Anyone Have an Opinion on a Thing?

It’s been a year of milestones including (in chronological order) – losing my job, losing my Dad, getting married, losing a dog, changing my career, turning 50 and a family member experiencing a sudden medical emergency with an initially grave prognosis (she’s much better now, thankfully).  Naturally, I’ve been thinking a lot of thinks – about what I’ve achieved, what I haven’t, what I need to let go of, what I can still reasonably hope for, etc.  So I’ve decided to get a sportscar and a mistress.


I’ve always hoped to have a small beagle sanctuary (small as in number of dogs and small as in size of beagle).  My idea is to get the word out locally that, assuming I have space and resources, I could provide an alternative for beagle owners considering taking their dog to the pound.  I am not looking to buy dogs or adopt dogs who have other people willing to provide them homes.  Rather, I’d like to be a last resort safety net for beagles whose owners can no longer care for them for whatever reason and haven’t found a home for them for whatever reason.  Due to the popularity of the breed here, there are dogs who, for example, have been hunted and/or bred but received little vet care over the course of their lives.  When they become too old, lame, what have you, the owner might consider taking the dog to a pound.  Another example – dogs who are gun shy, won’t hunt, won’t stay with the pack, etc.  Basically if you have no home for your small beagle and are planning to take him to the pound, I’d like to provide my home as an alternative.

I have the heart and the mind to do the work and, having owned several beagles over the years, no illusions about what would be involved.  (Baying? It’s music to my ears!)  And our house is in a semi-rural setting with sufficient space to readily accommodate a group of beagles.  I’ve accumulated a fair amount of supplies over the years (plenty of bowls, buckets and basic dog stuff-n-things).  So what’s stopping me?

Well, not to put too fine a point on it but DOLLARS.  Money can’t buy me love but it can buy vet care and meds, food (which I still make 100% from scratch), Kuranda beds and replacement supplies for items which wear out (blankies, collars, toys) etc.  I’ve never been in a position to properly fund a beagle sanctuary and so for years, it’s been back-burnered, waiting on my ship to come in.  This is the year I have come to realize and accept: there is no ship.

I know many readers are rescuers, some official with a name and a designation from the IRS as a charitable organization, others simply taking in an animal in need now and then, whenever they are able.  And I know we all appreciate that most rescues and sanctuaries are in constant need of donations.  Only scam organizations like the Humane Society of the United States are paying people six figure salaries.  Most of the grunt work in the rescue world is done by – well, us grunts.

I have always valued the input I’ve received from the YesBiscuit community so I’d like to ask for your guidance now.  Should I go with my heart and try to manage a small beagle sanctuary, even if I start with just one dog and never have the means to progress or would it be sensible to let go of this dream and move on?

(Sidenote:  For those interested, I do not know when, if ever, I will return to blogging about animals being killed in shelters.  I do not feel able to do that at this time.  I have maintained the blog because I appreciate the community here and because I would like to write more consistently one day.  Possibly, if I do go with the beagle sanctuary, I may blog about that.  You know, as an inspiration/horrible warning to others.)

31 thoughts on “Anyone Have an Opinion on a Thing?

  1. We have a way of making time and resources for the things that are really important to us. Kind of like the “If you build it, they will come” sort of thing – and this sounds like this is important to you! Also sounds like it might be a good endeavor or goal to strive for – plus, as you say, there’s no ship coming in (and you’re not getting any younger)!! Even if it’s small, it will mean the world to each beagle that you rescue/foster/save! I say GO FOR IT!!

  2. Yes do it! The first step is the most important. Take that step and the path will open before you. Your mission/vision will clarify, grow and evolve. Even if you make a difference in one dog’s life it will be everything.
    Start small and follow your path one step at a time.
    Others are likely to help/donate to your mission as they share your beliefs but are unable to pursue their rescue dreams on their own. .
    8 Years ago I took the first small step. My mission grew and evolved and still is. So far in 2018 I have saved 332 animals to rescue/ adoption. This would not have been possible had I not taken that first small step.

  3. OMG, no don’t do it. It’s too hard…Oh, who am I kidding? Totally do this! But get your administrative ducks in a row first. Define the scope of your work, approach it like a business, set limits. Have a board of directors who can raise money and mind the fate of dogs in your care should anything happen to you. You will feel more confident going in with a plan. Write me for help if you like! I love the beagles, too, and I serve on a shelter board in DE. Go for it!!

  4. As one who has founded a non profit rescue and assisted others, look to your state laws first to see if you are required to hold a 501(c)3 designation and/or state or local license. I would encourage that anyway as you will attract more donors if their donations are tax deductible. Set limits of how many dogs you can properly care for; what kinds of medical or behavioral issues you can handle, have a plan for standard vet protocol, social time, exercise, cleaning (and the correct products), quarantine of all new intakes and the possibility of placing some of the dogs if the perfect home comes along. You may be able to get some assistance from the local 4H kids or scouts, even college or technical schools who teach any kind of animal care of vet tech classes. Reach out to those who can help you fundraise within the legal limits of your area. Please contact me for another possibility that may actually pay you to rescue and rehome beagles if that interests you.

  5. I would say go for it. Look into local laws to make sure you aren’t breaking them and be realistic about what you can and cannot handle. Even if you just end up with one and then can’t do another that is one dog you are helping out. Donations are tough – there is a shelter in my area that is in danger of closing down because of lack of money.

    1. That’s why marketing is SO vital! Instagram, Facebook, etc are all needed to keep the donations coming. Shelters and rescues get so very busy, it can be hard to prioritize “cute photos”, but those photos keep you in the public’s mind and encourage support.

  6. Go for it, but limit intake and do NOT get in over your head. Do not take so many dogs that you cannot afford to vet or feed them. Too many rescuers cant say no (i am guilty of that) and that is when things get hard. Also, you need a good volunteer base. You cannot do rescue alone. You need people to help with intake, adoption applications, adoption events, and most importantly- FUNDRAISING! Good Luck!

  7. I encourage you to follow your destiny, else you might regret not doing so. Fortunately, it’s scalable, so you can try it out. You’re famous enough to get donations. Just take into account how old you are—something I didn’t do.

  8. How many times have I said, “When I win the powerball I’m going to open a dog sanctuary”… too many to count. You have the space, you can start small and grow, and most importantly you know and love the breed. I love this idea!

  9. Here is a single piece of information from someone far older than you: In the end, the most painful regrets are about the dreams fear kept one from pursuing, not about the things one did. This life is a one time deal, don’t look back and wish you had.

  10. Of course! You want to, we can tell! Most of us foster so we have our household rescues but we never do the legal thing which makes more sense. You will find creative ways to fund your project!

  11. Go for the beagle sanctuary. There are not enough animal sanctuaries in the world. Besides, a red sports car and/or mistress will be much more expensive, and a lot less honest. Beagles will give you true love, though no doubt heartbreak will be a part of it too. I am sorry though that you will no longer be calling out bad shelters, they need to know that an eye is being kept on them. But it is very understandable. Best of luck to you. The beagles that will come into your care are very lucky.

  12. First of all . . . how EXCITED I was this morning to have an email from YesBiscuit!!! Oh how I’ve missed you, your advice, your wisdom and your humor!!

    I say GO FOR IT! If not now . . . when? Life is so short not to do something you truly love. “Come one . . . come all beagles” to your Heaven on earth with Shirley!

  13. I’m sorry to hear about your dad and all the other multi-layers of changes you’ve been going through but sometimes through such difficult times come the big changes and it sounds like some positive ones will be manifesting for you. I say you’ve got to follow your heart. That way there are no regrets. Putting some goodness into the world by saving Beagles sounds like a GREAT idea!

  14. I’m so sorry you’ve had such a hard time of things. Here’s hoping things are brighter now. I think….go with your heart. Even if it’s “only” one dog, it (and you) will be the world to that dog.

  15. I haven’t been on Twitter too much in quite some time. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been going through so many difficult life events. That being said…follow your heart. When someone is doing something they believe in, they find the magical superhero strength and ways to make things happen. This is for anything you want to do and if beagles are the recipients of the magic then even better.

  16. I just thought I’d check in for past comments. What a wonderful surprise!

    Me too with the advice on consideration of age – pace yourself with starting small. Get a 501 (c) (3) – you have that as an incentive (tax write off for those who can write donations off) and for those who might want to donate not only cash but food.
    I’ve been getting food, carriers, treats, animal sweaters, small pens and cleaning stuff (lots of animal related stuff) from Walmart for well over 20 years. It’s tragic the amount of waste that would have happened in only my little instance. All donations from Walmart have been for food from ripped bags otherwise it gets thrown away. It’s maybe similar across the country. Try any store not just Walmart, I had 5 sites in the beginning I could have maintained but I am only one person so I have kept up with only the one Walmart. Always be on time to pick up donations and consistent. Be quick to pick up and stay out of the employees way.

    All for now but you make friends with good people too who only want things better for the animals…that has been priceless to me.

    1. Oh, also you can ask pet stores for expired food. I got lots of donations from a high-end boutique pet store this way!

  17. Late to this discussion, but I say follow your heart (and pay attention to all of the very good advice from others more knowledgeable than I).

  18. I think it’s a wonderful idea. But (there’s always a but, isn’t there)…please check insurance requirements and costs. People, property, dogs…all have to be covered to some extent and if you think fundraising for vet care/food/supplies is tough, wait til you mention insurance/administrative costs 😞

    1. To be clear, this is an old post and, although I would love for circumstances to allow it, rescuing is not something I can do in a conscientious manner at this time. I will probably always be an unofficial rescuer of animals in need

      1. (sorry, accidentally cut myself off) … from time to time like many of you, but it doesn’t look like any sort of official operation is in the cards for me. But I very much appreciate the comments and support from everyone here.

  19. As someone who ran a rescue and now is just volunteer, I can tell you that you need A LOT of MONEY to do rescue. Vet bills will kill a small rescue, I have seen it many times. Or, you get in over your head and have sheds full of dogs in crates that get little social interaction. Rescue is exhausting and never ending. You also have to spend a lot of time on FUNDRAISING, which takes time away from the animals. Volunteers say they will help, but things happen. Best thing to do is to rescue ONE AT A TIME, but be aware that people return dogs more than you think they would. Life circumstance changes. Better to support your local humane society so that it can grow and take in more animals. Get involved in changing laws in your city, county and state.

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