In the beginning...
Islay Dog Rescue came to be as a result of a tragedy. Two of my dogs (Maggie and Zara) were killed just before Christmas 2010. I tried several rescue organisations with the intent to rehome one, if not two dogs, but had great difficulty in doing so. It became apparent to me that there must be many, many good homes out there, crying out for dogs to love, only to be refused by rescue organisations.
So, the seed was planted. What could I do?
My investigations led me to a website called Rescue Helpers Unite and it was there my eyes became truly opened. "Death row dogs" was very much a hidden subject, these dogs were kept right in the dark. RHU worked with pound pullers and rescues - negotiating rescue spaces for dogs who were waiting to be put to sleep in the dog pounds. This was something that didn't sit well with me so, fired up, I started Islay Dog Rescue. I wanted to save these dogs from the darkness and bring their plight into the light.
I thought if I could rescue, assess, veterinary health check, treat for parasites and neuter then perhaps I could find them permanent, loving homes. Could I? I had no idea.......it was terrifying, what if I never found suitable homes? I started small and made links with a fabulous organisation in Lancashire called Homeless Hounds. I offered a rescue space to an older, brindle, staffie cross and brought him home. What a gentleman this boy turned out to be. His name was Bruce and he was about 6 or 7 years old. Anyway, once he was assessed and neutered I decided I couldn't part with him. So in essence, I failed & went back to the drawing board. Bruce lived with me until late 2019 when we said our last goodbyes.
The next dog from Homeless Hounds was Oscar. This time he was put into foster care with my good friend Grace. She looked after him and assessed him over a period of about three weeks and then we found him a fantastic home where he was well cared for and loved to bits. Oscar lived for several years with a wonderful family in Dunoon before sadly passing away. His family returned to Islay Dog Rescue and adopted another dog.
The ball was now rolling. Since then Islay Dog Rescue have rescued many dogs from both Homeless Hounds and All Dogs Matter (based in London).
Around 2013 I was made aware of the dreadful situation of stray dogs in countries like Bosnia and Romania. A couple of my All Dogs Matter contacts became involved and, as a team, we decided to save some of these dogs. Since then we have saved the lives of many dogs from kill shelters in these countries and are proud to have done so. The conditions in these shelters can be nothing less than horrific and if Islay Dog Rescue can help then we do.
If you would like to adopt a dog from us please visit our adoption page.
The other side of rescue......
Whilst we would like to have a positive ending for all the dogs we work with, unfortunately occasionally this is not the case. We take our job very seriously and although our primary objective is to save the lives of dogs when they are at risk we also have a duty of care to other dogs and the general public. Sometimes, we take in dogs who have bite histories and work with them as best we can to find them a suitable home but very occasionally this cannot be achieved. Dogs who are deemed to be too aggressive to be rehomed safely (both for themselves or for the public) are euthanised. None of us at Islay Dog Rescue got involved in the rescue life so that we could put dogs to sleep but on top of having a duty of care to the public we must also abide by the law. We have never, and will never, claim to be a "no kill shelter" (an American term used to describe a facility that houses all dogs in a permanent kennel setting) but ultimately we do our very best.