Julie Roller, with dogs Earl and Daisy, has spent more than five years with Weimaraner Rescue of Texas. The non-profit organization started in 1997 and have rescued more than 2,600 weimaraners. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Julie Roller, with dogs Daisy and Earl, has spent more than five years with Weimaraner Rescue of Texas. The nonprofit organization started in 1997 and have rescued more than 2,600 weimaraners. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Earl was adopted through Weimaraner Rescue of Texas. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Earl was adopted through Weimaraner Rescue of Texas. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Weimaraners are a bold and beautiful bunch of dogs. Elegant and statuesque, the classic sporting dog was used by royalty in Germany to hunt big game like bear and boar. But in the wrong hands, it can quickly get out of control.

“If you’re a couch potato who doesn’t get out much, a weimaraner is not for you,” says Julie Roller, a volunteer dog trainer with the Weimaraner Rescue of Texas, and owner of her own “gray ghost,” as the dogs of sometimes known. “They are working dogs. They need a job. They can be very destructive when they don’t get that outlet.”

Unfortunately, many owners just see the adorable puppies and select the breed based on what it looks like, not how it acts. Without proper training and plenty of exercise, weimaraners can become an unruly handful, just like any other working dog. Ultimately, every year hundreds of weimaraners are surrendered by their family.

Although it’s networked through a series of volunteers all over the state, Weimaraner Rescue of Texas uses a Preston Hollow address on Northwest Highway as its base of operations. Every year the rescue adopts out about 125 dogs, providing a loving home and training for up to 40 at a time, who are housed with fosters spread out across Texas.

Weimaraners come to the rescue after being surrendered by their owners, rescued from other shelters or found on the street, and each has its own behavioral and health needs.

“Many come in with heartworm,” says Roller, adding that treatment costs $350 per dog.

Once medical needs are addressed, Roller is often called in to assess the dog’s behavior and come up with a training program suited to the animal’s needs. A dog that has separation anxiety is different from one who doesn’t listen to commands, and Roller advises the foster family on the best techniques to instilling positive behaviors.

“A lot of time they come in with some baggage,” she says. “We keep them until they’re ready to be adopted.”

Daisy, one of Julie’s weimaraners, was originally founded by and adopted through Weimaraner Rescue of Texas. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Daisy, Julie Roller’s weimaraner, was originally her foster dog through Weimaraner Rescue of Texas. (Photo by Rasy Ran)

Usually the weimaraners remain in foster care three to six months, long enough for the family to really know the dog and be able to advise on the environment where it’s most likely to thrive.

“The foster gets to know the dog inside and out and can answer any question the adopter has,” Roller says.

It’s a big part of the reason the rescue doesn’t maintain a kennel, and only takes in dogs when they have a home in which to place them. They want to provide the dogs with the best possible chance at rehabilitation, and a family environment is critical toward that goal. Every so often, the shelter comes across and animal too aggressive to re-home, and then “we have to make the hard decisions,” Roller says.

“But usually, they get into a foster home and just blossom,” she says.

While the rescue keeps its overhead low by not operating a kennel, the medical care of hundreds of dogs is costly. The nonprofit is supported by donors and a series of fundraising events such as the Dallas Golf Tournament taking place Sept. 11 at Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club. Carrollton-based pet photographer Margaret Bryant also donates her time and talent toward producing a calendar of rescued weimaraners each year, which raises funds and showcases the good work of the shelter.

Roller’s own rescue, Daisy, came in pregnant with eight puppies, and stayed with her and husband, Brett, as a foster until all the puppies had found good homes — but not before they made the cover of the 2013 calendar. By then, the couple was too attached and couldn’t give Daisy up; she was their dog.

“That’s what we like to call a ‘foster failure,’ ” she laughs, although she wouldn’t have it any other way.

How to help Weimaraner Rescue of Texasweimrescuetexas.org
Give cold hard cash – the rescue is always in need of donations
Volunteer – assist at a fundraiser or help with clerical tasks
Foster – give a dog in need a loving temporary home

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