Getting a Scottish Terrier rescue dog

Dog trainer Matthew “Uncle Matty” Margolis interviews Scottie rescuer Zaron Van Meter

Diligence pays off when it comes to dog rescue.

In her six years of service to Scotties, Zaron has had only two of 78 rescues returned to her. In addition to educating herself on training and temperament testing techniques, she pays attention to the details that make her more than a great lady with a great heart. She checks references and vet records, makes home visits and insists on interviews with family members and any other pets in the household. These are the details that make a good rescuer. This is what you, as a potential adopter, should look for.

She also has strict rules: She doesn’t adopt to anyone with a child under the age of 14. In fact, she’s always on the lookout for “empty-nester Scottie lovers” — the ideal.


When I asked her the number one reason dogs end up in her rescue, she said, “Kids.”

“Little kids play rough with the dog, the dog nips the kid, the dog ends up in the shelter.”

Is that the dog’s fault? No. The kid’s fault? Not really. Then who’s at fault?

I disagree with this policy of not adopting dogs out to families with kids under 14. Yes, when combining kids and dogs, you have to be careful and, sometimes, vigilant, but a blanket prohibition is silliness.

On a personal note, I’ve also dealt with Zaron on another issue, when she tried to get me kicked out of an online Scotties group because I wrote about designer dogs. There’s a certain lack of flexibility, and frankly she scares the shit out of me, what with the Star Trek name and all.

This is not say Zaron and other rescuers don’t do good work. They do. I just find that they can tend to be somewhat extreme. Click on the label below for even more about Scottish Terrier Rescue.

12 thoughts on “Getting a Scottish Terrier rescue dog

  1. Not only can those involved in rescue work be scary, some breeders are completely tweeked. I'm buy a pet. I am not willing to have to pay so much for it that it would bankrupt me!

    I've owned five Cairn Terriers, a stray, and now two Scotties. All well loved, social, well-adjusted, happy animals.

    So, when I encounter some of these breeders with their condescending attitudes and the expectations of my having to take out a loan in order to afford said pet dog, I want to simply SCREAM! Or to judge whether I'm worthy of one of their dogs. Give me a break…

    And, your discussion about designer dogs? I couldn't agree more…we're breeding animals to be ticking time bombs of genetic problems and bad health. Which ends up being so very heartbreaking to the humans who have invested their emotions and love into an animal.

    There has to be a balance here. Must be. I hope we can find it sooner than later.

  2. We have 2 Scotts out of rescue and one little girl from a breeder. All of my personal interactions with both breeders and rescue folks have been 100% positive. With that said I have seen from the sidelines that rescue folks can be highly charged and emotional folks. Twice I have seen various dog rescue groups splinter into different groups when volunteers don't play well with others. Anyone that gives as much as rescue people give have to be a little nutty on some level, and yet we have to respect them and be grateful for their commitment. I figure it is their group, their game they can make up any crazy extreme rules they want. More power to them for being in the trenches while we watch from the sidelines.

  3. Personally, I think it's ridiculous to get rid of a dog because it bites your kid. Let's see…kid sits on/slaps/yanks the dog's tail. Dog bites kid. Strikes me as "Well, the kid will never do that again."

    Now, if the dog is vicious, that's another thing…but really, people. Turn down the helicopter parenting and take a xanax.

  4. This is a great topic!
    Over the years I've adopted several Scotties from rescue, breeders and the local shelter and all have been…well Scotties, with all the foibles that that entails.

    The marked difference between the rescues/shelter dogs and those from reputable breeders is the psychological and physical baggage that rescues often bring with them from previous abuse or neglect. I often hear of potential adoption families waiting two or more years before getting the opportunity to adopt a rescue. I don't know if it is the requirements of the families or of the rescue organization. The rescue applicant may be asking for a particular dog: female, black, blue eyes, three legs, loves cats, 3.4 years old, show quality, etc. On the other hand, though the rescue organization rightfully must protect the dog from being adopted into a bad situation, their requirements could be just as outrageous. I know there are more families than dogs available so the rescue organization can have their pick of adoption family applicants.

    In regards to Scotties with children, it is my opinion that it is the childs' parents responsibility to teach the child respect for the animal…and if they don't, the animal surely will teach this for them…and sadly will often pay more to teach this necessary lesson.

    Talking about "worth", reputable breeders charge a lot for several reasons. First, there is no way that the price they charge for their puppies can ever recoup the costs of the breeding with stud service, vet bills, testing etc. and usually take a loss with the hope of breeding a healthy, long lived, well adjusted pup that meets the conformation standards for the breed. They are not turning out mass quantities of puppies where the sheer numbers cover the many costs for the breeding. Also, there is a psychological factor that most people will treat their "expensive" puppy better, as a more valuable member of their family, are less likely to make an impulse purchase and more likely to research what breed and breeder to purchase from. The breeder's price also is an attempt to find a family who can afford the medical care required if the pup gets injured or when they are old and feeble. After all that is said and done, most good breeders find that their adoption families return to them for another puppy later on, and if they feel secure that their pups have had good lives with these people, the breeders are often willing to negotiate price.

  5. As a responsible breeder, I feel like it is my responsibility to the puppy to make sure it is placed in a home that can provide for it's needs. And that it's not going to be abused/neglected by a puppy mill. I do have certain questions that I use when interviewing prospective puppy parents and some people who have the money don't have the loving environment the puppy needs. Any puppy that leaves my home comes with a 100% return guarantee.

    I do caution people who have small children about puppies because when puppies and children get in a tussle, a puppy will more than likely win.

    We all have to be careful, whether we are purchasing a puppy or placing a puppy. We all are here for the betterment of the breed.

    Have a wonderful day.


  6. I think alot of people would say they are just in it for the welfare of the dogs and if anyone doesn't like their terms, go jump! They'd rather offend someone than put a dog in another unsuitable situation. But it can put a lot of people who would provide good homes off trying to adopt. I think a rescuer & breeders should judge it case-by-case re. children as with any other aspect of prospective homes, and assess if the would-be parents and kids are really "doggie people" or not. Doggie people would teach their kids how to play with dogs the right way & supervise them, and if they did get a nip say well that'll teach you! Some people would probably find that attitude crazy too! But yeah some people are too extreme and is that really giving dog rescue a good image??

  7. … oh I totally agree with you and most of the above. My Kirk is great with kids, never nipped anything and anyone since she was a pup…. would lick you to death she would. But then, she's not like every dog, so to say all Scotties are the same would be total ignorance.

    Then, to say all Star Trek fans are the same….

    You said, 'The Star Trek name and all' as thougth it was the ultimate seal of dissaproval that condems her …like the label 'looney' is applied to the above.

    Kirk is so called because her mum is a Star Trek fan.

    …and I'm now feeling a little ashamed.

    Tegan, (who, by-the-way is mostly allright in the head, dispite the fact she likes science fiction… of a certain kind.)

  8. I'm an empty-nester and I'm trolling for a "gently used" happy Scot to add to our adult outdoorsy household. I hope that we can make that love connection!! This is a good topic for your blog. Many viewpoints… So far my experience with rescues is that once they get a load of me and my good situation, they start pushing the most challenged, dangerous dog they have on me. I'm having to stay really, really picky and stick up for what I'm looking for, despite the heartaches. Please wish me luck! Bonnie

  9. My experience has been with a reputable breeder of Sealyham terriers. There is a rule that at any time she will take a dog back. She did just that two years ago when the husband died sudenly and the mother had to move into an assisted living place. They drove up, took her back and within a week I found her a new home for them with one of my grooming clients that just lost their Sealy. No reputable breeder wants their pups to go to a family that will not take care of them and that goes for rescues too. I have a rescue Scottie that is around 10 years old now. My fiend adopted her from a rescue organization with lots of money becasue she used to volunteer there. It was not a good home for her. She needed more guidence from a dog person such as myself. So she came to live with me. She is still shy of people and will always be but loves other dogs. Because of her skidishness, she would not do well with YOUNG children. Rescue people have to take into consideration the dogs temperment when finding the right home for them.
    Back yard breeders that are in it just to make money are selling their dogs to anyone that gives them money without interveiwing them. My experience has been that a lot of these dogs go to people that have NO CLUE about how to live with a dog and have unrealistic expectations that the dog cannot possibly fulfill. They are then dumped or given to the pound. Some of them are lucky enough to get into rescue adn some are not. No wonder why there are alot of animals being put to sleep. It is not the responsible breeders that are causing this problem it is the nut jobs out there doing it just for money.
    Rescue people such as Zaron often spend their own money and certainly their time caring for those that are unwanted. My hat is off to her and others who give of their hearts for God's creatures great and small. For the work they do, they will be blessed .

  10. I've been reading all the comments with interest and apologize to the Star Trek fans out there. Maybe I'm thinking of deadly kryptonite and Superman.

    Much as rescuers do indeed do some wonderful work, I think they could be less extreme and still do wonderful work.

    We may well be looking for a rescue dog soon.

  11. I read your article with an open mind,as one of my two Scottie is a rescue. He was from a private rescue organization,I got him at 9 weeks old, he had 8 homes in those 9 wks.He had no "problems"other then his purchasing family lost their home soon after buying him from a breeder.He went to a public shelter, where he was spotted by one of the rescue worker,tried out at another Scotty occupied home who couldn't tolerate competition, back to a foster home, the directors home before he came to me, finally. for which I am ever grateful,as he is my babyboy, my velcro pup.
    I had researched other Resuce groups, and found them to be "restrictive" in their requirements for placement. I was even willing to drive from Calif. to the mid-west to rescue.
    BUT, I agree some sort of checking should be done, to prevent unstable,flaky people from "adopting" an already emotionally fragile pet.
    The rescue group, I used checked by phone with me ,if I indeed had Terrier experience, had a current vet, & I had a fenced yard. They waived the "personal eyeballing" of my home, They did do a phone call follow up to see how were doing,then again a few months later.They called my answer machine asked if they could drop by,to make sure we were all "happy". At the time I was busy, never returned the call and they didn't bother to call again. So even though some Rescue groups may say,they do multiple home checks, it's probably more to err on the side of chasing the crazys away.
    I do agree with not placing puppies in homes with very young children,as they sometimes do not differentate stuffed dog from real live,breakable dog.But there are also some adults I don't think should be allowed to own dogs either,purebred,mutt or rescues.
    Your personal differences of opinion with the rescuer Zaron
    should not have been brough to bear on the meat of the article.
    Your article did loose crediblity when you resorted to 2nd grade name calling unbefitting an adult,
    regarding Zaron's name, the "Scary Star Trek name" crack was indeed, petty.

  12. Thank you, anonymous at 5:50 for your comment.

    I respect your point of view.

    I must confess I thought Zaron was a self-chosen nom de plume or nom de guerre, which was why there were multiple spellings.

    I didn't mean to insult her father's memory any more than Douglas Selby meant to insult my ancestors and cultural heritage when he called me Broccoli back in grade one.

    Lighten up, everyone.

    And rest assured that I know Zaron does good work and is very generous as are many dog rescuers.

    That doesn't change the fact, however, that many of them aren't exactly open to dissenting opinions.

    I've been the target of Zaron's wrath and it was not fun. I made this little conflict of interest known up front so others could make of it what they will.

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