What Makes Us Different?
Pet Rescue of Maryland does not have a shelter where we can keep our animals. We foster them in our homes and treat them as if they are our pets. We get to know each animal and can assess their individual needs to help them find the best permanant home. Since we live with the animals, we know who gets along with kids, who likes other dogs and cats and who doesn't. We have the ability to tell you if a dog has any behavior problems or issues that will need to be addressed. Many shelters don't foster the animals, but keep them in one central location. While this is very convenient, the animals don't receive any training or detailed assessment. Employees and volunteers do their absolute best to get to know the animals who live at their shelter. They also want the best for each animal. We know what will work because the animals live with us.
We are also a small group of dedicated volunteers who give every ounce of free time to helping these animals. We don't have a staff and we don't have an annual budget, like some of the larger (and luckier) shelters. Everything we do is because we love animals and believe they deserve better.
We are often asked why we make the application and approval process so thorough and detailed. Many shelters don't require half of the information we do and they don't insist on a home visit. The truth is that if things don't work out and the animal is returned to a euthanasia shelter, it will most likely be euthanized for being difficult. Plain and simple. It is a sad fact that millions of unwanted animals are euthanized each year. "Difficult" animals take too much time to deal with and are literally viewed as "better off dead". No one wants this- especially the people who work in those shelters. We are very careful to make good matches because if an animal is returned to us, we need to find a foster home to take the animal in. Euthanasia is never an option with us. We are almost always at capacity and can not take the chance of having an animal returned. We will keep an animal until we find the right home, even if that takes years. We are dedicated to doing what is best for each animal, which can be hard to understand.
We also learn from past mistakes or situations that arise everyday. We have strict fence policies for all hounds, powerful breeds, high energy dogs or those known to escape. This is because we have learned from past mistakes that the chance of a hound following their nose into the street and in front of a car can't happen if they are in a secured, fenced in yard. A high energy dog whom you trust and know very well can't decide to run in a straight line to meet their exercise needs, never to be seen again, if they are in a fenced in yard. Not all dogs need fences, although they are preferred. We also know that in some months, people are not as excited to walk their dog in a snowstorm or in really hot weather. The dog still needs exercise. Otherwise they can become destructive, which leads to more serious problems. A fenced in yard creates that safety net that makes everyone happy.
We also believe that animals outside should be leashed at all times. It ensures that your dog is safe at all times and it is the law. Even if you know you can train a dog to stay by your side in the park, you can't control what other people do or what other cars/animals/kids can do to entice your dog to react. It is not the owner that worries us, it is almost always the factors we can't control that cause problems and injuries. Keeping the pet leashed at all times eliminates this concern.
Spaying and neutering would help stop the pet over population problem fast if everyone did it. But they don't and animals reproduce fast and in large numbers. Spaying and neutering prevents this. It can also prevent all kinds of health issues down the road. There is no good reason not to spay or neuter your pet, and we require it of every animal we place and of every animal who lives in a house with one of our pets. No exceptions.
Pets and young children make for adorable pictures. Pets and young children do not always make the best companions. Puppies are mouthy when they teethe, which is often scary to young kids and is confused for biting or aggression. Puppies also tend to play rougher than they should with kids. Kids don't always understand how puppies play and someone can easily get hurt in the blink of an eye. Kittens love to play and scratch. They have super sharp teeth and claws, which can quickly hurt an unsuspecting child. While kids and young pets can get along great, they are also a tremendous amount of work and accidents easily happen. The new pet is usually blamed and there is a high chance for returning a young pet placed with young children. While this is not always the case, we are very careful to make sure the kitten or puppy go to a home where they will live forever. We try to make case by case decisions, but we do not advocate children under the age of 7 living with very young pets.
We know adopting from us can take longer and be more difficult than from most other shelters. We truly want the best for each of our animals and do what it takes to see that they get it. After all, they are not just rescue dogs and cats to us. They are our pets until they become your new family member.