WSR Policies

Owner Surrenders

It has always been my policy to ask the owner surrendering their dog where they got their dog, if they called the breeder (if applicable) and if not, why not. I do not feel it is rescues job or goal to reunite dogs with the breeders who sold them as puppies or enforce their return contracts, but as a courtesy, I will contact a breeder who's had a good relationship with our rescue in the past. I have done this several times. The dogs were always spayed/neutered, well cared for and just wasn't working out for the family.

In EVERY CASE, the breeder has been very thankful that the dog ended up in our rescue vs the other options that the owner had (Craigslist, Humane Society, Euthanized....) and agreed to let me place the dog with one of the many homes waiting, vs. being returned to them to find a home. I have NEVER EVER demanded or even solicited a donation from a breeder, although many Wisconsin breeders are regular donors to the rescue for this breed that they love as much as I do.

Because I get many requests for puppies and to have puppies in rescue is rare, there are good breeders that I would be happy to refer a potential puppy buyer too. In the same regards, there are breeders to avoid that I would be happy to give you my opinion on based on past dealings and relationships.

Working with Shelters

It has always been our policy to work with any shelter that calls us on every sheltie that they get in. We consider ourselves a "resource", not a last resort, so it's sometimes necessary to evaluate our relationship with shelters who only call us on old, sick or behavior problem dogs. Some shelters are mistaken that we are a sanctuary, rather than a rescue.

We receive a fair amount of dogs that were adopted out by shelters or all-breed rescues to people inexperienced with this breed, therefore causing the dog to be homeless again when the people realize the type of dog they've adopted is not really a "mini-Lassie". Our focus as a purebred rescue is to educate people on how wonderful this breed is as well as let them know potential reasons why this breed would NOT be a good fit for their family.


Our adoption fee is $125 for dogs under 9 years and $50 for over 9 years (made payable directly to the veterinarian). It's been the same for 18 years, although many times, the fee is waived completely for reasons such as ongoing medical needs of the dog or the amount of expenses incurred for the previous adopted WSR, Inc. dog.

ALL dogs leaving rescue to go to their new homes are completely vetted, unless there is a medical reason why spay/neuter, vaccines or HW test need to be delayed. A spay cost us $190 (net) and a neuter is $160 (net). The difference in the adoption fee to the vet bill is made up by the many fundraisers that our group does. This includes early spay/neuter on any puppies that either come into rescue or are born here. We have done juvenile spay/neuter on at least 20 puppies who have all gone on to live long healthy lives without issues relating to their surgeries.

Non profit vs. Not for Profit

WSR, Inc. chooses to not file for 501(c)3 status. There are many reasons for this. Aside from not being allowed to participate in Petco Foundation or Petsmart Charities events, WSR still adheres to the same policies and procedures as rescues that do have 501(c)3 status. There are a few slight differences. Many of the IRS recognized charities have board of directors and paid officers. WSR has neither. Sometimes, when a large group of people is asked to decide on things, it becomes difficult and slows down the process. With WSR, decisions are made with the feedback from a core group of people who represent all areas of rescue, business, breeding and vet care.

WSR, Inc. is still able to take donations and all income is reported on our taxes as well as the expenses incurred. WSR, Inc. pays sales tax on all adoption fees. Donations to WSR, Inc. are still welcome and appreciated, but the donors are not able to take those donations as a write-off on their own taxes. WSR, Inc. is covered by insurance through a commercial liability policy in conjunction with the director's boarding business, which is not an option for a lot of rescues, so another reason why they might choose to become 501(c)3.

WSR, Inc. is NOT overseen or policed by any other entity in the dog community

The ASSA (American Shetland Sheepdog Association) is a group of sheltie 'fanciers'. In order to be a member, you must have either A. Bred a champion or B. Achieved a MACH, the highest award an agility dog can receive. WSR, Inc. has done neither. in the last 18 years, we have found homes for over 2,000 of the breed that we love, but that doesn't qualify for membership. Therefore, we have also made the choice to NOT be listed on any website or list maintained by the ASSA. People in Wisconsin who are either looking for a sheltie or looking to surrender one do not have any trouble finding us.

Links of interest: