Rescue FAQ/Frequently Asked Questions

SCWTCA Rescue takes in dogs whose homes did not work out for many different reasons. Our rescue team takes care of the dogs’ medical needs, addresses behavioral issues and assesses temperament to be sure that these Wheatens can go on to live in a safe, happy environment. SCWTCA Rescue and local affiliated Wheaten clubs are operated by volunteers who are dedicated to the SCWT; they have many years of experience with the breed and Wheaten rescue.

Our Wheaten rescues come from a variety of sources, such as local animal shelters, owner turn-ins. Some dogs are found after being lost or abandoned.

As stated above, dogs come into rescue for many reasons, but one thing that they all have in common is they do not have a good breeder who will accept responsibility for the dogs that they produce. Responsible SCWTCA member breeders will take a dog they produce back at any stage of their life and make an effort to find a new, suitable home for them. Irresponsible breeders fail to live up to their end of the bargain, don’t care what happens to their puppies once they are sold, and will normally sell a puppy to anyone who has the money to pay for the puppy…little or no questions asked.

Yes, from time to time Wheaten breeders have an older puppy or dog that is in need of a forever home.  Go to the Breeders Directory to find a breeder in your area. SCWTCA member breeders are part of an intricate breeder network and if they don’t have a dog for you they may know of another breeder that has a Wheaten ready for adoption.

Many rescues come from good homes where they were loved and cared for but were given up for reasons unrelated to the dogs themselves:  divorce, work, distress or a death in the family and sometimes a move.  Some of the rescue dogs do come from homes where they were neglected or even mistreated and some people didn’t realize the time that is needed with owning a Wheaten.  And yes, some are given up due to behavioral problems. A rescue dog ready for adoption has lived with an experienced foster person who has evaluated the dog and determined it is ready for a forever home.

It is true that most rescue dogs have some baggage. Some of them have had tough start in life and did not come through it unscathed. But most people who adopt or work with rescue dogs believe that these animals know they are given a second chance and try hard to fit in their new environment.

SCWTCA, Inc. Rescue does not take Wheatens that have bitten a human.  If an owner has a Wheaten that has bitten a human, they should immediately take the dog to their veterinarian and have them perform a complete physical examination of the dog including blood and urine work.  The vet will suggest the next course of action. Fostering or rehoming a dog who is a known biter is a liability that SCWTCA will not assume.

Yes, all of our Wheatens are pure bred Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. We do not accept mixed-breeds.

New rescue Wheatens are evaluated for health, temperament, training, and other things that might affect their ability to be successful pets. Some Wheatens come severely matted. They’re given necessary vet care and shots and bathed and groomed. They stay with the rescuer for anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Though most are ready for adoption a few weeks after coming into the rescue program, others remain several months. If the dog has been abused or neglected, he may be nervous and frightened. He must learn to trust people before he has any hope of finding a successful home. If the Wheaten was given up because of a behavior problem, this must be evaluated and addressed through training or behavior modification before someone else adopts him.

Money for rescue comes from adoption fees, donations, and rescuers’ or club members’ own pockets. SCWTCA reimburses rescuers for veterinary and out-of-the-ordinary costs, but the individual rescuers pay the day-to-day expenses. SCWTCA provided the initial start-up money of $1,400 in 1993, but Rescue has been self-supporting for many years. Expenses can be overwhelming, and we are grateful for support from the Wheaten community. We are fortunate that SCWTCA Rescue covers expenses for any Wheaten it accepts. Donations are always welcome!

SCWTCA Rescue requires an adoption fee to be paid by the adopter. Typically, it covers only a portion of our expenses to rescue and foster. Fees as of January, 2020:

  • Under 1 year of age:  $400 plus crate and shipping costs
  • 1-4 years of age:  $350 plus crate and shipping costs
  • 4-8 years of age: $300 plus crate and shipping costs
  • Senior Wheatens 9+ years of age: fee to be determined
  • Special Needs Wheatens – fee to be determined

Rescued dogs in particular should not be bred. No responsible breeder uses a dog of unknown ancestry. Rescuers see every day the misery that comes from irresponsible breeding…from placement in bad homes to genetic problems to temperament difficulties. The number of unwanted dogs euthanized every year is staggering. Rescued dogs should never be used to contribute to the very problem that often brings them to rescue.

Most owners are not equipped to handle the challenges of an intact dog. There are no significant disadvantages to neutering or spaying when weighed against the health benefits. SCWTCA Rescue never releases an intact –un-spayed or un-neutered– on an adult Wheaten.

You might think giving a home to a dog no one else wants is enough. Many people expect rescue dogs to be free. However, SCWTCA Rescue pays for the Wheaten to be spayed or neutered and will ensure that it is up-to-date on shots and does not have protein-losing diseases that affect the breed. Additionally, there are the ongoing supplies — shampoos, toys, treats, vitamins, plus the one-time costs of crates, mats, beds, grooming equipment, fencing, food and water bowls, etc. All of this comes out of the rescue organization’s budget or a club members’ personal pocket up front. Most of it will never be recovered, but if the adoption fees take care of the “big stuff,” then Rescue can take in one more dog!

Fortunately, there are few Wheatens that turn up in shelters, and when they do, it’s usually best for them to go through rescue before going into a home.

A rescue dog has usually lived in the home of a knowledgeable dog person for a few weeks or months before it’s adopted. The rescue team has several years of experience in the breed, knows the common problems — they may even know more about specific breed medical and behavioral problems than most vets, who cannot specialize in one breed. No one can predict the dog’s future or spot every problem, but Rescue is miles ahead of most places you could get a dog.

The SCWTCA Rescue committee understands the breed and they understand that many people become interested in our breed for its appearance and the fact that it does not shed making it easier on people with dog allergies. Many owners are often unpleasantly surprised when they discover that living with the breed is not at all what they expected. Wheatens are terriers! The Rescue team can advise you on whether you have what it takes to own a Wheaten. Every breed is right for someone, but no breed is right for everyone.

Your rescue dog will be up-to-date on all recommended shots, not just the legal minimum. You’ll get a shot record and as complete a health record as possible, plus recommendations for future care.

If you adopt through SCWTCA Rescue, you can call whenever you have a question or problem. And if it turns out that you can’t keep the dog, Rescue will take him back at any time. We will support you for the life of the dog, just as responsible SCWTCA members breeders do for the dogs they breed.

The Rescue team makes that decision, sometimes in consultation with a breeder or trainer. One reason SCWTCA Rescue works as well as it does is that the Rescue committee is given as much responsibility and autonomy as possible. Most important, the Rescue team makes a real effort to match an adoptee to your household. That means you’ll be asked lots of picky questions and possibly even be turned down for a particular dog — but it also means that when you do adopt, you start with a much better chance of success. Not every dog is suitable for every home. We would not place a very shy Wheaten in a noisy home with children or an energetic, boisterous dog with a frail person. The rescue Wheaten has already had at least one unsuccessful experience; his next home should be his permanent one.

You may wonder when you talk to a Wheaten breeder or rescue representative if it wouldn’t be easier to marry his/her daughter than to adopt a dog though him/her! Do you have a fenced yard? Have you had dogs before? What happened to them? Do you have children? What ages? Do you rent? Does your lease allow pets? And on, and on …

Next to having a child, getting a dog is one of the most demanding things most people do and there can be problems when people don’t realize how big a commitment it is. Because the commitment is lifelong, a dog should never be adopted on a whim … you may move on to other interests next year, but you still have a living, feeling animal who needs your love and attention as much as he did the day you brought him home.

All breeds have specific needs. For example, a Wheaten is a terrier and it must have a fenced area to run and explore. It must never be off leash except in such an area. Wheatens are not “yard dogs” and they need lots of human contact. Because of the high prey drive, they may kill other pets that run from them. The questions asked help both the rescuer and the adopter recognize possible problems in these and other areas before they develop.

Sometimes we require a home visit. You may feel a bit defensive, as if a social worker is checking on your children. Don’t be offended. These visits are just the last step in assuring that you and our rescue team has covered all the bases.

Rescue dogs are already ‘second chance’ dogs; the questions are part of an attempt to get these deserving animals into the best possible and permanent homes. Don’t hesitate to ask the reason for a question or to add information. For instance, you may live in an apartment, but near a park where you could take the dog to exercise. Most rescue organizations say they require a fenced yard, but if your last dog died at age 16 and you gave all his walks on a leash every day of his life, speak up!

In asking these questions, rescuers are not trying to be difficult; they very much want your home to be one of the success stories. Please be patient with the questions and understand that they are only asked to ensure the best for both you and the dog…to spare both of you the heartbreak of an adoption that doesn’t work.

For the same reason, you want to adopt: They love Wheatens. They are committed to the breed. As club members, it is our mission to guard against the exploitation of our breed. Helping with Rescue is a way of giving something back to the dogs and breed that have provided so much joy to us over the years.  And there is a unique sense of fulfillment in seeing a frightened, unhappy, and sometimes sick animal come into the program, gradually improve, and finally leave to become a healthy, happy, and beloved member of a very special family. All rescue workers get a lot of satisfaction from helping good dogs and good people find happiness together.

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Updated 07/23/2020