Frequently Asked Questions:
Below are answers regarding giving up a dog, helping a dog in need, or adopting a new best friend.
Question: I can’t keep my current dog, what are the steps in turning my dog into your rescue?…
1. We only take in Pure GSDs. They don’t have to be papered or AKC registered but they have to look like a Pure GSD. We have been a non-profit rescue in Burbank for over 30 years and people only come to us looking for Pure GSDs
2. All owner surrenders / turn ins must be spayed or neutered. If the dog is too young to have that done we will ask for a spay / neuter fee of $250.00 to have it done at a future date.
3. All dogs must have a current rabies vaccine certificate that does not expire for at least 2 months. (Please note the lot expiration on the certificate is different than when the rabies cert. expires so please check the document closely. You can always email us a copy of the cert. if you are not sure. The dog will also need to be microchipped and vaccinated for DHLLP and Bordatella. You can contact your vet for information on updating vaccines and getting a the dog chipped.
4. The dog must be well socialized and good with other dogs and people. If steps 1-3 above are met you will be asked to bring the dog into our Burbank facility during our normal hours of Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 PM and we will temperament test the dog. The dog will not be accepted if it shows signs of aggression towards our volunteers or other dogs.
5. When emailing us please attach a photo of your dog and specify age and gender.
6. If accepted we ask for a $100.00 donation to help care for the dog. We are an all volunteer operated rescue and we operate solely on donations, adoption fees and the time donated by our wonderful volunteers.
7. If your dog does not meet any of this criteria mentioned above please don’t contact us. You can try other rescues or take the dog to your local animal shelter. We are a small rescue and only have space for 18-20 dogs at a time. We need to have a strict screening process in order to adopt dogs out to their forever homes ASAP and in turn we can save more dogs.
We don’t take in strays or found dogs so if you found a dog and were unsuccessful in finding it’s owner you would need to claim the dog as your own, meet the above criteria and turn the dog into us as if you were the current owner.
If you are asked via email to bring your dog in for evaluation and decide not to show up on the day you were told (usually the next day we are open) please let us know ASAP so we can save another dogs life. All owner surrenders are handled on a first come first serve basis.
These precious creatures don’t have a voice so we need to do everything we can to get them their forever home.
If you don’t have a computer or access to email please call us at the number below during our normal operation hours
Question: Do you take in “problem dogs” or dogs that need extensive training or mental rehabilitation?…
We are not a dog rehab or training center, we don’t have the time or resources to handle dogs with these types of needs. Consult a professional trainer or dog behaviorist.
Question: Do you take in sick dogs or dogs that have current medical needs?
We can’t take in dogs with serious medical needs. We are funded entirely by donation and we can’t afford to take dogs with current medical needs. If it’s something minor like an eye condition that requires daily drops or a dog that needs to be on inexpensive medicine, these dog will be determined on a case by case basis.
Question: There is a stray running in my neighborhood or I just saw a dog get hit by a car, will you come get it?…
Even though our name is “German Shepherd Rescue” we don’t go out and “Rescue” dogs from these types of situations. We don’t have the means or resources to trap, track, and rescue these dogs in peril. We “Rescue” dogs from shelters that are on death row and find them their forever homes. That is our primary mission. We suggest you contact your local animal control office.
Question: There is a dog that needs to be saved at a shelter or it might be euthanized, can you help it?
We check local shelter website on a daily basis and we try to help when we have space. You are welcome to send us an email telling us about a dog in need. If we are not already aware of the dog we will consider bailing it our of the shelter. Even if you don’t get a response from us via email we read every email and consider every dog that is brought to our attention. If we are full we won’t consider dogs in shelters until a space opens up so if we don’t respond to your email it’s not because we don’t want to help, it means we are full.
Question: I noticed a dog that needs to be saved from a shelter. Can I bail out or save a dog and bring it to the rescue for you?
ANSWER… We don’t allow concerned citizens, or friends/supporters of the rescue bail dogs out on our behalf. The rescue is on “approved shelter partners lists’ and we have volunteers that our on this list as “approved pullers” These are the only people that are authorized to get a dog out of the shelter for us.
Question: My neighbor or someone I know of is neglecting or abusing their German Shepherd. Can you help it?
This is a very common situation and the laws in LA County don’t protect these voiceless animals like they should. We recommend telling animal control about it or contact the Animal Cruelty Hotline at 213-486-0450. Or, talk to that person and refer them to us if they are willing to surrender the dog to a rescue.
Question: Which animal control office handles my area?
Depending on where you live in the county of L.A. your area is controlled by either a county or city office. Please visit either www.laanimalservices.comor animalcare.lacounty.gov
Question: I’m hesitant to get a dog from a rescue, what are the benefits of going to a breeder?
In our opinion, the only main reason to consider a breeder is peace of mind. Most breeders are in it for profit only and will say anything to sell you a dog. Remember what it was like when you bought your last car? Same thing with a breeder; you are buying a product not a helpless animal in most breeder’s eyes. Breeders will often guarantee good hips and less health problems. The fact is the gene pool for GSDs is so over-bred even the most expensive dog can and most likely will have hip or other health problems. Those breeders that have this guarantee will only give you a new dog. It’s like a no lemon guarantee exchange policy. That’s not fair to a dog that has been loving and loyal to you for all those years.
Most of the dogs in shelters come from breeders anyway since they don’t take the time and care to educate the person buying the dog. The purchaser often does not know what they are getting into, and when the dog grows from a cute little newborn puppy to an 80 pound shepherd they often take the dog to a shelter or rescue anyway. In the 30 plus years we have been doing this we have seen hundreds of dogs come to us with a pedigree and/or AKC papers from well known breeders, and these dogs have bad hips, backs, or other common GSD health problems.
Question: What should I know before adopting a dog?
First things first: DON’T ADOPT OR BUY A GSD IF YOU DON’T WANT A DOG WITH BAD HIPS OR OTHER PROBLEMS WHEN IT BECOMES A SENIOR DOG.
Contact your vet, educate yourself through books and online research, and talk with other dog owners and rescue groups to be sure that you are selecting the right breed for your lifestyle. Before adopting any dog, please do your research! German Shepherds are not the easiest breed to own. They may not be an ideal “first dog” if you and your family don’t have large dog experience. They were bred to herd and protect livestock. Many have behavioral and medical challenges that are common to the breed. You can expect your dog to live to be 10-12 years old, and you must be prepared to love and care for the dog for its entire lifetime, regardless of what happens to you, your family, or the dog along the way. It is estimated that owning a dog costs at least $600-$1,000 per year, and that is assuming that the dog only requires routine veterinary care. If your dog becomes sick or injured, or requires special training, the costs can be extensive. If you have concerns about the cost of owning a dog, or your ability to care for this family member over its lifetime, please reconsider your decision to adopt a dog. It is very hard on any dog to get adopted and then to lose his or her family later. It is even harder on German Shepherds because of their sensitive natures. As much as you might want the dog now, please consider carefully the responsibility of being the dog’s life-long guardian.
Stop — look into the future three, five, ten years and think about whether a dog fits into your long-term plans.
Also, be aware that many people are not prepared for the energy of a younger rescue dog, especially if you are used to your senior dog’s more calm personality. The average age of our dogs is around 2-3 years old which means they will need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation and may be tough to handle at first compared with an elderly dog who is content with a short walk and to lay around most of the day.
Question: What is the first step of the adoption process?
The first step in the process is to fill out our adoption application which does NOT obligate you to adopt. It is to provide us with information about your situation and what you are looking for in a dog so that we can help you further. You can find our online application in the available dogs section. Once you submit your application, one of our adoption coordinators will be in touch shortly. Please be patient — we are all volunteers doing this in our spare time. No one in our organization is paid. One of our volunteers will get in contact with you via email about your application. If a home check is required you will be notified of that as well. If needed one of our volunteers will come to your home to help you to ensure that the environment is safe for a large-breed dog. Important things to check for include the height of the fence, closing any gaps or places where the dog might escape, checking for sharp or breakable objects that could injure a dog, putting trash out of reach, and removing any poisonous products (anti-freeze, snail or rat poison, bleach, toilet bowl cleaners, chocolate, Advil, grapes/raisins, etc.) that the dog could get into. Basically, remember to ‘child-proof’ your home before bringing any new dog into the environment.
Question: What happens when my application is approved?
When your application is approved, you will be invited to visit the rescue facility during our normal hours to meet the dogs that you are interested in adopting. We will tell you everything that we know about the dogs, and answer any questions that you have. If you have another dog (or dogs) in the family, please bring him or her along so that we can see if the new dog will be compatible with your existing family members.
WE DO NOT SHOW DOGS UNTIL AN APPLICATION HAS BEEN SUBMITTED
Once you have found the dog that matches your situation and you are ready to adopt, you will be asked to sign our adoption contract. This is a legally binding contract. If you do not agree to the terms of the contract, you will not be allowed to adopt from our organization. A minimum donation of $250 will be required at that time. We ask for a higher donation for puppies and special dogs to help offset the high cost of veterinary care for the dogs that come into the rescue injured and sick. This is a donation to our rescue, and is non-refundable. Any donation that you wish to make above this amount will assist other orphaned shepherds and would be greatly appreciated.
Question: Why is there an adoption fee?
Our rescue operates entirely on donations, and all money contributed to the organization goes towards paying costly vet bills, running and maintaining our kennel, feeding the dogs, getting them spayed/neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations, marketing and re-homing efforts, paying to rescue dogs out of local shelters, and boarding of dogs when the rescue is full. On average, each dog costs us far more to care for than the minimum adoption fee that we ask for when an adoption is approved. Without these much-needed donations, our organization could not continue to save these noble dogs.
Question: What’s included in the $250 adoption fee?
All dogs are spayed or neutered before going home. Since we are a no kill rescue this is already done so you don’t have to wait and come back when the dog is ready. 99% of the dogs available are already spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, and micro-chipped. We will also send you home with a new leash, collar, and slip-collar if needed to make sure your new best friend gets home safely.
Question: What should I have ready before adopting a dog?
1. Make sure that your fencing is adequate, and that the gates are secure. Fix any gaps or places where the dog could go over or under the fence. Remove any objects that the dog could jump onto to get over the fence. If your fence or gate is less than 5 feet, consider adding an extension. A young German Shepherd can easily jump over a 4-5 foot fence or gate, and some can even jump a 7 foot fence!
2. Remove any poisons or toxins that the dog could get into. Things like anti-freeze, snail or rat bait, bleach, chocolate, and Advil (and other human medications), grapes/raisins, and even toilet bowl cleaner can be deadly to dogs. Contact your veterinarian for a complete list. Lock these items away or discard them so that the dog cannot get to them.
3. Determine where the dog will sleep at night, and purchase a nice warm bed or comforter for him or her. German Shepherds do best when they are allowed to sleep indoors with their people at night so they can feel they are protecting their flock. Consider purchasing a kennel crate for the dog, and place the crate in a nice warm area in your home where the dog will sleep comfortably. Most dogs enjoy the security of a kennel crate.
4. Purchase dog bowls, toys, treats, chewies, vitamins, housebreaking products, and other supplies that you might need. When adopting, we will send you home with at least a weeks worth of food to help your dog adjust to it’s new diet as well as treats for training.
5. Buy an ID tag for the dog with your name, address, phone number(s), and veterinarian’s phone number! This is one item that could prove to be a lifesaver for your dog! Most pet stores sell ID tags and have an engraving machine to personalize it right there on the spot.
6. Call your veterinarian and find out about making an appointment to bring the newly adopted dog in for an initial check-up. This will allow your vet to meet your new family member, and to establish the pet’s new medical records. This will also allow you to ask any questions that you might have. Unless there is an immediate medical concern we recommend that you wait a few weeks and allow the dog to settle into your home and get to know you and your family before heading off to the vet. You will have a better idea of what your dog’s personality is like, and hopefully your dog will have begun to trust you.
Question: What should I do during the first few weeks after adopting a dog?
During the first few weeks after adopting a dog, it is important that you will work with the dog to teach him or her how to become a member of your family. It can take a few days or a few weeks for the dog to settle in and learn his or her place. Some dogs settle in right away, while others will need some adjustment time. Please understand that the dog does not know that this is his or her new home, and will need you to help him/her to understand the rules. Patience, and trying to understand things from the dog’s point-of-view is the key here. We have several dog trainers and behaviorists who can help you to work through any problems. You might want to invest in some dog training books to help you to better relate to your dog.
Give your dog the time he or she needs to settle in. Don’t expect to take the dog to the dog park, to “show-and-tell” at your child’s school, or to a big family reunion during the first few weeks of adopting (yes, we’ve had adopters do all of these things). Crowded and noisy events can be stressful and frightening for a dog who is just starting to know and trust his new family. Many adopted dogs spend the first few days in their new home sleeping. They get worn out at the rescue with all of the other dogs barking, and they just need to unwind for a few days. It is also not uncommon for them to develop diarrhea while they are adjusting to their new environment, new people, and new food. This should go away after a few days when the dog has settled down.
A few weeks after adopting, find a good basic dog obedience class. Many pet supply stores hold classes in their store, or contact your veterinarian for a recommendation. Choose a class that uses positive reinforcement in their training methods.
Question: What if I cannot keep the dog that I adopt for some reason?
ANSWER… If, after giving the dog some time to settle in, and working with a trainer to resolve any problems, things are still not working out for some reason, please contact us right away. Our contract states that the dog must be returned safely to our rescue. Please give us the courtesy of notifying us about the problem so that we can schedule the dog to be returned. Our rescue is ALWAYS full because we are trying to save as many lives as possible. Just days after you adopted your dog, we brought another one in from of our extensive waiting list to take his or her place. When a dog has to be returned, we need a little time in order to work him or her back into the rescue. We will ALWAYS take the dog back, but would appreciate it if you could work with us on the timing.
Please understand that it is VERY difficult on a dog to be returned to the rescue, so do not make this decision lightly!
Question: Will you board a dog I adopted from you if I go out of town or have a temporary lifestyle change like moving to a new home for example?
ANSWER… We are not a boarding facility. All the dogs here were saved from death in one way or another. We can’t take up room for a dog that’s already in it’s forever home. Our volunteers don’t have time care for other people’s dogs. if you need to board your dog please check into local boarding kennels or doggie day care centers.
Question: Can I adopt a dog if I don’t live in Southern California?
Unfortunately, we can only adopt to homes in our local area. We often do a home visit prior to approving an adoption, and we simply don’t have the resources to do this long-distance. You must also be willing to transport the dog back to our rescue in the event that the adoption does not work out for any reason. If you are unwilling to drive the dog back to our rescue if things don’t work out, please find a dog rescue group closer to your home. We do not have the manpower or resources to pick up and deliver dogs. If you live outside of Southern California, please check out our list of German Shepherd Rescues across the country by clicking here.
HAVE MORE ???
Come by during our operating hours and we will be happy to talk with you in person and discuss weather or not a GSD is right for you. We are commited to educating the public.