I rarely talk about the reasons why I quit rescue work. It was just too painful. Many years ago I fostered for the only rescue group for my breed. I couldn’t take the constant drama and lies. It was all about power trips and egos. The group was run by a dictator for many years despite having a board of directors. It was not about the dogs as it should have been. I cried for three days after I quit, but it was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. Volunteering should have been a blessing and not a curse. I just couldn’t continue to be associated with a group that was doing unethical things. My last foster dog they wanted me to place intact with a previous adopter from the group despite the fact that it was no problem getting her altered. In fact the shelter was able to do it for me even cheaper than my own vet would do it for. I even had to give up my membership in my local Brittany club due to how I was treated because of my involvement with rescue at the time.
A few years after I had left rescue entirely I was still talking to people that were involved. Eventually, word finally got around about all of the behind the scenes shenanigans with the initial group. A lot of people left and formed a new group. Not long after the new group started I was asked to join. I initially was a state coordinator/foster home as well as the national transport coordinator. At one point I even made it as high as the board of directors. I really enjoyed the transport coordinator role. I was able to set up rides for dogs in the rural areas in the Midwest where we had many more dogs in need than we had adopters available. I was able to get these dogs to fosters and adopters on the east coast.
Initially when the new rescue group was formed we were all allowed to sort of loosely do our own thing under the umbrella of the larger group. I was living and breathing rescue 24/7/365 at this point. It consumed my whole life. I couldn’t stand the thought of any Brittany not getting help. If I could find a foster, temporary foster, adopter, transport to another area, etc. I was on it. I generally had at least one foster dog at my house at all times and at one point I actually was housing six foster dogs for a brief time. My dogs welcomed the new dogs into our home as we got them ready for their new families. I met many wonderful volunteers with other rescue groups as well as great adopters. I had people driving all the way from Maine and even Florida to adopt dogs.
This time rescue work sort of just fizzled out on its own. Several of my foster homes either became unable to foster, moved across the country, or I actually had two folks that helped me out that actually passed away. I was also getting to the point that I was no longer able to foster either due to my own aging dogs with health issues. It was bittersweet. My last foster came from the same shelter as my first foster. I almost kept him. It was the only time in all my years of fostering that I was going to break my rule and become a foster failure, but he ended up with a wonderful home.
Around this time both of the main rescue groups had gone through many changes. Thankfully there seemed to be a good amount of volunteers available to help the dogs in need to foster and get them adopted. Unfortunately, over the years rescue changed from how it first started which was breeders helping stray Brittanys find new homes. When all the animal rights people took over rescue groups they started making all these rules about you couldn’t foster or adopt if you bred or showed dogs or had intact animals in your household. It’s like they drove away the main people that supported them.
It’s really sad because I love my Brittanys and want to support the breed, but I just can’t. There have been cases where they knew who the breeder of the dog was, but refused to return the dog because they didn’t want the dog to be bred or live outside in a kennel. There was an instance of a rescue group adopting out a “trained hunting dog” for thousands of dollars. I know of at least two cases where dogs were adopted by volunteers of the rescue that came in with AKC papers and the dogs were later competed with and/or bred.
I stayed away for many years. When I was in a position to go back I tried to help with transport and also signed up to foster, but I was going to have to go through a home visit which I didn’t feel comfortable with. In this day and age you just don’t know who you can trust to come into your home and if they are going to try to do something because you have intact animals. I wasn’t willing to take the chance. That’s okay sadly there are plenty of other groups in need of help that welcome my assistance.
About six years ago my oldest cat, Karma, passed away. He was almost thirteen. He was my best buddy. Just a really good cat. I hadn’t planned to adopt another cat after he passed, but I happened to see these adorable Siamese kittens on Craigslist. The rest was history and one Siamese kitten became three in that many years. I joined several Siamese Facebook groups. That is where I met one of the transport coordinators for the Siamese Cat Rescue Center. She talked me into signing up to transport for them. . I’ve been doing it for almost three years now and enjoy it very much.
I find transporting cats to be so much easier than dogs. Some day if I’m able to move into a different house where I can have a dedicated area to quarantine new cats I would love to be able to foster for them also. I’ve been able to tour two of the foster homes they have near me and they have wonderful set ups. All the people I’ve met have been just lovely. Totally different than how I was treated previously. The Siamese people are so appreciative and welcoming. People I hardly know are all hugs when you meet them on a transport. If your trip runs over when you are stuck in traffic for two hours due to a wreck on the Interstate I had one let me pop in her house for a rest break and offered to make me dinner and plied me with cheesecake and a drink. Just a completely different atmosphere. I really enjoying being able to volunteer for this group.