Is Carolina Hearts the rescue for you?

These days, folks have many options for adding new canine family members to their families. Whether purchasing a dog from a breeder, adopting from a breed-specific rescue, or going to a public animal control facility, each avenue has its pros and cons – and not every organization is the right “fit” for every family. Here are a few preliminary questions & answers that you can use to help determine if Carolina Hearts Aussie Rescue is the right organization for you.

We would like to add a rescued purebred Australian Shepherd to our family.

Yes! CHAR specializes in rescuing purebred and high-content mixed Australian Shepherds. We also rescue other herding breeds, like border collies and cattle dogs. While most of our dogs come from shelters and have unknown lineages, we can typically say whether a dog is a purebred or high mix (but not always).

We would like to add a rescued purebred Aussie puppy to our family.

Maybe. It’s very rare that we get purebred puppies under six months of age. Not unheard of, but rare. Most of our very young puppies are mixes. If you are only interested in a purebred Aussie puppy, we can place you on a waiting list, refer you to other rescue organizations, or help you understand what to look for in a responsible, reputable Aussie breeder.

We want a new dog/puppy right now.

No. Our application process takes, on average, 3-6 weeks to complete. The actual time varies, based on our volunteers’ availability and the load of applications we’re already processing. Even after approval, we cannot guarantee that we will have a dog for you immediately. We are unable to provide an accurate estimate on time for adoption, due to the fact that we simply cannot predict what dogs we will have available on a week-to-week basis.

We want to meet multiple dogs before deciding, or pick from a litter of puppies.

Probably not. Our dogs are kept in foster homes, and are located across the Southeast. It would be impossible for a family to meet every single dog, then decide. Also, we would not be able to hold dogs while an adopter made their decision. This is why we have our matching process, and prefer to work closely with adopters and foster homes to choose the right applicant for the dog (and vice versa). The same holds true for puppies.

We only want to adopt a specific color of dog.

Maybe. CHAR operates under the mantra of “true love is colorblind” – which means that, when it comes to placing dogs with adopters, coat or eye color preference is the absolute least of our priorities. You wouldn’t choose your spouse based on hair color, would you? Probably not. If you do choose to apply to adopt from us, and are only willing to adopt a dog of a certain color, then you should be prepared to wait quite a while for the right personality and color match to come along. Everyone wants a young, friendly, trained, flashy merle dog, and CHAR is simply not going to waste our time worrying about aesthetic fancies.

We don’t want to pay an adoption fee.

No. Adoption fees are necessary not only for our rescue to recoup some of the costs associated with caring for these dogs, but also as proxy to determine if adopters are financially able to care for a dog properly.

We don’t want to provide references or have a volunteer visit our home.

No. No ifs, ands, or buts about it – we will not place our dogs in homes we don’t feel 100% comfortable with, and vet/personal references and home visits are our method of ensuring our dogs will be safely cared for. Like it or not, but we won’t be responsible for sending our dogs to a dangerous situation.

We want to adopt a dog whose temperament and exercise needs have been carefully evaluated.

Yes! All our dogs are in foster care for a minimum of two weeks before they are even listed as available for adoption. In practice, most of our dogs are in foster for at least a month, usually more. We would prefer to hang on to a dog for longer, than to rush them out unprepared. Our foster homes provide us with a great deal of understanding about each dog’s personality and individual needs.

We want a dog that is completely house trained, crate trained, obedience trained, perfect with dogs, cats, small children, and strangers.

Eh, maybe. Sometimes we get “perfect” dogs that just come to us because their owners had a change in situation, and sometimes they do show up in shelters with amazing manners. More often than not, however, dogs are dumped in pounds or relinquished to us because someone failed them at some point along the line, and so they carry around some extra “baggage” because of it. Also, a lot of our dogs are incredibly high energy – again, because somebody bought them, was unprepared, and couldn’t handle it. Please don’t come to CHAR looking for a “discount dog” that doesn’t need any additional work.

We want a running buddy or agility partner.

Yes! Yes! Like we mentioned above, a lot of our dogs are very high energy, and need families willing to exercise with them and continue their training. They make excellent running buddies (once they’re old enough, of course), and many of our adopted dogs have gone on to do very well in agility, flyball, dock diving, and more!

We would like to adopt a special needs dog.

Yes. Unfortunately, one of the more common reasons we do get purebred puppies is because of merle-to-merle breedings that produce deaf and/or blind puppies. These babies need loving homes that will train them with hand or touch signals, and who are committed to keeping them safe while living a healthy, happy, full life!

We are willing to go through a process, but we don’t want to be told “no” or have someone else choose our dog.

Maybe. Our adoption process can be best compared to the process of finding a new job – like an employer, our ultimate concern is that we choose the best person for the job. When an employer chooses another applicant for a position, it does not mean that they are telling you that you are in some way inadequate, but only that when compared to the field of available options, you simply weren’t the best fit. We will always give our foster homes final say in who adopts their dog, and sometimes they simply don’t feel an applicant is the best fit. If this is something you or your family are unprepared to deal with, you may wish to consider a different method of adding a new dog.

We don’t want to be placed on a waiting list.

Maybe. We are very fortunate that our rescue dogs are in very high demand – however, this means that the ratio of adopters to available dogs is very high, as well. In little over four years, we have rescued more than four hundred dogs. In that same amount of time, we have had more than two thousand families apply to adopt. For every adopter that gets a dog or puppy of ours, there are usually more than a few adopters who are told “no.” Unfortunately, we cannot cut our dogs into little pieces and give them to everyone who wants them. We do offer a waiting list, and applications are “good” for a year after approval. Our team does the best they possibly can to place dogs with as many approved adopters as possible, but we do not have a magic wand to make dogs appear for every single applicant who wants one.

Why all the fuss? Aren’t these unwanted dogs – shouldn’t CHAR be begging people to adopt them?

Sure, at some point in their lives, some of these dogs were unwanted throw-aways. That’s not the case now, however. When we accept dogs into our rescue, they are ours. They belong to us, and even though the ultimate goal is to place them with adopters, our chief priority is their well-being. We are not an animal shelter, and our dogs are not sitting despondent in a concrete run – they live in our homes, with our families and other pets, and we treat them as our own. Which means that we put the same amount of care and consideration into their placement as we would our own pets. We feel strongly that if we’re going to make a lifetime commitment to an animal – which we do – then we should be able to expect the same level of commitment and seriousness from our adopters. Our goal is to place these dogs in homes that they will never, ever be uprooted from again, and in order to do that we must have a thorough process for placement. Keep in mind that CHAR’s responsibility is to the dogs, not to the adopters. If you come to us seeking to adopt, then the burden rests on you to meet our expectations.