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Seeking advice for a growing rescue pack

541 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  OldDog-NoTricks
I've joined dog forum because of the growing rescue pack!
Indoors are 4 rescue cats and a 6 year old dog (she stays separate to the other dogs). Outside are two recent rescue dogs and a third is arriving soon. If all goes well I'll take on a 4th outdoor rescue dog. I've never kept outdoor dogs but these guys need a home and mine is too small to accommodate so many animals inside in harmony.

The outdoor dogs started with a puppy dumped at my gate with fight bites (I think her owners were desperate and trying to do the right thing). So I got another older dog to keep her company, he is Toby (see my avatar) he's had a broken front leg and damaged back leg possibly due to a motor bike. He's an absolute treasure but was attacked by other dogs at the rescue home. His three legged girlfriend is still there and I am planning to adopt her. All going well we'll take a 4th (older) doggo later this year.

So I am here looking for tips, hints and links to old threads to help manage and enjoy a growing outdoor rescue pack!
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Personally, my feeling is that a situation such as you describe might not be an improvement from the side of "is their their well being being improved ?". Rescue shelters have full time staff, vets, trained personnel and financial resources unavailable to most people. So the question is ...does your personal situation allow you to be in a position to improve things for them ? How often you have to be away from home, how many folks you can depend on to help you all factor in here. And is your property subject to limits on how many dogs you can keep.

Dunno where you live but weather is an issue here. If your hitting high 80s or low 30s, that can be a significant issue. Aside of the physical well being issues there's the other side .... how much human interaction can you give them ? At some point this might become an issue with neighbors. We have a large 3.5 acre property that was owned by a breeder, also has 3 outdoor kennels and a grooming room. We have 2 dogs, 2 cats and sometimes we have guest dogs and my son's 2 dogs. Historically they have had the full run of the fenced in property but storms and fallen trees have created gaps in the fence and will likely be July before we catch up.

Normally the dogs are outside in spring / summer / fall on days that we dont have heat or AC on.... they come and go in and out as they please. They want in they bark. I work from home so Im with them pretty much 24/7. And it' me, wifie and 2 adult children. One is a pilot so he's here mostly, the other is a student. The house is a 200 year old dairy barn with 5 levels, each separated by a hinged baby gate. Every new arrival has had issues with the other animals when they arrived, gates provided for socialization opportunities but inter-pet aggressiveness is not tolerated ... at this point everybody eats out of each others food bowls.

Is the plan such that they'd be platooned ... in other words ... 2 inside on M-W-F and 2 inside on T-T-S ? One thing we've become very aware with of late with our latest addition requiring some medical care on our part is that the other dogs are affected by what they perceive as "special attention". The dogs were fighting, marking and humping each other all of a sudden for reasons we didn't understand.... so the indoor / outdoor situation may cause some rivalries.

Aside for that, if you have the resources in time, environment and other items noted above a secure fence and adequate environmentally controlled shelter would be the 1st step. Adequate financial resources will be required to provide proper care and diet. No "Purina Dog Chow" (not a knock on the brand, Purina does have quality product lines) but the stuff that one can buy for $20 for 50 pounds is not a healthy diet.

Your goal is admirable and anyone without full knowledge of your resources and time that you can commit won't be in a position to judge. But going in you have to understand the challenge this will bring ...good pets require physical and mental stimulation beyond that which they get from one another. A fair number of pets that are brought into shelters are ones that were taken away from owners because over time because of owner's deteriorating health or finances, they could not provide adequate care.

Many more thoughts come to mind but it starts with "can you give them better care and more attention than they could get at a shelter. One thought I'd suggest is partnering with a local shelter and fostering dogs ... this way you have a fallback situation whereby if you are called away got family emergency or whatever, you have a support structure behind you.
I live in Latin America, there are no professional animal rescue shelters just private homes with usually poor people trying to help abandoned animals.
That's why I kept the puppy dumped at my gate and took the dog that was being attacked at the private rescue shelter - they had to keep him separate in a room for his own safety. He's a lovely dog but they currently have 30+ dogs and can only really handle 20 so his life was bleak and no one wants the puppy.

I have a large fenced back yard and a large undercover verandah. There are no limits on pet numbers. Our climate is tropical but I have heat mats and wind-break shelter for winter.

I walk them in a separate fenced paddock where they can run free daily (unless it's raining) for a change in scenery. I work from home. They're learning to enjoy a car ride when I run errands. I cannot mix them with my indoor cats (also rescues) and my indoor neurotic dog (she was beaten and I got her from the street) - that is a recipe for disaster and unfair on them. It took me 2+ years of gradual and controlled introductions to get a harmonious balance with the 5 of them.
Aside from having the puppy - which I never wanted - I am only interested in taking special needs dogs. Toby limps due to a motorbike breaking his front leg and someone kicking his back leg. Trixie has three legs due to a car hitting her, one front leg was amputated and the other was broken but healed.

The idea is for them to enjoy each other as a little pack. They've only ever lived outdoors but they do enjoy it when I read or take my laptop out onto the verandah to be with them after dinner.

I've attached a couple of pictures of the local rescue shelters. One is the home of an old lady who has 30+ cats/kitten and some dogs. The other is an old man who has a dozen animals and the last is a young girl with the 30+ dogs where Toby is from. They're all good people but there is no money except from donations and no government assistance or training.

So yes, I absolutely can improve their quality of life and I've improved their diet 1000% already with my home made recipe, fresh bones, etc. I've had dogs all my life but this is the first time I'm going to try having an indoor gang and an outdoor pack... so I'll probably come to DF for sanity breaks馃槣 as well as advice.


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Your situation with outdoor-only dogs sounds very different from what we are used to in the United States and Western Europe, but it's not uncommon in other parts of the world. It wasn't even uncommon in the US prior to the 1970's.

One of my concerns would be around the relationship between the female puppy and the female dog you plan to adopt. In general two female dogs are more likely to get into fights than a male/female pair or even two males. You said the puppy had bite marks from fights. Was she being used as a bait dog? Does she have poor social skills? Did she come from a household where the senior dog was vicious? I wonder how traumatized she is from her prior experiences, and how she will behave in response to her trauma. Meanwhile, the three legged dog may feel vulnerable due to being crippled and unable to defend herself properly. She may not deal well with a puppy that has poor social skills. Some timid dogs deal with their fear by declaring "the best defense is a good offense." So, watch for issues when you bring the new girl in, especially when the puppy gets to the age when she is due for her first heat. Things may be fine if all the dogs have sound temperaments (we once had a dozen dogs including 5 females living in a two bedroom cottage,) but you need to monitor the situation.
Thanks for the reply. This is one of my major concerns. Two females can be a problem. The one advantage is that 3 legged Trixie (who I plan to bring home next week) has lived with a 30+ rescue pack in an open environment - so she is well socialised. I tried with Goldie, the 6+??? month old girl puppy, to at least keep socializing her by bringing Toby here within a week. She had bite wounds but they were not consistent with being a bait dog - the people that dumped her had freshly bathed her, trimmed her nails and she was in excellent health (no parasites). I think they had an aggressive older dog and Goldie was in danger of having her throat ripped out. She adores Toby.
My thought is to introduce the girls and then send Goldie for sterilization the next morning (fits the vets schedule). Then on leash I will walk the 3 of them to a very close well fenced paddock (my private doggy park!!) 2 or 3 times a day as a positive distraction, where they can run off leash, for at least a couple of weeks. Hopefully some bonding forms with us and the atmosphere is more relaxed back in the yard.
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I would have to agree with you, but that was why I asked the question rather than making a judgement. The subsequent information provides a lot of clarity. The one thing I would still encourage you to do is find someone of like mind to help you. Should you get sick or injured, will need to have someone to help you. Also depending on breed, temperature conditions are an issue:

When seeking to find a Husky companion for our Husky / Shepherd mix, I was dismayed to find that the 2 states with the most huskies up for adoption were Florida and Texas, two stated where temps often exceed 100 degrees F (38C) *

* Who will be the 1st reader to the serious typo in this image :)

Anything in the 80s (27 - 32C) is potentially life threatening for a dog ... the larger and heavier coat the more so; shade and plenty of water significantly reduces this risk. The above links provide good advice in this regard.

I will make a 2nd post on the topic including a table which folks can edit and tailor to their own dogs. At just 26C, a large elderly dog with some extra weight with plenty of water and shade is considered to be in "life threatening conditions" at just 26C. A small teeny dog is similarly exposed at 29C, both worse so if they have heavy coats.

I would suggest that in addition to drinking water, in the warmer months at least a "kiddle pool which they can lay in and cool off would be a boon. Fleas, ticks and worms are a serious problem everywhere ... you'll want to avoid exposing new dogs to your pack until it has been checked and cleared for worms. Many folks, concerned of tick borne diseases being spread to their families, periodically have their property sprayed and when doing so, it's wise to have a separate area where the dogs can be kept until a good rain. the chemicals don't last long and neither does the effectoiveness. By next season, the area will be reinfested. Elevating their dog beds is helpful and, depending on size, daily cleaning of excrement may be a must. When I worked with security dogs, my rule of thumb was 500 SF per dog per day... Stretching that to a week with 2 dogs that's 500 x 2 x 7 = 7,000 SF or 70 x 100.
In Paraguay a 7 year old dog is considered old. Sadly it's due to poverty, poor diet and exposure to the days of extreme heat and cold. We get a few 40 degree days and occasional frost - hence the heat mats, especially for older dogs with joint and arthritic pains. The heat affects all the animals including the chickens so sprinklers come in handy to drop the temperature. However your post gave me an idea, I can knock out a doggy door into an outside laundry room. It's quite brilliant! They can have their own indoor room that is cooler in summer and warmer in winter than the verandah!!! I can also sit with them without being mauled by mozzies, add a decor and it'll be very comfortable! So thanks for joggin' my noggin' (y)

I am used to the parasites here, some are just gross 馃ぎ and others are lethal so I regularly use anti flea and parasite products. I also have family next door to help in an emergency. The multiple walks to the huge off leash paddock helps with the pooping situation and boredom! Only Goldie the teenage-puppy will be a fit young dog - aiming eventually for 4 in total, I want either old or disabled and sedate.

I wouldn't consider keeping outdoor dogs, however, since the terrible lockdowns etc in 2020 the economic situation has changed around here. Fewer people are adopting the abandoned mutts (especially old, limping or 3 legged ones) as food and fuel etc costs rise. Many migrants are arriving from Europe which is also driving up local costs and, sadly, they often choose to get purebred dogs not understanding that many (most) of these are in-bred.

The young rescue vet I am good friends with and got Toby from, graduated about 18 months ago. My family and I donate to her every month for sterilization. Last year she sterilized almost 500 cats and dogs, this year she hopes to beat that. Most are abandoned or owned by poor people who can't afford to sterilize them. It's made a difference, fewer puppies and kittens are dumped at my gate, but sadly fewer are being we persevere.
This is a fund raiser poster for a mass sterilization weekend in a town nearby:
Photograph Vertebrate Mammal Font Adaptation

The rescue home is a private residence relying on donations:
Plant Dog Tree Sky Fawn

The volunteer team of young vets travelled 4 hours to help out, it was a hot weekend! But successful:
Table Sky Plant Tree Shade

These cats are still waking up from their op at another private home rescue center, most have to be trapped (like mine) which is also time consuming:

Dog Dog breed Cat Carnivore Mammal
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