RESCUE doesn’t mean we solve your problems

Imagine this: you are sitting on your couch one evening and your family says, hey, let’s go for a ride. Its one of your favorite things, so you run to the car and sit down, excited all the while. You stop and get out of the car. Your family ties you to a fence with food and water. You sit, tied to this fence all night long for 8-12 hours until a very nice person drives up, sees you tied to the fence, and unties you, giving you hugs all the way into an office where you end up in a cage, not a couch.

How confused and upset would you be? Pretty messed up, hysterical and crying? Some human did this to a 10+ yro Pug at the Ranch recently. The dog, as many of you know, passed away in the arms of one of the Ranch’s adoption specialists who was kinder to poor little Buttercup than her family.

People ask me how I can participate in dog rescue. Because its not the DOGS that are sad, its the PEOPLE. We are the problem.

Do people know what a dog RESCUE is? Rescue = to save someone or something from harm. Not that the Ranch has some responsibility to correct your mistake. This is coming into clear focus for me because lately, I’m being contacted a couple of times a week by people wanting to know how a dog or puppy can be turned into Big Dog Ranch Rescue and how I can *guarantee* that their dog – the one they want to discard –  will end up at the RESCUE. While its ever-so-kind of you to want to make sure that the puppy or dog to whom you made a lifetime commitment but has become less of a priority to you nonetheless, you want said dog in a no-kill shelter, guess what?  You’ve no entitlement to a spot for that dog you brought into your home. There’s not always room at the inn. BDRR is constantly – anyone who is my Facebook friend knows this to be true – looking for foster families and ways to get dogs off campus. Why? Because BDRR is full up. Full up with dogs that need a home and two nourishing meals to day. Dogs that need a place to safely nurse and take care of their puppies. Dogs that have been abused, burned and starved. Dogs that humans have given up on.

So to those of you wanting to know how to turn in your dog to BDRR, go to the website. First of all, I don’t do intake and I have no authority whatsoever at Big Dog. I am a volunteer who walks with and helps train dogs. The dogs that the Ranch has saved from harm. The dogs that were homeless on the street, the dogs that were bait for fighting dogs or were themselves fighting dogs. Female dogs who have been overbred and inbred to the point of cancer. Dogs who perhaps have never had a roof over their heads or daily meals.

Not a dog that you bought from a breeder for $1500 because ___________ (you fill in the reason) and you now are realizing is a 10-15 year commitment that you are not equipped to handle. Perhaps you had a bad day and can’t see that dog who is annoying you by jumping on you, that you want to discard, just wants to give you kisses and is happy to see you. Maybe the puppy that pee’d on the floor was sending you signals to go outside and you weren’t paying attention, so got mad at the puppy.  Maybe you thought the 12 week old puppy you adopted at Christmas would housebreak itself.  These are not reasons to turn a dog over to a shelter. There are always alternatives. Take your dog to a puppy class, hire a trainer or behaviorist to evaluate your home, get some training yourself to be a better pet owner.  Want to turn your dog into BDRR? Check out the surrender information ( and make sure that you have gone through all of the steps first. There are always better answers than taking the dog off your couch and putting him or her in a concrete jungle. BDRR has terrific facilities, but its not home.

There are a large number of animals who are homeless. For many animals, this is due to overpopulation: people do not reliably spay or neuter their animals.   A homeless animal is sleeping on the streets or in a field, regardless of the weather. A homeless animal is scrounging for food, in trash cans or in the fields. A homeless dog is likely knocked up litter after litter until she dies. That is often a homeless animal’s birth control: death. When they live, the mother struggles to produce enough milk for her puppies and eventually tries to teach the puppies how to scrounge for food.

Its not that rescues aren’t interested in saving your dog that you screwed up by refusing to spend enough time with it, and of course, no one wants your dog to end up on the streets. However, you have no entitlement to have your dog placed at BDRR. Please don’t put the burden on the rescue of deciding between your suddenly inconvenient dog and the homeless dog. And for goodness sake’s, don’t be that coward who ties their dog up to the Ranch’s fence after hours. Please think twice, and even a third time, before you adopt. Try fostering first if you aren’t sure. BDRR can use the help and pays for many of the dog’s expenses.

Whatever you do, do not believe that your animal is entitled to place at the Ranch. Do not believe that there is always an open spot.  While I’m at it, the Ranch doesn’t board your dog while you go on vacation either. We don’t take your dog in and train it until it pleases you. The Big Dog website is comprehensive, please look at it.

Above all, please do not call me to get your dog into BDRR because I can’t help you. One of the reasons? I’ve loved dogs at the Ranch who have gotten sick and died before finding their forever home. So please do the responsible thing and keep your dog, spend that extra half an hour a day training your dog. Its really the right thing to do.


This is Jezebel.  We adopted her from BDRR as a puppy.

Her mother, Precious, was picked up off the street pregnant and

delivered her puppies at the Ranch.  Safely.


This is Stanley.  We adopted him as an adult.

He came from a high kill shelter in GA where he would have died.

2014 04 19 BDRR 256a

This was Tag.  He was dropped at a horse farm by a human,

emaciated and full of sores.  He got to BDRR where

he lived for almost two years before he died of cancer 07/05/14.

He never found his forever home.  I miss you buddy.