Fortunately, there are not very many dogs in Samoyed rescue nationally at any one time. The overall knowledge of rescue organizations has made it difficult to find a 'rescue' and there simply are no 'rescue puppies.' We are not a popular "puppymill" breed. In fact, someone checking auctions for several years never saw a Samoyed.
That is good news for our breed.
On the negative side, since the top flight hobby breeders only produce 2% of dogs, down from 5-6% a decade ago, there is a secondary market of pet breeders and these are the dogs that may end up in rescue. They are not backed by contracts, they do not have the background of clearances and health, and while samoyeds are considered a healthy breed, these are the dogs that get dropped off because of challenges in training, basically just run away, or have health issues such as diabetes, hip dysplasia, heart problems, are blind, or any of the other issues that happen to Samoyeds.
These sorts of breeders are not that hard to identify. Just ask to see a sample contract....if it doesn't guarantee a list of health concerns and require the dog to come back to them....you're looking at an unethical breeder.
There are many devoted Samoyed breeders, and we are a close-knit community that take great care in placing puppies. The Samoyed Club of America's Code of Ethics recommends breeders be particularly concerned with placement, and most good breeders take lifetime responsibility for any dogs of their breeding. The most reputable breeders, tend to be those who breed only for themselves, have few litters, and take great responsibility for the puppies they breed so lovingly.
Hobby breeders DO NOT contribute to overpopulation. ALL our contracts require the dogs to come back to US. End of Story. Of the many reasons dogs are surrendered, life circumstances and training issues are at the top. See Winograd's book: Redemption: :the Myth of Overpopulation.
We CAN find homes for all the adoptable animals in this country. We just have some work to do.
You can help! Consider adoption of a rescue, or fostering.
When inquiring about a rescue, you will be asked to fill out an adoption questionnaire. Then usually you'll be put on a waiting list and contacted when a suitable Samoyed becomes available. Fortunately for our breed the wait can be very long, but gets better if you are willing to take on an older dog or one with special health challenges. This page will give you an overall look at rescue, and is followed by links to some rescue organizations.
About Dog Rescue...
Dog rescues exist to see that dogs whose first homes did not work out, but which could be healthy and happy pets, get a second chance. Most rescues are operated by volunteers who specialize in one or two breeds with which they have years of experience. Each rescue operation is different. Some are connected with a national breed club, some are large organizations with many members; most are individual or foster families who work out of their homes to save as many dogs as possible in their own areas.
Where do rescue's come from?
1) One type of rescue worker operates as a guardian for their breed, keeping an eye on local animal shelters and they try to "bail out" dogs of their breed whenever they show up.
2) Other dogs come directly to rescue from owners who are unable to keep them. Some are found abandoned.
3) Another type of rescue worker is called a shelter walker or pound walker. These folks identify purebred dogs in their local shelters and try to contact each breed's rescue organization to get them out.
A brief insight into dog pounds: Many are designed to keep dogs off the streets and kill after 5 days. These operations are not designed for the dogs, but to keep streets free of roaming animals. Humane Societies are businesses that prefer young, adoptable animals. Older animals may be killed due to age alone, not because they cannot make great companions. Neither of these organizations typically work at retraining, so they will typically just kill a dog with a very adjustable behavior simply they are not tasked to do that.
The Humane Society of the United States does not have a shelter; nor are
they overseeing shelters. Neither are they a government agency. The money given
to them does not go to animals. PLEASE donate to your local shelter, NOT THE
At Hawkwind, we volunteer support for rescue, usually, in the form of transportation and grooming. Many of our friends are devoted rescue workers and we will do everything we can to make connections for you.
We will always remember one rescue who we kept here to groom. Poor Petunia
had never been bathed, and had pottied into her coat her whole life. Her courage
as we tried combing out the old coat was a tremendous credit to this amazing
breed. She went on to a great home.
Rarely, there are breeder's dogs available; perhaps an older puppy or yearling that did not grow into it's potential or a retired show dog. Breeder's have separate lists for that sort of connection because it is in our Code of Ethics for breeders to take care of any dog they bring into the world. They typically do not go through the standard rescue organization which is devoted to homeless Samoyeds. Money donated to rescue is not used to help breeders in any way other than expenses for rescue dogs.
Breeders do not use rescue to re-home their own dogs. Breeders that let their dogs go into rescue are looked down upon by the general community of both breeders and rescue as having failed the breed we love.
(If considering another kennel, you may ask us. We can share if it's a
kennel we know that let's dogs go into rescue and do not care for our breed
beyond the sale of the dog. DO NOT SUPPORT BAD BREEDERS!)
The rescue side has it's own organizational structure and most work together to help find the right Samoyed for you. They have their own private email lists to track dogs and issues related to them.
About the Rescue dogs...
New rescue dogs are evaluated for health, temperament, training, and other things that might affect their ability to be successful pets. They sometimes are underweight and badly in need of grooming--long-haired breeds frequently must be shaved to the skin to remove mats, but every attempt is made not to do that. Sometimes the dog has been abused or neglected and is nervous and frightened. He must learn to trust people before he is ready to find a successful home.
They are usually assessed for their ability to handle children, other dogs, and cats. They're given necessary vet care and shots and washed and groomed. Heartworm and spay/neutering is common. A few can be adopted out immediately, but more commonly they stay with the rescuer or in another foster home for anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Why do rescues require spaying/neutering?
Neutered dogs make good pets because they're less likely to roam and several types of behavior problems are less common. There are significant disadvantages to neutering when weighed against the health benefits. The difference is when they are neutered.
Neutering dogs young creates problems in their growth plates, which do not close properly. So there is a tendency to orthopedic problems and hip dyplasia. Girls spayed young often exhibit more aggression. It is analogous to taking the organs from a 12 year old girl; they grow up differently without them.
There are significant increases in these
disorders with early spay/neuter:
Transitional cell carsinoma
Prostatic adenocarcinoma (in males)
Cruxiate ligament injuries
Urinary incontinence (in females)
For more information, go to the
Society for Theriogenology website.
But in later life spaying and neutering does have advantages. We promote neutering over 18 months of age when the dog is fully grown. Full growth can be determined by xray of the growth plates by your veterinarian.
For more information, such as the increased rates of cancer from neutering, etc., go to the Long Term Health Effects of Spay/Neuter:
Rescued dogs in particular should not be bred. No responsible breeder uses a dog
of unknown ancestry. Rescuers see every day the misery that comes from
irresponsible breeding...from placement in bad homes to genetic problems to
temperament difficulties. While overpopulation is a myth, many shelters still do
more euthanization than we would want to see as a society. Winograd's
Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation is a movement in the shelter
community geared at No Kill. As a society we have enough homes for pets, just
not the way to make it happen. So nation-wide dogs are being moved from shelters
with higher populations to those places with higher demand. You'll hear more of
this in coming years. But rescued dogs should never be used to contribute to
bringing more dogs into the world. Spaying and neutering makes unplanned
Some rescue dogs are a result of irresponsible breeding by the public in the first place. Companion animals are to be companions. Breeding stock should be left to the people who have spent years and decades researching the bloodlines of the breed, working to eliminate the genetic and temperament issues that may have surfaced. This takes a dedication far beyond most companion-owners capabilities or interests. If you want another dog of similar temperament, we suggest you ask either rescue workers or hobby breeders to help you. (Good hobby breeders have health clearances on all breeding stock and show or work their dogs.)
Why adopt a rescue dog?
You can get a dog at an animal shelter for $50-$200. A purebred pet from a quality breeder might cost $800-$2000, depending on the breed. Why should you pay an adoption fee of $150-$350 for a rescue?
As with a shelter adoption, you're giving a dog a second chance -- a worthwhile and very satisfying thing to do. If your home is flexible and you are experienced with dogs, by all means, taking one from the shelter is a good option. However, unlike the shelter animal, a rescue has been evaluated by people who know the breed and who believe that your adoptee is a suitable pet. Most dogs are evaluated for their compatibility with kids, cats, other dogs. If he or she needs training, you'll be told what is needed and the training most likely has been started. If there are ways this animal is different or if it has special needs, you'll be told up front.
Many people become interested in a breed for its appearance or because it is currently a popular breed. They are often unpleasantly surprised when they discover that living with the breed is not at all what they expected! Rescuers know the breed's characteristics and can advise you on whether you really are a good match. Every breed is right for someone, but no breed is right for everyone.
Most important, rescue makes a real effort to match an adoptee to your household. That means lots of picky questions and possibly even being turned down for a particular dog or breed -- but it also means that when you do adopt, you start with a much better chance of success. Not every dog is suitable for every home. Rescue would not place a very shy dog in a noisy home with children or a large, boisterous dog with a frail person. The rescue dog has already had at least one unsuccessful experience; his next home should be his permanent one.
Because they rarely stay long and aren't watched closely, shelter dogs can
have health problems that will be diagnosed and treated after you adopt. A
rescue dog has usually lived in the home of a knowledgeable dog person for a few
weeks or months before it's adopted. Rescuers with several years of experience
in the breed know the common problems -- they may even know more about specific
breed medical and behavioral problems than most vets, who cannot specialize in
one breed. No one can predict your dog's future or spot every problem, but
rescue is miles ahead of most places you could get a dog.
Your rescue dog will be up to date on all recommended shots, not just the legal minimum. You'll get a shot record and as complete a health record as possible, plus recommendations for future care.
With a shelter dog, you usually get a brief guarantee period. With rescue, a rescue volunteer will usually be there to help with any problems that may crop up ...before things escalate to the point you feel the only choice is to give the dog up. You can call whenever you have a question or problem. And if it turns out that you can't keep the dog, rescue will take him back at any time...whether it's a week or five years from now.
Most of my referrals to behaviorists go to people who have gotten dogs from shelters. That doesn't mean you can't have a good experience, but rescue puts you SO far ahead of the game!
Finally, most people who get or work with rescue dogs believe that these animals know that they've gotten a second chance and try harder than the average dog to fit in. Rescues are often the *best* dogs, no kidding.
About those picky questions...
Different rescue organizations have different requirements for homes. This section is based on our own feelings about the interview process, but we think they're pretty typical.
You may wonder when you talk to a rescuer if it wouldn't be easier to marry his daughter than to adopt a dog though him! Do you have a fenced yard? Have you had dogs before? What happened to them? Do you have children? What ages? Do you rent? Does your lease allow pets? And on, and on ...
Next to having a child, getting a dog is one of the most demanding things most people do and there can be problems when people don't realize how big a commitment it is. Because the commitment is lifelong, a dog should never be adopted on a whim ... you may move on to other interests next year, but you still have a living, feeling animal who needs your love and attention as much as he did the day you brought him home.
Many people who believe they know what a dog needs are remembering a childhood pet who was cared for by mom and dad, and during a time when things were simpler. Most breeds have some specific needs, for example a Samoyed must have a fenced area to run in at least once or twice a week and must never be off leash except in such an area; a protective breed needs an owner with a special commitment to training and responsible handling; and a breed that drools or sheds a lot needs an owner who isn't a fussy housekeeper. The questions help both the rescuer and the adopter recognize possible incompatibility problems before they develop.
And sadly, there are a few people who want dogs for all the wrong reasons--for example, dog fighting or for "baiting" fighting dogs--and those people can be weeded out through a comprehensive interview process. It also weeds out those who want a dog to essentially match their furniture.
Some rescuers even require a home visit. You may feel a bit like a social worker is checking on your children. Don't be offended. These visits are just the last step in assuring that you and the rescuer have covered all the bases. Did you know there was a hole under the fence in the backyard? Have you thought about how your new dog might react to the aggressive
fence-fighter next door?
A fenced yard? Most dogs are taken outside to do their business, but if there's no fence they can often end up lost or hit by a car. Many people think that their dogs, when let out the door, will stay at home, but who can say something more interesting will not attract his attention? -- A cat, another dog or perhaps a squirrel, or a dog thief with tasty treats?
Your best friend can be gone in an instant.
Note: There are rings of people who steal dogs and what can happen after that is not good....so PLEASE consider a microchip or permanent ID for your dog. There are many pleasant stories of a stolen dog returned by a microchip discovered by a vet later. (Sadly, not all animal control checks for these...so don't count on it as the only form of ID...a collar with a cell number gets your pet back FAST!)
Rescue dogs are already 'second chance' dogs; the questions are part of an attempt to get these deserving animals into the best possible and permanent homes. Don't hesitate to ask the reason for a question or to add information. For instance, you may live in an apartment, but near a park where you could take the dog to exercise. Most rescue organizations say they require a fenced yard, but if your last dog died at age 16 and you gave all his walks on a leash every day of his life, speak up!
In most breeds, there are more dogs to rescue than there are rescuers to go around. Successful placements are key to the number of dogs that can be saved. In asking these questions, rescuers are not trying to be difficult; they very much want your home to be one of the success stories. Most are flexible, at least to some extent, and every case is different. Please be patient with the questions and understand that they are only asked to ensure the best for both you and the dog...to spare both of you the heartbreak of an adoption that doesn't work.
More about adoption donations...
So if a rescue dog came from someone who didn't want him, how come you have to pay for him? Aren't you giving a home to a dog no one else wanted? Isn't that enough?
Rescue is expensive. Money for rescue comes from donations for adoptions, the rescuer's own pocket, and sometimes from the national breed club - rescue operations are seldom in the black. Expenses can be overwhelming and dictate the limit on how many dogs can be accepted.
Here are some typical rescuer costs:
For the first month, every rescue dog:
Dog food (premium brand) - $10.00
"Well pet" Vet visit (exam and shots) - $40.00
Heartworm check - $20.00
Heartworm preventive medication - $7.00
Collar, tag and leash - $10.00
Flea treatment and/or preventive - $7.00
Neuter/Spay, no complications - $75.00-$250
(Many vets give a discount to rescuers, so you come ahead in the long run. Spay at a local clinic runs about $650.)
This typical minimum total invested in a rescue is $169.
In addition to the above, many rescued dogs also require:
Food for additional 6 months - $42.00;
Cleaning teeth with spay - $40.00
Crate to transport to new home - $40.00-80.00
Treatment of heartworms - $200.00 - 400.00
Treatment of simple intestinal parasites $20.00
Long distance/internet charges - $10.00
200 mile (round trip) pickup of dog - $40.00
Adoption fee from shelter - $50.00
Other medical problems - $100.00 and up (Urinary, ear and eye infections,
injuries, often neglected ones, arthritis in seniors, tumors/cysts, skin
problems caused by neglect, hard-to-treat intestinal parasites are typical.)
The cost for one of these "special case" dogs can be well over $800.
And then there are the 'nickel and dime' ongoing supplies -- shampoos, toys, treats, vitamins, plus the one-time costs of crates, mats, grooming equipment, fencing, food and water bowls, etc. All of this comes out of the rescuer's pocket up front. Most of it will never be recovered, but if the adoption fees take care of the 'big stuff,' the rescue can continue to rescue as many dogs as their resources will allow!
You can imagine how things go. One dog arrives in good health, housetrained, and with no behavior problems, up to date on vet work (from a good owner who is, perhaps, moving to England) and goes out to someone on a waiting list in less than a week. Maybe she was even dropped off and picked up at your house. There was one Sammie whose owner died prematurely and the non-doggy inheritors dumped this beloved companion. (What provisions do you have in your will for your dogs care?)
Some of these cases have very little expense to the rescuer. But next you get an older dog needing a spay, heartworm treatment, and other medical work. She must be picked up in a
distant city and because she needs confidence building and since older dogs aren't in great demand, she stays a year before being placed. Total donation for both dogs, $300-$400; total costs well over $1000. No rescue will refuse an extra donation if you can afford it
At the SCA national every year there is a quilt raffle, where proceeds go directly to rescue organizations who apply. It's always a highlight of the event! Although you can make direct donations, this and other fund raising events happen throughout the year.
So why do rescuers do it?
For the same reason you want to adopt: They love the dogs. Many rescuers participate in dog shows and are committed to improving the breed overall. It is a way of giving something back to the breeds which have provided so much joy over the years. Still others enjoy working with lots of different dogs, many of whom have special training needs. And there is a unique sense of fulfillment in seeing a frightened, unhappy, and sometimes sick animal come into the program, gradually improve, and finally leave to become a healthy, happy, and beloved member of a very special family.
There is also the satisfaction of saving the lives of the dogs routinely killed by the pounds, or overriding the humane societies focus of the easy to adopt dogs, which form their primary source of income. Rescue goes the extra mile! All rescuers get a lot of satisfaction from helping good dogs and good people find happiness together.
Just one final very somber note: If you ever know of someone who is having trouble with their dog, or an older couple entering a long term care facility who needs help placing their dogs, please send them to rescue. These people know the Humane Societies will not try to place their older dogs. Often people don't want to stress what they already know is an overtaxed group of people. With the best intentions they may think they are helping by placing that 'free to good home' ad in the paper. Instead they get a barrage of frantic rescue agencies. Why? Because rescue know dog baiters are looking for live bait for their fighting dogs from these ads even before the ink dries on the newspaper. The 'adopter' will tell them all the right things, but the dogs will never get to their promised new home. Let rescue agencies use their process to avoid this kind of tragedy. Not all good deeds end up with happy endings.
Help the rescue do what they do best. Remember, there are breed rescues for every AKC breed. Contact the national club for any breed, and please spread the word on what a wonderful option rescue can be and the loving people waiting to help you find a wonderful new friend!
Where can I find a rescue group?
Go to http://www.samoyed.org/SCA/rescue.html for the national connection and a ton of further information.
In the Midwest, Chicago area, go to www.nisasamoyedrescue.org.
In the Milwaukee area or Wisconsin, contact Maria Kirylo at firstname.lastname@example.org. or the Playing Again Sammies website at: http://samoyed-rescue.com//
San Francisco, www.samurgency.com - Really a nice rescue site. Well done.
Did this inspire you to see what YOU can do? Volunteering and fostering can be a wonderful way to contribute to a breed you love. You may want to research foster agencies and see what they need. It can be as little as helping with events or transporting dogs to actually having a dog to work with. Sometimes a spare set of helping hands at the right time is more welcome than monetary contributions. NISA has a list of things they need; including crates, postage stamps, collars, etc. Perhaps you saw something at a garage sale you could donate? There are many ways to help!