We have met many people on this Adventure Of A Lifetime. And Nevada was our state #42. We have seen that the world of animal rescue is made up of many different people, each contributing in different ways. Many of us know why shelters are needed and why rescue organizations are needed. But what about breed specific rescues? Why are they needed? And why…if we stress to “Make Rescues The Breed Of Choice©” would we choose a rescue to promote and highlight that concentrates mainly on the German Shepherd Dog breed?
After meeting the wonderful people at Vegas Shepherd Rescue, and learning why they are so very needed in the big picture of animal rescue, you will more than likely know why we drove over seven extra hours round trip to learn more about them.
On the latest Episode Of Stop Hounding Me, meet Ellie Mae, a beautiful senior girl up for adoption along with Shari Dale, Director Of Adoptions, and hardworking and dedicated volunteers, Jennifer Altemueller and Klaus Altemueller.
According to the AKC website, “the first impression of a good German Shepherd Dog is that of a strong, agile, well muscled animal, alert and full of life.”
We asked Vegas Shepherd Rescue if a German Shepherd is right for everyone. The answer is an absolute no. German Shepherds are a special breed and deserve a special home.
The German Shepherd Dog requires plenty of exercise, boundaries and training. Because a German Shepherd is around the same size as a Labrador Retriever, many prospective dog owners believe that they act like a lab. This could not be further from the truth. German Shepherds are bred to be aloof and protective, but are also very loyal and hard working as seen in many professional fields.
Although extremely intelligent and highly trainable, German Shepherds must be given boundaries and be placed in the right home. Because so many people are drawn to German Shepherds because of appearance, they mistakenly rush into getting one from a breeder.
The breeding of German Shepherds has led to severe hip dysplasia and other inherited disorders. Although adorable as a puppy, they quickly grow…and without proper training can become uncontrollable physically to the average family. I know, it can be exhausting and you might lose your patience at some point, but German Shepherds that didn’t undergo proper puppy training may become more of a headache than a joy. Without proper socialization, behavior issues manifest themselves later. It is at this point that their “cute puppy” becomes an out of control teenager that they do not have time to exercise or care for, often ending up in the shelter system and ultimately euthanized. So where does Vegas Shepherd Rescue come in to play? How do they help this intelligent, beautiful breed?
While we were in Nevada, we came upon a harsh reality. Thousands of animals are euthanized in Clark County alone, which is where Las Vegas is located. As we toured the rest of the state, it became very apparent to us we had to go back to Clark County who needed help and social media exposure the most. But who would we choose? Hours of research later, we decided upon Vegas Shepherd Rescue after seeing their website, Facebook page and this video.
Animal rescue is a highly emotional field. And Shari Dale, Director Of Adoptions has seen her share of tragedy and neglect when it comes to this breed she loves so much.
She related to us stories of dogs that were given up as “strays” like Ellie Mae.
She related to us stories of dogs left by owners who moved. She told us of people who did not know how to deal with dogs that had behavioral issues or had been abused, and the extreme effort it took as a rescue organization to save these dogs and to rehabilitate these ones.
This is not an easy job, and it is not a paying job. VSR is proud that everyone who is part of this rescue is not paid and it is all volunteer.
They are also proud of the fact that they carefully and responsibly choose their volunteers.
According to their Value Statement, “honesty, respect and loyalty are qualities that each person involved with Vegas Shepherd Rescue must exhibit and hold dear. Passion for the dogs, giving of oneself and giving back to our community are core values that VSR embraces. To be successful, we must help fight the over population of unwanted dogs, find homes for those that are already unwanted and homeless. Vegas Shepherd Rescue will support the drive to spay and neuter all family pets.”
We could see immediately upon arriving to meet with Shari, Jennifer and Klaus that they loved what they did, and that they were dedicated to saving lives.
We each may think that we would do whatever it took to help an animal. But would we? Would we give of our time, our resources and invest all we had emotionally to help? Shari, Jennifer and Klaus have been doing this for years, and it is easy to burn out. But the joy on their faces when handling Ellie Mae and Stash warmed our hearts. These dogs were safe, and they knew it. Why? Because the love shown here to them was everything. Literally.
According to the VSR website, “Vegas Shepherd Rescue’s mission is to provide lost, unwanted and homeless German Shepherds a safe and loving environment while they rest and recuperate with needed medical treatments and/or training while being rehabilitated to the point where they can be placed in forever homes. We will not settle for mediocrity – not in our members, volunteers, facility or adopters. Our commitment to the highest quality of care for our dogs will not waiver. We will continue to educate and inform the general public and our followers with information to support the breed. Our love and passion for German Shepherd dog drives us to do what is best for our dogs. To treat each dog as if it were a member of our family and act in their best interest.”
If German Shepherds are a special breed, then we certainly know that it takes a special group of people to rescue them. Not only are they saving dogs out of shelters, but they continue to be a resource to their adopters by providing assistance. Oftentimes, the dogs that Vegas Shepherd Rescue take in do not find forever homes fast. But with the diligent work of volunteers like Jennifer, when their forever family is found, they know that they were waiting for a reason. And as Shari explained, the “ugly cries” follow! As they related success stories of placements in forever homes, they told us how they continued to check in on their “investments”. They also work closely with Craig Road Animal Hospital to provide their dogs with the care physically that they need. They could not do what they do without their support.
When you adopt a rescue German Shepherd from Vegas Shepherd Rescue, you know that if you have questions, they will help, whether your questions are health or behavior related. If you have not had a German Shepherd in the past, it is definitely a learning curve, and one that this rescue is happy to teach. Shari explained to us that because German Shepherds are highly emotional, training and correction must be done in a certain way. Exercise is key as they are working dogs, along with the correct nutrition.
Who can help you with your questions if you are ready to adopt?
If you have ever had to go to a specialist doctor, you understand that specific training and experience is necessary to treat some conditions. For breed specific rescues like Vegas Shepherd Rescue, they are the “specialists” who can be a resource not only to potential adopters of rescue German Shepherds, but also to rescues who do not know how to specifically deal with this breed.
It is not the fault of these dogs that they were bred. It is not their fault that the persons who were supposed to take care of them abandoned them or simply gave up on them. Vegas Shepherd Rescue showed us how very important it is to know the kind of dog that is right for you and your family.
Solving the problem of animal homelessness will take us all, each doing a different job. Vegas Shepherd Rescue is literally a lifeline to the abundance of German Shepherds that find themselves on the verge of life or death when they have so much more life and love to give.
These dogs are not given much time generally in the shelter system, and in Clark County, Nevada, there is still a long way to go to stop the euthanizing of this breed and many other animals.
It is our hope that not only will you be moved to get involved by donating, fostering or adopting, but is also our hope that other shelters and organizations in Nevada get involved as well. For us to travel a great distance in this state to meet VSR meant that we saw the need, the immediate need for help here!
For those shelters and rescues we found in Nevada that only had a few animals in their care, could you help out Clark County? And if you are not in Nevada, YOU can still help too! We have included links below for simple ways to help our friends at Vegas Shepherd Rescue.
We thank Shari, Jennifer, Klaus, Ellie Mae and Stash for educating us on our special German Shepherds are. And we know that our special fans will step up to help them continue saving lives.