Havanese Rescue Inc

  • December 26, 2019
  • by Joan Ambrose President - Havanese Rescue Inc

Photo Credits: Havaneserescue.com

From the December Issue Of Top Notch Toys. Click To Subscribe.

We find new homes for Havanese from owner surrenders, shelters, and occasionally other rescues. We do not buy dogs from mill auctions as that supports the very system we abhor. More than 1200 dogs have been re-homed by HRI. Sound simple? Not really!

Ours is a 501c3 tax deductible charity and celebrated 15 years at the Havanese National Specialty
this October.

It was a difficult beginning for sure. Originally many of us were working on the Rescue Committee within the Havanese Club of America. Suddenly we were all told to stop everything. There was great turbulence. It was most unpleasant. A bitter wrangle was to take place. In any case, from the ashes of the old committee a new 501c3 emerged and became Havanese Rescue Inc.

Our guidelines and protocols have been refined over the years. On our board, the president serves for one year or two, and then the vice president becomes president. The past president also serves on the board after his or her term. The “Triad,” which is made up of the president, vice president and past president, governs.
Board members change. There are term limits. Others may be invited to attend Board meetings as Advisory Members when they have a
particular expertise.

Ours is an independent, national, all volunteer 501c3 organization with a Dog Management Team and State Contacts to support volunteers in each state. There is also a 24/7 Intake Committee that works with owners who need to surrender their dogs or shelters that reach out for our assistance. All our dogs are kept in foster homes while we get to know them, which helps us find their best possible “forever” home. We also have volunteers who help us transport dogs to and from their foster homes. We have recently worked out a plan, thanks to Delta Dart, to be able to fly a dog to another part of the country when the right adopter is far away. As one of our founders likes to say, “We find homes for dogs, not dogs for people.”

Happily our relationship with the parent club for the breed, the Havanese Club of America, is now smooth and mutually supportive. Many of us are members of both organizations and HRI is the designated rescue for the parent club.

Much has changed over our 15 years. Originally when a Havanese was surrendered you knew it was Havanese! There frequently were records and often a known breeder as there were few Havanese in those days. The growth and increasing popularity of the breed has changed this. Walking my dogs on NYC streets in 2000 I would get asked, “What kind of dog
is that?”



By 2004, people would say “Oh so that’s a Havanese!” When they simply said, “Those are beautiful Havanese!” I knew things were very different!

Now the breed is “popular”, a mixed blessing. We are faced with a burgeoning puppy mill business, a mix mash of small dogs called “designer” breeds, and dogs identified as Havanese for sales purposes who are not purebred. Identification is
increasingly difficult.

Alas on social media people have no idea what is behind their puppy. Good breeders speak of OFA health testing, champion parentage and correct temperament but to someone who wants a $2,000 dog for $600, advice often falls on deaf ears. These internet finds can have complicated and expensive health issues. Owners are often not willing or able to handle them.

Our sweet, gentle, little “velcro” dogs are meant to be companions. Not demanding, not needy, they do want to be close to you. They do not thrive when left alone for many hours of the day. People working long hours away from home, or people with more than one job are not a good match
for Havanese.

Havanese make great companions for older people who are home a lot. However, after some years, when something happens to the owners’ health or living arrangements, we get a call and a sad request to re-home the dog. The dog has gotten older and it can be challenging to find a new home as the dog may have health issues too. HRI spent $47,000 in vet care last year.

What do I see as the three major issues we face in the coming year? 1) popularity of the breed leading to increased numbers 2) increasing difficulty with ID 3) having enough foster homes to accommodate the need.

What are the best things about HRI? It is the matches made in heaven. After the vet checks, the foster care, evaluations, and transportation, you get to read the happy stories sent from the new homes.