serves South Carolina from the midlands area. For more information contact:
PO Box 3545
Columbia, SC 29230-3545
Midlands Golden Rescue
Writing about Midlands Golden Rescue is a bit like writing about me and my dearest friend and first Golden, Andy, Red's Amorous Andy CDX JH WC. The reason I began rescuing was in honor of Andy and now I continue to rescue in memory of him. Andy was the type of dog that in another's hands; he could have easily ended up in rescue. You know the kind. He was very active, intelligent, liked to challenge every decision you made and to top it off, he had his fair share of medical problems. I began rescuing in the fall of 1984 when Andy was still a mere pup. And trust me, it was strictly by default! I don't think I will ever forget that first rescue. I got a call at nearly 11:00 PM. The man on the phone lived near me and saw me training Andy so he knew I was devoted to my dog. I am still not sure to this day how he found my number but I will never forget what he said. He was quite serious when he said that if I didn't come and get this Golden Retriever who was lying at his fence, he was going to shoot him. He said that the dog had just lain there for two days very quietly but was making his dogs bark. I knew that he was serious so I went and picked the boy up. The rest is history.
The next serious stumbling block was at the vet's. I took the boy to the vet to have him neutered and get his shots and etc. The vet nearly ran me out of the office when I said that I had a dog that I have rescued who needed medical attention. It turned out that several "general" animal rescues had dumped dogs on him (and other vets in the city), left them for long periods of time and ran up bills, which they didn't pay. I literally had to wave my checkbook, practically yelling that I was paying up front! It took me a long time to build up a good reputation and earn their trust but I did.
I have some basic rules. I never board dogs except for short periods of time when I (or my foster homes) am out of town and I always pay when the services are rendered even if it meant that it was coming out of my own pocket.
The other commitments that I have made to the dogs and their future owners are that all dogs are fully vetted including heartworm treatment if needed. I keep them long enough to know their problems and dispositions. I do use foster homes but only ones that pass the muster and have a deep commitment to the dogs until their "forever" homes are found no matter how long it may take. Foster homes are always the most difficult to find. I used to beg for help. I no longer do this. In the past, many folks have offered and then taken in a foster. Too many times these fosters have only had a dog a few days before persistently calling wanting to know when these dogs would be placed. So now, I keep the dogs here unless I have a truly committed foster home. Sometimes this does inhibit my ability to take in a dog, as I may not have a place for them. But I would rather have a quality place than just "put them somewhere". That is too much like putting a Band-Aid on a shotgun wound. I am not here to do that. I am here to do right by as many dogs I can. I cannot save them all nor do I intend to "collect" dogs. If you pity too much and do not keep your prospective, you do a disservice to the Goldens in need.
When looking for the right home for the "right" dog, I disclose everything I know about the dog - good and bad. This way folks can make a decision as to whether they can deal with a particular problem. Folks must realize that almost all the dogs that come into rescue have some type of baggage that needs to be addressed. They must also realize that there are no perfect dogs.
While staying in a foster situation, whether it is at my house or another, the dogs are treated as members of the family. Therefore when I place the dogs, they also must be members of the adoptive family. They must be primarily housedogs and the family must have a traditionally fenced in yard. I check thoroughly the references and do home visits. No exceptions. I do follow-ups and continue to keep in contact with all the adoptive homes. I have become friends with each and everyone. I am there for them to assist them and support them in their commitment to their dog. I am responsible for the rescues that I take in for the rest of their lives just as I am responsible for my puppies and my own dogs.
I have a few very committed volunteers. I am grateful for their support and assistance. However, true, long-term committed volunteers are hard to find and even harder to keep. Many folks get into rescue for what they think is the "glory" - the "Act of Kindness" of the moment so to say. When many folks realize that there is really no glory or spotlight, they often lose interest. When they realize that most times this is a very dirty, thankless and often sad job, they lose interest or burn out. To do rescue for the long run, you have to be able to do boring, and often dirty work. Sometimes it can also be very painful when you have to make difficult decisions. Many folks can't handle this very long and therefore burn out or give up.
Over the years I have been rewarded with recognition from several areas. In 1993 I was recognized by the South Carolina House of Representatives and the Speaker of the House for founding Midlands Golden Rescue and rescuing Golden Retrievers in need. I have received recognition in the media and some other areas. But these dull next to the recognition that I get when I look into the eyes of a dog that I have been able to give a chance at a new loving life.
Rescue, to me is much more than taking in dogs in need; it is also education. With education, you can reduce the dogs that will need rescuing in the future. Education is the key to the future in rescue. By assisting the public in making responsible, educated decisions, you are able to prevent the need to rescue many dogs. Even now as I am writing this post I am working with a couple in hopes that with a bit of guidance, sound advice and some training, they will be able work through the issues they have with their pet, thus avoiding the need for me to take him in and rehome him. Many times if we can work with folks, we can play an integral part in enriching the lives of both humans and companions. My years of training and rehabilitating dogs have been a true advantage for me in this area.
What does the future hold for Midlands Golden Rescue? The future looks bright. We are taking every opportunity to educate the public. We are doing such things as pet fairs, seminars, holding tattoo clinics and tattooing the rescues that come in. We are going into the elementary schools and involving the students with such things as recycling projects to raise money for rescue and doing talks with the children, educating them on responsible pet ownership. We have a wonderful web site to reach even more people. And now we even have our first "Golden Goodie" for sale to raise funds for rescue. Funds are always needed for the basic care of the dogs. In this area of the country roughly 70% of the dogs that come in are heartworm positive. The cost for this procedure right now is about $500.00. This cuts into the ability to save money to build a small kennel to house the dogs until foster homes are found. However, our goal for the near future is to become a 501c3 organization and build that much needed 5-6 run kennel.
In ending this, I must thank everyone who has supported and continues to my efforts along this road. There are many dogs whose "happy endings" are a direct result of folks that are not even in this area. Daily, I thank God for the blessings and the random acts of kindness you have bestowed upon the Midlands Golden Rescue and me.
Mary B. Williams, founder