September 2015                                                                        


GSP logo



It's that time of year! Time for our annual fundraisers -- to raise money for our needy dogs, and to give you something fun in return for your kind donations!

Our first fundraiser is under way. Our annual calendar contest! Enter your favorite picture(s) of a German Shorthaired Pointer and get the chance to vote your picture(s) into a winning spot in our 2016 calendar!

In November, we'll hold our annual Christmas wreath sale with wreaths shipped to you in early December. And in December, we'll hold an online auction with items such as gift cards, gift baskets and other interesting items.

So get your dog's photo in our annual Christmas calendar, get a fragrant wreath for your front door, and do some Christmas shopping without ever leaving the house, all to benefit GSP Rescue New England. Now what could be better?!

Happy Fall!

and Michele
GSP Rescue NE Board of Directors 

GSP Rescue New England is holding its annual calendar contest!

Drop what you're doing and hunt down those great pictures of your shorthair. This 2016 wall calendar will be chock full of all your favorite GSPs! On each page, there will be pictures of dogs that have either moved through rescue or are owned by many of the folks you know either in person or maybe from Facebook.

You will be able to enter pictures of your own dogs and vote on pictures of other GSPs owned by friends of GSP Rescue NE. 
The donation to enter a picture will be $10.  All proceeds will go directly to the care and rehoming of our needy dogs.

Dates You Need to Know:
All picture submissions must be in hand by
Saturday, October 10th.
Submit your pictures as attachments to an email (NOT in the body of an email) with the resolution and size as discussed below by clicking:  calendar contest.

Pictures will be posted from

Two votes will cost $1. Voting guidelines will be posted with the pictures.


Info about size and resolution you need to know!

About Size:
Send your pictures as large as you can with a 
minimum of 300 DPI resolution so they can be posted at the top of each month. There will be more than one picture for each month so feel free to submit as many as you like. 

About image resolution:
***The resolution of your photos affects how sharply they appear when printed. Ideally, you want images that contain at least 300 pixels per inch.
The bigger the better!

Payment Info:
You may pay via paypal using our donate button on our site or mail a check payable to GSP Rescue NE, PO Box 5731, Wakefield, RI 02880.  Please let us know when you submit your photos which method you used. It would be helpful to tell us your dog's name too! 

Helpful Hints:

***Understand that images from a web site such as Facebook or your cell phone are rarely good enough. 

***When taking photos, try to use at least a 4 Mega Pixel camera and be sure to set the file size the highest you can (for a 4 Mega Pixel camera the highest setting will be 4.0). Use the camera's highest file setting.
Send us your beautiful GSP pictures ASAP!!!
If you have any questions about the contest please
Good luck and we look forward to seeing all those wonderful dogs in action! 


Tom Yukna, 70, of Portsmouth, RI, a longtime supporter and volunteer of GSP Rescue NE, died on Aug. 12. Tom was a talented man, creating GSP Rescue NE's annual video of all dogs adopted during the year, driving transports, evaluating dogs and potential adopters. Our sympathies to Tom's family and friends left behind.






If there is anything harder than euthanizing a beloved dog for serious behavioral problems, I don't know what it is. And yet, sometimes, that is an option that dog owners have to consider. These were some of the hardest cases I worked with when I was seeing clients full time. I would drive home, sick at heart, and wonder why the hell I hadn't found an easier way to make a living. Often I'd run into people who would say "Oh! What a wonderful job you have!", no doubt envisioning me spending my days running through fields of daisies with Golden Retriever puppies. 


As hard as it is to talk to clients about whether to put down an aggressive dog, it is nothing compared to what the owners are going through. Euthanizing a physically healthy dog, one who is joyful and loving part of the time, is surely the hardest thing a dog lover has to face. My intention here is to help people considering the option of whether to put down a dog who is seriously aggressive, in hopes that I can provide some guidance.


 I'll get the conversation started, but I greatly value the input of you as a reader, if you have any to share. Let me start by asking that we agree on a definition of "canine aggression." For the sake of our discussion, let's define aggression as an action in which a person is either injured or at clear risk of being injured by a dog. We all know that a great deal of what is labeled as "aggression" is defensive behavior, but for the sake of our discussion, let's focus on consequences, and not what we think is the dog's intent.


First and Foremost: It is No One's Decision But Your Own: This is both a blessing and a curse. Clients often asked me "What would you do if it was your dog?" I can never answer that question, because I'm not the one who will have to lie in bed at night thinking about what has happened. What I can do is start by sympathizing, and saying that I am so, so sorry that anyone is in the position of having to consider putting down a physically healthy dog because of a serious behavioral problem. It is exhausting, heartbreaking and terrifying. When I talk to people in this situation I emphasize how important it is to be kind and compassionate toward themselves, as if they were facing a serious illness. Their brain thinks they are. I ask them to surround themselves with good friends who are truly supportive, and to shake off any harsh judgements or unhelpful advice as best they can.


Usually conversations about serious behavioral problems include three primary options for dealing with all serious behavioral problems: 1) Keep the dog and work with a trainer or behaviorist to mitigate or manage the problem, 2) re-home the dog if it can be done safely and responsibly, and 3) euthanize the dog. Needless to say, option three should only be considered if options one and two are not viable. But how do you consider if they are or are not? Here are criteria that I suggest everyone consider:


1. Risk Assessment: No one begins a conversation about whether their dog should be put down for aggressive behavior if there haven't been several incidents (or one horrifically serious one). And every dog owner has to know that if "it," the aggression, happened once, it might happen again. That is true even if the dog is carefully managed and the owners work hard on a treatment plan. The question is, what is "it"? What are the consequences if "it" happens again? I was once called by a public health employee about a case in which a dog had damaged someone's face so badly it required 400+ stitches to repair. The dog had then been given away to someone else, and ended up mutilating a child's face, arm and shoulder. Would it be possible, I was asked, to work with the dog and make it safe? Yes, perhaps... anything is possible. But there is always a risk that it might happen again, and in this case, "it" was a horrific injury to an innocent person. Who would be willing to risk that kind of damage to another person. Of course, a seriously dangerous dog could live in a cage with extremely limited social contact, but that brings up the issue of quality of life (which I'll discuss later on in this piece).


On the other hand, if "it" happening again means that your dog has growled at someone, then you might be in a very different conversation. Growls and snaps to people aren't acceptable either, but just because a dog growls at the delivery man when she's ten months old doesn't mean she is going to be a dangerous dog. There are lots of dogs who can be turned around, or at least managed, as long as the owners acknowledge that the behavior needs addressing, and can find good advice about how to do so.

Thus, anyone in a conversation about euthanizing an "aggressive" dog has got to ask themselves two risk-related questions: First, if the injury was to another person, what risk does your dog pose to others? How would you feel if your dog put someone in the hospital? Second, what are the consequences to you?  What is your legal risk if there is another incident? Are you willing to lose your home owner's insurance? Defend yourself in a lawsuit? If the bite was to you, can you spend a year healing your hand from a bad bite that keeps you from writing, or playing the violin as a musician? In addition, and essentially, everyone has a different tolerance for risk. Can you live in health knowing that your dog might badly injure someone if you forget to lock a door? Some people are fine with a background level of risk, and in addition have little trouble following a rigid routine to keep things safe. Others aren't. Owners have to ask themselves which category they fall into.


 2. Do you have the resources required to a) manage the dog so that everyone stays safe, and b) work on a treatment plan? Loving a dog is not the same as having the knowledge or logistical ability to treat a serious behavioral problem. Love, I'm afraid, is not always "all you need." I have seen innumerable clients who loved their dog, but who simply didn't have the emotional or logistical ability to manage and treat a serious aggression problem. As much as I want to help save as many dogs as I can (my training business was named "Dog's Best Friend" after all), I feel tremendous empathy for people who, through no fault of their own, simply can't cope anymore. Perhaps they have been living in fear of their dog for years and are emotionally exhausted. I saw hundreds of people in that category: women who were terrified that their dog would turn on them with no warning, as it had in the past; men who lived in fear that their dog would bite another neighbor and the lawsuit would destroy a lifetime of hard work. It is easy for some to dismiss such people, and argue that they themselves would never give up on a dog, no matter what the dog had done. But be careful of making judgments here: I have seen people whose lives were almost destroyed because of an aggressive dog. People who hadn't had company for over a decade and whose marriages were on the rocks (or over) because of it. A woman whose dog stalked her through the house and held her hostage in the upstairs bedroom at midnight while I and a colleague drove up outside to capture the dog and save her. One of my clients stitched up a long, serious bite wound in fear that getting medical care would force her to consider not keeping her dog.


3.  Can the dog be re-homed? Aggression is often context specific, and if it is triggered by predictable, and manageable stimuli, then the dog might indeed be able to be re-homed. Perhaps the dog is only dangerous around children, and the current owner has three young ones. A home might be found that doesn't include children. BUT... and this is crucial: Just because the new owners don't have young children doesn't mean the dog won't be exposed to them. What about neighborhood walks? What about visiting grandchildren? This scenario can work, I've seen it work many a time, but the new owners absolutely have to be clear that no, just because the dog seems so sweet to them doesn't mean it will be equally sweet to children. The new owners must understand that the dog has to learn to go into a crate, in a closed room, if kids come to visit. Perhaps the dog only goes outside into the backyard instead of being leash-walked in a neighborhood with children. All these details depend on the facts of the case, but what never varies is that responsible re-homing is dependent upon the risk assessment discussed above, and an objective, clear-eyed evaluation of what is required to keep people safe around the dog.


Free to a good home in the country? Oh, how often I have heard that. Yes, it is true that some dogs do much better outside of a neighborhood or city environment. I have had numerous cases of dogs who thrived in a different setting than the one in which the aggression occurred. However,  you must keep this in mind: People who live in the country are not hermits. We have visitors of all age, shapes and sizes. We have delivery men who pull up in noisy trucks and leave as soon as the dog barks, often more than city dwellers. We have hay delivered, the LP tank filled, and the meter read. We have feral cats and wanderings dogs who show up when you least expect them and have no time to cope. Thus, yes, there are some cases in which dogs can be safe and happy in a rural setting instead of an urban or suburban one. But it is not a panacea, and the details of the case are crucial to making it work, or not.


Is there another home out there? This can be the heart breaker. Just because it is possible for a dog to be rehabilitated in a specific type of environment doesn't mean that it is available. How many people can cope with a dog who has a history of serious aggression to people? How many prospective owners have the skills and a life that makes it possible for them to do so? Finances must also be considered. Any aggressive dog should have extensive veterinary work to ensure that illness or pain isn't causing the behavior. In addition, working with a trainer or behaviorist can be expensive. There are indeed people who are able and qualified to take on a dangerous dog-some of whom read this blog, bless them. I have taken on a few dogs in my own home myself. But there simply aren't enough people out there who are willing and able to take on an aggressive dog, and the number of dogs who need a new home far, far out number the homes available to them.


4. Quality of life for the dog. What about the dog? I've worked with dogs so fearful of ___  (fill in the blanks) that they were clearly suffering for much of their life. What of the dog whose only joy in life is going to the dog park, but is dangerous around any and all strangers? What of the dogs who have unpredictable aggressive episodes that may or may not be reflective of some kind of untreatable electrical storm in their brain? The question about quality of life for dogs with serious behavioral problems is just as important as it is for dogs with physical problems. (See here for a great blog about when to put down a sick or old dog.) This is another question that only the owners can answer, but in this case it is important to get an objective opinion. I'd advise someone who comes into your home and observes the dog there. Behavior at home isn't always obvious when a dog is outside of the house, so try to have your friends or a behaviorist, veterinarian or trainer help you here.


I want to circle back to where I started: Yes, of course, there are people who have dogs euthanized with less thought and consideration than we would like. But there are many loving, responsible dog owners who have had to face this soul-scorching decision who have agonized over it. They deserve our sympathy. No one makes this more clear than my friend and colleague Phyllis D, who wrote about the difficult decision to put her dog down because of its aggressive behavior. She still gets comments about it, as do I in a post I wrote titled Love, Guilt and Putting a Dog Down. If you have anything to add that you think might help someone in this position, I'd be grateful if you added in your comment. If you are or have had to face this decision, I am so sorry. Know that no matter how smart and hard-working and dedicated and dog-loving and responsible we humans are, we can't always fix everything. A tough thing for us all to accept. While you try to do so, take care of yourself.


- See more at:



In This Issue

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foster logo

Look Who's Been Adopted!

More GSPs have found their forever homes!


They are: Phoenix, Aldo, Echo and Bailey


Hooray for the dogs!! Hooray for their new families!! :-) 


Donations have gratefully been accepted this month from: Catherine Parmentier, Margaret Bennett, Trisha Struck, Paul Looney, Denise Sheridan, Lynn Taylor, Margaret Farone, Gail O'Shaughnessy,  John Conley, Janet McMillan-Zwirko, Lucy Grant-Ruane, Danelle Gatcombe, Claudia Forrest-Pierce, and Michael, Johanna, Douglas and Christine Voss, in memory of Henry Voss.


In memory of Tom Yukna: Howie and Sheila Galilly, Michael and Barbara Redinger, JGSS Bowling League


 Thank you, thank you, thank you all for your generosity!


Recurring Donations

Thank you to these donors who have set up recurring monthly donations -- an easy process that can be set up on PayPal.

Donors are: Frank StracciaJeff Adams, Bill Crawford and Emilie Knisley


Thank you for your generosity!


Thank You, Donors!

For those who have graciously made donations to GSP Rescue NE and would like a receipt, please contact Celeste.


And, once again, a big THANK YOU to you all. :-)


GSP Rescue New England has a presence on Facebook. Go to:
Lest we forget...about Sallie
GSP Rescue NE accepts every non aggressive GSP into our program that we are asked to take and particularly seniors in need. Sallie is a senior gal who is a hospice foster. She has oral melanoma and her prognosis is about 6 months to a year. Dumped in an OH shelter along with two other senior girls, GSP Rescue NE gladly answered the call when asked for help. Sallie won't be up for adoption and we will take care of her for the rest of her life. We currently have three dogs in our program like Sallie who are unadoptable for various reasons. We quietly take care of these dogs' needs, give them a comfortable life and make sure they are happy and cared for.  So in addition to the dogs you see on Petfinders and Facebook, there are "behind the scenes" dogs you most likely will never or rarely hear about that are in our program and need your help! Let's not forget that Sallie and other needy dogs like her are the reason we do all our fundraisers.


Fundraisers are a necessity in the world of dog rescue.

Without fundraisers, we won't have the financial support to keep our rescue dogs safe and healthy.  

We've got some fun fundraisers lined up for the end of the year.

In November, we'll hold our annual wreath sale. Orders will start being accepted on Nov. 1. Closing date for orders will be Nov. 15. 

Wreaths will be delivered the week of Dec. 1. They can be shipped anywhere in the country and are packaged in a gift box with a card, if you'd like. Price will include shipping. That's a pretty good deal!

In December, we'll hold an online auction, and for this we'll need your help. We're seeking donations of gift cards, gift baskets, interesting items that we can sell online to generate funds for rescue. 

We will continue to take care of the dogs in our program and accept dogs in need but we need your help to make it happen.

 So, buy a wreath to make your home pretty this winter season. Check out our online auction and maybe do your Christmas shopping early. Either way, you'll get to donate to GSP Rescue NE at the same time! It's a win-win, and it doesn't get better than that!
Auction Items Needed
Our online auction is scheduled for December 5th and 6th this year. This was a huge success last year and we already have many wonderful donated items for this year's auction. We'd love new items for dogs and people, gift certificates and gift baskets. All donations are tax deductible. Please email Celeste for more info.
New GSP Rescue NE Merchandise Available!

We have some new clothing, a koozie and a new mug for 2015 available at our rescue store! Great time to start your shopping without leaving home for the GSP lover in your family! 

GSP Rescue NE mug: $15 plus s & h.



drink koozie $2 plus s&h

or how 'bout some home cookin' for September?  


Get yourself a copy of "Point to the Pantry," a cookbook full of recipes by the GSP Rescue family. Cost? $10 per copy, plus shipping.

To purchase, go to the Rescue Store at
Help From Our Friends
At Bissell

Click HERE to get to the Bissell website.

 Help Us With

Our Year-Round Fundraisers




Zeppa Studios designs and produces unique gifts for dog and other animal lovers. 


Their Project Rescue was specifically created to help rescue groups earn money and for customers to save money!


Enter the coupon code for German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue New England (GSPRNE) during your online check-out or mention it to the customer service rep when ordering by phone. Customers get 10 percent off their order, GSP Rescue NE will get 20 percent. 


For information or to see their product line, go to ZeppaStudios  


Dog Door Discount!

 Hale Pet Door logo

GSP Rescue New England is listed among rescue groups and shelters that have participated in Hale Pet Door's Rescue Rewards program. 
The Rescue Rewards works this way:  When  customers let Hale know that they adopted a pet (either recently or in the past), they receive a 10 percent discount on the cost of their Hale Pet Door.  And then Hale makes a donation for that same 10 percent amount to the organization that the customer tells them about.


In 2010, Hale donated more than $20,000 to rescues and shelters all over the country.  

For more information on Hale pet doors, go to



Support GSP Rescue New England simply by walking your dog! Check out this app at and use it 
each time you grab for the leash. It's healthy for you, your dog, and GSP Rescue NE!



Did you know that the Wooftrax app also has a setting for running and biking? If you enjoy doing either, take a look!