Houston Sheltie Rescue (1/1/13)

Group Name: Houston Sheltie Rescue

Group Contact Email: jeanybee925@verizon.net or joansamuelson@suddenlink.net

Group Mailing Address:

Group Phone Number: :281-639-9168 or tel:281-433-1678

Group Website URL: http://www.houstonsheltierescue.org/

Group Facebook Page URL: http://www.houstonsheltierescue.org/

Group Adoption Portal Links: N/A

Year Group Established: 2010

Are you a 501(c)3 or independent rescue?: 501(c)3

How many foster animals does your group have?:  6

How many senior foster animals does your group have?:  2

URLs of Fundraising/Giving sites (Amazon Wish List, IGive, etc) for your rescue group: iGive

Do you get repeat adopters?: Yes

How often do you rescue seniors?: HSR was founded with the Special Needs and Seniors
focus! We rescue from puppy mill raids, shelters, and Hoarder cases

Are you finding it easier, the same or harder to adopt out senior animals now than when you first began in rescue?:


If faced with multiple seniors to rescue, how do you decide who to pull?

We have learned that Senior Shelties are excellent matches for single or mature adults and we “market” our program to this demographic in our city of Houston and it’s surrounding neighborhoods. Because we have a dedicated focus — and a dedicated group of about 16 volunteers and a dozen foster homes available to us — we can spend time to carefully assess and properly care for the seniors and special needs dogs in our program – and look for the best possible matches for them in their forever homes.  We do NOT rush to move them out of the program — we focus on their health and well-being first — then on finding the best home for them. Oftentimes, our foster families cannot part with these special shelties — and that’s ok too!  Then, we just recruit more foster families! 🙂

Multiple seniors?  We would likely try to contact the other nearby Sheltie Rescue groups and ask them to temporarily foster them to help.  OR take them all in any way — and double up.  The seniors aare typically wuiet and easy to care for in multiple dog foster homers. We will quickly work to bring in new foster families — as again, Seniors are relatively easy to place in a foster home — even if they are a new volunteer to our program, we can usually do applications, home visits, and orientation quickly. Our program directors have been active in Rescue since 1997 when we founded the larger Sheltie Rescue Program in Houston – the Houston Sheltie Sanctuary.  But we split off to form this smaller group in mid 2010 — to focus on the kinds of shelties other rescue groups did not want – or had trouble placing – because they simply did NOT want to do the work necessary to place the special needs dogs.  And now – that’s what we do best. 🙂

If you’re senior specific, what made you choose rescuing seniors over younger animals?  If not senior specific, why did you decide to include seniors in your rescue program?

The bond between a senior sheltie and its new forever home is a very special thing.  The seniors we re-home are the most empathetic
and generous dogs!  They seem to know that they have been given an opportunity to care for and love another human — and that they themselves benefit as much as their new human benefits from the love that grows between them. 🙂 There is nothing so rewarding in rescue for us than to see an older sheltie, recover from age-related illnesses, skin conditions, dental issues, malnutrition, etc or just lonliness after their own human has passed away, or after being dumped at a shelter because the owner could not afford to pay for their care anymore…Just to see their lovely eyes bright and wide open with devotion and dedication again. This is the joy of Rescueing Seniors. 🙂

What problems or difficulties have you had adopting out seniors?

Above what I have already said in response to the previous questions… the reason we chose to focus on seniors is because OTHER RESCUE GROUPS DON’T DO IT — they leave them behind in shelters sayingthey don’t hav room in their programs!  In many prgrams, the seniors languish in foster homes month after month – never being presented to potential adopters – because adopters are asking to see the young dogs!  They never have any attention at adoption events and they are treated as if they are the least desirable of the list of “available dogs”.  They end up in their own page on a website — as if they are “handicapped” in some way.  Our choice was to treat them as SPECIAL with endearing qualities for special people who open their hearts and homes to our rescued shelties. It’s all about whether or not your Rescue Program is about the dogs — or its just about the adopters and moving as many dogs in and out as possible dach year! Ours is all about the dogs! And to us — it isn’t a race for the volume of rescues performed – it is about 100% placement in happy forever homes that we strive for in our program.

What sort of prejudices do you find held against senior animals?

We make sure people know when they see us that we specifically focus on seniors and special needs shelties – and that if they want a puppy or a 2 year old perfectly trained female for thir child to play with – then we will send them to one of the larger “general” sheltie rescue groups.  BUT if they are willing to GIVE to a sheltie the love and care that dog deserves — and if they are willing to accept that this sheltie needs their family as much as the family and them — they they are prefect for a sheltie in our Program.  We educate and inform — and teach people how special the seniors really are — and how rewarding it is to rehabilitate an insocialized sheltie from a puppy mill or BYB or Hoarder’s house into a
loving and trusting companion sheltie.

What special expenses have you found needed with seniors that you don’t generally have with younger dogs? (This is generalized and isn’t meant to include medical expenses for more catastrophic illnesses.)

Primarily dental care (because most owners are very miss in this area and shelties need this care badly), very commonly we need
to administer long term arthritis medication & thyroid meds, and sometimes special diets or treatment of allergies and skin conditions.

Have you found something that helps get seniors adopted?

Making sure that we promote ourselves for what we do as often as we can in all public events and socil media and through word-of-mouth as well. Through good relationships with the other rescue groups — we can re3ceive inquiries for oldr doggies from them, while we send
them inquiries for younger dogs that we get from our website, etc. We are also brginning a nw prograam this Fall with local Seniors Housing Communities and Assisted Living Facilities that allow a single small pet in the apartments.  The managment of some of these facilities promote having pets for their tenants and will assist in the care of the pets.  We are considering a “Subsidized Seniors Program” to hopefully be supportd by  Grant program from several local businesses (and Vet Clinics offering discounted services to Seniors!) that have expressed interest.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your rescue group?

We have a number of wonderful specialists that we work with on a regular basis — a Geriatric Veterinary Specialist and a PhD in Animal Behavior have both been especially helpful to us.

Featured Seniors

Shiloh’s Story (slide show below):

Shiloh, a 12 year old from a North Dallas breeder, was dumped at a shelter with severe skin allergies and infections and a testicular tumor.  His allergies were so severe that this boy had chewed entire sections of his coat and skin away across his shoulders and haunches!

But — after just a few moments with him, we could tell this boy was as sweet as could be — and he wanted desperately to feel better. Our Vet Clinic worked so hard to clear his skin infections, with Shiloh wearing brightly colored T-shirts every day to keep him from scratching his skin while it healed. Fortunately, the tumor was benign, so this obstacle too was overcome.

After surgery and after the skin infections were under control, we were finally able to move forward to address the allergies, which turned out to be serious – requiring compounded allergy shots daily for several months, then weekly over another 6 month period.

Shiloh’s foster family, a young couple with a high school-aged daughter, took this 12 year old senior sheltie into their home — and they all fell in love in just a matter of a few days.  They administered medications, allergy shots – and lots of love and pampering every day, helping Shiloh to gain confidence and comfort in his new home. As Shiloh began to feel better, his coat grew back fluffy and soft – just like puppy fur!  And his spirits brightened with every new experience he had with his new family.

From his most recent picture taken last month (Nov 2012) during a family trip, well, you can easily see that he certainly looks happy and healthy these days!

There’s just no substitute for the love and care of a devoted family – and the dedication of our clinic’s vet staff to making Shiloh’s quality of life as good as it possibly could be for such a special senior!

There are those who would question the effort and the cost of what we chose to do for 12 year old Shiloh… To those people…I would send that photo of him taken in November of 2012… and ask them to guess his age! J  I think they would not suspect for one minute that Shiloh is now 13 years old.

(Shhhh… we don’t tell Shiloh how old he is,…. He thinks he’s still a pup, playing with his bumble bee fuzzy toy!)


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