Organizations Working to Save Abandoned Field Dogs

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Many people don’t know that there is an epidemic of abandoned hunting dogs who are left in fields, canyons, forests, and other rural areas. These dogs might have been gun-shy, or in need of more overall training. Whatever the reason, their cruel owners decided they were not worth the expense of keeping. While these irresponsible owners do not represent most hunters, their actions obviously can infuriate just about any dog lover out there.

In most cases, when abandoned dogs are discovered they will be taken to a local animal shelter. If and when a quick chip scan comes up empty, the dog is impounded. Fortunately, there are organizations that step in to help out with abandoned pets, including hunting dogs.

Organizations That Help Abandoned Dogs

Rescue organizations that specialize in helping specific breeds or specialty area, such as hunting, have volunteers who work as “dog spotters.” These are people who check out the databases of different animal shelters looking for any unclaimed dogs – nearly all breeds have rescues dedicated to them. In certain areas of the country where hunting dogs are dumped in large numbers may have some shelters that know whom to call based on breed, including English Setters, German Shorthair Pointers, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

In addition to “dog spotters”, there are also “dog transporters.” Transporters are volunteers who travel from as far as ten to twelve (if not more) hours away pick up the dogs and bring them to new, temporary digs. Most will have to reside in a foster home while they get a thumbs-up from a local vet. Getting the all-clear notice can take time. Quite often these rescued dogs are malnourished and suffering from other ailments – anything from scrapes to infections, to heartworm. Older abandoned dogs may not even have a strong enough constitution to survive. Despite valiant efforts on the parts of rescues that might be operating on a shoe-string budget, tales of heartbreak are common.

Success Stories: Abandoned to Loved

Gail Wise, the director of the Colorado-based organization All Points West German Shorthair Pointer Rescue, recently rescued two dogs named Piper and Domino. Piper was discovered as a 6-month-old puppy in an overcrowded Oklahoma shelter. Gail drove more than twenty hours to pick her up after learning about her through the rescue grapevine. Poor Piper had not been with a family for most of her short life and was frightened of most new things she encountered. Through patient fostering, she eventually grew more confident and has grown into a strong hunter. The adopting family was carefully vetted by All Points West to be sure that Piper would go to a loving home.


Gail is also quite proud of Domino, another abandoned dog from Oklahoma. Domino was found at a shelter where he was deathly ill with worms. His health was so poor that the shelter came very close to euthanizing him. Fortunately, Gail stepped in and personally fostered Domino. Domino, now completely healthy, is with a new forever family who has also shown him patience, which was needed to train him properly. Domino has demonstrated an incredible talent for hunting and is the pride of his family’s 9-year-old son.

The stories of abandoned pets are abysmal, particularly when considering how gentle these dogs are. Thanks to countless volunteers and small rescue organization efforts, some of these dogs end up with a second chance to thrive and live with loving families.

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