Frequently Answered Questions
We are often asked some important questions about adopting and caring responsibly for an ACES English Setter. A few of the most common concerns are discussed below:
- How do ACES dogs end up in rescue?
- Where are your dogs located? I don't see the location listed on the website.
- I just submitted an application. What's next and how long will it take?
- If I submit an application for a specific dog, will that dog be held for me?
- Why do you have to visit my home?
- Why is your adoption fee so high?
- I'm interested in a particular dog. Is it good with other dogs, cats, and/or kids?
- Why do you have an age requirement for children in the family?
- How can I learn more about one of your dogs?
- I heard that rescue dogs are usually abused or neglected. Doesn't this make them dangerous?
- Can I meet a setter before deciding to adopt?
- Are your dogs healthy?
- What if my adopted dog has health issues after adoption?
- Do I really need a fenced yard to adopt one of your setters? What if I live on several acres?
- Can I let my rescue setter run off-lead in an open area?
- What does "birdy" mean?
- I'm looking for a hunting dog. Would one of your setters work for me?
- Why do my own dogs need to be spayed or neutered before I can adopt?
- What age dog do I want?
- Should I get a male or female?
- I work all day and want to keep my setter out in the yard while I'm away. Is this okay?
- Should I take my ACES setter to obedience class?
- What if I have questions after I adopt a dog?
- What happens if I adopt a dog but can't keep it?
Homeless setters come to ACES from a variety of sources. Some of them are turned into our rescue by their owners. Others are transferred to our rescue from shelters. By moving purebred dogs into the rescue for their breed, shelters can make room for other dogs. There are many reasons dogs are looking for new homes. Here are a few: they were found as strays, their family's circumstances have changed (move, new baby, divorce), the family doesn't have enough time for the dog, or the setter won't hunt (for the hunter) or is too energetic (for the typical family).
ACES is a national rescue with volunteers and adopters across the country. ACES does not maintain a central location; we have foster homes in many states. We don't list the dog's location on our website because we don't want a setter to be limited by geography. There are many ways to transport a dog, including volunteers, airline, and commercial ground carriers.
You will receive an e-mail within 48 hours of our receipt of your application and application fee. Your application will be assigned to an adoption counselor who will contact you, check with your references, and call your veterinarian. Once these calls are made, we will schedule a volunteer to come and visit your home. It can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks to process your application.
ACES does not hold dogs for any reason. There may be many people considering the same dog for adoption. The dog will be adopted by the first approved adopter who can provide the home that the specific dog needs to be successful.
The home visit provides us with an opportunity to meet you in person. We can usually find an ACES volunteer in your area to come and see you. We have a chance to talk with you and see the home where the dog will be living. You also have the chance to learn more about our rescue. Many times, the volunteer can bring their dog along, giving you the opportunity to see a setter in action.
Rescuing and re-homing dogs cost money. Costs include but are not limited to: spaying/neutering, vaccinations and heartworm testing; microchipping; monthly heartworm and flea preventative; and shelter transfer fees. Some of our dogs require major surgery or rehabilitation. Our adoption fee may seem high, but it is much lower than the average cost that we spend per dog.
All of our dogs live inside as part of their foster family. We require that ACES setters be in foster care for at least 10-14 days prior to being available for adoption. This arrangement enables our foster families to evaluate the dog and tell potential adopters about their behavior. Please keep in mind, though, that the foster family only knows how the dog acts in their home. Dogs are individuals and may act differently in different environments. As a result, we cannot accurately "test" the dog for every situation.
For the safety of the child and the dog, we require all children in the adoptive home to be six years old or older. Any dog can and will bite given the right circumstances. Rescue dogs need consistent, predictable behavior and small children are anything but predictable. We also don't expect a small child to understand a dog's language (growling, moving away) or a dog to understand a child's movements. Children over the age of six are not as likely to randomly invade the space of a dog. We do think that children should grow up with dogs in their family and encourage families to adopt from organizations where they can spend time with the dog as a family prior to adoption.
Once your application is approved, our adoption counselors will put you in touch with the foster family of the dog(s) you are interested in. We ask that you call the family, instead of e-mailing, and ask as many questions as you can think of to determine if the dog is right for your family.
Most dogs are in rescue through no fault of their own. They were either strays (setters do like to run) or they are products of bad decision-making on the part of their owners. In truth, we never really know all that a dog has experienced. If a dog has seen its share of bad times, it is usually now grateful to be receiving love and care. ACES will not accept or place any dog that has a history of aggression.
Most of our adoptions are finalized without the adopter meeting the dog. We do understand that there may be reasons why meeting the dog is critical for you. You may have another dog or young children to consider. If you need to meet the dog prior to adoption, you are responsible for traveling to see the dog.
Our setters receive routine veterinary care. They are microchipped, vaccinated, spayed/neutered, heartworm-tested, and dewormed and put on heartworm and flea preventative. They are also treated for any other health issues that are diagnosed while they are in foster care.
Although all ACES dogs are seen by a veterinarian, we cannot guarantee the health of our dogs. Once you've signed the adoption agreement, you are responsible for the medical care of your setter. You will receive a copy of all veterinary records that ACES has for your dog.
A fenced yard is a must when adopting one of our field setters. Setters can run very far in a very short period of time. And, unfortunately, they don't always come home. In fact, many of our dogs have ended up in rescue because they were found as strays. We want them to be able to run, but we want them to be safe while doing it.
ACES believes that adopters should do everything possible to keep their setters safe from harm. While you may think that an open field, the woods or the beach may be safe places to let your setter run, the reality is that no amount of training can guarantee that your setter will not get away from you. When setters are off leash in unfenced areas, there is a very good chance that they can be lost, injured or killed.
We don't want to take that chance with the dogs that we have worked so hard to save and have placed with your family. Setters can enjoy running off leash in your yard and at fenced dog parks and can romp at the beach or through trails in the woods while safely attached to you on their leash.
English Setters have been bred for hundreds of years to hunt upland game birds (e.g., pheasant, quail). When a setter smells or sees a bird, it will point or set to show where the bird is. Setting means that instead of a classic "point," the dog nearly crouches, frozen in place. These instincts are bred into all English Setters but appear in different dogs in varying degrees. Some setters are "birdier" than others, meaning that they will set or point song birds like chickadees and robins, not just game birds. Some very birdy dogs will also point cats, squirrels, butterflies and even garter snakes! Other setters are less birdy, and some may not be interested in birds at all.
Many of our setters found themselves homeless because "they would not hunt," because they had negative experiences in the field, or because they wandered off and became stray. ACES does not adopt setters to anyone for the purpose of hunting. If you are looking for a hunting dog, you should find a responsible breeder. Finding a family home for ACES dogs is our goal.
Since we are a rescue and see the overwhelming amount of homeless animals every day, we firmly believe in controlling the pet population. In addition, there are many benefits to spaying and neutering: longer, healthier lives for your pets; elimination of certain cancers and decreased risk of others; less behavioral and temperament issues. We often hear that owners don't want to spay or neuter their pets for two main reasons: 1) their animal is a purebred and 2) they can't afford the surgery. One out of every four pets in shelters today is a purebred. There are just too many homeless animals out there. Spay/neuter surgery is a one-time cost with so many long-term benefits. If you can't afford this surgery, then you probably can't afford to adopt another pet.
It is important to remember that English Setters are sporting dogs and require a great amount of exercise on a daily basis. Generally, the younger the dog, the higher the energy level and the more exercise that is needed. The life expectancy of an English Setter is 12-13 years and many live to be older. Keep in mind, most setters love to run no matter how old they are. Your adoption counselor will help you determine the best age for you, given your family's lifestyle.
There are many schools of thought on picking the gender of your dog, especially when you already have one dog at home. We believe the right answer depends on the dog that lives with you and on the dog that you are considering bringing home. Your adoption counselor will help guide you in the right direction. Remember, no matter how much you are prepared for bringing home a new family member, your current dog has no idea that its life is about to change. Always be ready for some adjustment, whether it's on the part of your resident dog, your new dog, or both.
Your primary concern should be for your dog's safety. Dogs that are left outside alone and unsupervised can get into trouble. They can jump or dig under the fence and be long gone before you get home. In addition, dogs left alone become bored and can bark which may annoy your neighbors. There is also the good possibility that someone will let your dog out of your "safely" fenced yard, leaving your dog to roam. Your dog is much better off inside your house while you are gone. If you are worried about them getting into trouble inside the house, use a crate.
We recommend that all adopters attend obedience class with their rescued setter. Not because your setter has bad behavior traits but because obedience class is a great opportunity to bond with your new family member. Rescued setters have been through a lot in their short lives. ACES does not recommend that you use any punishment-based or aversive training methods with them (e.g., prong or choke collars). We find that dogs respond best to positive, reward-based training. You can find a trainer in your area through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.
While we do our best to place dogs in homes where they can be successful, there is usually an adjustment period after the dog comes home. Your adoption counselor and the ACES directors are always willing to answer your questions and help you with any concerns. We are only an e-mail away. When we send your adoption agreement, we also send you the ACES Leadership Manual. You should read this before your dog comes home and several times after your dog is home. You will find this resource invaluable and you will learn something new from it as your dog settles in with your family.
Although we have a very high success rate of life-long adoptions, we realize that sometimes you cannot keep your dog. Maybe the adoption wasn't a perfect match or your family's circumstances have changed. If you have no choice but to return the dog, please notify us immediately.