Aarroo, I know you’re out there! Our dogs (OK, cats, too) keep us sane and grounded, and provide a critical ear and unyielding eye to those whacky career altering proposals, BEFORE we make fools of ourselves at the office.
Rescues: are they all they’re cracked up to be?
January 9, 2010 at 7:49 am #88736
I am all about the dog rescue. I will never buy a puppy. I will only adopt older dogs. But, I have a beef with rescues that I need to get off my chest, because I feel it is grossly unfair to both dogs needing homes and the humans who wish to adopt them. When it was time for a new dog (our former dog had passed a few years before), we went through various discussions before deciding (in an informed manner) on a beagle. We are hound-friendly, responsible dog people.
It seems, however, that we are unacceptable dog owners because we have young children. Now, I fully recognize that small children are often not the best dog owners. But in my case, my children (then aged 5 and 2) had been raised with dogs — not only our own but those of our friends. They were very, very good with them. Yes, I know all parents say that, but I had references! I’d developed a long resume for why we were good dog parents.
But apparently, there were two insurmountable facts: that we worked full time and had children. From the statements made by the beagle rescue people, both of these rendered me unnacceptable. Yet, a year later, some of the same dogs were still awaiting adoption. The rescue person actually told me that they have time “To wait for the perfect home.”
Which apparently means a home with only retired adults who don’t work and have no children around. How realistic is that?
I am a responsible dog owner. I took the time to consider my limitations and seek what wI felt I could responsibly accomodate.And yet, I am not good enough. Meanwhile, I have a friend who adopted through a rescue — and she is out of town so frequently that others think the dog belongs to someone else.
One of these dogs was denied a permanent home because of the bigotry of the rescue organizations.
January 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm #88776
There’s no adoption hassle out here in Colorado Springs. They only thing they do is ask you to sign an (unenforceable) agreement to have your dog fixed within 90 days, which we did. Our Basenji-mix Bindi has been the greatest dog I ever owned.
January 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm #88774
When rescuing from ‘breed’ oriented private groups rather than public shelters, it is quite often the case where ‘perfect homes’ are sought by somewhat over-protective groups, to the exclusion of devoted, but not ideal, human partners. We have been down both paths, and see the virtues of both types of rescue organizations. However, with an overwhelming number of animals needing homes, even a chance of succeeding is better than none, when it comes to souls whose purpose in life seems to be loving us and listening to our insane babbling. “That’s fascinating, Pop. Let’s eat.”
January 9, 2010 at 6:42 pm #88772
I’ve seen the same. I had a friend who was turned down as well because they both worked even though they had set up rotations to be able to come back for lunch when the pup was being house broken and would come home every day right after work to walk the dog.
Was kind of a shame because they then ended up buying a puppy.
January 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm #88770
I “mistakenly” volunteered to work with an adoption group a few times, because my wife fell in love with one of their dogs. I got a chance to talk to several people who wanted to adopt dogs. They all seemed eager, “normal”, understood the responsibility of the job, and were financially stable. Most had really nice homes with gardens. Some had dogs before and were looking to replace an old friend.
At the end of the day, none of the people walked home with a dog. The requirements to adopt included a home visit to see if it was good for the dog, and so much other nonsense that it was virtually impossible to get these dogs into homes. The worst part is the other side of the so called life of the dog. Instead of going home with Mr. and Mrs. Perfect (with the fenced in yard and a habit of feeding dogs with gourmet treats), they get to go back to living in a cage, surrounded by other barking and whimpering dogs.
It does seem insane that adoption agencies shoot for perfection, but don’t allow for a chance of normalcy for the dog. After a while, the dog will grow too used to the caged environment and not be willing to be the family pet it once had the potential to be. The sad part is the control people have over choices these dogs would make in a heart beat.
We stopped volunteering and we never adopted the dog from that agency. Apparently, the dog they were willing to give us, not the one we wanted by the way, was “incompatible with our work schedule”. We got another dog from another agency. But after being in the system for so long, Andy had a lot of medical problems, including kennel cough and worms. This accounted for his lazy, sleepy behavior and the reason for us picking him for our other lazy sleepy dog. After spending thousands on getting him better, we ended up finding a nice place for Andy on a horse farm in Maryland, because his newly found puppy energy was just too much for our current dog Slyder. In other words, Andy became a totally different dog outside of the adoption shelter.
The system is broken. If the point is to find homes for these poor dogs, and the alternative is death (at some shelters) or a populated, diseased, caged environment, then there should be no rules except “if the dog is too much or unhappy, bring them back and we’ll find a new home for them”. Instead, we have a controlling, bureaucratic system that punishes with perfection rather than adopting with love.
January 11, 2010 at 4:40 pm #88768
Thanks for the replies. I feel better now. Sort of. If I were truly devoted to having a specific breed, I would have been forced to buy one from a breeder or pet store.
My lesson learned is, next time, I’ll go back to getting lab mixes from the shelter, which are dime a dozen.
January 11, 2010 at 7:17 pm #88766
I’m sure dog rescue orgs are like anything else in life – there are good ones and some not so good ones. Don’t give up on all because of this one! We have 3 rescue dogs from 2 different groups, and were pleased with both. One was breed specific and one wasn’t. We got our first rescue, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, from a Dalmation rescue group of all places. We loved her personality and demeanor so much that we sought out another Ridgeback mix when we had our next opening. Got her from a different group but were just as happy. Our third rescue (this one a greyhound mix) also came from the second org. Both outfits required home visits and had some other criteria, but nothing onerous. And after getting to know the director of the second group a little we began to understand why they seemed particular of the homes they adopted out to, namely the high percentage of returned animals. It was pretty surprising and disappointing.
On a side note, we have found mixed breeds to generally have the best of both worlds: great personalities without the genetic problems associated with specific breeds. Please keep considering rescue groups!
January 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm #88764
Jim: I’m glad it worked out for you. And I know there are bad apples in the barrel….but really, my experience was ridiculous. I contacted at least three different rescue orgs. One lady was just completely insane (as in, “rescue” was her excuse to just get and keep more dogs herself). But the other two were as I described.
I understand the rigorous screening process, and I didn’t mind one bit of it. I spent the time to develop a multi-page application that described our dog-parenting ideals, our childrens’ experience and with what breeds, what our needs and limitations were as dog owners. That effort alone should have gotten me at least a little credit.
But when the rescue points out that there is a SINGLE door on my entire property that does not have a secondary screen or door on it, and that therefore one of my children could randomly open it and let the dog out, well that’s just overkill. They also are biased against people who work, which is nuts when you are talking about an older dog that is just going to nap all day anyhow.
Honestly, I would have preferred to just go with a shelter, but smaller sized dogs are rare here. The shelters are about 75% pitbulls and 24% large mixed breeds. That remaining 1% get snapped up real fast. I could have had a wonderful dog for a low cost if I were interested in a larger breed. And honestly, I am a lab person, but with the kids we just decided that something a little smaller would be better for now.
I ended up getting my jack russell and jack mix (see pics on main page) from Craigs list. A family just had their third son and realized they couldn’t handle it. Also, from the way the older boys treated the dogs while we were there (eg, kicking them), we could see why these guys needed a new home. After a year of marking territory by peeing on all my furniture, we got them squared away. They are good boys and my girls love them. We gave them a better home.
But someday, when these guys pass on and it’s time for the next dog….I’m just going with a large breed pound dog.
January 11, 2010 at 11:11 pm #88762
My husband and I had a similar experience with several rescue groups when attempting to adopt recently. I bet I completed 5 different applications – some were breed-specific and some were just smaller rescue groups. Our black lab passed away this summer and we decided it was time to get a companion for our older shep mix – who we got from the Humane Society – which is very easy to adopt from in MO. We decided on a puppy because we didn’t think his temperament would work with an older dog. We also decided on a large breed and had settled on a newfie mix or a Bernese. We have no children at home, but we have 4 cats (all rescues) in addition to the other dog. I found out later that they don’t like placing them in homes with a lot of other animals.
I read a statistic that something like 4 million dogs are killed in shelters every year which is the same number of dogs bred each year. Missouri is one of the worst puppy mill states and I have seen their abhorrent conditions first hand. So, I will never buy from a pet store and some of the backyard breeders are just as bad. So, we pressed on.
We ended up adopting 2 puppies, a Newf and a Cocker mix, from a fantastic group out of Canada, SOS Dog Rescue. They place dogs that would otherwise be put down from a pound in Northern Quebec. It was definitely not as convenient as driving to the local shelter, but it was a great experience dealing with these ladies and I truly admire them for all they do for the dogs. I would do it all over again. The pups are wonderful!
btw – the newfs are an example of the disgusting practices of overbreeding and careless backyard breeding. They are purebred Landseer Newfoundlands taken by their owner to the pound, all sick, probably with disstemper, but undiagnosed by a vet. He probably figured the pound would just put them down. One died and the rest fought their way back. Our dog, Bella, weighed about 65% of her normal weight for her age when we picked her up. Now she has almost doubled her weight in the 5 weeks we have had her and she is happy, playful, and healthy!
January 13, 2010 at 7:58 pm #88760
Thanks, GeekChick and all who have responded. Like any kind of interest group or specialty organization, Dog and Cat Rescue orgs have a wide variety. Wayman Wynn located us through two of the best organizations around. We first spotted him via http://petfinder.com and adopted him at HSSAZ.org – Humane Society of Southern Arizona – here’s their Alumni page http://www.hssaz.org/site/PhotoAlbumUser?view=UserAlbum&AlbumID=5399 😉
March 8, 2010 at 6:54 pm #88758
I was lucky. We got Natasha (see picture) from a rescue group. She’s a great dog……mostly. But, like humans, not perfect.
BTW you should tell those rescue people that a lot of dogs catch up on their sleep while their owners are at work. Mine sure does.
March 8, 2010 at 7:10 pm #88756
I’ve been working at home a lot this year — and after the first week or so, my dogs realized they could sleep just like they do when I’m not there! The idea that dogs require constant human contact is ridiculous. Heck, I don’t even want it!
The dogs I got eventually turned out to be an ok fit (though not as good as a beagle would’ve been). And we gave them a much better home (at least one of them was neglected and somewhat abused). But I think the hypocrisy, condescension, and rejection of the rescue org. will hover with me for a long time.
And I don’t recall whether I said it before, but I’m all for pound puppies. The problem is, our pound is 80% pitbulls and 20% other large breeds. If you need a smaller breed, you’re out of luck.
May 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm #88754
I think resuces/shelters give animals to those people they belive have the greatest chance of not returning them. That’s exactly what I would want them to do. Keeping dogs for years means the dogs that don’t get out of the shelters get euthanized. Perhaps the childless, not having anyone other to love/live with have the greatest propsensity to keep their furkids? My expereince is that I filled out 11 page applications, had a home visit and didn’t get a dog either.
I am one of those singles with no kids I refer to my Siberian Husky Tater as an only child, “Jesus with fur on”, and sharing his joy with me. I work long hours and my dad treatens me that the dog will leave me. I have the best dog walkers in the world. Tater goes to their house daily to play with his foster brother and sister pups, two cats, and two bunnies.
I found Tater on a rescue site listing him at the ASPCA in Annapolis. He is my forth “rescued” dog. Use rescue sites to find shelter dogs or try Petfinder.com. Enter their breed, age, gender, and size and you will find many dogs.
By the way, in accordance with Leadership Directive “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”-Harry S Truman.
May 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm #88752
Petfinder is wonderful–one of the magical tools of the web, as far as I’m concerned. That’s how we found our dog.
I have not been involved in breed-specific rescue, but I am aware of how tough some of the groups are–a friend of mine now has two rescued Cairn terriers, and is madly in love with them…but the stories! The waiting! The grilling!
Our dog, a pit/beagle mix, had lived a looong time in a no-kill shelter. She was two–overweight, undersocialized, and yet…the sweetest kisser in the world. She was a lot of work when we got her. But nine years later, she’s a rock star dog, friendly with people, friendly with *most* dogs, and…she even turned me into a book author. The work was worth it. But it was work, for sure.
May 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm #88750
From what I saw, and I understand the basis of it, rescues are anti-child because they are afraid that the dog will bite the kid, the kid will pull doggie’s tail, whatever. I recognize that there are issues, and in fact I rescued my dogs from a home where the rambunctious and unparented boys were mean to one of the dogs…..Nonetheless, I think rescues need to be more open-minded. Yeah, it’s easier to just say no — but it just seems ridiculous to me that they are potentially denying a dog a good home out of ease. I know all rescues are not created equal, but I don’t think I will ever shake the feeling/belief that they are biased against people with children.
May 25, 2010 at 4:04 pm #88748
Laura Kapelle BradbardParticipant
OMG, I am so angry at the rescue people I’ve dealt with that I could just spit. I think the ridiculous hoops they put people through to adopt a dog contributes to the puppy mills staying in business. It’s so easy to walk into a puppy store and buy a dog, but to do the right thing is almost impossible. After 5 weeks of forms and references and interviews I was told I could see the dog I wanted to adopt only to learn that it had been adopted out the night before. Previously, at a shelter my husband and I went through all the steps to adopt a dog and never heard back. The dog went to someone ahead of us on the list. So why not call us and suggest another dog? My sister tried to adopt a pit puppy, but because she owns a pit already they said she couldn’t have another. Like she’s going to start a dog fighting business? It’s crazy.
The volunteer rescue people have their hearts in the right place, but sometimes you need to use your brain too.
May 25, 2010 at 4:28 pm #88746
It is very frustrating. One of the shelters in my area is trying to get kids to learn about pets, and pets to learn about kids, though, with a “Caring Kids” program.
June 29, 2010 at 1:02 pm #88744
From what I read here it sounds like the rescuers fall in love with the dogs and won’t give them to anyone but their own mothers and so develop high standards to keep them. Can you blame them for doing so? I understand that this causes shelter dogs to be put down, but rescuers are doing so because they have big hearts. However, common sense says that rescue organizations have a responsibility to place dogs with the people least likely to return them. if demographics say that is dual career parents with more than one child, they have a responsibility to not give you a dog. I tried to get a replacement Siberian Husky (a large, high energy, bright, running away, preying and potentially destructive breed) and fifth replacement dog with one organization but couldn’t because they didn’t have any that we both felt wouldn’t eat my Mom’s cats. I got mine through the ASPCA in Annapolis (3rd dog from them) and had to teach him not to prey anyway even though he had been screened. Keep trying. I searched for Huskies on Petfinder.com and found my furkid at the ASPCA in Annapolis, the one nearest my home.
June 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm #88742
Not in the right area but we have rescue cats…They can break your heart with how sweet they can be but they are also always challenging as they’ve had such bad experiences early that are hard to break.
August 17, 2010 at 1:53 pm #88740
@GeekChick, you should try contacting Hearts United for Animals in Nebraska. A no-kill shelter that rescues dogs daily – some from puppy mills that flourish here in the Midwest. They always seem to have lots of small dogs for adoption. They will also ship dogs all over the country, if necessary. Check out their website at http://www.hua.org and look at the photos of available dogs.
August 17, 2010 at 4:35 pm #88738
Exactly. I understand and respect the rigorous application/screening process — there are a lot of irresponsible pet owners out there. But if their goal is to place animals in caring, responsible homes, then they need to use their guidelines as GUIDELINES, not strict boundaries that shall never be crossed.
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