. Typically a foster is in our care for one to three months.

A new support program began in March called the Foster Angel Program. Foster Angels are people who have committed to donate $35 a month towards the care of a particular foster until the dog is adopted. The foster homes receive this donation to help cover food, heartworm and flea preventative and other supplies needed for the sponsored dog. This description of our foster program doesn’t begin to cover all the emotional support our whole rescue offers our foster homes. We share in each other’s triumphs and heartaches and have become an extension of our own families.

When that happy Going Home Day comes for one of our foster dogs, a certain adoption process is followed. We actually have the process written up for ourselves as a guideline and that guideline serves as an easy explanation for inquiring adopters. We use an adoption questionnaire which helps us learn about the adopter. We have one member call the three references given on the questionnaire and report back to the group. We then vote to continue with the process based on the questionnaire. We do a home visit using an R&R member or someone we trust, using our Home Visit Checklist. We do try to have the potential adopter meet the dog personally and introduce any animals already in residence at the home. After the home visit another vote is taken and the home is either approved or denied on majority vote. An adoption contract is signed and the adopter pays the adoption fee before receiving the dog. We send the dogs to their new homes with a Going Home bag, which is a goody bag filled with their vet records, treats, a special toy (usually a Jake’s Tug), and a USbones.com sample (they donate them to our rescue). We check in with the new homes after the first day, the first week and the first month to see how the dogs are settling in. We continue to check in with the adopters on a regular basis. We encourage our adopters to stay in touch, send pictures and consult with us on any issues that may come up. We invite them to join us for fun days and are overjoyed when we get to hug those furry necks again.

R&R is often contacted by people who have an ACD and need training help and we turn to those in our rescue with the most training experience – Ellen, Janet, Karen Hoxie, and Vicky Chance. The desperate owners are normally at their wit’s end and are ready to give the dog away to someone else or to a shelter. We try to help them with those issues and encourage them to work through them. Many of the frazzled owners are first-time cattle dog owners and are not familiar with the breed at all. We offer this help freely if it’ll keep one more cattle dog out of a shelter or will keep the dog from being abandoned. It’s worth our time to help these folks and ultimately help the cattle dog in that home become a well-behaved member of the family. We also receive e-mails from folks who have found a stray ACD and don’t want to turn the dog into a shelter. Many of these dogs are cattle dog mixes and we offer to list them as a courtesy on Petfinder in order to help them get a wider adopter base. If we do not have space at the moment but would be willing to take the dog when we have a foster opening, we ask them to keep the dogs as long as they can until we have an open spot.

Since our beginning in July 2007, we have rescued 18 dogs and found homes for 11 of those. The number seems small compared to some of the larger rescues but we feel we have found good homes by spending time with the dogs and then matching up the dogs and owners. Our owners are very happy and thank us often for the special ACDs in their lives. We want to encourage others to form rescue groups like R&R. We have been awed and amazed by what we have accomplished in the last nine months when the seven of us put our minds together. None of us could have done this alone. Running a rescue alone can be an overwhelming, time-consuming, dauntless task as well as a financial burden. You are not alone if you want to help ACD rescue. There are others like you who want to help but don’t know what to do. Many areas of the country lack an organized rescue but have caring individuals who are burning out quickly trying to help rescue on his/her own. We are more than happy to share our documents, our experience, and our encouragement to another rescue organization. There is no reason for rescues not to work together and sharing what we can will only help all of our rescue programs.

Carolina ACD Rescue & Rebound Members:

Ellen Beasley

Janet Broome

Vicky Chance

Sara Griggs

Karen Hoxie

Laurie McElroy

Melissa Tooley

R&R websites:

www.carolinasrescue.com (http://www.carolinasrescue.com/)

www.jakestugs.com (http://www.jakestugs.com/)

www.cafepress.com/cacdrr (http://www.cafepress.com/cacdrr)

www.petfinder.com/shelters/NC539.html (http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/NC539.html)

R&R e-mail:

[email protected]

04-13-2008, 11:10 PM
Awesome thread Melissa! Well explained, comprehensive and very helpful to all who might want to do something similar.

Well done to you and all the R&R ladies!!

04-14-2008, 07:07 AM
As usual R&R you all are amazing.