Helping Herders Rescue gives these special dogs lifelong homes

Anyone who’s ever worked with animal rescue and foster programs knows it takes a constant commitment and true dedication to finding the best homes for pets every day. We caught up with the founders of Helping Herders Rescue to learn more about how they got started, why herding dog breeds need a particular type of environment to thrive, and how anyone can help in the ongoing work to match dogs with the right homes.

How did Helping Herders start?

Two strangers, gals who know and love herding breeds, were separately realizing the need for herder-savvy folks to help get abandoned herders into the right homes. These two strangers started to independently rescue and rehome these dogs from their own homes.

As fate would have it, in 2016 they met. After all, there aren’t that many people rescuing herders! Linda and Lori decided that they could save even more if they joined forces. So they did just that, and Helping Herders Rescue was born.

What do you wish the public knew?

Herders aren’t for everyone. We find that homes who treat their dogs like respected partners, not like pets, tend to do better with herders. These homes think of their dogs as a full-time job, recognize the dog’s need for a lot of structure and mental stimulation, and don’t think their dog should have to be friendly with everyone. People who want a really nice dog who will be wonderful after an obedience class or two and a bit of play time each day tend to be overwhelmed with herders.

What has been the hardest challenge?

Saying no. Sometimes rescue is like triage. We have to make room for those with the greatest need and send our best wishes for those we can’t help. It’s incredibly hard to see a dog in need and not have room to bring that dog into a foster home. We wish that there were fewer surprise litters, and more dogs spayed and neutered.

What is most rewarding about rescue?

Do we have to pick one thing? There really are two absolutely amazing things about rescue.

First, we have the most incredible support for what we do. Our donors and our foster families open up their hearts and resources to help these dogs who likely would have no other champions. Our amazing band of herder fans are who make it possible. We are extremely grateful that they want to help.

Second, making a great match between a dog and an adopter makes our hearts soar. We truly believe it’s about getting the right fit. Not every dog will be right just because an adopter is a great dog home. It has to be the right home for that particular dog. So, when we get that match right, and especially when we get updates days, months, and even years later, we are fueled to keep going.

How can someone help?

Like many nonprofits, lending a hand is a help. For us, donations for our dogs help a lot. We have no paid staff, so every dollar goes directly to a dog in need whether that is for medical care, daily upkeep, or such.

Also, if there are people in Southern California who know about herders and are able to open their homes to foster a dog for however long it takes to get that dog the right home, that can help.

Also, please remember that there are a lot of other amazing animal rescues out there. There are also dogs in need in shelters. Look to see what reputable groups are in your area and ask them how you can help. Some need help walking dogs, gathering blankets and bedding, providing food, and with general fundraising. Any dog in the right home is one more dog happily situated for life.