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Genna's story: The love of a rescue

January 7, 2009 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode
My friend Paul recently asked me about breed-specific rescues for a friend of his who is looking to adopt a Golden. She has a son and works full time so she would rather not start out with a puppy. That was how I got into adopting all my ‘senior girls’.

If you are not a breeder/designer dog snob like my mom and a couple of my close friends (and I say that with love) and are open to the idea of a rescue dog, you may be in for one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life. There are animal rescues out there for EVERY breed of dog you can think of. They are operated by volunteers who devote much time and love to finding homes for displaced dogs.

I work with several Golden Retriever rescues, and like most rescues, you can pretty much let them know what you’re interested in adopting. (ie, male/female, puppy/young/adult/senior, high energy/ low energy, ones with medical conditions that need special care (if you’re able to provide it), ones that like children/ones that do best in homes without children, ones that eat cats/ones that don't eat cats….) There is a dog out there for you. In fact there is a pet (you name it) out there for you and you don’t have to pay thousands to a breeder. is a great way to start your search and narrow down your selection. Most every humane society/SPCA is registered with the site so once you input your location, all pets found within 'x' radius will be listed for you. 

Granted, it takes a special kinda person to want to take a chance with a rescue dog (pet). I do realize that. You have to be a little more open-minded and prepared for potential issues that may come along with your pet's past (but then again you have to do that with any pet or spouse...).

I’ve had several Goldens now who never learned to play with toys. Keetie was scared to death of a brush. It took me weeks to show her I was not going to harm her. She ended up (after several months of repititious attempts) loving the soothing feeling of being groomed; but , some dogs come with a history and you will never know the abuse they endured. Providing a loving, safe home is sometimes the greatest gift you can give one of these creatures. I promise you that the unconditional love you receive in return will be priceless.

Animal rescues usually charge an adoption fee (depending on pet age) to help cover operational costs (boarding, vet care, shots, spay/neuter).

(left: Chloe): Welcome to Chloe, the new fur-baby addition to my classmate, Tony's family. She's an SPCA girl!

And, here my friend Cheryl's story on how she found her girl, Genna (pictured below with her Christmas beauty makeover!):

"After I lost Sydney, I decided that I wanted to adopt a pound puppy, so I started searching  My first "find" was a little dog up in Williamsport, but when I went to visit her, she was literally "off the wall".   Unfortunately, she was too much of a challenge for me, so I decided to keep looking.  Then I came across Genna and sent an e-mail to inquire about her.  I got a response back that they already had two applications on her and were not accepting any more.  They did note that they had a 3 month old male Havanese puppy, if I was interested in him.  I really wanted a female, but was willing to consider a male, too.  In the meantime, I also found another pound puppy (bearded collie mix - Dixie) that was located in WV.  When I called about Dixie, I found out that she was 3.5 years old and not house broken.  This concerned me a little, because I didn't know if her former owners just didn't try or if there was some medical problem.  Anyway, I was trying to coordinate the two visits when the original rescue group informed me that Genna was available again if I was still interested in her.  The person who wanted her evidently had another female dog who was dominant so the rescue lady wouldn't let her have Genna.  At that point, I came to the conclusion that I was more interested in the Havanese so I worked out a date and time to see her.  The first date/time was Oct 6, but that didn't work out because the lady had Genna down in Charleston, WV and there was no way I could drive 5 hours down and 5 hours back in one day to get her. So we worked it out where she would have Genna come back up to Follansbee, WV with her husband and I would go visit. I went over to Pittsburgh and stayed with a good friend and she went with me on the next morning to visit Genna.  The rest is history....
    I still had to pay quite a bit for her because I guess they had to buy her from the breeder (they are trying to put this person out of business), but only about 1/4 of what I would've paid for her breed under normal circumstances.  But, she is already spayed and has had all her shots, so it really wasn't too bad.
   The name of the group is Friends-4-Life Rescue.  They do rescue other breeds, too - not just Havanese."

Open your heart to a rescue and I promise your return will be ten-fold.

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