Just picking up your newspaper, turning on your television, or plugging into the Internet, you will find news reports about another Rottweiler accused of attacking, biting, and/or killing a person or another animal. Even though other breeds can do the same harm, Rottweilers are at the top of the list, right next to the Pit Bull. The media portrays Rottweilers as being menacing, vicious, dangerous, and aggressive dogs. The reporting is completely biased as they do not report on the smaller breeds like Chihuahuas and Terriers that also bite. Other large breeds like Labs and Retrievers that have also maimed or killed. Dogs like German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers that are used as service dogs, have unexpectedly turned on their owners. All dogs have the potential to be dangerous. Irresponsible breeding, lack of socialization, no professional training, as well as neglect and outright abuse play a big part in all dog breeds becoming a threat to those around it. When these “bad” dogs are no longer wanted or useful, they are dropped off at shelters or taken for a drive to the country where they are left to fend for themselves. These are the stories that don’t sell or attract viewers and for the media, the money is all that seems to matters.
When these “bad” Rottweilers are discarded to the streets, or in back alleys left to die, or abandoned at the local animal shelters, Rottweiler rescue groups try to step in and save as many dogs as they can physically and financially handle. These groups don’t call around in an effort to find more dogs. Instead places like animal shelters, humane societies, dog impounds, and animal control facilities are calling and reaching out to the Rescue groups as one last effort to save as many dogs as possible from being put down. Rescues are not running any type of shelter where they can house many of the dogs they get called on. On the contrary, they are usually unpaid volunteers who lend their own time, home, and money to help these dogs. Some dogs arrive with bullet holes in their body and yet they somehow survived. Some are so malnourished that their skin literally hangs on their bones. Some are so badly abused and beaten that they can’t tell if it is a Rottweiler or not.
The Rottweiler is a calm breed, not like those seen in the media due to bad owner’s treatment of their dogs. They are playful, intelligent, loyal, and protective dogs. Breed-specific legislation is in place because of what too many bad owners have done to these gentle giants. They use them in dog fights. Gangs use them to protect their territories. Drug users use them to protect their drugs. The list could go on. These bad owners are making it difficult for the true heart of the Rottweiler to be seen and loved. They don’t realize that these dogs do not need to be beaten to make them obey. It is in their bloodlines to be loyal and obedient to their family. Instead these owners will abuse them in order to make them even more aggressive. This goes against the breed standards. These are the dogs who then get discarded.
While many of these Rottweilers are abandoned to the streets to live on their own, some of these dogs are given up by their once thought to be “forever home.” Whether purchased through a newspaper, in a pet store, on the Internet, or through a reputable breeder, there are people who still love what the Rottweiler stands for and it’s majestic beauty. Unfortunately most people like the look of the breed, but they don’t take the time to really research what the breed specifics are. Because of their size, Rottweilers have several medical issues that could affect them. The most well-known being hip/joint dysplasia. It is a debilitating disease of the hips and joints and can cost thousands for a surgery to correct, and even then there is no guarantee. They are also prone to different types of cancer that again can cost thousands. ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), is an injury where the dog tears the ligament that holds the knee in place. Again, thousands of dollars to pay for a surgery that may or may not help the dog heal.
Good dog owners get overwhelmed by the medical costs that can arise out of nowhere. Your dog suddenly becomes sick or hurt, you take him to the vet, and you are told there are treatments but they cost a lot of money and it may help or it may not. You may have an absolutely healthy dog who becomes injured, but you haven’t put away any money for the “what if’s” down the road. You are faced with some really tough decisions. Do you do the surgery that costs thousands of dollars for a maybe or do you let your dog go to the Rainbow Bridge where you know it will be completely healed, healthy, and happy. In a last ditch effort to save my dog, I found myself in a position of wanting to call a local Rottweiler rescue group.
I was treated quite rudely by this particular volunteer who decided that I needed to be taught a lesson in dog ownership. As if that wasn’t enough of a punishment, I made an even bigger mistake of stepping on a hornet’s nest. I have been a part of a website dedicated to Rottweilers since purchasing my girl. I wrote to them about my experience with the rescuer who had treated me so disrespectfully. I knew that some of them would ridicule me, but I never imagined they would turn on me as they did. After being called just about every name in the book, I was cast out of the membership program. They believed I was writing this fake story in order to fan the flames of the fire I had unknowingly started. Whether I wanted it or not, these dedicated rescuers gave me an education into what their daily lives are like while working to rescue as many Rottweilers as they possibly can.
Rottweiler rescue groups are all over the United States doing what they can to keep the breed healthy, protected, and above all, loved. While they showed me the other side of their passion, it is clear how much the Rottweiler breed means to these people. I received over 100 posts in 9 pages to my first article. My intent was to ask these volunteers to be respectful to callers who are looking for that one last shot of keeping their dog alive or adopted to another loving home. Rottweiler rescues do not want your dog. They want you to be the responsible dog owner and take care of your own pet. They want to take in the dogs that are strays, stranded, or scheduled to be put down by a pound. There just aren’t enough volunteer foster homes for this breed so they can’t take every dog in.
There is no question that rescuers love the breed and the dogs themselves. It is an insult to them when a dog owner calls them and whines about why they can’t keep their dog; Their owners have died and they need to be re-homed. They need a new home because someone in the house is allergic to dogs. The dog won’t behave. They’re bigger than they expected. They need an expensive surgery. The list could go on. You need to understand that to most rescuers, there is never going to be a good excuse for you to want to re-home your dog. When you purchased your Rottweiler through whatever means, that dog is yours to take care of, no matter what decision you come to. In fact they might even ask you if you would “throw away your old parent or an ill child,” as a comparison. They do not see these dogs as dogs. They see them as a member of the family. A child. A confidant. A friend.
In my uneducated state I believed that the rescue groups would want a well trained, obedient, and loving Rottweiler that has been raised with children and cats. I was misinformed. They want the Rottweilers that don’t have homes and families to belong to. In fact one Rottweiler rescue site suggested that you could take your dog to an animal shelter to be re-homed. They are usually kept for 7 days before being put down. If the shelter feels that a dog is a great ambassador for the breed, they will call the rescues to see if they have room for “just one more.” This is not recommended as there is no guaranteed that your dog will be rescued.
On the website that I had been a previous member of, out of over 100 posts, I finally received a post from someone who got my message. They explained that even when they are upset with a caller’s excuses, they are still professional while on the phone with the person. After they hang up, they are free to scream to the rooftops of what they really think of the caller. This person understood that whether they were being paid or not, they were still part of a business and that alone warrants respect to anyone who may call asking for help to re-home their dog. Most rescues are non-profit organizations and are run by donations and unpaid volunteers. Most places will treat each caller with dignity and respect whether the volunteer feels they deserve it or not. Sometimes they will offer help by suggesting other things that you could check into first before giving up your pet or putting your pet down.
Rescues are overwhelmed with dogs that need help. They feel that if you purchased the pup, then you are responsible for it until the day it dies. Most dog owners do purchase their pup with the full intent of growing old with it. Unfortunately, not all dog owners are prepared for the unknown costs that can rise up out of the blue. After going through all of your options and you still decide to call a rescue program to ask about re-homing your dog, please understand that the volunteer may be having a really bad day. That is still no excuse to not treat people with respect. Bid them good-bye and call the next rescue on your list.
These Rottweiler Rescue programs need your donations of both money and time. While speaking and listening to these Rottweiler rescuers, foster homes, and owners, the biggest thing that upset them about my first article was when I suggested that those interested in donating or fostering should “test” the rescue program first by posing as a dog owner and asking them if they will re-home your dog for any of a thousand reasons. It surprised me that so many people where offended at the thought that I asked them to be respectful to any person that calls. I stand by my suggestion. They are in a sense running a business. Would you want to invest your money and/or time into a business that is rude to potential “customers?” If not, then why would you want to invest in rescue program that treats callers with such disrespect just for trying to make one last ditch effort at possibly saving their dog’s life.
Rescues do a great service to the Rottweiler breed. Those who need surgery upon arrival are given it. Those in need of food are given it. Those who are in need of training are given it. This is where your donations come into play. They can’t save every dog, but they try to save as many as possible from being put down. Even more important than your money, they need foster homes for this beautiful breed until their new forever home is found. Please consider donating and/or fostering for a breed that’s reputation has been tarnished through the media and the many bad dog owners who beat and starve these dogs in an effort to make them aggressive, which is not a breed standard.