Post # 1
My husband and I are in the process of rescuing/adopting our 1st dog as a couple. Both of our families have had dogs and since we’ve gotten our own house, it feels lonely not having a 4-legged friend greet us and hang out with us from day to day!
My question is this, for those of you who have done the rescue process–
What are some key things that shelters/ rescues look for on the application?
Are there certiain things I should specifically mention, keywords that they often look for?
A few of the applications ask for training habits, what you do in the event of an accident/ chewing– what do fosters/ shelters look for as the “right” answer?
My husband and I are really eager to rescue a dog, rather than get a new puppy (although they sure are cute!) and I really want to make it past the initial application phase so that they can meet us in person and we can have a chance to see if the dogs are right for us!
We don’t have any kids yet & we do not have any other pets currently, our yard is partially fenced & we would be more than happy to completely enclose it.
Thanks for your input!! —
Post # 3
Thank you for choosing to rescue a dog. There was a post yesterday about the state of animal shelters, and it breaks my heart to see rescue pets overlooked. Anyway, shelters like to see stable families with enough space for a dog. The fact that you own a house with a fenced yard is a huge plus. They also want to see that you have the time to dedicate to the dog – things like having a consistent work schedule, having a steady job, and not doing a lot of travel for work will work in your favor. With training, the right answer is positive reinforcement (i.e. rewarding the dog for good behavior instead of punishing it for bad behavior). Some rescue dogs come from abusive situations and the last thing the groups want is to put a dog back into a family that physically abuses him/her when they do something bad. Also, every shelter asked us at some point about our views on crating when we’re out of the house. Crating is often viewed positively, so you should say that you’re open to it.
Post # 4
@bleusteel: thank you so much for your response!
my parents rescued a purebred choc. lab last year and she is such a sweetheart– we think that she was hit with towels as a scoulding because everytime we would try to swat a fly or something she runs in the other room and cowers under a desk– so sad to see these fears imbeded in the dogs, even though they are acclimated in their new homes.
I’ve always been a firm believer in the positive reinforcement and simply stating “no” if the dog does something wrong– it breaks my heart to see all of those dogs in shelters, if we had the space/sanity, we’d probably get about 4 dogs!
I really hope the shelters see us as an adequate fit for one of the awesome dogs that they’re trying to find homes for.
Coming home to an empty house is just not in the cards for us!
Post # 5
I know the shelters around here will have questions like, “How much money per year do you think [dog/cat] costs?” “How much are you willing to spend on vet care?” and what they’re looking for is basically that you’re willing to do whatever you can to keep the animal in good health.
What @bleusteel: said is very true, although I know some shelters take that whole being home a lot thing way too seriously–I know of at least one here that doesn’t like to adopt to people who work full time because that means they’re not spending time with the animal–but then how is one supposed to afford to take care of the animal, right? Both shelters that we’ve dealt with have wanted a list of current/previous pets, and how they passed if they’re deceased, as well.
A lot of times, they want to make sure that you look and sound like nice people who would take care of the animal properly.
Post # 6
@vorpalette: I’m hoping the shelter we are currently working with will be understanding that we both work full time, but that my husband works 3 miles from the house and already has agreed to come home on lunch for walk/ potty breaks.
True story, its kind of a catch 22– we don’t want you to work full time, but if, God forbid, something happens to the pet, how will you afford the bills? — i get where they’re coming from, but we gotta make a living some how!
There is 1 dog in particular that as i was scrolling through the listings (and although all the dogs are adorable and equally need homes) this one just stood out to me & my DH. Hopefully its meant to be and we can bring him home to join our family as our 1st fur baby =)
Post # 7
For starters, thank you going with a rescue dog! I’ve worked in a shelter and volunteered since then, the thing we looked for more than anything else was honesty. If you’re a mellow, couch potato kind of person that wants a chill dog to cuddle with, tell them. Don’t say you’re going to run a mile with the dog every morning if you hate running, because then they’ll encourage you towards a dog that doesn’t fit your lifestyle. If you want kids, tell them that too. Most rescues will test a dog’s temperament – determine if they’re ok with kids, loud noises, etc. If you’ve got an active household with kids running around, a dog that’s skittish won’t be a good fit.
We also wanted to know previous dog experience. Mostly because some dogs suit new owners better than others. For example, a dog with a dominant, pushy personality wouldn’t be suited well to someone with minimal dog experience. But a dog that’s got that laid back, happy just to be there personality might suit them perfectly!
Just remember that the questions aren’t designed to disqualify you as an owner. They’re designed to catch the obvious red flags (like the people that say “I don’t believe in taking animals to the vet”). But mostly, they’re to help get you matched with the right dog for you.
Post # 8
Yay! Congrats on rescuing! I love hearing people taking the process seriously. I think shelters want to know if you understand the costs that can/will occur throughout the dogs life, many people don’t understand what CAN go wrong outside of the annual vet visit, food, flea & tick, etc. On average my pets annual visit with her shots and all that jazz is about $500. When I first rescued my dog she unknowingly had parvo as well as tapeworm, so in the first month I dropped a good $3,000+ on vet bills, medications, special foods, etc on her. They want to make sure you understand that out of the norm costs do happen, and they’re not cheap. Be prepared. Alot of shelters also want to make sure that pets aren’t neglected, left alone too long during the day, get plenty of exercise, plenty of attention. They don’t want someone to adopt and, maybe, leave a dog locked in a bathroom all day. Most are fine with crate training, however, if you’re a working couple. ALOT of shelters/foster homes also want to make sure that you have space for the dog, and many want to make sure that you have an enclosure, like a fenced yard or something of that nature, which will help to prevent the dog from running away or getting loose and possibly ending up back in the shelter, or worse… Realistically most want to make sure the new pet parents are prepared for the norm and the not so norm, and that they have adequate housing/space for the dog. It’s actually a really great thing when shelters take the time to ask questions, some even do home visits, which I think is fantastic. If they get the impression that you understand what’s involved in taking care of the pup, and you have a good home for it, and you’re going to give it a good life and keep it good and healthy. Shelter dogs are often times a little hard to figure out. Mine was abused, abandoned, and brought back to the shelter several times before I adopted her, and 3+ years later, she still gets very skiddish and I have to calm her around hyper dogs, not that she would ever attack or anything, I mean she’s a small loving thing, but I’m careful, because dogs with dark pasts like that can have a meltdown easily, even if it is out of character. I had ZERO issues with training my dog, but I don’t ‘smack her’ if she’s bad or scream at her or anything like that. Because she IS still skiddish sometimes at weird times, I’m careful to keep her calm all the time, so if she does something bad she goes to her ‘bed’ for a time out. Simple. BUT I lucked out with her, have had no behavioral issues. If they want to know about training habits, you can always agree to take the pup to a trainer, who is a professional, if there are behaviorial issues. Just be proactive!
Post # 9
you ladies are making me feel very reassured that we’ll find a dog!!
my parents have always had labs, and his have had huskies, so based on those 2 breeds, we’re prett well- versed in the personality types. Those huskies are smart, stubborn dogs! =)
I dont think i could ever go to a breeder, knowing that there are poor, helpless dogs at the shelter that need a home, most of the time its not even their fault that they are there in the 1st place!
seeing my parents rescue their dog last year really opened up my eyes to the process and its awesome to see Sadie come out of her shell and be comfortable around the family. I went to visit yesterday and she was so excited to see me at home– it just confirmed that us getting a rescue dog and having him/her to come home to is just what we need!
plus- my neighbors are likely getting sick of me coming over to play with their dogs to get my ‘fix’ in! =)
i know we’ll get paired with the right dog, i just hope its sooner rather than later!
Post # 10
alright ladies– we’ve made it to the home visit part!
any suggestions on what I can do to make the home as welcoming/ acommodating as possible for when they bring him to meet us/ check out the house?!
Post # 11
I’d “puppy proof” your home as much as possible, even if the dog is an adult. Put away excess cords, lids on the garbages, stuff like that. And have a spot cleared where you plan on putting the dog’s crate/pen.
Post # 13
@Westwood: thanks!! that was kind of what I was planning on doing this evening, making sure things are put away & orderly– we’ve got an office with space for a crate so I plan on letting the shelter rep know that the room will become the ‘dog room’ at least until he gets framiliar with the house
he’s a 2 year old, trained dog that was pulled from a shelter that gasses– hopefully this new shelter will find us a perfect fit and we’ll have our 1st fur baby =)
Post # 14
Yay for getting a rescue dog! My husband and I rescued a pit bull about 8 months ago and it was the best decision we ever made! I say be as honest about your living situation as possible–you want a good fit! My husband and I live in an apartment, so we needed a dog who could handle that. We ended up getting a pitbull who loves to lay around the house, and who can’t have a yard because she can jump fences!! She’s a perfect fit for us 🙂
Good luck! And post TONS of pictures of your dog once you get one!
My furbaby, Jessie 🙂
Post # 15
@Ms.GoodEarth: thanks!! i tried to paint a picture as perfectly as i could on our application so hopefully in them deciding to move forward with the home visit, they think that this particular dog will be a good fit for us! im crossing my fingers!!
if we get him, i’ll be posting TONS of photos =)
Thanks for all the support ladies– I went through my house yesterday and tried to make it as ‘dog proof’ as possible, even though this particular dog isnt a puppy and is said to be very-well behaved and lovable!
Post # 16
@blondie_bride: Yay, rescues! I love it when potential adopters ask me lots of questions (even silly ones, doesn’t matter, the more questions the better) – it shows me that they’re really thinking about how the dog is going to fit into their life, in terms of schedule/costs/etc., rather than just assuming ‘everything will work out’. Other tips: have a plan for the dog’s exercise needs – and shoot for over-exercising him or her at first, you can always ease up later as he or she adjusts. Ask whether the dog is calm when crated/confined, or if he/she would do better in a baby-gated area at first – definitely don’t do what I did and assume that it’s cool for the dog to have the run of the house from day one (goodbye, ottoman and plantation shutters…). Ask what the dog is currently being fed, how he/she is reacting to it (any stomach or skin flare-ups), and whether the shelter/rescue can provide you with samples if you plan on transitioning him or her to something different. Get the rescue’s recommendations on training classes/playgroups/walking groups etc.
Good luck! And thanks again for adopting! 😀