A Day In The Life Of A Rescuer

What Rescue Does and How You Can Help

by ASTC Rescue Chair Loree Levy-Schwartz


You want to think that the phone ringing is for someone looking to adopt a shih tzu. You hope so at least. But it is a shelter telling you that there is a shih tzu there that needs rescuing. No problem because this shelter is within a half hour from us.

However, the next shelter to call that has umpteen dogs and many are shih tzu is about 5 hours away. Another that 34 shih tzu were left by their backyard breeder. This call is 3½ hours away by air! What do you do? The answer will come later.

Then another call comes in and 2 shih tzu are found left in a backyard by a family whose home was foreclosed on and they just moved and left these 2 beautiful young little boys to fend for themselves. Another day, another call. I had a baby and can’t keep my shih tzu any more. When did it happen that you couldn’t have dogs and children also? What is going on?

These are just some of the calls any rescue person can receive any day. The answer to what you do is to solve the problem at hand and to network, network, network, and then prioritize. The dogs at the shelters have a higher risk of euthanasia so you have to work on saving them first. In the past 4 weeks I have received a number of shih tzu from a shelter that is over 5 hours away.

Since there were other dogs also going to other rescue groups a massive coordination had to be arranged.

  • a cargo van had to be rented and gas paid for and that was luckily underwritten by a donor
  • get a driver to donate their time
  • gather as many crates as you can and arrange them in the van to house the most number of dogs possible
  • leave at 3AM and drive 5 hours one way to arrive at the shelter and load the dogs and that took another 3 hours
  • drive to 5 different locations all hours apart to deliver the dogs
  • finally arrive a the final destination, Loree, to deliver her lone shih tzu this trip out of 67 dogs, mostly purebred, that were delivered to their respective rescues
  • drive home, another 40 minutes away ......and on and on
  • But now this lone shih tzu, what happens? He has to be evaluated, groomed, neutered, vaccinated, heartworm tested, and fostered until he’s adopted. It might take 10 calls just to find the right home for him. Each call takes an average of 8 to 15 minutes. That adds up in a day. But all is forgotten when the contract is signed and his rescue collar goes on and he prances out happily with his new forever family. This makes it all worthwhile.

    Yesterday I received a phone call from Teresa Osborn in Houston of Lone Star Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso Rescue who took the North Carolina 7 from my last article. Another place had been shut down in Katy, TX and 34 shih tzu need help. So the planning begins. At the end of the month upwards of 10 shih tzu, mostly young dogs, will be driven to Phoenix and meet Monte and me there, once again (we did this a year ago October) and Monte and I will take these dogs and drive them the 12 hours back to San Jose, CA so they can start their new lives.

    None of these dogs asked to be born. I am
    NOT against breeding. The breeding our club members are supposed to do is to enhance
    OUR breed. I am against excessive breeding or breeding just for financial gain. Having said this, next time you sell a pet quality pup, why not spay or neuter it before they go to their new home? If that is not possible, then take a large spay/neuter deposit that will be returned with the proof of their being altered. Holding back papers is not that important to many people who just sell pups “without papers” cheaper.

    In 2008 I rescued more shih tzu than in years past. I know our economy had something to do with that. I am hoping for a slow 2009 but with 34 already going through the rescue channels, I sure hope it doesn’t continue this way!

    I want to, again, THANK all of you who remember shih tzu rescue when sending in your dues, or just making a donation at any time during the year. Your money is so needed and your generosity helps to save lives. If you do not have the resources to financially help with rescue, contact me for a rescue in your area to help. The things that are needed most from volunteers are: fostering, transportation, blankets, towels, crates, food, shampoo, grooming materials, newspapers, exercise pens, baby gates and more. Perhaps you didn’t realize that items other than money were needed but they are and anything you can do, even help groom a newly rescued shih tzu helps.