Irish Water Spaniel Club of America

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Joining the IWSCA Rescue Committee

Finding and rescuing an Irish Water Spaniel in need can be one of the most rewarding and worthwhile endeavors for lovers of these wonderful dogs. However, it can also be an emotional and sensitive journey that requires maturity, patience, and kindness toward both the humans and IWS involved. Sometimes, the outcome is bittersweet; frequently tears are involved; always the heartstrings are tugged.

If you care to join the Rescue Committee, contact one of our Committee members and take a look at some of our Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Irish Water Spaniel Rescue?

Rescue is a program to ensure that any Irish Water Spaniel who needs a home gets the help they need in finding one.  We work with shelters, existing homes, breeders, and the community at-large to assist when an Irish Water Spaniel finds itself homeless.  We monitor internet sites, do shelter education about identification of our dogs, assist owners who can no longer provide a home for their IWS, and work with breeders to find a forever home for these “Irish Water Spaniels with experience.”

Why do the dogs end up in need of a new home?

Life’s changes (death, divorce, new home, etc) sometimes make keeping a dog impossible.  Sometimes we have found these active, happy dogs are too much work for the owners.  Or there can be behavior/training issues which were not addressed properly when the IWS was a puppy and now need more correction than the owner is willing to provide. 

Regardless of the cause, IWSCA Rescue has had great success in helping our dogs find suitable new homes.  

What’s the difference between Rescue and Re-home?

When the dog has been identified and its breeder contacted Rescue works with the breeder to “rehome” the dog.   When the dog’s origins are unknown and/or if the dog is discovered in a shelter or on the internet we refer to this as a “rescue” situation. 

How Does it Work?

When we learn that an IWS needs help, we quickly assess the situation.  If the need is immediate the Rescue Team coordinates getting physical possession of the dog. 

When possible we work with the shelter or the home to identify the most effective options (physically and emotionally) to moving the dog. We attempt to minimize the number of transitions the dog experiences in order to ensure some stability.

Because we are often involved in the emotional trauma of a loving owner no longer being able to keep his pet we use the upmost sensitivity in order to avoid additional suffering.

Once a Rescue Team member or volunteer has possession of the IWS in need, it is evaluated for adaptability and behavior.  If it is immediately evident that the dog can be placed without any intervention it receives a health check from a licensed veterinarian, is spayed or neutered, if necessary, and the placement process begins.  If the dog needs training or further evaluation, our Rescue Team works to develop a plan to provide necessary support to bring the IWS to the point where it can go to a new permanent home.

What services do you need from volunteers?

  • Print the Rescue Flier on our References and Other Information page and provide it to shelters in your area.  
  • Monitor Internet sites (, etc.) that help owners and shelters place homeless dogs for IWS in need and notify Rescue.
  • Volunteer to provide transportation help to our IWSCA Rescue efforts.  Notify Susanne Hogan, our Rescue Chair, of your willingness to help.
  • Volunteer as a mentor to someone who has recently acquired an IWS Recue dog.  If you wish to do so, contact Susanne Hogan, our Rescue Chair.
  • Make a financial donation to IWSCA Rescue.  Checks may be sent to Sandy Ascot, IWSCA Treasurer, 19755 HWY 113, Custer Park, IL  60481.
  • Read one of the books cited on the References and Contacts Page and provide us a written review to post.  It will help others learn more about these references

IWS Rescue is always grateful for the help of volunteers. If you have questions or wish to offer help in another way, please contact any member of the Rescue Committee.