Akita Rescue Society of America


Breed Rescue Is..

For Tootsie
Beating Cancer
Cancer & Diet
Treating Skin Yeast
Issho's Story
Abandoned Akitas
Aggression & Thyroid
Akitas and Cancer
Akitas in Shelters
Blue Room
Breed Rescue Is..
Diseases & Disorders
Facts About Akitas
Finding a Breeder
Let's Be Honest!
Lost & Found
New Beginnings
Nutritional Sheets
People Doing Rescue
Placing Your Akita
Should You Breed?
Starting a Rescue
This is a Leash
This is a Crate
Treating Demodectic
Visit these Links
Water Hoses & Health
What a Puppy Is
Spirit of the Akita


Breed Rescue Is.....
More than a hundred years ago--in 1868--George Angell, founder of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals started the movement for humane education. His basic ideas taught us that education fostered a sense of responsibility on the part of people to act with compassion. Angell believed that people educated to be kind to animals are more likely to be compassionate to their fellow human beings. His vision was of humane education as a lifestyle that detested all cruelty, exploitation, and needless suffering on the part of animals and humans. So you see the foundation of our present animal welfare movement was inexorably linked to compassion and kindness for both animals and humans. To work well, these two precepts cannot be separated. People with real compassion cannot reserve those feelings for animals and feel nothing for abused and abandoned children.

Rescue is an extension of animal welfare and humane education with a long-term goal of controlling pet overpopulation and ending animal abuse. In a democracy we cannot command responsible breeding and responsible ownership, they are an ethical code of behavior. Yes, they can be taught, but the most successful educational programs in our country began with strong role models.  Rescue volunteers have a unique opportunity to advance the well being of their chosen breed. By acting responsibly, we teach responsibility. When our actions are consistently ethical in all of our dog-related activities we become a role model not just for other rescuers but for breeders as well. Rescue cannot succeed if it separates from the breed it serves. Excuse my use of cliches but you can't build a strong foundation on lies, innuendoes and slander.

Recently I learned that in many countries in Scandinavia and Europe, there is no pet overpopulation problem and most owners prefer not to sterilize their dogs. Can you imagine if we didn't sterilize our dogs in the United States? There would be more dogs than cars on freeways, more cats then kids in sandboxes! Impossible! How?

They plan their breeding programs, females in heat are separated from males, and dogs are part of a family not part of a business. It takes more effort to accomplish but the result is more effective than our current pattern of rescues acting as janitors to clean up after breeders. I offer this fact as an example of yet another reason why breed rescue cannot be ignored but cannot succeed without the participation of breeders. Solutions require unity.

As a now retired voice for rescue based on 19 agonizing years of shelter work, I can stand back and see the problems in a more objective manner. We can all point fingers--it's the most effortless physical activity known to man. It doesn't accomplish anything but it makes us feel as if we’re involved in a positive way. We can all sit here and list what's wrong with the breeders in our breed. Follow that up with a list of irritating faults you see in your rescue colleagues. Now what? You stand alone as a breed rescuer whose sole contribution is saving a few dogs while alienating thousands of potential rescuers. You're not a role model, you're not salvation for those abandoned dogs and now you are part of the problem.

Let's try something different. A great deal has been written to describe the attributes of a responsible breeder but little or nothing has been written to describe the qualifications of a responsible rescuer. First let's look at the basic characteristics of a responsible breeder:

1. A responsible breeder always puts the best interests of the dog above personal ambition,
    ego and profit.

2. Their dogs are well socialized, adequately exercised, fed the best food and live in a clean,
    pest-free, well managed environment.

3. Their dogs interact with people and receive hands-on personal attention every day.

4. Immediate veterinary care is available and preventative veterinary care is always

5. A responsible breeder NEVER has more dogs than he/she can tend without additional
    help from an employee or family member.

6. Responsible breeders grab every opportunity to educate; they are diligent in screening
    puppy buyers, and will unselfishly mentor anyone to help their breed or an individual dog.

7. They recognize the importance of good sportsmanship and an ethical code of breeding;
    they know their behavior reflects on everyone in their breed. They are honest
    and constantly pursue excellence in health and temperament.

Go over the list again but this time replace the word "breeder" with "rescuer." We must meet the same high standard we demand from breeders if we are to be role models for the future.

1. A responsible rescuer always puts the best interests of all Akitas above personal ambition,
   ego and profit. Rescue is not a road to fame and there is no glory to be gained by standing
   on the backs of abandoned Akitas. Your decision to rescue does not make you better than
   anyone else.

2. A responsible rescuer makes certain their dogs are well socialized, adequately exercised,
   fed the best food and live in a clean, pest-free, well managed environment. Unlike breeders
   who know their dogs you have a constantly changing group of young and older adult dogs
   whose past experiences may cause erratic or dangerous behavior. The reputation of your
   breed depends on your ability to evaluate the dog and assess the potential home.

3. Responsible rescuers know the importance of each dog's daily interaction with people.
   Without daily hands-on personal attention it's not possible to properly evaluate a rescued
   dog. Many abandoned dogs are untrained. That's easy to fix when you spend time with
   them. The act of training provides an excellent opportunity for evaluation.

4. Dogs from shelters very often are victims of neglect, rarely receiving adequate veterinary
   care. Your job is not simple maintenance; often it's complete physical rehabilitation. Spay
   and neuter of each dog must be done before a dog leaves your hands. It can never be
   entrusted to a new owner.

5. A responsible rescuer NEVER has more dogs than he/she can tend without additional help
   from an employee or family member. Responsible rescuers understand that not all dogs can
   be saved. People, who function as collectors, merely hold Akitas ransom to use as
   icons for fund raising. There are some things that are worse than death! Living in a
   crowded, substandard environment, existing on poor quality or generic dog food minus
   any cookies or treats is not humane treatment. Living without human companionship is
   no different than a puppy mill environment. Rescuers are by virtue of their title,
   people who improve upon the conditions these dogs have known.

6. Responsible rescuers grab every opportunity to educate; they are diligent in screening
   potential homes, and will unselfishly mentor anyone to help their breed or an individual
   dog. Their goal is not to alienate but to unify because unity as a breed, and/or a club
   is the only way to save Akitas.

7. Responsible rescuers recognize the importance of ethical behavior behind the scenes
   and in the public eye. They know their conduct reflects on everyone in their breed.
   They are honest, open, and constantly pursue excellence in education and placement.

As you can see there are important similarities between breeders and rescuers--they have a lot in common, primarily a love for the same breed. To work against each other is absurd when you consider how much more can be accomplished if they work together. Breeders are not the enemy and not all rescuers are heroes. So please folks, let's get off our high horses, pedestals, or whatever name you customarily give to people who hold themselves in higher esteem than their peers. The enemy is ignorance and Akita fanciers can only succeed in conquering the enemy if we work with each other instead of at opposite ends.

© 1999 Barbara Bouyet