Special Dogs are our adoptable dogs who have not found a home because they are older or have special needs.   While the economy in our area is improving, our population continues to age.  We believe this is a large part of the reason why we have seen a great increase in older dogs and in dogs who did not get the proper care when it was needed and now have some special health needs.  These are great dogs!  They are loving dogs who are as deserving of a good home as are the younger and healthier dogs we see.  They need someone to love them.

At the same time, there are a lot of folks out there (especially older folks with fixed incomes) who would be thrilled to have a special dog to love.  But they worry about being able to handle it financially.  So these dogs, who would be perfect for so many, just don’t get considered.

We would like to put these two groups together with a special adoption program.  We call it “Special Dogs For Special People”.  

We are working out the details but the following is our tentative plan for this program. 
Every dog placed through this program will come:

  • Fully Vetted:  As with all of our dogs, we will do our best to identify all of their medical issues and pass that information along with the medical records to the adopter.
  • Reason for Classification:  Most will be due to age and possibly medical conditions which make them difficult to place.  This program is not intended for dogs with unsafe behavior issues.
  • No Adoption Fee:  Unlike many Rescues, we work hard to raise funds to pay our costs so that we do not have to charge adoption fees.  There will never be a fee on a “Special Dog”.
  • Lifetime* Free Medical:  The specific terms will be negotiated on a case by case basis  and any differences from this will be stated on the website listing of Special Dogs and will be explained to potential adopters but will generally include:
    • all routine annual medical services including vaccinations, blood panel, fecal check, heartworm test, heartworm prevention, and the office visit charge.
    • any additional vet care/prescription medications required.
    • all case specific care as agreed upon with the adopter’s vet
    • care for future illness/injury will be considered on a case by case basis as stated below.
    • end of life care will include euthanization and basic cremation costs.

*Westie Rescue Michigan will maintain a medical reserve intended to cover costs of all dogs under this program.  Should Westie Rescue Michigan ever discontinue operations or lose funding, efforts will be made to protect all dogs in the program; however, in the event of dissolution or a lack of funds over time, no absolute guarantees can be made.

Proposed Process:

1)  Potental “special” adopters will fill out the “special dog” application (link will be provided soon).  We will review the application, check references and, if approved, put the potential adopter on a waiting list.
2)  When a dog is declared by our Board to be a “special dog”, we will post the dog to our website and  contact the most likely applicant(s) and discuss the dog with them.  If it sounds a likely match, we proceed much as we would a normal adoption but will also do the following: 

  • We will discuss the dog with their vet.  We will give the dog our vet’s name and number so that they can talk together about the dog, if needed. 
  • The Special Person’s vet can talk to them after this to discuss in detail the care that will be needed for this dog.
  • If the potential Special adopter cares to continue the process and we agree, we will then talk to their vet or vet’s office again this time to discuss the care needs and to set up an account with them and, hopefully, arrange a discounted service fee and provide authorization for agreed upon care. 
  • In most cases, once the adoption is completed, the adopter can then take their dog to their own vet for all basic care and any approved special care required.  The vet will be aware of what we have authorized and will agree to contact us prior to providing any care over and above this.  
    We will discuss this extra care with the vet and make a decision on whether to authorize it.
  • Most often we will authorize care but there can be circumstances where we will not.  An example might be chemotherapy on a 15 year old dog; or we might not authorize an MRI  if palliative care can be provided at a lower cost, and so on.
    • Unauthorized care will be at the expense of the adopter. 
  • If the adopter can no longer care for the dog at any point, the dog will come back to Rescue.  We will then make a decision to find a new adopter or to euthanize the dog as we deem appropriate.
  • If the adopter has a friend or family member who wishes to keep the dog, we will ask for an application and go through our normal process.
  • The adopter will pay for food, equipment, grooming and any other routine expenses related to the dog. 

Note:  Circumstances over the lifetime of the dog may force certain changes to the agreement.  We will then negotiate those changes as appropriate.  Example:  The adopter moves and establishes a relationship with a different vet. 

Note:  We do not pay medical bills for privately owned dogs nor will we allow an owner to adopt back a dog they have surrendered.

Please consider these Special Dogs.  If this program doesn’t work for you, maybe you know someone for whom  it would.   Please watch for information on this program as it develops. 




Meet Our Special Dogs

Will YOU be Someone’s Special Person?

 (At this time we have not declared any special dogs.  However, when we do, this area will contain photos and stories and with any case specific adjustments to the offer.)