Why didn’t you take that dog?

“Why didn’t you take that dog?”

It’s one of the most heartbreaking questions we hear at Val’s Pals, and yet it’s one we hear often. Everyday we’re contacted about dogs we cannot help, despite our desperate desire to do so.

So why didn’t we take that dog? The one you tagged us in? The one your friend is trying to surrender? The one you saw on the streets?

From the outside looking in, it seems simple: pull, pull, pull, save, save, save! Woohoo! Dog is safe! Unfortunately, that’s not the complete story. Every dog that Val’s Pals saves needs funding and a foster. We do not have a shelter, and we do not receive government aid. So in order for us to take a dog, we must have a volunteer willing to take that dog into his or her home. The dog will live with them until it is adopted, which could be months. The dog will likely need extensive training and care. It is no small feat to foster.

An equally pressing need is funding. Our commitment to saving dogs in dire situations comes with a hefty price tag. We rely entirely on donations to pay for the medical care of very sick and very injured animals.

The biggest hurdle, however, is the most complicated.

Let’s say we get every dog to a foster, and every dog has its vetting. Following the “pull pull pulll!” model, we now have 50 dogs on our hands, and we are now scrambling where to put them so we can keep on with the “save, save, save”. Where do the dogs go? To the very first person that says ‘I love this dog’? In a perfect world, yes, they would. But often people rush to the decision to get a dog. By keeping the scope of our rescue small, we are in a better position to identify those individuals who would not be the best owners for our dogs. This keeps dogs from being returned right back to us, or worse, slidding back into a situation of abuse.

We want our dogs to go into a safe and loving home where they are family. We want them to learn manners, and learn to be a family member. We want to match the right dog to the right foster family so all furry and human members get along. We set aside funds for each dog in the rescue besides initial vetting. What happens if they get sick, get out and get hit by a car, or eat something they shouldn’t and need emergency surgery for an obstruction? Yes those things happen and yes we are prepared in advance to handle those cases so we don’t have to beg last minute or worse, lose the dog. We stop taking dogs when we stop having extra funds for unexpected emergency vetting. We stop taking dogs when we do not have a nice home for them. We take our time properly vetting each adopter to ensure the match is a good one and most likely a forever one. We are not in a hurry to get them out to get more in if that means we have to lesson the quality of home they go into at the end.

“Why didn’t you take that dog?” We didn’t take that dog because our funds are depleted. Without donations, we cannot help this animal. We didn’t take that dog because we don’t have an available foster. We have nowhere to put this dog. We didn’t take that dog because finding the perfect home takes time, and we are run entirely by volunteers.

We are as frustrated as you are. But you can help us. When you donate to Val’s Pals, your money goes directly to a dog. When you foster, you save a life. If you want to help the dog on the streets, or the puppy your friend needs to rehome, or the dog in the high-kill shelter, consider being a part of our mission, so that maybe one day we will never have to say “no”.

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