What Rescuers Do
Rescue is not a single process because each dog is different and each situation is different, but below you will find several scenarios and stories to help you understand what tremendous efforts are expended and what loving, dedicated people do to ensure that any Schipperke that needs a forever home finds one.
In many cases, the original owner must surrender his or her beloved pet to rescue due to a major life change of some sort. Often these pets are well-trained, housebroken, and in excellent physical condition although the dog may be somewhat older. If there are qualified applicants waiting and enough information is available to make reasonable assumptions, the transfer to the new home may be immediate, without need for fostering or assessment. These tend to be the easiest transitions for both dog and adoptive home.
But just as often, the right adoptive home is not immediately available. Then the dog is placed in a foster home. Foster homes are volunteers who have experience with Schips. They usually have at least one or two of their own.
This has both advantages and disadvantages as far as the rescue dog is concerned. It can be difficult for a beloved only pet suddenly to be thrust into a multi-dog home. But the upside is that the rescue has an opportunity for much-needed socialization, making it far easier to transition into a new home with strange people, children, and other pets.
While in foster, the rescued Schip will quickly become one of the family. It will learn its place in the pack, which minimizes dominance issues that can arise with only-pets. It will receive whatever medical care it may need. It will also receive love and affection from all the members of the foster family. If needed, the rescue will receive some obedience training, training in basic manners, and carefully assessed to help determine the profile of the ideal adoptive home.
The foster home will provide to any adoptive family written observations of the personality of the dog along with a behavior evaluation and detailed daily schedule. This kind of information make it much easier to transition a dog to a new household.
Following the adoption, the foster home becomes a resource and support system for the new family. If behavioral issues arise, not only as experienced Schip people but also experienced with the individual dog, fosters provide advice and suggestions and often continue to work with the dogs. It is not uncommon for the foster and the adoptive home to become close friends and new adopters are invited to area activities held by and for Schipperke people.
In other situations, one Rescuer will be contacted about a Schipperke in a shelter or a stray or a Schipperke in an all-breed rescue. In such cases a Rescuer will do Bail-out duty, going to the shelter or wherever the rescue Schip may be to pick it up for Transport to a foster home. Often this Rescuer also becomes the foster, but not always.
In such cases, there is little or no information on the Schipperke. The dog may not be in great shape to begin with and is often not neutered or spayed. The first thing that happens is a trip to the veterinarian for evaluation and essential vaccinations such as Rabies.
As soon as health and the foster's finances permit, the dog is spayed/neutered. Other necessary medical issues are addressed as well. It is not uncommon for a volunteer to expend hundreds of dollars to take care of these necessities. As soon as the dog is declared safe, it will be integrated with the rest of the foster family - human, canine, feline, etc.
All too often, these dogs have a multitude of issues - some medical, many behavioral. They have often never had any affection or training or any of the things that make a dog a canine good citizen. These are the tasks these volunteer foster families tackle.
When the dogs have spent the time necessary for the volunteer to deal with as many of the issues as are evident during this period, these dogs, too, will be adopted out - usually to experienced Schipperke homes. Again, the volunteer will remain in touch with the new family to provide information and support as the dog becomes integrated with the family.
More Rescue Volunteers
There's a lot more to rescue than Bail-out, Transport, and Fostering. There are volunteers who coordinate all the paperwork - maintaining files of Adoption Applications, rescue histories, Adoption screening, fund raising, and referrals. Although they receive little of the "glory" or note or pats on the back that those who work directly with the dogs receive, they provide services without which Schipperke Rescue could not function. And to them, those of us in the limelight offer our eternal gratitude.