Why being rescued is only the first step

Why being rescued is only the first step
Foya, rescued from NY ACC in February 2011, has been in boarding for a year.

Many will beg and plead all hours of the day on Facebook pages like Urgent PART 2 - which lists dogs in urgent need of adoption or rescue at New York Animal Care and Control - for someone to save those lost souls stuck in cages and waiting for just one person to realize that they are worth saving before it's too late. However, once pooches are rescued, they're often forgotten.

But being rescued is only the first step...

To understand what happens with a dog after a small rescue saves his life, one must know that these small rescues are regular people, they work regular jobs, and they have families of which to take care; and on the side, they save lives, oftentimes hundreds of them a year. They don't have fancy facilities where these dogs can live happily and without a care in the world until an adopter comes along.

In reality, one of three things happens when a dog is rescued and there's no adopter lined up: he goes straight to the rescue's vet's office, he moves in to a foster home, or he goes to a boarding facility.

Many dogs simply cannot move into their foster homes until their kennel cough - a highly contagious upper respitory infection that is all too common at municipal pounds - clears up, others leave the shelter with more serious issues, ranging from an injury to potentially cancerous growths. Some spend up to two or three months at a vet's office before they can leave. All their veterinary bills are covered by rescues.

When a dog can move into a foster home, whether it's straight from the shelter or from the veterinary hospital, he will typically spend at least a couple of months there, but dogs that need to be fostered for over a year, aren't uncommon either. During this time, either the rescue or the foster parent(s) - depending on their agreement - covers the costs of his everyday well-being, from food and wee wee pads to leashes, dog beds, or toys.

In the least optimal case, a dog has to go into boarding. His life is saved, but in an average boarding facility, only his basic needs are met: he is fed, and he leaves his cage for short walks a few times a day, but he has very little human contact. Not only does one dog's boarding cost a rescue approximately $300 a month, with a generous discount, if he is stuck there for too long - for several months to up to over a year, - there's a good chance that he will quickly deteriorate, both mentally and emotionally.

Rescue dogs need to get out of boarding and into foster homes. Dogs in foster homes need to be adopted. Small rescues simply cannot take in any more pups until the ones already in their care, find their "forever families." While the amount of pooches that need to be saved from kill-shelters is overwhelming, so is the number of those already rescued, but still waiting for the right humans to come along for them.