Changing the Stigma About "Rescue Dogs"

Both my dogs are rescues and when I first got into this mad dog world I worked at a no kill shelter here in Los Angeles. The reasons why people relinquish their dogs would make your head spin, or maybe not. My experiences with those little creatures are what pushed me to become a trainer so I could spread education and awareness that Rescue dogs make amazing companions and that any dog can make a great dog with a little patience and TLC.

It's pretty mazing to me that there still exists such a big stigma around rescue dogs. I know it's something that I battle constantly as a dog trainer trying to reassure people that there is nothing "wrong" or "broken" about a rescue dog. Despite such a big movement in the rescue community and trending hashtags like #rescuedismyfavoritebreed there still exists this cultural basis that somehow these precious shelter babies have something that makes them undesirable and even worse, expendable.

I am so happy to announce my new collaboration with Furever USA. This Husband wife photographer duo too see the issues rescue dogs face and have set off on a mission to change the perception of Rescue dogs from "hopeless victim" to " Rescued hero". I asked Jasen and Christy some questions about their passion project:

1. What is your number one motivator for creating this event?

I remember the anxiety we felt visiting our first shelter. The anticipation of sadness. An idea that it would be like one of those mental institutions in scary movies. But after that first visit. . . after living in the community of rescues. . . we have realized that idea is all wrong.  So much of the current marketing and social media around rescue dogs is the horrific and depressing. But now knowing the happy reality and PAWsitive stories that are found in almost EVERY adoption story. . . . We knew we had to find a way to share that with people.

2. Why do you feel there is a stigma around rescue dogs?

We hear it all the time. Sometimes it’s a family that overcame their idea that rescues are broken or come this problems. Other times it’s hearing people ask “what breed do you suggest”. Or even hearing people say they can’t visit a shelter because they will want them all. 

As consumers we have been trained to buy “pure brands” that cost more as a reflection of quality. So it’s no surprise that people use those ideas when it comes to animals.

3.  Is there a rescue hero in your life that has inspired you?

My Nina girl. Before I even knew what a “rescue” was, she was my girl. She taught me what it’s like having someone if your life that truly loves you. And outside of my mom and sister, she had spent more time and gone on more adventures with me than any other girl.

4. What is your favorite part about working with rescue dogs?

Seeing the mutual pride, happiness and acceptance that the dogs and owners have for each-other. Hands down the best! When you see the impact of unconditional love and gratitude that rescue dogs have . . . . And in return how that makes the mom or dad feel. They are true, unique and special moments.

I am so excited to get to meet these two wonderful souls in just two short weeks! See the events tab for more info on the Los Angeles pop up event June 18th.

Have a Rescue Hero of your own? Submit your story here and you could win a chance to be photographed and featured in the book! They'll be stopping all over the nation capturing rescue hero stories from 18 stops nationwide. For more info on the event click here!

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