Origin of Dogs
We commonly get asked... "Why is there a need for an Italian Greyhound Rescue?" or "Where do your rescued dogs come from?"
Nationally our group intakes, cares for, and adopts 800-900 pure-bred Italian Greyhounds per year. So, that is why there is a need for a national Italian Greyhound Rescue. This number of dogs far exceeds the number of animals placed annually in to new homes by many local humane societies. Although we don't have a physical shelter anywhere, our presence is just as impactful as the shelter in your city or county.
Most Common Sources
The majority of our dogs come from private homes who, for one reason or another, are unable to keep their dogs and find it best to surrender them to rescue. We always get asked "How could somebody surrender such beautiful, sweet animals?". Well, to be truthful, we want to know the same thing, but see dogs being surrendered regularly for the same reasons and here are the primary reasons behind such relinquishments:
- Housetraining - IGs are known to be particularly difficult to housetraining, and many families are not informed about this in advance of an adoption or purchase of the breed. They don't understand the need for a potty schedule, have a schedule that accommodates the dog's needs, or pay close enough attention to recognize signals being given by the IG.
- Birth of Baby or Small Children - Since Italian Greyhounds are a particularly active breed, they do like to jump around and play. A newborn in a household could be injured during playtime, or a small child could be pushed over when the dog is excited and jumping around. Small children are rough by nature, and could easily injure an iggy unintentionally while playing too, resulting in broken legs (costing thousands to fix), broken ribs, or other serious injuries.
- New Job or Schedule - Iggys need a lot of attention and companionship to thrive. Commonly when people change jobs, they have a commute that is too long to come home at lunch and let the dog out to potty, or work an insurmountable number of hours. They end up feeling guilty that the dogs are spending endless hours in the kennel without human companionship, and feel it would be better for them to spend time in a home where they can receive the attention they desire. Or they simply just have "no time" for the pet.
- Divorce - Divorces are not just hard on families, but also on the pets in a home. Sometimes the spouses both start working more, and can't spend time with the dogs. In nasty separations, the dogs become a source of contention, and as a resolution are surrendered to rescue so neither party gets to have the dog(s).
- Owner Death - We do commonly get Italian Greyhounds from family or friends of Italian Greyhound owners who have passed away. These include both young and old dogs who have often spent many years in a home, are well potty trained, and socially very well adjusted. And, sometimes the families know their departed relative would want to ensure proper care for their beloved pet, and make a donation to help care for the animals during their stay in rescue, or as a memorial donation to honor that person.
- Moving - Most people could not imagine surrendering their pet due to a move, they would rather live in a lesser quality environment than live without their beloved pets. However, there are some instances where people are moved to nursing homes or for other reasons they are unable to move to a location that allows pets, afford the deposit, or additional monthly pet fees when renting.
- Job Loss or Cutbacks - Pet care can be expensive when you total up food, shots, dental care and other routine maintenance. Even a partial loss of a household income can lead to people surrendering a pet, or at least compound other problems that may exist.
Other less common reasons Italian Greyhounds are surrendered to IGRF affiliates by their owners:
- Problems with rental companies
- Too many pets to maintain, including hoarding situations
- Pet illness, or broken legs
- Biting, nipping or aggressiveness
- Unexpected litters of puppies
- Other short or long-term personal issues
Other rescues or shelters are common sources of Italian Greyhounds in our care. Sometimes it is because they do not have the shelter capacity for another dog, other times it is because they do not have the expertise to handle a specialty breed and find a proper home. Or, small town shelters may not have foster homes who are able to care for an iggy, or a community who would have adopters that would understand this unique breed.
Often Italian Greyhounds in a shelter environment are scared, and do not act like they would in a home environment because they are frightened, cold, and alone. Often they are the dog who is cowering in the corner unsure of what their future holds, and other times they are trying to get attention by howling or barking. Most people don't want a dog in their house who howls or barks, so this can be a turnoff to adopting the dog, even though they may be perfectly fine in a home environment.
We try to work with shelters and humane societies across the United States in both metropolitan areas and rural areas to "spring" as many dogs from shelters as we can. Some shelters prefer to place pure-bred dogs themselves, while others are more than willing to work with other groups to help place animals in need and reduce euthanasia. So, if you know of a pure-bred Italian Greyhound in a shelter anywhere, please contact your local IGRF rescue representative and give them a heads up about any dogs that potentially need a foster home. We will contact the shelter if room is available and try to help find the dog a new forever home.
On occasion we do get called from state, county, or local authorities needing assistance in finding one or more dogs a home. Sometimes they are neglect or abuse situations, while other times they are people who are unsure where to turn when they have taken on too many pets. In even more rare circumstances, a breeding or rescue facility has been closed down due to poor sanitation, inhumane conditions or other legal violations.
We try to help when possible in all situations, and in the past have taken in 30-50 dogs at a time. But our capacity to handle such large numbers of dogs is limited, and they are often spread across regions of the country, or throughout the USA even, in order to accommodate a large influx of dogs with little notice. Our rescue representatives work closely together to care for as many animals as possible, but still maintain reasonable limits in order to most effectively help the animals in our care, and not to burn out our number one resource; our foster homes and volunteers.
Yes, we do sometimes get calls about stray Italian Greyhounds, believe it or not! They are not hearty dogs in the wilderness or city, but do often survive for weeks at a time on their own. Commonly they are dogs who have slipped out of an open gate, through a small gap in the fence, or even escaping after a car accident. We do our best to locate the owners by posting to message boards, calling local registries, and posting the dogs online. Sometimes they are not claimed and put up for adoption.
Italian Greyhounds have been found walking around in a half-foot or more of snow in South Dakota, when temperatures are far below zero. Others have been found running down a highway or interstate trying to get back home, with raw or blistered feet from the hot cement. We have had dogs discovered collapsed on driveways near death, or those who have been "survivors" by foraging in park campgrounds for scraps of food left behind in smoldering fires. These true stories are endless and sometimes unbelievable.