Julie's Adoption Testimony with Gentle Giants
By: Julie Hydro
May 28, 2005 

I am writing to inform you about my experience adopting from Gentle Giants Rescue in Norco CA.

I am not exactly sure of the date I adopted but it was approximately three years ago. Every dog that was seen was thin to bordering on malnourished. Ribs, vertebrae, pelvic bones showing on all of them.  Various excuses were given, from the ridiculous, "the veterinarian recommends this dog be kept thin", to the plausible, "we just got it in". They all smelled horrible, and had various wounds on them. After hours (a nightmare in itself) of viewing different dogs a nine month old neutered male dane was selected. My veterinarian also adopted a female dane at the same time. (As a side note their dane has killed one cat, attacked another, taken out the eye of a toy poodle, and attacked two elderly cockers with wounds extending almost all the way around their necks. While they are not the get involved type I imagine they would certify to this if called to. This dog also was `cat tested`) We had been told the adoption fee was 250.00 dollars for each dog on the phone and to bring cash only. We were then told after driving eight hours there that the adoptions were 500.00 each because we were getting `highly desired colors'. When we complained they said that they would cut a break of 100.00 dollars off each dog since we were getting two.

Incidentally I would estimate that there were at least one hundred dogs total on the property and in the house. As a former show dog breeder and handler I have had as many as thirty dogs myself, so I know what a lot of dogs running together looks like. This was when they were adopting only danes and dane mixes. With the 20 something-other breeds I can only imagine how many over their 50-dog limit they are.

When we came home with the dog and into the house, he immediately picked up my 16-year-old cat in his mouth. He didn't attack him or shake him but went down to sniff and came up with the cat in his mouth. He had supposedly been `cat tested'. Fortunately my cat was very dog savvy and didn't react in any way, we had a lead on the dog and were able to control him and get the cat out, but it wasn't the end of the cat issues with the dog. He finally learned to co-exist with my cat, however he did attack another cat and sent it to the vet for sutures. I called Tracy Ward to question her about this and the first of many (what I can only assume were) lies began. She had originally said the dog was turned into rescue for knocking down an old frail grandfather in the home. The story now turned to the dog had fixated on a pregnant goat in his previous house and that's why he was turned in. I don't remember what the third story was. She also finally admitted this was his fourth time back to the rescue (she had never mentioned that before) and that gee yes he might have had issues with cats, but she wasn`t  sure. Going away from fact here and going on assumption, perhaps the reason the dog was returned so often was because the truth was never told and the owner's never got what was expected. That should be the number one priority of a good rescue, one that matches an owner with the dog, not to dump the dog on the first person in the door with cash.

He was also very aggressive with my other dogs and sent one for several major lacerations requiring multiple sutures and gave him a permanent cervical vertebra injury. I refused to turn the poor thing back into the Ward's `rescue'. It was clear that the only thing they cared about was the money and finding any home.

In addition when I got him home, he had a very bad case of pneumonia, it likely started out as kennel cough as the other dog adopted had it too. He was a really sick pup. So skinny to begin with, he lost even more weight. I would estimate he weighed about a hundred pounds when I got him and he was 150 at optimal weight. I also was given a rabies certificate that stated the rabies vaccination was given nine months before the dog was supposedly even born. Take that for what it is, but clearly not the certificate for the dog that I adopted. Despite asking at least three times, I never received a correct certificate or any proof of other vaccinations for him.

Injecting a little personal opinion here, and again going away from what I know as fact, from what I can see they are now running a brokerage. A 501-non profit, and they still only want cash for the first 400 dollars (fact stated on their website), they are charging up to 1000.00 dollars for certain dogs. They are getting borzoi puppies from a breeder in Texas (also on their website and proud of it apparently). Is that rescue? I would have to guess with the amount of dogs they state are available on their website, that there are close to 200 animal's maybe? I don't know for sure, but there are approximately 30 breeds listed and they state they have several in each breed, almost any age, size and color available. Do the math.

Julie Hydro

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This comment is from individual person voicing his/her opinion and warning about Gentle Giants, based on what he/she has  personally encountered with Gentle Giants.

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