May 11, 2018

As a busy veterinary clinic, we have contact daily with rescue organizations and rescue dogs and cats. We try to support as many as we can. We understand they have limited resources and a difficult job to do. I have taken in rescue dogs myself, primarily from Corgi rescue. At one point, my daughter was volunteering at a local humane society. A dog came in from the south, as most do in the Midwest, with heartworm disease. She was 11, and didn’t get along well with other dogs. And at the time, the medication for treating heartworm was unavailable to the humane society. But we had some in our inventory. I called the shelter and offered to take her in as a foster, treat her for heartworm, and let her find a forever, albeit, short-lived home.

As they were interviewing me to take her, they discovered I had intact dogs, and worse yet, breeding dogs. You would have thought I was a pregnant woman who came into the shelter drunk and chain-smoking, with a raft of little kids dancing on the seats of the mini-van, unrestrained. There was no way they would let me help her with her medical condition.

Bringing us to the present. On more than one occasion, we have had clients with intact male and female dogs who have offered to adopt (aka buy) a rescue dog. They may be intact for a variety of reasons. One was a family who have been clients at our practice for 35 years. This family was responsible, had raised their children successfully, had wonderful grandchildren and were active in the community. Over the years, they provided outstanding veterinary care to their dogs. At the time of the attempted adoption, they had an intact male hunting dog in their home. Even though they were getting a dog through rescue who was going to be spayed, they were denied the opportunity to take in a rescue dog because their other dog was not neutered.

Now I understand that rescue organizations want to find great homes for the dogs they have to place. But this was a great family home. I was willing to put my reputation on the line for this family.

Can rescue really afford to be that fussy about their homes? And who are they to classify a dog owner as

“irresponsible” for keeping an intact dog in their home? With a track record of never having a dog fight or accidental breeding?

Again I want to be clear that I understand rescue and their mission. And we are willing to do all we can to assist them.

For those of you with intact dogs, whether they are intact because you breed, or because your dog is young, or because you believe the new literature (as I do) that indicates better health and greater longevity when our dogs are allowed to keep their hormones. Please speak up and help rescue groups understand that intact is not the equivalent of irresponsible. They need all the help they can get to find great homes for pets in need.