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#81 Eileen Stein

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 09:43 PM

I also read the Winograd article. I agree with some of his philosophies and disagree with others. The one major point that I disagree with is “open adoptions” with little or no evaluation of the applicant.


To be fair, he said, "I have long been a proponent of adoption screening because I, too, want animals to get good homes." He did, however, advocate little or no screening in the case of one open-adoption agency he was evaluating, "a municipal shelter with poor care and a high kill rate." Of that shelter, he said


This is an area where volunteers have repeatedly suggested some form of screening to make sure animals are not just going into homes, but “good” homes. This suggestion has some appeal. And while it should ultimately be the agency’s goal, in the immediate cost-benefit analysis, I think it would be a mistake to do so at this time. While the shelter should ensure potential adopters do not have a history of cruelty, the shelter is not capable of thoughtful adoption screening and the end result will mean the needless loss of animal life.

At this point in the shelter’s history, the goal must be to get animals out of the shelter where they are continually under the threat of a death sentence. And given the problems with procedure implementation at the shelter, the process will become arbitrary depending on who is in charge of adoptions. There is simply too much at stake for the staff I observed to hold even more power over life and death.

In addition, several high-volume, high-kill shelters have realized that denying people for criteria other than cruelty, would lead them to get animals (likely unsterilized and unvaccinated) from other sources, with no information or guidance on proper care, which the shelter can still provide.

When the shelter has high quality staff, is consistent in applying sound policies and procedures, and has achieved a higher save rate—when shelter animals do not face certain death—it can revisit the issue of a more thoughtful screening to provide homes more suitable for particular shelter animals.



#82 nancy

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 10:17 PM

Would that all rescues were like North Carolina Border Collie Rescue.

After our first trip to England, in 1995, we decided that, after 10 years without a dog, we were finally ready for another one. And we had fallen in love with border collies in Yorkshire. But we did prefer a mix - and a rescue. We can't have sheep on our acre - and we are pretty much mixes ourselves.

I called several local rescue groups - the ones I could locate. Remember, the Internet was nowhere near where it is today - it was yellow pages and primitive searches.

No one was even willing to come and do a home visit. We don't have a fenced yard and I'm not crazy about a little kennel. We have a wooded acre in a neighborhood of about 80 similar homes, with an 8-acre common area with a 2-acre pond. And we already had leashes. Our cat was (and the current one is) totally indoor. We were not about to let an animal out on its own. But no fence and no kennel meant no dog.

We got Fergie through the vet tech at our vet. Ferg's Mom was a border collie. Reports were that Dad was a lab. But only Mom knew - and she wasn't talking. And we had a wonderful life with Fergie for 15-1/2 years.

When we come home from our April trip to Yorkshire, we will start looking for another pup. (To us, all dogs are "pups" - no matter the age.) We enjoy meeting all the neighborhood pups - mostly The Redheads (several families-worth of rescue golden retrievers). And we have a really soft spot for the border terriers we meet in Yorkshire. But we both really melt when we meet any sort of border collie.

Thankfully, North Carolina Border Collie Rescue is willing to come visit us before we start looking. I hope that we can show that we have a great home for a great (aren't they all - for the right folks - pup). And I can give them info about our vet (and the retired one we used for year) and the kennels we've used - and let them talk to neighbors about how we handle pets. Of course, we'll easily consider a mix. And I might try trying the pup on sheep and considering trialing. Heck, I've always wanted to smuggle home a pair of Swaledale lambs from Hawes. But they and we will discuss these things.

I think that process, which, agreed, takes more time, is more meaningful than a questionnaire.

Then again, I tutor in an elementary school. The teacher teach - and we tutor - mostly to the testing. The kids learn how to take standardized test - rather than really learn information. So I am a tad biased.

#83 puppytoes

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 11:20 PM

I just spent a good chunk of time getting caught up on this thread. I find it interesting as I am neither a rescuer nor have i ever actually gotten a dog from a rescue organisation, even though both of my dogs have been adopted/not bought.

My background:
My first dog (a lab/border collie with the sweetest dispostion and a genuine old soul) was originally adopted out from a shelter as a puppy to a family with a very young baby. When she was 9 months, these people asked my in-laws if they could leave her at their farm for a few years and come and get her when the child was older. I may have only been 19 at the time but i told them - she is not a couch. You leave her here, she is no longer yours. We had her for 14 years. As a side note, prior to taking Laska in, i had tried to adopt a dog from a shelter and was turned down because i did not own my own home (and more importantly i believe because i was so young). Was i bitter? Sure but i could see their point of view. But i was determined to get a dog (and not from a pet store) and i would have found one one way or another. The people that gave Laska up had another dog within a year (also from a shelter) and this dog had severe skin issues. The woman seemed surprised when i suggested that this perhaps a reason to visit the vet. I am not sure having shelters adopt to anyone and everyone is the answer.

When i was ready for my second dog, i had already spent many months checking out rescue websites (and i found petfinder a good resource for that). I was in contact with several about specific dogs and certain criteria even though as a teacher, i wanted a puppy right at the end of the school year so that i would have the max time to bond/train etc. I realise that this seemed really inflexible to some and crazy to others. I felt like a puppy was a crapshoot anyway so i wanted to spend the most amount of time possible with him/her. The rescues i dealt with were all very reasonable and courteous even though i was limited in what i wanted. Unfortunately there were no puppies available at exactly the time i wanted one. I ended up applying for Orbit (a 10 week old border collie puppy in a shelter)online through petfinder. I live in Vancouver and he was listed in rural idaho. After my intial application, there were several emails where we discussed the application before it was agreede that i could adopt him assuming i was willing to drive 1200 kms to pick him up. They even held him for 2 weeks for me even though i am sure there were other applicants.

Long story short. Many of the dogs available through rescue have already had some challenges in their lives. We the people owe it to them to make their lives easier. If i am a rescuer, i want to make sure that this is the last home that this dog will ever have and it will be a good one. If i want to adopt a dog, i approach it the same way i would anythng else that i really want and is important to me (job application/interview, school for my kid). I do my research, i try to present myself in the best light and i look upon it as my responsibility to convince them of my worth. I fear that a sense entitlement s creeping into all aspects of our society.

#84 Laurae

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 12:11 AM

I fear that a sense entitlement s creeping into all aspects of our society.


Word.

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#85 G. Festerling

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 10:31 AM

Very true. Instant gratification, entitlement and all about me!
No one acknowledges the difference between rights and privileges anymore. Nor do they acknowledge that both come with personal responsibility. And work.
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#86 border_collie_crazy

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:23 AM

I havent gotten through this whole thread, but I have to say that it is hardly a "small minority" thats veiws rescue in a bad light, every single day I find myself in debates with AMAZING dog owners about pushing through all the rescue applications and trying to explain why the rescues are so cynical and why its so tedious, because they are so turned off by the extremes of the process of so many rescues..I have gotten through to exacly 2 of those people, all the others were just too turned off by rescues and went to BYBs instead. the only "small minority" is the hardcore dog people who are turned off, but what about all those wonderful pet homes who are too afraid to even TRY to adopt?

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#87 Dragoon 45

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:48 AM

My newest boy I got from a local all-breed rescue. I did not resent the questions on the application. Except for taking a little longer than I expected to be approved, it was a relatively painless experience.

That said, I have problems with a number of Border Collie specific rescues. In the space of six months I contacted five different BC rescues and never so much as received an e-mail back let alone a phone call to acknowledge that I had contacted them. The only BC Rescue that I contacted that had the common decency to contact me in return was the Nebraska BCR which was based 3 states away. NeBCR almost made up for the utter indifference of the other rescues. Even though I did not adopt the dog I was interested in, that NBCR was fostering, they impressed me enough that I made a donation to them, and plan to do so again in the future whenever I can. Those other rescues will never hear from me again and I will not recommend them to anyone looking to adopt a Border Collie.

I understand that the rescues are staffed by volunteers and their time is at a premium. What I don't understand is that they would utterly ignore an inquiry about adopting a dog.

So I can say I have had both good and bad experiences with rescue organizations. If I had been a little less determined to adopt, I might have gone the BYB route. So from my perspective, there are rescue groups out there that have problems. But there are also rescue groups out there that are a joy to work with. I don't have any answers for the problem groups beyond, please have the common decency to respond to someone who inquires about adopting one of your dogs. A simple "no" will do if I don't meet your requirements, I am not so thin skinned that I can not understand that I am not a good match for what you consider good reasons.

#88 alligande

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 10:30 PM

I think using the word "entitlement" in this context does not help as everyone can have a dog, rather than going to a rescue, they will just get a BYB or puppy mill dog at a pet store.

I did not get involved in this topic to stir the pot, it is a subject that I have been aware of, as I was uncomfortable with some of the rescue applications that I viewed when I was looking for my two boys, and wondered how effective they are. I have been shocked by the response by those deeply involved in rescue to the observation that some rescues can really make you jump hoops that lead no where. (Adding to this all these responses came from board members who's opinions on dog behavior/training etc is always sensible and helpful) I am sure it has to be obvious I support the mission of rescue and have never bought a dog from a breeder.

Obviously I respect a rescues right to do business their way, but should not those involved be aware that there is a feeling among the general public that it is easier to buy a dog. The Slate piece was not well written and was an opinion piece, but by the responses here, there has to be a grain of truth to her story. Personally I feel this is damaging to the goal of "rescue" in its broadest sense.

#89 Donald McCaig

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 08:53 AM

Dear Doggers,

A fine piece by Heathr Houlahan http://www.honestdog...#comment-512158

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#90 PSmitty

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 10:12 AM

That is a fine article, Donald. Thanks for sharing.
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#91 ShoresDog

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 11:01 AM

That is a fine article, Donald. Thanks for sharing.

I'll second that. It was a very well-written piece, and ever so much more worth reading than the original Slate article. It even made me want to read the Frost poem again.

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#92 ShesMaggie

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 03:00 PM

Agree...good article...I can definitely see both sides of the issue.

This subject came up at girl's night last week when we discoverd that 3 out of the 5 of us had been turned by rescue...I was turned down by my local BC rescue several years ago because (at the time) I lived on 10 (fenced) acres...with cattle...they were afraid the dog would get hurt...they also wanted him to sleep on my bed (rather than being crated in my bedroom)...and they didn't want him to be outside (in the smaller fenced yard) when nobody was home...even though someone was home almost all day...ok, so be it....I've since gone to a breeder for my last two dogs...And I definitely was scrutinized this last time...but it was different...no paperwork to fill out, just chats about me and my background and just EXACTLY what was I going to do with her...and then an "interview" one hot July day...in his barn...where we discussed cattle, hay production and the lack of water in Texas last summer...and it was clear just because I drove 5 hours to get her, there was no guarantee I was going to leave with her...And in the end, he got comfortable sending his working bred pup home with a girl in a sports car from the suburbs...and, he has been an awesome resource every step of the way since...and, frankly, I have worked hard to prove to him that he made the right decision..not because I had to, but because I wanted to do right by my dog...

So I'm not sure of the point of me saying all of that except that I was fine being scrutinized and answering questions...happy to provide any necessary information...but the experience with the breeder (for me) was much more personal...and a better situation for all 3 of us (me, him and most importantly my pup).
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#93 appyridr

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:21 PM

I had a great experience with an Idaho Rescue group. Their application form was reasonable & they asked for references. They arranged transport within a few days & I picked up Enzo the Chihuahua in WA. I have 4 BCs, a 6' fenced yard and am retired. No kids. Dogs spend most of the time in the house. The rescue contact was very helpful & offered to take him back when I was sorting out some house breaking issues.
However it was a pretty easy decision for rescue = happy 'customer'.
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#94 MrSnappy

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:09 PM

That's wonderful Lani, and I think it's the experience of a lot of adopters; but they don't write opinion pieces about and if they did, nobody would pay any attention because it's neither contraversial nor sexy.

While I don't intend to post in this thread again, there were two points I wanted to make one last time lest anyone else think I'm being "unreasonable."

The first is another example of how rescue is often perceived based on how the applicant chooses to perceive it. I had a dog in rescue recently who was VERY popular among applicants. I received somewhere in the neighbourhood of two dozen inquiries about this dog in the space of about 15 days. After discussion with the first handful of applicants, all of whom sounded very promising, my standard reply to everyone thereafter was something along the lines of "thanks so much for your interest in (dog). We have had more than 20 applications for this dog in the last two weeks and while we think it's fantastic that so many people are interested, there is unfortunately only one of this dog and we can only choose one home to adopt this dog. All of the applications we have received previous to your inquiry are excellent, so we are no longer accepting new applications at this time as we are confident the dog will be placed from among the existing large pool of applicants. Thanks again for considering adoption" etc etc.

One of my foster homes was out with her dogs and her foster dog (different dog than the one in question) last week and ran into someone at the park who was one of the people who received the above response. He apparently felt the response was not genuine, but rather a denial letter in disguise, and he said something like "you'd think having a 15 year old border collie already would be enough for these people, but no, apparently I'm not good enough to adopt a dog from them."

So once again, while I may sound like a broken record, we have another example of people believing what they want to believe and hearing what they want to hear no matter what was actually said to them. At no time did this individual contact me and ask for clarification on my response email, he just made his assumption about being denied. And these disgruntled people are the ones who speak the loudest, whether their disgruntlement has any validity or not. And people love to believe them when they rant. And we rescuers can do nothing about it.

Secondly, I work in an animal control facility, and I sell dog licenses to people every day of my life, more or less. About half of the dogs I license are adopted from shelters and rescue groups (I don't generally ask; there is a price difference between an altered and unaltered dog, and we require proof of neuter at licensing time, so I get to see the paperwork. And often they offer the information about where they got the dog quite proudly without prompting, especially if they have the dog with them and I admire it). In a municipality with approximately 10,000 licensed dogs in it, about half of them are adopted dogs. So clearly lots and lots of people *are* successfully adopting from rescues and shelters and are very happy with their experiences and with the results.

This is yet another reason why I have trouble taking articles like this Slate one very seriously; if the results were not so damaging because so many people love to believe the worst in just about everything, it would make me laugh. Instead, it just makes me feel like the author is irresponsible, and ill informed, and pandering to her irresponsible and ill informed peers to boot. Biased, under-researched and from a palce of axe-grinding, it reinforces what many people have already chosen to believe and sadly a great deal of those people lack the, ummm, "self reflectory" abilities to see how there could, perhaps be another side to something.

Just remember - when you adopt a dog, you aren't doing rescue a favour. One of the sentiments I hear kind of too often for comfort is that rescue should be grateful that someone wants one of their dogs, but buyers should be grateful when a breeder wants to sell them a dog. Maybe it's all in the marketing, or maybe its part of the collective unconscious that rescue dogs are someone else's rejects. Either way, it's pretty sad :(

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#95 PSmitty

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:36 PM

Another excellent post, RDM. I think it's important to hear it directly from people who are "in the trenches". Thank you.
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#96 SS Cressa

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 04:01 PM

Realities and people perceptions normally seem to be two different things.

One thing I don't get is the application thing. Please hear me out before writing me off! If I was going to a breeder for a litter. Their application is normally to get a feel for that person and what they want/looking for. The actual process of getting a puppy is after that and there are a couple trains of thoughts: buyer picking, breeder picking, breeder helping buyer pick. Normally by the time the pups are born you are emailing weekly for updates or talking with the breeder or visiting the pups. So by the time you get a pup you have a feel for them.

Rescues on the other hand seem to expect you to from a brief bio to apply for that certain dog without knowing much of anything.

The last time I was thinking of rescuing a dog(don't know if I will anymore. The last dog that had a stamp of approval from a rescue tried to kill my dog. Then I ran into other issues with the same rescue.) I more wanted to talk with the rescue and explain to them the type of dog I am looking for and to get help being matched with that type of dog. But from talking with rescue that isn't how you do it?

And maybe this is more me then the general public. But either I have odd meaning to my words or other people do. I read in a bio this girl is awesome at agility and then see the dog run and go wait is this the right dog? When the bios people say shy do they actually mean fearful and skiddish? To me bios over little insight to who the dog really is and they are easily embellish with nice sounding words to sell the dog.

I feel as if I am wording this badly?! But to me that email is a rejection email! Instead why not point them to another suitable dog in rescue?


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#97 Maralynn

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:33 PM

Just remember - when you adopt a dog, you aren't doing rescue a favour.


So what is the person doing? Doing the dog a favor? Just acquiring a dog?

Not trying to be argumentative, just wondering how it's viewed from your side.

Personally I kinda think it's a it as mutually beneficial situation that needs both sides to work effectively. Rescues do a great service but they'd be limited without the dog adopting public. But perhaps I'm way off base with this idea.

Maybe it's all in the marketing, or maybe its part of the collective unconscious that rescue dogs are someone else's rejects.


But aren't they? How did they get into rescue of someone didn't reject them?

I can certainly see where the reject/doing someone a favor idea comes from. And I think a lot of rescues do perpetuate the idea to convince people that the rescue route is a more noble/needed/best choice.

Even the word rescue means to save something from certain peril. But I do think that people have gone way over board with that notion. I mean, my dog that came through rescue was the one that didn't really need me to step in and rescue her.

This certainly doesn't mean that the dog has no value of course. All three of mine were rejects and I value them greatly. But they were all still all rejected at one point in time and I added value to them when I took them in and channeled their potential.

On the flip side I do think that people tend to place too much value on the idea of a blank slate (ie, puppy from a breeder) Pups only turn out as good as their genetics and owners allow.
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#98 MrSnappy

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 05:37 PM

I feel as if I am wording this badly?! But to me that email is a rejection email! Instead why not point them to another suitable dog in rescue?


Because I didn't (and don't) have another dog in rescue approximating that dog in age or temperament - in other words, I didn't have another suitable dog for his situation.

And why would I assume someone would not take that statement at face value? He inquired after more than a dozen other people had applied for the same dog, so the dog was no longer available to applicants. He has the option of accepting that FACT (the fact that I can't make one dog become 23 dogs) with grace, moving on and choosing to inquire about another dog if he wishes. Other people seem to be capable of doing that anyway, as lots and lots of people make repeat inquiries about different dogs, and often do end up adopting a different dog eventually.

I like to think people are autonomous and intelligent enough to be able to figure out on their own that world didn't end when they didn't get something they thought they wanted, but maybe I'm giving people too much credit.

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#99 geonni banner

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 02:08 PM

Maralynn said,

So what is the person doing? Doing the dog a favor? Just acquiring a dog?

Not trying to be argumentative, just wondering how it's viewed from your side.

Personally I kinda think it's a it as mutually beneficial situation that needs both sides to work effectively. Rescues do a great service but they'd be limited without the dog adopting public. But perhaps I'm way off base with this idea.


Nope, you're not off base.

But aren't they? How did they get into rescue of someone didn't reject them?

I can certainly see where the reject/doing someone a favor idea comes from. And I think a lot of rescues do perpetuate the idea to convince people that the rescue route is a more noble/needed/best choice.

Even the word rescue means to save something from certain peril. But I do think that people have gone way over board with that notion. I mean, my dog that came through rescue was the one that didn't really need me to step in and rescue her.


I think the term "rescue" can be an unfortunate one. It pushes buttons for lots of people. It does have a tinge of that "It's us against the world" thing. There are a lot of level-headed and intelligent folks doing rescue, but there are also some zealots that end up making people feel "guilty until proven innocent" in the adoption process.

If an organization bails a bunch of dogs out of a puppy-mill situation, or pulls a dog from a shelter 12 hrs before it's slated to be destroyed, that is a rescue in the "fireman save my child" sense. But I did rescue long enough to know that a lot of the dogs coming through are simply dogs that were disposed of by their people for a variety of reasons good, bad and indifferent. They are not usually bony, terrified gibbering wrecks shivering in the back of a kennel. The term rescue could be traded for "adoptions" or re-homing service" or something a bit less likely to conjure a knight-errant with a bedraggled Border Collie across his saddle-bow.

This certainly doesn't mean that the dog has no value of course. All three of mine were rejects and I value them greatly. But they were all still all rejected at one point in time and I added value to them when I took them in and channeled their potential.

On the flip side I do think that people tend to place too much value on the idea of a blank slate (ie, puppy from a breeder) Pups only turn out as good as their genetics and owners allow.



No one I've ever met had the idea that a "seeing-eye" reject was an inferior dog except in the context of piloting a blind person around. Any dog that was acquired for a specific purpose and didn't pan out for that purpose could be seen as a reject. It doesn't mean that dog couldn't quite successfully fill another niche - or many other niches - elsewhere. It might, in fact, be absolutely stellar in a different context. This is where listening to the prospective adopter's situation and POV is critical to good placements.

It's important for rescues to ask questions. But it's equally important for them to listen.

As for the "blank slate" dog/puppy - in my experience there's no such thing.

Making sarcastic statements like "I like to think people are autonomous and intelligent enough to be able to figure out on their own that world didn't end when they didn't get something they thought they wanted, but maybe I'm giving people too much credit." doesn't help anybody on either side of the question to a better understanding of what's wrong or right with the process of re-homing a dog. Some of the people who come to rescue for a dog have a poor grasp on what a dog needs to be properly cared for. But many of them can be helped to an understanding, and can turn out to be great owners. I placed a lot of dogs with first-timers and people who might not look so good on paper. But I found that most of them responded well to tactful suggestions and did their best for their dogs. The people who I turned away were told exactly why, and were encouraged to address the issues that disqualified them and re-apply. Some did. Some of them got dogs. Some didn't. But the point is, there was useful dialog. Some people are going to take everything personally - but that can happen on either side of the process. If more rescuers were willing to give the potential adopters the chance that they are willing to give the dogs they re-home, a lot more could be accomplished.

People aren't born good dog-owners any more that dogs are born perfect pets or workers. (except stock dogs! ;) ) The idea is to create good matches. For that you have to understand people and dogs, and what makes them right for each other.



 


#100 Aussiedawgs

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:20 PM

My experiences with rescue have been with a handful of group. Some are pickier than others. I'm a volunteer with Aussie rescue, and have found that the best thing is to not have too many up-front rules for rejecting an applicant. I've found some of the people who seem least likely to be good end up being amongst the best. For example, some rescues mandate a fenced yard - period. Yet, I've found that in some cases those without a fenced yard make more effort to walk their dogs, engage in activities with their dogs than someone who can rely on a fenced yard to meet many of their dogs needs. I think it's important to be flexible in placements and open minded. I also like to see a willingness to learn from the adopter and a recognition that it's a two-way street. We're there to help make sure it's a good and lasting match - win win for both.

I think some rescue can be over the top in placements. There was one I ran across that required (in it's contract too) that the dog be fed a raw diet. This same one asked if the dog would be allowed on the furniture and in a conversation stated they would not adopt to anyone who did not allow that. Whether or not someone allows it is a personal choice but has no bearing on how good a home it is for a dog. It's the rescues choice though.

Hope :)
Cowboy - aussie with attitude
Rue - Border Collie or Aussie(?)
Abbynormal - bc Sheltie
Hazel - nut
Rosalee - Akita mix
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