I began Rescued, by Peter Zheutlin, thinking it would be a heartwarming story of a rescued dog, the unconditional love of a dog, and the joyful, entertaining antics that only a dog can provide. In reality, it is a compilation of interviews with dog rescuers and owners of rescued dogs, plus the author’s own experience with his rescue dog, Albie, and an appeal for more people to rescue abandoned and mistreated dogs.
The book provides information about animal rescue organizations in the United States, and about kill shelters. Zheutlin states that most kill-shelters in the U.S. are in the southern states. I was upset to read this, so I researched it, and found it to be true. Unfortunately, it seems to be most common in states with smaller budgets, more poor counties, and higher rates of low-income populations, as those folks pay less or no taxes, and are unable to donate to their local Humane Societies.
Zheutlin states that, in high-kill shelters, “…nine out of every ten dogs that enter never leave”. He also states that “…the end of hunting season in Louisiana coincides with a significant spike in stray dogs” due to hunters abandoning their dogs when the season ends, especially older dogs. This is devastating information. I hope it is not true, but I fear it is.
The book discusses the ill feelings between supporters of rescue dogs versus supporters of breeders of purebred dogs. He does not, however, take a stand on the part of either, but quotes veterinarians saying they see more sickness with bred dogs than with rescue dogs, and that mixed breeds are generally healthier and of a more even temperament. Throughout the book, Zheutlin shares stories of the love of rescued animals and their appreciation for the humans who take them out of miserable, often abusive situations.