Don’t get me wrong…
I totally understand why there is a process for adopting dogs.
And, I understand that the kind of puppy I would like (LARGE) has even more criteria. Most large dogs seem to have some Pit in them nowadays and I know that caution is important. But, I just want a Mastiff kind or Rott mix or Pit mix – something BIG, a gentle giant, the mellow one of the litter who will love cats and plays well with others – but will look scary later.
But WHAT is the huge issue with my application?
WHY am I not a good home, in your estimation MS. Adoption application person?
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED
As many of you know, we lost Atticus on New Year’s Eve. He was only 5 months old and it was tragic. His littermate, Scout, has been left with an old man (Shiva the 9 year old Meagle photobomber) to play with and buddy up. That’s fine… but a 6 month old (LARGE) puppy needs to roughhouse and play, and play, and play a lot.
Shiva cannot play a lot. He can only play a little.
So, I thought I would spend the weekend looking for a large breed puppy pal for Scout.
“Should be easy,” I thought to myself. “There have to be lots of puppies that need homes.”
There ARE lots of puppies that need homes, but not MY home, apparently.
THIS IS HOW IT WENT…
I’d see a large breed puppy on Petfinder or on a local shelter’s website.
I would call or email to inquire.
If I did receive a return email or call, the person on the other line would give no information – only that I needed to ‘fill out an application’.
I would then ask… “Well, can you tell me anything about him/her or could I come down and meet him/her first?”.
No. You must fill out an application.
OK… But, I must say that I do value my time and it would really help me if you could give me any information about their personality… something?
You need to fill out an application.
So, I did.
I filled out three online applications on Friday.
They were 6 pages long. It took forever. Especially because the forms were not formatted to be internet friendly. You had to print them and fax or scan them back. That was OK… I understood that Shelters don’t have money to hire web guys. But my point was that it took time.
The questions asked were very thorough (which was good) but kind of unrealistic. Like: “When you are gone, for how many hours will the dog be alone?”
My answer: “For as long as I’m gone?… But they aren’t really alone because there are lots of other animals and two other dogs… we have 10 acres, ample shelter and a lovely barn with a stall that is tricked out for them.”
Clearly not the right answer.
Another question: “Will these dogs live inside with you?”
… Granted, my answer might not have been totally appropriate but after being asked the same question a dozen different ways, I was getting punchy…
My answer: “Our dogs are convertibles – indoor/outdoor. If they want to go out, they can. If they want in, mostly they can come in, unless we want them to be outside on a beautiful day. Sometimes we make them stay outside and do their jobs (watching the ranch) like Sam and Eddie in the Warner Bros cartoons.”
Must not have been the right answer.
Another: “Who takes care of the dog when you are away?”
My answer: “We have very knowledgeable animal sitters.”
Hmmmmmm. Seemed fair and accurate.
I think the one that they didn’t like might have been this one:
“List all of your previous pets, past and present.”
My answer: “Oy. I’ve had several over the last 40 years… My latest were a 11.5 year old Mastiff who passed of old age and a 13.5 year old Kelpie who passed of old age. Presently, we have 12 horses, 7 cats, several skunks (who live in the barn and don’t bother us), two dogs and a llama. We also have turkeys and peacocks but I’m not sure they actually live here.”
Was that wrong to be so honest?
Not ONE. NOT ONE. NOT O-N-E called me back!
DON’T THEY NEED TO PLACE SOME?
I was a bit surprised. I mean, one shelter had a litter of 9 large breed pups! You’d think they would be eager to find homes.
I think I failed the quiz.
I think they want people to either lie on the application or they actually want dogs to be adopted to people who never leave the house, live inside maximum security fencing and give the dogs the guest bedroom at all times.
What happened to working dogs who get to live on a properly fenced ranch, have excellent food (home cooked) and excellent care, run when they want and sleep when they want and can be inside when night falls?
I like to tell myself that the right puppy wasn’t on that list… or something.
But what I really think is the humans are getting in their own way here.
Maybe there’s a bit of short sightedness in the system and perhaps they should open the doors to more people than they think pass their tight scrutiny.
As my very good friend said to me the day we picked up Nadia and Nomar as puppies 12 years ago, “Those are two very lucky dogs…”
Clearly the local shelters don’t want my business.
Let’s see how he/she arrives, shall we?…
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Stumbled upon this site. I too was looking for a small dog for our family. It had been 6 months since we had to put our 14 year old German Shepard to sleep. I went to a pound in Lakeland florida. Keep in mind that I had been a veterinary technician for 20 years at that time. Most of my friends were veterinarians and their family’s or related to veterinary field; drug reps, medical supply reps, pet diet reps…. We found a four year old dog, very friendly and appeared to be a dachshund mix. Ten pounds, long back, short legs. The pound employee very sternly said”NO” when we inquired about the dog. I had filled out a ton of papers and veterinary care and a loving home was not lacking on my paper. They wouldn’t even discuss it with me to see if we were a suitable match. Flat out no. Their excuse was it had pit bull in it. This fully grown dachshund mix of ten pounds had pitbull in it. I tried to speak with someone other than the kennel girl and no one would speak to me. I had a really creepy unwelcome feeling in that place and we ended up leaving, eventually going elsewhere and adopting a mutt who lived with our family16 years. I still feel bad for that little dog who was so sweet and happy. “That ten pound dog isn’t fir adoption. She got pit bull in her!” So why was she on display? I seriously didnt see any pit in her and at ten pounds fully grown who cares?!
And that is precisely why we ended up buying our most recent dog from a respectable breeder. He asked us some questions over the phone, we drove to him to pick out a dog from the litter he had at the time and he could judge from meeting our whole family then that we were good pet owners.
The rescues and shelters (except for our town pound) have ridiculous standards. They do not want to place large breed with a family with small children and we have small children (never mind that we already owned a large breed dog and the kids and dog did great together); we have to have a fenced in yard (because apparently no one can put a leash on a dog or visit a friend’s farm/fenced in yard to get the dog it’s needed exercise; and we do plan to fence in but its just not in our budget now); we want a young dog without as much potential for ‘baggage’ from previous owners or experiences. And finally, almost ALL the groups I talked to wanted to do a home visit (not a big deal) but then they would do follow-up home visits and reserved the right to take the dog back!! Ummm, OK so maybe there are lousy owners but given the cost of adoption from you and the questionnaire I’m pretty sure you’re weeding them out. There was just no way that I would have decided to bring a new pet into our home and have the potential that they could be taken away from us in a few weeks or even months, that would have been horrible on our kids.
The other dog that we had when we got our pup was a dog that had been trained by Guiding Eyes in NY, after 2 yrs of training it was determined that he wasn’t a good fit for a service dog so my family was able to adopt him at 2. He was fantastic and that amazing organization determined that we were good pet owners so… where’s the breakdown rescues and shelters??
So the above reasons and the fact that aside from a few minor vet bills that rescues might have taken care of which we are responsible for now we paid the same amount for our brand new little pup. He’s an amazing black lab that is now almost 2, thinks he’s human and might be the smartest member of our family. Sadly, we had such a great experience with the breeder its doubtful that I’ll bother looking at a shelter or rescue again.
I can totally relate Dawn. I love collies and have always had one or two, and adopted from our local collie rescue in Colorado a few years ago. When Gracie died, I wished to adopt from them again, but was turned down because I work during the week. That’s it. We have a very large, well-fenced yard, another collie to keep it company, very nice roomy dog houses with padding and a big overhang so no weather gets in, and live on 40 acres, and take our dogs for long walks on the weekends AND they get to stay inside with us as much as they wish….but since we have to actually work to make a living, we weren’t a good enough home for a dog. (and I might add they are over-run with dogs needing homes). I was heartbroken and mad at the same time. I resorted to finding a collie on Petfinder and drove 8 hours to a nice shelter in Hutchinson, Kansas to get her. They didn’t have any problem with my questionnaire, and it was very in-depth. Our little collie was worth every mile too. Don’t give up…you’ll find the right one.
Valerie nailed it. Don’t give up! You will find the perfect companion for Scout.
YES. I work all day and do not have a fenced yard. So I have cats. And how many animal descriptions say the needed home is no kids, no other pets of some kind, owners who have lots of time and energy to train (or a quiet home) and are experienced with the breed, must be fed a grain-free diet, must not be left alone all day, will not be adopted to anyone out-of state, etc. etc. How many homes like that are there? And how many animals do those people have to pick from, and why should they choose a pet with all those restrictions (and pay a high adoption fee) when more flexible animals are also available? Try to find a dog that is a sofa spud, good with cats, fine in a crate all day or non-destructive and housebroken if loose, well behaved with kids and other dogs, and oh yeah, young and healthy. I’ve had them, but then they get old. And if I did find another, the rescue would probably nix me. Sigh.
I have to agree with the other posters. I understand that no shelter wants to adopt an animal into an abusive home. If you have references such as a vet and show that you have a good idea on the proper care of a dog that should be about it. I’ve had to lie on forms to get a dog that I knew would work out well in my home (which he did indeed). In the case of smaller rescues a home check would be appropriate. With some of the questions that I have encountered I wonder if any of the animals get adopted. Thankfully I have run into some rescues that have a common sense approach to adoptions. I told them “you gotta figure anyone who shares their home with 5 dogs one of which is 23 yrs old has to be doing something right!”
I agree on how over-the-top some requirements are — we did not get a dog once due to the proverbial lack of a fenced-in yard. Well, the dog would not have been put in the back yard unattended, anyway — how is that a good idea?? When we did get a shelter dog, though, it was via artifice, I guess you could say: I had been a volunteer, and a good and dependable one, at another location and so I could vault up the list and take home the dog of my dreams the very next day. So, if it suits anyone’s timeframe to set up for this approach, I’d say it would be a win-win — you get the animal, the animal gets a home, and the shelter gets a motivated volunteer :-).
Amazing that they cry because there are to many dogs and not enough homes. This is why! Any dog that came to live at your house would be residing at the RITZ CARLTON complete with gopher hunts, bush chasing, night watching, and just lazy afternoons! I wish you the best of luck, and I know there is one that is just waiting to come to your place.
I have had this compaint for a long time. It is much easier to adopt a human baby than a dog. My dogs are much the same as yours and have a truly good and enjoyable life, but I can’t meet their criteria for a dog that may have to live in a cage for the rest of its life. Go figure. Have come to the conclusion – many rescuers are too caught up with themselves and don’t live in the real world. Unfortunately, the animals suffer.
Wow. Look what happened to that little terrier that was adopted from Scooters Pals and ended up being tied to a tree, shot in the face and beaten by his adopter. Now, what did THAT GUY say to make himself sound like a more suitable home than you?? Still, Dawn, don’t despair, don’t give up on those needy pups….
As a shelter worker I throw myself and my kind on the mercy of the court. Clearly, a dog, especially a large one, would love the life you have to offer. All I can say is that the burden of finding safe places for unwanted dogs sometimes takes its toll and people lose their objectivity and common sense. If you are anywhere near Maryland and you come to my local shelter, you can view all the dogs for as long as you want. If you don’t find a match you can give us a wish list application and if you are far away, I will happily describe the personality of any of our petfinder listed dogs to help you decide if it’s worth the trip. I am very sorry any dog had to miss out on the job of a lifetime.
Crazy isn’t it? They do the same on the East Coast. It is harder to adopt a pet form a shelter than adopt a baby. Yet they BEG people to choose them instead of buying…crazy…
I had the same problem. I have 50-acre farm, a dog kennel and have even been a foster mom for a Rottie. When I tried to adopt a small breed dog from a shelter located in a city (where they place most of their dogs in apartments), I was turned down because I was going to keep the dog with a stray beagle I had adopted in the kennel. The reason was that a tree might fall on the fence. So I said I would keep him in a crate in the house, though I was gone from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm at the time. They said no, because I didn’t keep the beagle (a former hunting dog) in a crate. I gave up and lied and said I would keep both in a crate.
It was so stupid. These people would prefer that my dogs stay in a crate for 12 hours inside a house instead of outdoors in a nice shaded pen with shelter that overlooks a pond. What if the house caught on fire? (By the way, I did get the dog after I promised to keep both of them in crates. I see it as a little white lie to give a dog a wonderful life.)
Thank you for posting this! We ended up paying big bucks (no regrets) for a pure Icelandic Sheepdog because we were not a “good home” for any of the shelter puppies. We had some specific requirements, but no luck in finding any shelters who would allow us to get a dog. And yet, I hear every day that people who know NOTHING about animals are allowed to bring home dog/cat after dog/cat and don’t take care of them, have to rehome them or take them back to the shelter, whatever.
Shelters/pounds/etc. need to rethink how they’re asking their questions, or evaluating homes, or something.
ps…all my cats & dogs are all spayed & neutered….three more drop off cats in the shed this winter….they will not let me get close to them..yet….still trying
I agree with Kitty. It sounds like you have an awesome home to offer. But the shelter staff doesn’t know that, they are just going by the piece of paper in front of them. They start reading about horses, cats, peacocks, skunks etc. and now they’re thinking you’re a hoarder instead of the responsible pet owner you obviously are. I have filled out my fair share of applications and it helps to keep the answers short and to the point with no elaboration or qualified answers. Will the dog live inside? The answer is simply, “Yes”. Applications are not the place for creative writing because you have no idea who will be reading it and how you are being perceived. Basically they need to hear that the dog will not be chained to a box in the yard, not be left for days at a time, be under a vet’s care – well, you know all the usual questions. Assure them on those points and you are usually good to go. If not, move on. There are scads of shelters/rescues out there who need basic info and a few references. If I find their questions excessive or ridiculous I move on to another organization with more reasonable expectations. One of our dogs came from the county shelter -we answered 3 pages of the expected questions, paid the $$ and took her home. There is a shelter pup out there that NEEDS you – please don’t give up.
I do believe that most of the ‘adoption’ places, mean well, but are very unrealistic, in their guidlines, especially for larger breed dogs. I also realize that it’s not cheap to care for them. Fees to adopt have become very unrealistic. Many could be adopted into great, loving homes, that could maintain their care, except for the expensive ‘adoption fee’. We have a shelter, nearby that charges $40, for unspayed or neutered. They send then directly to the vet before you can even take them home and the adopter pays a discounted fee for shot’s and altering. If animals are already altered, you $45, to adopt. Very reasonable.
6 years ago, a year after I lost my aged Akita to Cushing’s, I decided to do the “right thing” and adopt. So off I went to the county humane society, armed with letters and references from my vet, my landlord, neighbors; proof of income; proof of lifelong experience with large dogs; name of local trainer with whom I planned to work with the dog if necessary; and anything else I could think of. I was interested in an older, larger dog — the kind they tell you languish in shelters. But I never got past the interview. See, I didn’t have a fenced-in yard. Never mind that I worked from home, so could and did take my dog out several times a day. Never mind that I was a walker/hiker who often did 3-5-mile walks through the neighborhood and around the nearby town park and woods or in local state parks.
Because the interviewer couldn’t check off that single box, I didn’t get a dog. (Well, of course I got a dog. I finally found a fairly local, small-scale, responsible breeder — and bought a dog.)
Unfortunately I know quite a few people that where so put off by all of this, that they just bought their dogs from a breeder. I understand that there has to be a screening process, but some make it nearly impossible to adopt, or they take forever getting back to you. I did ended up adopting from a rescue organization . When they met me and my dog and learned that I train horses for a living, there was no more problem. Before that, just because I don’t have a fenced in yard, it was a huge problem with a lot of rescues. Good luck in your search! The perfect pup is waiting for you somewhere!
Same thing happened to me…The form was forever….with some really ridiculous questions. I live on a 50 acre farm…9 horses…sheep …cows….2 rescued Eskies (old now)..17 cats…ect…I was looking for a large dog to accompany me on my rounds doing chores. One organization answered….another one gave the german shepard mix ( I applied for) to a couple living in an apt…saw it up for adoption again a little while later. I gave up went to a humane society north of me absolutely full of cats & dogs. That,s the clue here…when they are over-run with animals it makes it some what easier to adopt…especially the big dogs. The dog I adopted was a huskey /whippet cross from a town house environment that had been in the shelter for over 3 months. Who the hell breeds this mix & expects it to be easily kept or adopted out to anyone living in the city? Exercise is the only way to keep Mickey sane & happy…but tell that to some of these organizations who will adopt them out to people living in townhouses!!!!!! ps…I adore Mickey Blue Eyes…watching him run is one of the pleasures of my life…he runs for the sheer joy of running!
Aaaaaaaaaggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh! I feel your pain. I tried for 3 years to adopt a French Bulldog through a big FB rescue. No dice. Finally was able to adopt a breeder placement through another FB rescue. Now am looking again for a companion to Lovey and no luck so far. Sometimes the rescues get in their own way. Just because I work and am not at h ome all day, does not make me a bad home. ~~sigh~~ Hang in there! Maybe just show up at the shelter?
Hate to break the news to you, but too many of the adoption organizations out there have people who know virtually nothing of the real needs of the animals they care for and hope to find good homes for!! They mean well, don’t get me wrong. Their hearts are in the right place, but they are just ignorant of what the correct home for some of these animals should be. I know from experience.
My son has a Canada goose control business and uses Border Collies to herd the geese off corporate properties. When one of his dogs was killed by a speeding car on one of the properties and his other dog was aging he needed to find another that the older dog could teach the “tricks of the trade”. Border Collies are natural herders, of course, but with geese the idea is to scare the geese off and not nip at their heels to push them around, so they need to learn to keep their distance somewhat and curb their instincts somewhat.
He wanted to adopt a dog so contacted shelters and BC rescues all around his area and even some several states away. His mistake was telling them that he was looking for a dog that would be a WORKING dog. His dogs are very well cared for and he loves them very much. Anyone who knows anything about a working dog like a BC should know that they live to work. Well, apparently not these so-called knowledgeable adoption agencies!! As soon as the word work was mentioned they cut him off and he was rejected as a possible home.
It is pure idiocy! They would adopt these animals out to a totally inappropriate home with little children and other animals that most BCs would totally try to control and oftentimes to extremes. That is why there are so many BCs out there for adoption.
Same with the “bully” breeds sometimes. Rather than adopt them out to someone who understands these dogs, they put them in homes with people who simply do not have the knowledge to deal with them. It is really very sad for both the animals and the people who could give them a good home.
So, your solution is correct. You would have to lie!! Oh, and just for the record, many of the advertisers on Petfinders are actually Puppy Mills. They try to cover it, but anytime you see several other breeds listed as available, even with some of the rescue organizations, they are sometimes not what they are reported to be.
I went through the same thing when we lost our Zack 2 years ago. (Tribute video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWMVCeqPDm8 ) We need a puppy because we’ve already got a small dog. The new youngster needs to be introduced when they are closer to the same size so Lucy could establish pecking order without getting hurt. We want another German Shepherd. A big male. I was delighted when a pregnant female and mate (both looked to be purebred GSDs) were picked up by a local shelter and went unclaimed. I kept up on that bunch as the mama delivered and the pups were finally old enough to be adopted. The litter was huge – about 10 I think. And the foster woman had them all IN HER HOUSE along with her other GSDs. Like 15 dogs in the house! And she had steps going in and out so each puppy had to be carried up and down to the yard to potty. Oy.
Anyway, I filled out the extremely lengthy application, went to great lengths to get the required vet references – including one from the vet who euth’d Zack at the end of his life. I PAID a NON-REFUNDABLE application fee. I don’t think they even read the whole application. When they got to the part that said the dog would be outside, that nixed the deal. I was astonished. I begged them to come and do a site visit – so they could see that this was truly doggie utopia – with acres of land to run on. A pond to swim in. Enormous spruce trees with spreading branches that make the niftiest doggie “hideouts” that are cool in summer underneath. I too have an uber- outfitted barn arrangement with warm, cozy nests for my dogs. They’re closed up in the barn overnight so they can’t get into mischief with coyotes. I work from home so they get frequent interactions throughout the day. But they’re NOT in the house and that was the deal breaker.
I understand that there are rules in place to keep dogs from being placed in bad homes. I understand that rescues are short handed and don’t have time to drive all over willy-nilly checking out prospective adopters. But I really was astonished that the process played out like it did. Didn’t really fit with the whole premise that there are bunches of homeless dogs being destroyed because of lack of interest. And this particular rescue had a substantial adoption fee. I have no problem paying that, as I know they have expenses. But for not much more $ I could answer an ad in the newspaper and buy a pup from a breeder – no questions asked.
I sooooooo understand! A difficult application process..and then…what? Last year I was also searching the internet for an older, “Senior,” kitty. My Kitty of 23 years with me had crossed the Bridge 7 months before. A few years previous, my other 2 cats passed at age 15 & 17. So I DO care for my fur babies, my family<3…………………………………………………………………………………………… How many felines I inquired about at the shelters via online email? Many! And printing out the application? Difficult, if not impossible. Filling it out? Well, you described the one-way, complicated, long process. How many shelter caregivers got back to me via internet or telephone? Only a few, and most I waited days & days. By the time I got a response back the cats had been adopted out or "outdated" or *euthanized (gas box!!?). And the tone of voice…it was as if I committing a crime inquiring. Now I do understand that the shelters must get many, many inquiries about their many, many animals. I realize it is a stressful, mostly volunteer job. And the need to filter out those not providing a good home…and those seeking animals for "unscrupulous" means. It can be a major turn-off to many good adopters wanting to provide a Forever Home. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Then there is the reverse. "Shelters," that are not truly bona fide shelters, but money-making, deceptive (lying), usually home-run small animal "rescues." That was ok with me, for I want to provide for and save animals. However, when wanting to go there and look-see, no-way. The "rescue" wanted me to meet on the road. And then there was the inquiring about the discrepancies in shot records, sequence……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Finally, one day I got in my car with cat carrier and made the rounds of shelters (during viewing hours) seeking my kitty who would choose me. Walla! The shelter could-not-wait-to-have-me-take-home-a-kitty!! It was so easy, except choosing & not choosing from all those poor, beautiful, "take me," sweet souls <3. And disconcerting was that not many questions were asked of me! I thought how many inadequate homes and/or animal abusers take home cats, dogs?………………………………….. So Suggestion. Just maybe, if one shows up at a shelter and they can see you in the flesh, it is an okay. Maybe, the shelter personnel base most on first impressions. This is fine for good adopters, but truly not so-good for all those animals seeking a very good home. Yes, the application is important. But the "interview" should not be the 1st………………………………………………………… I know frustrating. Happened to me. But I always think it was "meant to happen this way," "for a reason." I found my 7 year-old, female kitty at a shelter after going through 5 shelters that day. I saw kitties that I felt I would take, but at the end of a loooong day, I needed to drive another 25 miles to look at one more I had seen on the internet. It turned out that she was a difficult to adopt out. She was in a room all by herself, as she was "stressed" in a cage. Her large eyes looked up at me & I was hers! I took her home all loving to her & she turned out to be a "cat from hell." Biting, scratching, fierce. Poor little girl had been in the shelter over 3 months and this was her 3rd time in a shelter, I *later found out. Maybe abused. My Mandy kitty is now an angel & cannot get close enough to me, purring constantly. It took over 6 months of patience & LOVE. She now has a Forever Home with me. We are family. You will find your new puppy, a perfect fit for the two of you & your large fur baby family. Everything, although frustrating, DOES happen for a reason ~ Hugs :)
We know you, we love you, and we understand your situation. Rescues don’t know you and understand your writer’s personality. I say give the answers they want in the way they want and avoid the details. You are a wonderful home waiting to happen, but shelters are notorious for being over protective to the detriment of their charges. Keep it short and sweet.
I am not writing off Rescues. Both Dexter and Shiva were from the Pound (when they were still called pounds).
I did contact all the Mastiff rescues in our area as well as Gentle Giants Rescue in So Cal. There were no young Mastiffs that they felt could be integrated with cats and other dogs at this time. Gentle Giants had me fill out an application before they would tell me what kind of pups they had. Then they told me I couldn’t come look until Scout was spayed (she is just coming of age now) and that I would have to bring her and Hubby down to LA to meet the pups – and they required that we feed any dog from there their packaged dog food.
I totally understand why this is all required – however, it would be nice if there was some bending or considerations in the ‘new home’s’ direction…
Why not a mastiff specific rescue group or other large breed rescue? Don’t write off adoption versus buying from a breeder when there are hundreds of thousands of pets that are homeless. I have been involved for years with Greyhound Pets of America re-homing unwanted greyhounds once their racing days are done. It is so rewarding to be involved with adoption of these dogs. Please don’t let one bad experience deter you from this route!