The Disc-Connected K9s began rescuing dogs in 1992. Our first rescued dog was Allie, a Border Collie/Lab mix. Since that time, we have rescued, covered veterinary costs, trained basic obedience (when necessary) taught disc (Frisbee) skills, and then qualified and adopted these dogs into new homes. Through all these years, hundreds of dogs and countless hours of training, we have never once ever charged anyone one cent of money. Our program is 100% free for everyone involved in our program.
All of our current performing dogs are rescued; meaning they have all come from either homeless, sheltered, rescued, adopted or abandoned backgrounds. We make the determination (and have all most stayed true) about whether or not we are personally going to keep a dog, or process them through our program and find them new homes. With few exceptions, this has been successful for us; with very few regrets. There have been a couple of dogs that we adopted out and then they turned out to be the most amazing disc dogs; and then we have had a few that for whatever reason, even though they were great disc dogs, we were unable to keep them personally. In all cases though, we have to do what is best for each dog and his future. To that goal, we feel we have been very successful.
What Type of Dogs Do We Rescue?
We typically specialize in the working breeds; i.e. Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Australian Cattle Dogs, Jack Russells and hyper-active mixed breeds. The more a dog is bouncing off the wall, the better candidates they make for our program. We also usually do not accept dogs into our program that are over two years of age. While we prefer the dogs to be either neutered or spayed, this does not preclude them from being accepted. Additionally, we do ask that all current Vet records be provided so that we may provide them for our sponsoring Vet Hospital (Coastal Veterinary Hospital).
How Do We Determine if We Take A Dog?
We do an evaluation on each dog prior to agreeing to accept them. This evaluation is free of charge and normally takes place on our property. Our thought process is that if we evaluate the candidates in a place not familiar to them, it allows us to see how quickly the dog is able to overcome new surroundings, determine their level of focus in new surroundings, and any level of aggression toward other dogs in a strange environment. We will evaluate a dog at a performing venue if we are on the road, but insist on the dogs coming to our home if the candidate is local to the Jacksonville area.
Each evaluation takes about an hour to complete and the current owners are welcome to watch the entire process. Besides the above characteristics, we are also interested in learning about the dogs overall temperament, health, dominance, friendliness to strangers, comfort of prodding (i.e. ears, teeth, webbing of their paws, etc..) level of drive on moving objects (balls and discs) athleticism, eye mouth coordination, etc.
The evaluation affords us to come to one of three conclusions:
- We will take the dog into our program immediately. The dog may, or may not stay in our home permanently, but we recognize the dog as being an awesome candidate and agree that we will work with them. We do however predicate this decision based upon the dog passing a physical by Coastal Veterinary Hospital ASAP, usually within 48 hours of the evaluation.
- We recognize the dog as a great candidate, but don’t have an open slot for them either in our home, or a foster home. Usually, this is determined in conjunction with the situation of the dog’s current home life. If the family is able to keep him for an additional period of time, then we ask them to hold on to them until we find a place for them. Again, this is preferred rather than asking a dog to bounce from home to home while we are making room for them. Again, this would all be finalized upon the same above mentioned physical by Coastal Veterinary Hospital.
- For whatever reason comes out of the evaluation, we are unable to accept them into our program. This in no way means they are not great dogs, it is just that knowing our program, the type of dogs people come to expect from us, and the level of training we specialize in, that we don’t see them as being good candidates for our specialty. Additionally, we may offer to network the dog through our contacts and help to find a less working environment than what we normally address, but this would also require the dog to remain in its current home while trying to find a new home for them.
What is the Fee for Adopting Each Dog?
We do not charge an adoption fee, either upon bringing them into our program, or placing them into their forever home. Donations however, are always accepted and appreciated.
How Long Do We Work With Each Dog?
A lot of this has to do with the dog’s age, behavior traits/skills, physical development, prey drive, and disc skills. Typically, dogs spend anywhere from 3 -12 months in our program prior to placement.
Working with young dogs is different than adult dogs for a lot of reasons: mental maturity, physical development (muscular and bone plate growth) learning ability, achieved learning platform/base, attention span, void of a lot of negatively learned habits, strength and endurance, etc. Typically, a young dog will be heavier on obedience training and very little disc training in the beginning. The disc actually becomes a reward for learned behaviors in young dogs, more so than treats in a lot of high prey drive dogs. So, getting a solid obedience platform, proper physical structure/strength, developed eye/mouth coordination, etc.. is our focus in younger dogs.
Mature dogs, (over a year) with minimal behavioral issues, usually get 2-3 disc training sessions per day. Early in the day sessions are earmarked with teaching new tricks/behaviors; mid-day training centers around the already learned moves/routine; and evening sessions are usually devoted to teaching them to play distance. It is goal to have a well rounded disc dog by the time we find them their forever home.
How Can Someone Adopt One of Our Dogs?
As you can see, we do not put pictures of currently available dogs on our site. (Placing pictures of dogs that have been adopted is so we can share success stories) There are a couple of reasons for this;
- Most people adopt dogs for one of two reasons; they are familiar with the breed, or they think the puppy/dog is cute. Neither of which is a good idea for such a lifelong commitment.
- It is an arduous task to constantly update the photos of available dogs, remove the ones that have been fortunate enough to find homes and keep the information up to the minute. There is nothing more disheartening than going to a web site and seeing a dog that you think would be perfect for you only to learn that they were adopted out two months ago.
So, exactly how does our process work? Our process is different from most Humane Societies. We have these dogs living with us around the clock for months at a time and we learn their good points, moods, likes, dislikes, personalities, etc… So, we tend to think that when we match a dog up with a human/family, that we have been able to qualify the dog much more so, and that the success of a happy forever friendship is far greater.
We tend to think of this process as “MATCH.DOG”. We ask people to send us (via email) the prototype of exactly what characteristics they would have in their “PERFECT” dog. Some things we like for people to include are:
- Age (less than a year, or older than a year)
- Specific Breed (Border Collie, Aust. Shepherd, ACD, Mixed Breed)
- Approximate Size (either height or weight)
- Indoor or Outdoor dog
- Will there be other dogs living with this dog
- How about cats in the household
- Will the dog live with children? If so, what are their ages?
- Fenced in yard?
- What are you going to do with the dog? Run, bike, agility, Frisbee, flyball, heard, etc..
- Do you travel a lot? By car, RV, Plane, etc..
- Do you have a pool? Pond? Live near the ocean?
- Do you believe in crate training (all of our program dogs are crate trained)
- Does the dog have to vote Republican or Democrat?
And anything else that you might think would be important for us to know to match the correct dog with you and/or your family.
We then take that criterion and put you on a list of potential candidates. Depending upon all the characteristics that you shared with us, how many people are in front of you with similar requests, how long a dog has been in our program and what dogs are available determines how long you might have to wait for your new best friend. Some folks have been able to get a dog from us almost immediately, and then some have waited for up to six to eight months for the right canine companion. Once we have notified you that we have a potential match for you, we then schedule a meet and greet for you and the dog. Depending on how that meeting goes determines whether or not a dog gets placed. (The final decision does rest on us.) The meet and greet is just as important for you to determine whether the dog is right for you and your family as it is for us to observe the dog and make sure that they think you are a correct fit for them.
If all works out and both of you think it is the right fit, we then make preparations for the dog to come to your home. If for some reason, it is determined that this dog is not the correct one for you, then the dog is given an opportunity to be reviewed by the next candidates on the list. You however, do stay at the top of the list and get the first opportunity on the next dog.
Once the dog comes to your home, we suggest that you have your vet perform a thorough physical examination. This if for two reasons; first, is to make sure that we and our vet, have not overlooked a physical issue, or that something developed after our vet did the examination; second, it allows your vet to become familiar with your new family member immediately and have records on them in case an emergency develops any time in the future. If the vet passes your new family member with a clean bill of health, then you will be able to have more peace of mind that you have brought a healthy, intelligent and happy new friend into your life.
Last, but not least, while we all enter into these decisions with a life-long commitment in mind, we know that not everything is always going to work out. If something happens any time in the future that forces you to make a decision that the dog you rescued from us can no longer be in your lives; then you are contractually obligated to return the dog to us, as opposed to finding an alternative home on your own for them.
Now That You Have Adopted, What is Next?
There are endless possibilities where you go next with your new best friend. A lot of this is going to depend on what type of dog you adopt, what their interests are, what you had in mind for them, and what your inherent skill sets are for that plan. In the Jacksonville area there are professional dog trainers, professional agility competitors and trainers, flyball enthusiasts, dog parks, and a whole host of other canine related groups and activities. A good source to start your research within is the magazine “Pawsitive Life” published quarterly and available on either a subscription basis or from a host of other dog related/friendly establishments in the Jacksonville area. For other options/opportunities, feel free to inquire and we will point you in the correct direction.
For those of you wanting to continue to enhance your Frisbee skills and your dogs too, we offer classes at the introductory, intermediate and advanced level. Normally, our intro class is not offered on an individual basis, but we will make exceptions under certain circumstances. (Our intermediate and advanced training is normally done on a one on one basis.) Beginning classes are normally held beginning the end of November each year and finish up by the end of January. Please speak to us personally about your interest and we will try to accommodate you.