What Is Abandoned Terrier Rescue Association (ATRA)?
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.
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.
Why Are these Terriers Abandoned?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.