Post # 1
Our doggie recently passed away and we’re looking to adopt a new dog because we desperately miss the companionship. I’m having so much trouble with the application process. It’s, well … grueling. I expect there to be lots of questions, but some of the shelters and rescues are asking for three personal references in addition to our landlord (no, a copy of our lease will not do), and our vet (which is the most understandable).
My question is, if anyone knows, what do the shelters ask during a personal reference check? Do they ask about us as people? As dog-owners? We want to make sure we put down people who would best be able to answer the questions.
Right now we’re feeling discouraged because it seems like adopting fees are way higher than when we last adopted (some of the dogs we were interested in were $300-$350 for an adult), and they’re much more strict. We’re keeping our hopes up, though, because we know the payoff will be more than worth it.
Post # 3
First, sorry to hear about your dog 🙁 But what a great tribute it is to give a shelter or rescue dog another chance at life!
Personal references, in my experience as an adopter AND as a foster parent screening potential adopters, are primarily to find out about the person as a pet owner. I have never asked personal questions when screening, but I can’t speak for every one out there.
Are you looking to adopt a specific breed? If not, you might want to contact your local animal shelters to see if they have foster programs. The fees are much more reasonable, and you are still getting a dog that has been in and is used to a home environment.
Post # 4
I dont have any help for you, but I agree that the applications are CRAZY. We looked into adopting but didnt want to go thru the hassle.
Sometimes I just dont understand the shelters. Future Mother-In-Law would adopt a cat but cant because she would let it outside. She is GREAT and her current cat gets tons of love and attention. I just think its really sad that a lot of people could be adopting but they make the process so hard!
Post # 5
Also, I would recommend getting pre-approved by as many organizations as possible. Often times people wait until they find a dog they want, and by the time the org checks out/approves the application, another adopter has already been approved. If you get pre-approved, you can search continuously and be ready to start the process immediately if you want a dog you want.
I know it is trying, trust me I have been there, and it is easy to get discouraged. But keep trying, and I promise the right dog will come along. You are doing a good thing, don’t give up!
Post # 6
Some adult dog’s have higher adoption fees because the shelters may have had to put more money into them to get them ready for adoption. The references are just to make sure you have a suitable, loving home for the potential pet.
We adopted our dog from a local rescue organization and it was great and we only paid $200 (which included his neuter). We found them through petfinder.com
Post # 7
@grenadine: Thank you 🙂 What kinds of doggie owner questions do they ask? Just like that we took care of the dog? I’m trying to decide between a few people who have watched our previous dog. One would be good with just knowing the overall health of our dog, and the other would more attest to how we were as owners.
Post # 8
@Miss Chapstick – If it helps you decide, don’t forget that the vet will be able to tell them how healthy your dog is. We put down people that like our dogs and the way we handle them.
Post # 9
I think for your landlord they will be double checking that you can indeed have a dog at the apartment; some leases say dogs are allowed, but then certain breeds will be disallowed (you know, the ones that people stereotype as bad or vicious// some apts have size or weight limits as well). Also they may ask your landlord if you have ever been late with rent and if so how frequently — they just want to be sure the dog will be fed & have a “forever” home, not evicted owners.
As for personal references.. that one is tricky. They could ask anything from how often you walk a dog, to the extent of obedience training/classes in the past, to if they have ever known you to raise your voice in anger, or slam doors when moody etc. Very unpredictable and the only person(s) who would be able to tell you exactly what is asked during the screening process would be a shelter volunteer.
Even how many dogs or what types of dogs you have owned in the past might be asked.
I would only put down someone who thinks you are a great person & pet owner, preferably someone who also owns a dog as the shelter folks may take this as an incentive that the person actually knows what they are talking about.
GL & sorry for your loss.
Post # 10
I think the wider the “mix” you can provide, the better. If each person is able to tell you what they know about you as a pet owner, the agency will get a better overall picture of you.
In my experience, I have asked and been asked mostly open ended questions, like “Is X a responsible pet owner?”, “What do you know about X as a pet owner?”, “What is your experience with X as a dog owner?” or things like that. Most of the questions will be related to how you treat your dog and your abilities as a pet owner (ie responsible). Don’t worry, it really isn’t like an interview (at least it shouldn’t be), and there should be plenty of opportunities for your refs to tell what THEY know about you. If necessary, something like, “I don’t have first hand experience with that, but I do know that X’s dog is very taken care of and blah blah blah” is nice. My ref checks usually don’t last more than 5 minutes.
Also, the references (when I am screening) are a small part of the process. I place a much higher emphasis on the vet reference, landlord approval (of course), and the adopter’s answers to the application. Don’t be too nervous 🙂
Post # 11
This is such great feedback, and really helps a ton! Thank you so much!
We also wanted to be able to give our references a heads up on what kinds of questions would be asked so they were comfortable with it as well. I’ll let them know!
Post # 12
We adopted our dog from the Humane Society. They do call your vet (to verify you took proper care of a recent pet) but they did not call any personal references. The adopton fee was $150. I was pleasantly surprised that is was not a grueling process. And we got the best dog ever out of it- yesterday was actually our 1 year anniversary of adopting him!
Post # 13
Hi Miss Chapstick,
I don’t know if it’s the same in Chicago, but when I was living in Miami (alone), in 2003 I really wanted to adopt a pet to be my companion. And I went to all those adoption places like Humane Society, Rescue groups, etc. and a would find a dog I wanted to adopt, and then fill out the application, and they would NEVER call me back or approve me. Not to mention they wanted to charge $200-$300 adoption fee. I got VERY frustrated with them because i KNOW that I am a GREAT owner, and I grew up with animals in my family my whole life. In 2004, they still didn’t want to let me adopt any animal, so I ended up going to the county shelter, you know the ones that they show on “Animal Cops”. Which, unfortunately, is not a no-kill shelter. I went there and I fell in love with this dachshund that they had just brought in. All I had to do was put down a deposit of $5 to prove that I really wanted them to hold him for me. And then wait 5 days to see if the owner would claim him. So after the 5 days I went back and I got him, and I only had to pay the fee for his license, which was about $25 i think… And they had neutered him and given him his rabies shot for free.
I just wanted u to know that there is another option to adopt than going through all of that paperwork and judgemental nonsense that I had to go through. I know they say they do it for the good of everyone and the animals, but in the end I know that I SAVED A LIFE, even though “they” thought I wasn’t good enough.
Plus my adopted son is still living happily….7 years later. They estimated he was 3 or more when I got him so that makes him about 10 years by now. I’d say I’m not a bad pet parent, right?
Post # 14
We found our dog through an organization in Plainfield, IL. They weren’t an agency, but a rescuse group. Check out petfinder.com.
Anyway, they asked us questions like if we had a yard, if it was fenced, how much time the dog would get outside, what we would do with the dog (walks, etc), how much time the dog would be inside, in a crate, how we would train, etc. Basically they wanted to make sure we weren’t putting her in a pot on the stove.
Post # 15
Don’t stress, just put in a friend who knows that you were a good & responsible owner. Like a few other posters have said, check out http://www.petfinder.com