GSP rescue groups are independently run groups of volunteers who are dedicated to saving and rehoming GSP dogs from varying situations. Most groups are 501(c)3 Nonprofit Corporations. Reputable rescues provide foster care in family homes, much like yours, to get an idea of what each individual dog will need from a new family. The group also screens the potential family to ensure the breed is right for them and that the dog they desire is a good match.
There are GSPrescue organizations in nearly every state in the U.S.
How does GSP Rescue work?
Reputable rescues are run entirely by volunteers and rely on private donations to continue their rescue work.
Where do the GSPs come from?
Some are owner surrenders (due to relocation, divorce, illness, or death), and some come from shelters as strays.
Why are there GSPs that need to be rescued?
GSPs are in need of rescue, just like all other breeds. Some of the boxers are owner surrenders: that means that for some reason the current owners are unable or unwilling to keep their pets and turn them over to rescue. Sometimes it is because of divorce - both people are moving into apartments and neither can keep their GSP. Sometimes people move to another area or another home and either can't or won't keep their pets. Some didn't realize the amount of commitment that a GSP is and can no longer handle them. Sadly, some are surrendered due to the owner's death. Many are rescued from various shelters, humane societies and all breed rescues. Occasionally they are contacted to pick up a GSP that has been found as a stray. So GSPs come to rescue for a wide variety of reasons and from many different sources.
Can we get a puppy?
Rarely do we get puppies in rescue. The vast majority of GSPs that come into rescue are over one year old - some are even senior citizens! The advantages to adopting an adolescent or older GSP are many; often a slightly older dog is already housebroken, is past the "eating the furniture" stage, has calmed down (as much as a GSP ever calms down!) and is generally easier to adapt to a new home. Adopting a senior GSP is also a rewarding experience! They are usually well trained and are what I like to call "love-sponges", meaning that they are very receptive to any and all affection that is offered to them. It is almost as though they know that you've made an extra commitment in adopting an older GSP, so they want to shower you with love for their remaining years!
The goal of a reputable rescue is to place the right GSP in the right "forever" home. Sometimes they don't have exactly the right GSP available for the adoptive family, so the adoption process can take some time. If they rush to place a GSP and it doesn't fit into the family, we've made a mistake. They would rather take a little additional time and do things correctly the first time rather than take the same boxer back into rescue and start the process all over again. If you have specific requirements as to color etc., it will take longer to find you a GSP.
Well frankly, it costs a whole lot less than a puppy from a reputable breeder. The rescue dog will also come to you current on all vaccinations, heartworm and spayed/neutered.
Myth- “They are so little and easy to train and at that age…”
Fact - Pups are just like infants and require more time and care than they reciprocate for at least a year. Puppies under 6 months of age require an average of 5 hours of care per day (in 20 minute increments) to raise, socialize and train properly. The reality is a puppy is a peeing, pooping, chewing and shredding machine with a very limited attention span for nearly the first year of its life.
These normal phases require a lot of time, patience and training to get through. Most people with busy families and lives do not have that kind of time. If you work full time, who will take care of the pup during the day when it needs to go outside, eat, play, etc.? At about age 1, they begin to interact with humans, play ball, understand not to jump on the kids, and are emotionally capable of understanding what are appropriate dog toys versus kids toys, etc.
Myth- “They’ll be fine in the backyard while we’re gone….”
Fact - GSPs do not make good outside dogs. One of the main reasons GSPs come into rescue is because people were uninformed about the breed when they bought the dogs as puppies. By nature, they are people loving dogs and if they can't be with their people, then they want to be with canine companions. They have a single layer of thin coat and little body fat to cool or warm them. This breed is for fair weather, not too hot, not too cold and for those who want a companion who is with them, not excluded to the yard.
Myth - “The kids need a puppy to grow up with…”
Fact - GSPs do not emotionally mature until they are between 2-3 years of age but physically mature very early. A 10 month old weighs 40-70 pounds and will have the energy level of a rocket. Children do not do well with a bounding, bouncy puppy that knocks them over frequently in their exuberance. Add to that the teething and chewing phases, and the fact the puppy does not know the difference between toddler/human skin & toys and chew bones, and the kids quickly tire of the dog being a nuisance. The cute fluffy puppy rapidly grows into a big handful of dog and the newness/novelty of pup ownership wears off quickly.
Myth- “Puppies are easier to train…”
Fact – A puppy takes about 2-4 obedience classes (6-8 lessons each) to make he/she a good canine citizen. This translates to you taking the dog to 1 hour of class every week for approximately 12-24 weeks, PLUS spending about 1 hour EACH day working on what you learned in class to reinforce the behaviors. In comparison, an adult dog will most likely only require 1 class and much less time because they are old enough to comprehend and execute the actual commands.
Myth - “It’s better to buy a puppy so you know what you are getting and how it’s been raised…”
Fact- Reputable breeders cannot make any guarantees as to the overall health of your pup. They do provide a 2 year contract but most times the hereditary problems occur after 2 years of age. GSPs have a number of inherent health problems and risks. Adult dogs are as you see them, whereas a puppy can be fine for 6-18 months and then develop severe hip dysplasia or any of many other health problems. This puts the owner in the difficult position of facing extraordinary medical bills and/or the possibility of having to put the pup to sleep if he/she cannot be helped.
Myth – “Puppies are a great gift…”
Fact – Dogs are living, sentient beings and are not objects to be given carelessly away. Pups are a 12-15 year lifetime commitment and ownership of one should be carefully considered. The recipient often does not want these responsibilities or they would have gotten a dog themselves. Responsible gift givers choose to wrap up a collar, leash, bowls, etc. and enclose a note saying they will pay the adoption/purchase price after the owner has a chance to decide and choose a dog of their own.
These things are true of any breed. Anyone who tells you differently is not giving you the best education on what to expect and how to have a good dog experience. Many puppy sellers are more interested in profit, and the experience ends up with the dog being relegated to the backyard, mostly ignored because they are "just too rowdy and wild to do anything with...".
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