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What Is Abandoned Terrier Rescue Association (ATRA)?

 

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Abandoned Terrier Rescue Association (ATRA)  was founded in 1988 by our current president, Ruth Millington. It is a non-profit, all volunteer organization that relies solely on donations in order to provide care for the terriers that come to us. Most of the rescues are housed with Ruth in Ventura County. A few are in foster homes. We have a handful of dedicated volunteers in various locations throughout the Southern California area–an extensive  area encompassing San Luis Obispo County to the north down to San Diego County in the south. Many of our volunteers, like our president, have full time jobs and family responsibilities in addition to their unpaid rescue work. We also rely on our previous adopters for help.

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Despite our generic name, we primarily rescue Wire Fox Terriers. We occasionally also rescue Lakeland Terriers and Welsh terriers and we assist Airedale Terrier Rescue. Sometimes a dog is misidentified as a terrier we cover and, because the dog is in danger of being euthanized, we do take the dog in. However, as a rule, we do not have the resources to take in other terrier breeds or mixes. We do not handle Toy Fox terriers, Rat terriers or Jack Russell terriers but have provided you with links to those rescues on our Resource page. Also, we only adopt in the Southern California area, and only occasionally, if assistance is available, to the Northern California area. We do not have the resources to adopt out of state. Please check our Resources page after the Contact section for links to Rescues in other states.

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Why Are these Terriers Abandoned?                                     pic5
 There are many reasons why a terrier is in need of rescue. Many land in shelters, not because of bad behavior but because their guardians were not prepared for terrier behavior and did not understand the importance of training and monitoring terriers. For example, terriers are escape artists. Some people, tired of being out foxed by a clever dog, simply give up the “chase” (the work involved) and do not come to claim him. There are many whose elderly owners are ill, must move to assisted living or pass away without family or friends to care for their beloved terrier. Some are given up when family dynamics change. Some come from deplorable conditions in puppy mills and from irresponsible backyard breeders. The circumstances vary but all have the potential to be loving, loyal companions provided they receive appropriate terrier training with reasonable expectations, patience and lots of love and attention.

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Surrender                                                                                      luna1an
If you are in the unfortunate situation where you must give up a beloved Wire Fox Terrier companion, please contact us with a photo. We will contact you after the photo is received. You will need to fill out a Personality/Health Profile of your dog and a signed Relinquishment. ATRAPersonality and Relinquishment Form  We ask that you provide all relevant records. We also appreciate a donation at the time of surrender to help of with the costs of taking in another dog.
If you are in a situation where you are able to keep your dog until we can refer someone, we ask that you sign an “Assisted Placement” agreement. PawPrint
What to Expect
Dogs come to us from various circumstances as we have outlined previously. Some may be house trained, some not. Most will need obedience training. Our dogs visit the vet prior to adoption for a check up and shots. All dogs are spayed and neutered and up to date on vaccinations.
If you have a dog in your household, you will need to bring your dog to meet your potential adoptee so that we may determine, as best we can, if the dogs are compatible. We adopt “opposite sex” only so as to avoid conflicts between the dogs as much as possible,  although it is no guarantee with Wires. And remember, some Wires want to be the only dog no matter what! If there are already two dogs–if they are Wires especially–we usually do not recommend upsetting the already established balance. However, it may be possible to add a male. Based on our experience, we never place two female Wires together.  Again, this is because we want to limit the circumstances that could interfere with a dog staying in its adoptive home forever.
All adoptions require a contract to be signed. Here is a sample of our contract:   ATRAContract
Because of the expenses incurred on behalf of our dogs–shelter fees, transportation, feeding, grooming and especially vet visits, we suggest that a minimum donation of $350  is appropriate to help defray our many costs on behalf of all the dogs. Of course, any additional donation is greatly appreciated!
paw16       ATRA prefers to adopt to applicants who have prior experience with Wire Fox terriers.paw16

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Reminders
 ATRA is an all volunteer organization. As with any other volunteer organization, the people helping are dedicated but the Rescue is not their full time job. It may take some time (usually no more than a day or so)  for us to get back to you, arrange the home visit or a visit to the rescue but we will. Your understanding and patience is appreciated.wire-fox-terrier-53025ec592077
We will do our best to guide you in choosing a dog – or sometimes the dog chooses you! Be open to considering all of the dogs.

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There is a reason why we prefer applicants already experienced with terriers. As we have discussed, and your research will show, terriers are a challenge and not for the feint of heart, under the best of circumstances. Our dogs, in addition, have been abandoned or given up. They have already lost the home they knew and we want to minimize or eliminate any risk that such a sad circumstance will happen again. Someone with experience knows what behaviors to expect from a terrier and can tell what behaviors may need additional attention.paw16
Yes, you have to start somewhere if you have not had a terrier before. But we ask that you spend some time with one, do your research and make sure you are up to the challenge and not wanting one because they are cute (they are!) or non shedding (they still need frequent grooming and daily brushing). If you do not have terrier experience but otherwise may qualify because of experience with another breed, we advise getting an older, more established dog as your first Wire.
Any adopter must be sure that they have the time to devote to training, and the monetary resources to keep a dog healthy — good quality food,  supplies, grooming, dental care in addition to regular vet visits. Emergencies and specialized care also have to be anticipated.
Any questions? Please contact us!
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