Fanciers of Akitas were among the first groups to realize that shelters and humane organizations needed help. They organized to rescue Akitas that needed additional help to find new homes. The term “rescue” has now come to encompass any group that specializes in placing one breed of dog, and the dogs they help have become known as “rescue dogs.”

Some regions are fortunate to have dedicated rescue workers who have a network of foster homes or boarding facilities; others may have only one person who provides information and works with local shelters. The one thing they all have in common is that they always have dogs to place. Many more are listed with local Akita Rescue Groups.

Except for puppies which are seldom available, rescues may have Akitas of all ages, males and females. Many people are afraid to adopt an older dog because they think the only reason people give up a dog is because it has some terrible problem, like a lemon used car that gets traded in at the dealers. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The reasons for people giving up their dogs are as varied as the dogs themselves. Many families relocate and are unable or unwilling to take their dog with them to their new home. A divorce may have the same affect, with both parties moving into apartments that may restrict the size of pets. Another common reason dogs end up in rescue is the owner who buys an Akita the same sex as a dog he already has. When the dogs don’t get along, the one that goes is the newer one.

The decision to buy a dog is often a very emotional one, so that people who buy a cute puppy on a whim don’t always give much consideration to what life will be like with an adult dog. They don’t think about the fact that dogs, like children, need education and experience to cope with life. When their cute puppy turns into a 100 pound dog that sheds all over the house or jumps on them every time they go out because he’s bored and lonely, they decide that he’s too much trouble. Through no fault of his own, the dog ends up in rescue. These are the lucky dogs. The unlucky ones are abandoned at their former homes, left tied in a yard, or dumped out of a car and left to fend for themselves.

Some of these dogs have gone through training classes, almost all are housebroken, and most will have been sterilized by the shelter or rescue. They have had health checks, temperament evaluations, and vaccinations. Rescue workers often know something about the history of the dog and can tell you about his virtues and any problems he might have. In fact, adoption may be contingent on your meeting certain conditions, such as no other pets, only female dogs, no cats, etc.

Rescues do have adoption fees but these are usually much less than you would pay for a puppy, and since the rescue dog is grown, you can tell a lot about him. Very few have papers available, but if you are interested in participating in AKC performance events like obedience or agility, you can obtain an indefinite listing privilege. AKC will provide the information on how to proceed (info@akc.dog).

Credits: This article has been modified from it’s original format. The original article was written by Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc. Permission has been granted to freely reprint and distribute this document as long as LRR, Inc. is credited.