Monday, September 29, 2008

A Japanese Chin needed a home

What could be more obscure than a Japanese Chin? First, how do you decide if this dog you’ve got is really a Chin, and then find a rescue group to get her a home? I was faced with this exact question last weekend, when a friend called asking for help. The dog had been relinquished to a kind and generous vet; my friend Mike’s mother-in-law had brought it home, and her husband was NOT thrilled with keeping it. Now what?

The Internet saved the day. But even experienced computer users can get bogged down in a Google search and end up frustrated, looking at a puppy mill site selling Chins, or worse (Can there really be worse?).

This is where I came in. I went to the AKC web site clicked on “Breeds” and looked for the Japanese Chin. A few more clicks took me to the breed standard, but down the left side, there were links to the National Breed Club and national rescue. On that site, I found a list of rescue reps by region.

A really great feature of the rescue site, which all groups should offer, is a section on how to identify a purebred Japanese Chin. It is an unusual and rare breed, and Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, and Shih Tzu are often mistaken for a Chin.

We were fortunate that there is a rescue rep in San Diego County. She came right out and picked up the dog. Don’t expect every rescue group to be so accommodating. Labrador and German Shepherd rescues, for example, are so overrun with dogs that they may ask you to keep it for awhile, deliver the dog to a foster home or kennel, and certainly fill out a pile of paperwork. Health, age, and temperament may render the dog “unadoptable” in their eyes, and they might refuse to take it.

Unfair to the dog, yes, but getting saddled with a bunch of old, sick dogs drains a group financially and emotionally, and uses up foster homes for a longer period. Then they can’t take in the young healthy dogs that could quickly get a home.

With a rare breed like Chins, the rescue may not get in a dog more than once every few months. Therefore, they are able to quickly respond when a homeless Chin needs rescuing.

So I felt a little glow of pride that I could offer assistance to my friend and this anonymous little dog. I’m no hero; I just knew where to look for help. And now you do too!

The photo above is Kamea, the little Chin who is now safe in the hands of Japanese Chin rescue, where she will be cared for until she is healthy and ready for adoption.

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