Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: South Range, WI
My opinion is this:
If you got them from a legitimate shelter/rescue or paid nothing for them to get them out of a bad situation, they are typically "rescues."
If you paid for them (and I'm not talking adoption fees to a legitimate rescue) they are not "rescues." By paying for them, you gave the former owner/breeder the funds to go out and get another animal and put it in the same bad position.
If someone wants to "save" a horse from a kill buyer that's their decision. But... do so knowing that you just gave the kill buyer money to go and buy ANOTHER horse.
If someone wants to "save" a dog from a puppy mill, they've just given the puppy mill owner more money/incentive to breed again.
If you adopt from a rescue, you've freed up a spot for them to rescue yet another animal.
It gets MORE complicated when you consider that some "rescues" actually buy their animals from puppy mills, etc. That's why it's important to do your research on any given rescue/shelter.
I have three "rescue" dogs. I don't go around saying "I rescued them" or even call them "rescues." (I'm not a huge fan of the term, but it is what it is). One of them I got from the shelter, another came from a rescue, and the third one came from a behavioral trainer who pulled him from a shelter and placed him with me.
With my horses it's more complicated. My first Arab came from a friend who got him from a bad situation (for free). He had a good home with my friend, but wasn't much more than a pasture ornament. She gave him to me and I trained him. I don't think I actually "rescued" him because he was just fine at my friends. My friend, on the other hand, DID "rescue" him. I still consider him "a rescue" because that's what he is: regardless of whether I was the first one to get him out of the bad situation. I don't go around saying "I rescued him" but if asked, I say that he was "a bit of a rescue."
With my other Arab, I broke my own rules and paid for him. I got him from what I consider to be a "horse trader" for $250.00. A client of mine bought a horse from the trader and I told them to throw the Arab in the trailer too, because I was thinking with my heart and not my head.
Apparently now this "trader" is calling themselves a rescue and I have serious doubts about that... but oh well. :(