Let me just put it right out there. We LOVE Big Dawgs Rescue and the owner and facilitator, Joanne. We have worked successfully with Second Chance who allowed us to bring Mimir and Kodi Bear into our lives and we are forever grateful to them. We honestly thought we’d never love another rescue as much until we answered the call to bring Sunny and her puppies into our home and lives. And we are so grateful for our new friend, Joanne and all the support and time she’s invested in the care of these beautiful animals and in us. It is rare to find a rescue who cares about the dogs AND the fosters AND the new forever families. Investing in the animals AND the people is time-consuming and hard and Joanne does both with grace and ease because she really cares. Sunny and her babies came from another rescue who was going to put her down. She was fostered for a little via another rescue. She lived in a bathtub with her puppies, was pulled around on a leash without choice or encouragement and scared of people beyond belief. This is the Sunny who came to us on January 19th. Sunny was not evaluated by this interim rescue, a rescue who is located in Southern California and who I have not decided if I will name or not. This soCal rescue did not invest much time, attention or love in Sunny other than putting her in a bathtub and feeding her. They did not place her and her puppies with a foster family. That task was completed by Big Dawgs Rescue located here in the Bay Area and we are forever grateful to Joanne for trusting us and allowing us the privilege of this experience.
Today I was copied on an email that shocked me to my VERY core where the rescue in Southern California accused Big Dawgs Rescue and me and my family of killing Sunny over “a few bad habits” and that there was absolutely nothing wrong with Sunny that a little training could fix. Their exact words in the email are:
I have to tell you, I was in shock when you told me you “killed” the Momma…there was ABSOLUTLEY nothing wrong with her….nothing a lil training would/could fix. You should have called us & told us, Diamonds in the Ruff, of your intentions so we could have taken her back, got her the training she needed, so she’d still be alive today. It’s unacceptable that you had her pts over a few bad habits, which is probably the results of neglect & never being loved! I hope you regret your decision & will NEVER do that to an animal, again!
I think my reply says it all:
Regarding Sunny, you are *absolutely incorrect* in saying there was nothing wrong with Sunny that love and time could fix. We did love Sunny, very much, and this was not a casual decision on anyone’s part. When Sunny came to us she was dragged from her crate, dragged into our home by the person who transported her and the puppies and was scared and completely in shock. It took a few weeks for Sunny to realize she was not going to be harmed and that’s when the behavior began and we immediately started reaching out to experts to begin training her. We had Sunny evaluated by the Humane Society, our vet (editor’s note: this is our friend who is a vet and a big dog rehabilitation expert), and two private rehabilitation facilities at our own expense after she:
1. began habitually climbing up and pooping on our kitchen counters
2. chewing through gates installed into the kitchen door (not one of those little wood baby gates but a physical gated door screwed into both sides of the kitchen doorway)
3. explosive diarrhea throughout the living room, exposing her puppies and our pets to giardia (everyone is being successfully treated) and
4. displaying aggressive behavior towards our other pets and her own puppies.
We were advised by *everyone* we talked that Sunny’s “bar” if you will was so low that for her, bad behavior was handled with severe and harsh consequences. Training her to a “no” or other normal dog corrective behaviors was not something they could see happening without years and years of rehabilitation if ever. And without the ability to set boundaries, Sunny would more than likely hurt our other pets or even us as she got more comfortable and secure and realized that we were not going to beat or neglect her. We provided all this information to Joanne and even when we took her to animal services, had them test her ONE LAST TIME to ensure we had covered every option.
From the moment Sunny arrived it was our intention to adopt her, love her and invest the time and thousands of dollars into her rehab. However, when we were told by FOUR INDEPENDENT EXPERTS that she was not a candidate for rehabilitation and that the pattern of destructiveness and aggression would escalate we had NO OPTION but to put her down on FOUR INDEPENDENT EXPERTS’ OPINIONS, a decision that was hard and heart-wrenching and absolutely the right thing to do. The fact that you would even imply that we casually tossed this dog aside and had her put down over a few bad habits without even asking for all the facts is insulting and wrong.
So I guess the only thing left to say is why didn’t YOU step up and spend the time, love, energy and attention that my family and Joanne invested in this dog and her puppies? Right. I guess it is SO much easier to judge when you have invested NOTHING in the process.
I expect an immediate apology to me and to Joanne. Big Dawgs Rescue has been phenomenal to work with, amazingly supportive with us and have helped us every step of the way with all nine dogs. We have worked with other rescues in the past and absolutely trust Joanne and know she has both the dogs and the people in mind with every decision she makes. Joanne did not make the call to put down this dog; we did based on the facts we had and asked her to support us in this decision as in every way but PAPER, Sunny was ours in our hearts, minds and spirits. We are devastated by our loss and plan to honor her and her memory by loving our two babies she provided and keeping in touch with our foster babies who are being placed in amazing, forever homes. This is a SUCCESS story – eight lives were saved by Big Dawgs Rescue and by me and my family and for you to trash that and our hardship and heartache with your self-righteous, uninformed IGNORANCE is disgusting. Shame on you.
I’m hesitant to “out” this other rescue online as they are trying to help animals find forever homes and that should be commended. However, I am torn because these people are either being given bad information from the lady who transported Sunny (the one who put her in a bathtub, did not evaluate her and dragged her around by leash) or are making carte blanche assumptions out of ignorance and a misguided sense of self-righteousness. All that aside, and this one email aside, we feel this entire experience was, overall, a positive one. We saved EIGHT wonderful, amazing lives and these puppies are AMAZING! And on a happier note, Bella and Bongo, the puppy formerly known as Butch) have found their FOREVER HOMES with wonderful families whom we like and whom the puppies love. The G-8 are slowly making their way out into the world and we will forever remember and love Sunny for providing us with these incredible lives. We feel so honored and privileged that we were their foster people and hope we can hang out on the periphery, keep in touch with the families and see our baby angels grow. And maybe we can even host the occasional G-8 reunion, from time to time.
For more information on Joanne’s amazing work and Big Dawgs Rescue, click here or click on the Big Dawgs Rescue image above!