I won't tell you not to adopt from them - because I think we all have a responsibility to get these poor dogs out of ANY RESCUE type environment ASAP! I wish I had a mountain of money to adopt more dogs from them - not because they are great people - they are hands down ego-maniacal control freaks that should absolutely be investigate both by the IRS and ASPCA - and then shut down. But it doesn't look like they will be shut down any time soon - if you love big dogs and think they deserve a loving home, please - at least go take a look - and if you can afford to take one their dogs, do so.
Anyone who's ever met or dealt with Tracy or Burt will know immediately that they personally wrote any of the "GGR is the greatest place ever" entries with the **** ratings on this page. Just the tone and wording of all of the entries gives it away. Those of us that know them, know the truth. Unfortunately the intent is to convince those that aren't familiar with Gentle Giants to stay away or at least go in with your eyes wide open. So - my advice to you - if you are in the dark and thinking about adopting from Gentle Giants - is to read this page from top to bottom - ALONG WITH EVERY OTHER ENTRY AND BLOG ON THE INTERNET - and then go to their facility to see for yourself. I wish I had seen all of this before I went and adopted my dog from them. I probably would have taken my girl home anyway - but at least I would have been ready for the trials ahead.
Everything you read about the long drawn out process, the flaky records, the contract issues, the dog food issues, the income questions - AND ESPECIALLY THE SICK DOGS is absolutely true. The whole place IS dirty and smelly - I was raised on a ranch - and I understand there is an animal smell to be expected. But their "facility" is one of worst smelling places I've been to. Which I find is odd - since most kennels aren't bad when well maintained. "The guest bathroom" was in a separate building out back and was barely a step up from a rodeo port-a-potty in terms of cleanliness. My first instinct was to turn around and leave - but I REALLY wanted a specific dog that they had advertised on their web site.
#1 - Every dog you see on their website that is "Available for Adoption" IS A LIE! The dog MAY have been there in the past - but keep in mind nearly all of the media is a minimum of 1-2 YEARS old. Whimsy the Woodle - Faruk the Tebetin Mastiff - all of those cute little DANE and Pyrenees puppies - and the others are LONG GONE. So, if you have your heart and mind set on one of those, get ready to change it when you get there.
Now - once you get there - They have a system of bringing out 2 different sets of dogs. They first set are what they call "Greeters" - these are the full grown, friendly, well fed and adjusted animals you see on their website. THESE are THEIR dogs! Very happy and well adjusted! After everyone is "educated" on what a particular breed will look like full grown - Tracy will go through the magic side gate and come back with adoption candidates that may or may not be a variation that you are looking for. 90% of them are not "pure bred" rescues but a mix of some sort. Which, anyone that has ever thought about going the rescue route could probably really care less. Some of the dogs they brought out were friendly, if a little shy - but many (mine included) were scared to death, malnourished, smelly, w/ various sores and Injuries. To which Tracy's reply will be that because they are a rescue - they get many dogs in terrible shape - and have to work on getting them back to "happy and healthy"...ok - that's highly possible. But here's MY issue - ALL HAD DIARRHEA! - which Tracy attributed this to stress of the environment - which is plausible - but hindsight being 20/20, I know now is untrue!
When you read everyone's entries on all of the different entries and blogs all over the internet - what is the one constant? Diarrhea! I had the same issue. I'm smart enough about dogs to know that they should be calmed down and back to normal w/ in a few days-1week. 2 weeks later my beautiful "little one" still had the runs. I've since come to find out - that for the last 2 weeks - while I was following Tracy's strict regimen of keeping my adopted dog at home w/ no outside contact to help with "the bonding process" - my other dog was being exposed to GIARDIA!!!!!! After the 2 weeks was up I took my dog to my vet. I will never forgive myself for not doing this the first day. IF THERE IS ONE THING YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THIS STORY - IF YOU ADOPT FROM THEM - MAKE SURE YOU GET EVERY VET RECORD ENTRY FROM THEM AND TAKE YOUR DOG TO YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY WHEN YOU GET HOME!!!
When I adopted my dog, the only paperwork I got from Tracy was the Contract and the Rabies Cert. Tracy told me that every dog she adopts out gets a thorough wellness exam and all shots. (Which is the reason I had to come back the next day to pick up my pup) I assumed that I would be able to contact the NORCO vet to fax previous records. When I went took my pup to my vet (who I have used for both of my other 8yo dogs) she of course wanted the previous records. When we called NORCO - Guess WHAT? NO RECORD except for the rabies shot! And even the one record they had - the adoption date, name and color was right but the birth date and breed was wrong - close enough to match and assume it was the same dog...but still! And there was no record of ANY OTHER Vaccinations! When I called Tracy, she said she was "sure she had them but couldn't find them right that second because she was very busy" - but was of course happy to spend the next 20 mins telling me off the top of her head exactly what my dog was given and would email me copies later. REally? Of course I never got anything from Tracy. Anyone that has ever gone through this with her knows exactly what I am talking about. My vet was not impressed. So I basically spent another mountain of money on vet bills for all new vaccinations - and of course GIARDIA Treatment for my new dog and my other dog that was subjected to this horrible parasite. Tracy will of course say that it was probably my fault or something they got into together - but due to her "strict regimen" - it's obvious that the parasite came from the new puppy.
Oh, and on a side note - my new dog - whether @ GGR or not - SEVERELY TRAUMATIZED by the VET. Will not go anywhere near any building that even remotely smells like a vets office. Once she figured out what the parking lot of my vet smelled like - she wouldn't even get out of the car. The first 2 times I took her in I had to literally PICK Her up and Carry her! This is not an easy feat with a 65lb giant breed puppy. Since then I have had to make trips to the vet 2-3 times a week with no procedures - in order to desensitize her and help her to realize the vets office does not mean pain and suffering. We go in, walk around, get her weight, have a cookie and leave. 6 weeks later I still have to carry her in - but once we get through the door she is better. She will not go anywhere NEAR a partially open door. Anytime we go in and out of any room, the door must be fully open - my guess is that she got slammed in a door hard enough or often enough to make a bad memory.
Additionally she is scared to death of all men, some women and and will run and cringe in the corner any time you raise your hand near her, or any loud noises are made. She was obviously abused and traumatized either with Tracy or before. I'm sure Tracy will say it must have happened before....I have another separate issue with that but won't discuss it here. I am doing my best with her and we are slowly working our way to making her happy and well adjusted - every day she makes a little improvement either with me, the vet, or with visitors.
All in all - I'm NOT happy with GGR because I think they ARE VERY SKETCHY - but I am EXTREMELY HAPPY with my new baby girl. And I would adopt from them again only because as I said - NO DOG should be subjected to that environment.
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.
Disclaimer: The words written here are experiences of the author ONLY. The webmaster and owner of this site believes these statements to be true and correct, however, does not take responsibility in verifying the accuracy of these statements. The accurancy of these statements can only be made by the author of this testimony.
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Gentle Giant News
Last updated: September 2013
Discovering and Disclosing The Truth About Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions (Norco, CA)