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Update by user Oct 09, 2011

Original review posted by user Sep 20, 2011

I am a long time German Shepherd owner, often adopting rescue dogs with "baggage" because I love to watch them blossom. I recently adopted just such a dog from Westside, an adorable little timid girl who needed supportive socialization. She also needed to be treated for a variety of medical problems, brought up to a normal weight and have her blood work normalize. All of this came out of pocket (no problem there). She quickly found her way into our hearts.

Our little dog was also not spayed when we adopted her (which I agreed to pay for out of pocket). As her spay deadline approached our vet was unwilling to spay her because she was still in recovery mode. The following month there was a freak accident where she injured all four paws, our vet agreed that it was inappropriate to spay until her feet healed. Then she went into heat.

Anyone with any experience in dogs will tell you that spaying while a dog is in heat is inappropriate if it is possible to wait and allow time for the dog's reproductive system to return to pre-heat condition. Our little girl was confined during her heat and as expected, did not become pregnant. Our vet felt 6-8 weeks would be an appropriate time frame post heat for optimal long-term health. Westside balked, apparently the health of this little dog didn't matter as long as they could check off the "we spayed her" box.

As her next spay date neared, our girl, along with 2 other dogs in her obedience class got kennel cough. The head of Westside called 3 well-respected vets who had hands-on knowledge of her illness liars and demanded that we spay our sick dog immediately or return her to Westside. I could not believe what I was hearing.

Westside further layed on the guilt trip accusing me of causing the death of dogs because Westside's ability to pull dogs from the shelter was allegedly being suspended. A call to the head of the sheltering system assured me that no such threat was made to Westside. We had obtained valid, overlapping veterinary deferrals which we passed on to the shelter in question (as well as many phone conversations with the very nice man who heads the shelter), yet Westside expected us to submit our little dog to major abdominal surgery at times when it was not in the best interest of her long-term health to do so.

Apparently Westside knows so little about dogs that they do not understand that our girl is unable to become pregnant until she goes into heat again, sometime in the next 4-6 months. Which begs the question, why the rush to meet an arbitrary timeline? To yank a naturally timid dog from its secure home and shove it into the cold concrete runs behind a damp beach vet hospital is not an appropriate solution as that course of action would not be in her best interest health wise, stress wise and would set our little girl's behavioral rehabilitation back many, many steps - if Westside ever allowed us to have her back, which we doubted.

Our little girl was spayed, before her regular vet recommended it, by a high-end ($$$) surgical center experienced in working with sick dogs for one reason only - to prevent Westside from taking her and placing her in a far worse situation in order to check a freakin' box on a form. I tried to be honest and forthright with both Westside and the shelter she was pulled from. The shelter director understood, Westside chose a different path. I would never consider adopting from them again.

Updated 09-17-11 because of the hate mail I received from a supporter of Westside. I have absolutely no complaints about my beautiful little dog. She is a joy to be around and we are working through her issues as they come up. She has made a great deal of progress and I am so very proud of her. I can't wait to see what our future together holds. My complaint, is with certain individuals at the top level of management of this rescue who seem to have absolutely no problem jeopardizing a dog's physical or emotional health in order to force elective surgery on a dog not yet recovered from illness to meet an artificial timetable. I've had 6 rescue GSDs, and fostered a couple dozen dogs and puppies. I've rehabilitated dogs with behavioral issues, the kind that take more than time to heal. The kind that take a plan. MOST BUSINESSES do not treat their customers like this or they would quickly find themselves out of business. I've dealt with 4 other local GSD rescues and found all of them to be caring and professional. Problems do happen and most rescues are very good at addressing them, but NEVER, in all my decades of experience with rescue here and out of state, have I been treated as unprofessionally as I have by the management of Westside German Shepherd Rescue. WGSR has not bothered to even acknowledge that they received our dog's spay cert, despite being asked. They have also not withdrawn their demand that we return our precious little angel to them. Buyer beware.

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Get a vaccine for kennel cough before you take your dog to any multiple dog situation. It's easy, cheap, and worth it.

to kimzgoomail Lancaster, California, United States #944344

Once the upper respiratory issues that she came with cleared up, she did receive a kennel cough vaccine prior to attending training sessions. She got kennel cough anyway.

The vaccine is no guarantee that your dog won't catch kennel cough because much like the flu vaccine, the kennel cough vaccine does not immunize against all forms of the disease. Two other dogs in that same class, who were also vaccinated, also came down with kennel cough at the same time.

Los Angeles, California, United States #923258

when dealing with the Westside German Shepherd Rescue, I have found that the people to answer the phone are rarely the people they can solve the problems. There are two ladies which this organization was founded by who are very hands on and very attentive to the dogs and to the potential adopters.

Of course there is a bureaucracy with all rescue centers due to the laws currently in place. If you want to make a complaint, you should make it to your state legislator. In this case it would be California.

I got my GSD 2 years ago and she is the most wonderful dog I could ever wish for. I filled out my application online for pre-approval and I also signed out first as a foster parent.

I fostered my dog for 4 months and then adopted her.

the shelter not only helped me with the vet bill and the adoption fee but also provided many extras that are too numerous to list here. I am very happy that I got my dog from Westside. They do not take on more dogs than they can handle at one time and they do their best to rotate stock in and out. They do it as you mainly as possible and many of the volunteers have been there for years.

the worst part of the experience was dealing with some of the people who answered the phone but never the founders of the organization.

Is it possible that there was simply miscommunication or that you did not deal with the right people, but rather underlings who we're probably new volunteers but I can only say for those of you who had a negative experience, that I hope that your dogs made up for any of the inconvenience and that they now have a good home and a deserving home and that they will be taken care of until the day either you or they pass on.

I give this organization top marks as they only handle about thirty-five dogs at a time at their new location. At their old location on the west side they were able to handle 60 dogs because the facility had custom rooms for about 10 dogs per room and the place was very clean.

if I ever have to get another dog in my lifetime, they are the first organization I will go to and they are probably the last as well because I am aware of the organizational problems that I learned getting my first dog and know how to deal with people to get things through such as paperwork and the final adoption.

Davenport, Iowa, United States #669748

I absolutely hate it when rescues insist on the spay/neuter of ill dogs! :roll


Sometimes it helps to give them signed papers from the vet saying why she can't be spayed. We did have an in heat female spayed, and it was just fine. But Sheba was a healthy dog.


I'm so glad that you took the time to let people know about this awful "rescue". This place will ship dogs sight unseen all over the country to anyone with a credit card, just like a puppy mill.

As a former volunteer, I have seen first hand how the dogs are treated like nothing more than merchandise and the people who buy them are called terrible people when the lies they were told about their dog are discovered. That's why I no longer volunteer for them, and all of my friends who used to volunteer here have also quit.

to I used to volunteer here. Ventura, California, United States #909704

Current Volunteer

Yes, I'm a current volunteer and foster parent. I have been a volunteer for Westside for over two years.

To say that WGSR ships dogs all over the country sight unseen ? That could not be further than the truth. All adoptive parents are screened and homes are verified. As far as puppies I foster the poor sick ones that were left at the kill shelter because they got parvo.

WGSR pays for their medical and saves their life.

WGSR does not ship any dog under a year any where.

to I used to volunteer here. #1471055

Yes they do ship sight unseen and extremely ill dogs. We received a beautiful boy who we have spent over $1000.

In. He was put in a van and sent 24 hours away.

We are trying to save him.... hoping we can..

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