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 Post subject: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescue?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 8:44 pm 
Semen Strong
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I keep running into the same problem - friends will post about their new puppy or kitten bought from a breeder or petstore. And then I gently say "rescue don't buy" and the response is "We tried to go with a rescue but no one would give us the puppy/kitten we wanted."

Its a conflict of interest. The potential adopters want the best dog (young, healthy,pretty, small, not a pittie or a hound, pure-breed) and so there is a ton of competition for those dogs. So the rescuers can be choosy about who gets them. And that means they often won't place small dogs in homes with kids under 10 etc. One of my friends wanted a bichon for her 8 year old - her husband is at home and they are financially very stable, own their own home etc, but were turned down for several dogs (because they have a child under 10) before they just gave up and found a breeder. A friend of ours was turned down for a chihuahua rescue because she was deemed too old, even though the dog she was adopting was over 10 and she had a contingency plan set up in case she passed before the dog. And its just the simple truth that some rescuers are pickier than others.

The other issue I have run into is people telling me that they used to rescue, but they always got dogs that had huge vet bills and issues. One friend of mine got a bichon pup from a rescue who turned out to have parvo - the rescue didn't seem surprised when she told them about it and offered to give her another pup, but she paid to have the dog treated and he is doing great 4 years later, but she won't rescue again, because she feels like the rescue screwed her over and she'd rather just buy a healthy pup from a breeder. I know that buying from a breeder isn't a guarantee of health. but I do get this response a lot from people, so I was wondering if anyone has any better answers.

So assuming that you can't tell people that they should just go to their local shelter and get a muttie pittie instead (because they are the best), because they want a particular breed etc, how do you explain why they should keep trying and how to get the dog they want?

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:44 pm 
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I don't really have an answer to your question, but I have read your thread and find it thoughtful and accurate, and I agree with you that this is a vexing and concerning issue. Even adopting a dog from a regular shelter sometimes seems like it's incredibly highly regulated. People have trouble adopting dogs if like both the adopter and their spouse are at work 8 hours a day and the dog will be alone. Well... that's pretty normal. (For an adult dog, not a puppy of course) I absolutely want the shelter to be particular about who adopts dogs so that they get a good and loving home, but sometimes it seems a wee bit excessive. You can have a kid easier than you can adopt a dog.


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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:50 pm 
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I had a whole long reply to this written out on my damn phone and it's gone. Ugggh will have to try again later.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:08 pm 
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A coworker recently told me she wanted to adopt a chocolate brown toy poodle female puppy. Yep, pretty specific, right? She said she wouldn't be able to find one at the humane society and I told her I'd contact some rescues and see if I could help her. So far I have failed, but your situation sounds even tougher- people that would consider adopting from a rescue, but have been turned away or had bad experiences. My approach has been emphasizing the culture that puppy mills create- buying and selling animals like commodities while thousands upon thousands of animals are euthanized in shelters every day. I feel like the health issues are equally possible whether the animal is obtained from breeder or rescue. My understanding is that dogs in puppy mills experience a great deal of inbreeding, which makes their immunity to disease and illness less perhaps than a "mutt" from the rescue. There's no easy answer. I recently began working in an outdoor, dog-friendly mall, and nearly every dog I meet is a designer dog. It depresses me.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:18 pm 
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Yes, if someone is super-specific then you can educate and shape choices and have them agree to try a rescue (or not). It just is harder for me if the person is then saying "well I tried and got turned down, so now I'm buying from a breeder." I don't know what to say besides "hang in there and keep volunteering and working with rescues and you'll get the right pup some day, when people get to know and trust you!" But most people don't want to do that - they want their dog and they want him/her now.

I guess its the conflict between breeders who see animals as commodities (so they'll sell one to anyone and make what people want - cute pup right now!) and rescuers who see them as living beings who need to be put in the best possible home (so they'll evaluate references and check out homes and be a bit overcareful because the outcomes for a dog in the wrong home are so bad). Its like the difference between going to Target and an adoption agency.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:45 am 
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I don't think anyone should have specifics in mind when it comes to breeds. That is just silly. I would encourage people to take a chance on a total mutt, and they'll see how awesome that is in no time. I get that people have preferences in mind, and that those are influenced by their living situation, family, space, etc..., but I can't really sympathize with people saying that they gave up on rescues because not all of their needs were met. If a rescue organization declines an adoption, there must be a valid reason for that, in which case the potential adopter shouldn't be able to purchase from a breeder either. You either care about the animals or you don't.

My sister purchased a golden lab from a breeder, and she moans all the time about her hip problems, etc...things normally associated with purebred labs. She admits now that had she known (ie: done the research) about purebreds, she would have adopted a pup just like our crazy mutt we had growing up.


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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:21 am 
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The thing is, there are also breeders that have the same standards as to who to sell a dog to as rescues. They acquire waiting lists and have applications and contracts to fill out. And those breeders are passed over by hasty puppy buyers also.

Just as there are bad breeders, there can be bad rescues. People should be doing the same research into rescues as they do with breeders. Some rescues gloss over the personalities of their dogs to get them into nearly any home because they're pressured to have high adoption numbers or are inundated with surrenders.

What bothers me is when people get really hung up on minor details, like only wanting puppies and a very specific colour. That sort of rigidity makes adopting nearly impossible, unless they're willing to wait. And of course they're not, they want the dogs RIGHT NOW.

I adopted my two chihuahuas through CCRT, but they were not the dogs we originally applied for. We applied for a younger dog that had huge response through petfinder and they were slammed with applications. And even me, someone who works in the industry, has volunteered with rescues, had excellent references from the vet and trainers, and could have the dog with them nearly all the time was passed over in favour of someone who was a previous foster with the rescue and was adopting another dog in the same foster home that she had bonded with and they decided to take her too.

But we'd been cleared at all other levels through the rescue so we took another look and ended up adopting at a bonded pair who were much older. And it was the BEST thing that could have happened. My life ended up changing drastically and the more relaxed older guys are a much better for now than the younger one we had wanted who had a LOT more energy.

I think the main thing in these situations is to talk to the person who is looking to adopt and help them see what changes to the "requirements" can be made. You absolutely want a toy poodle? Ok, but why does chocolate brown matter? Is esthetic preference that limits you and takes a potential hope away from hundreds of black or white poodles really that important? It doesn't change the personality of the animal you're getting. And why do you need a puppy? Because you want to "train it the way you want it"? Why not look at a slightly older dog that already has a lot of the traits you're looking for? You want a puppy because it is cute, but do you really remember how much work puppies are? Getting up at 4 am to take them out and have them look at you like you're a moron and then go back in to watch them pee on the floor as soon as you step through the door? Do you really like buying new shoes that much?

Also, if someone is wavering, remind them that the amount of work that goes in to buying from a "good" breeder is often more than going through rescue. Are you willing to go on a waiting list and find out that your super specific requirements weren't produced in that litter? What if the only chocolate puppy is male? What if the only female is white? Would you go on a new waiting list in that situation or would you give up one of your must haves? Are you willing to potentially spend thousands to get the dog, ship it to you, do vaccinations and fix it when a rescue you will do all that for considerably less?

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:08 pm 
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Moon wrote:
The thing is, there are also breeders that have the same standards as to who to sell a dog to as rescues. They acquire waiting lists and have applications and contracts to fill out. And those breeders are passed over by hasty puppy buyers also.

Just as there are bad breeders, there can be bad rescues. People should be doing the same research into rescues as they do with breeders. Some rescues gloss over the personalities of their dogs to get them into nearly any home because they're pressured to have high adoption numbers or are inundated with surrenders.

(*snip*)

Also, if someone is wavering, remind them that the amount of work that goes in to buying from a "good" breeder is often more than going through rescue. Are you willing to go on a waiting list and find out that your super specific requirements weren't produced in that litter? What if the only chocolate puppy is male? What if the only female is white? Would you go on a new waiting list in that situation or would you give up one of your must haves? Are you willing to potentially spend thousands to get the dog, ship it to you, do vaccinations and fix it when a rescue you will do all that for considerably less?


+a million to all of this

If someone is really, really set on going through a breeder, I'd focus on helping them find a good one. Like moon said, you aren't going to be able to just email a good breeder and bring home your dream puppy the next day. If a breeder has multiple litters available at the same time, breeds litters multiple times a year, every year, breeds young dogs, sells breeders that are too old to breed anymore, breeds the same female multiple times, ect.--these are huge red flags. Good breeders often go years between litters, and when they do breed, it'll only be one or two litters within the same year--and NOT through the same female. They also wait until the dogs are fully mature, as behavior and health problems can take a while to show up in that generation or the previous. And they have waiting lists, sometimes years long.

I think if you were to help educate your friends on how time consuming and expensive it is to find a good breeder, they may change their minds. Especially since if you're going through your typical backyard breeder, you're likely to run into just as many health and behavior problems as through a rescue.


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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:09 pm 
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I was rejected from every single bird/parrot rescue within 500 miles because of my income and student status. I still think I'm a good bird mom. Many rescues are way too picky, which can be up being counterproductive. Of course they should be picky, but blanket bans on certain types or classes of people is not helpful. I had excellent references from a very well-known avian vet and they still wouldn't talk to me because I wasn't rich enough for them. They assume that anybody without a large income will never take their bird to the vet and will feed them crepe.

In my experience, a lot of bed rescues prefer people to just give them produce and money and not actually try to adopt any of the birds.

I think it's pretty harsh to say you probably shouldn't have a pet from anywhere if you aren't good enough for the rescues. I still would not be good enough for the parrot rescues because teachers don't get paid enough!

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:26 pm 
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I wouldn't have gotten approval from a rescue because of the hours I work, I am alone and I wanted a larger breed. Now that I have my large breed pooch (from a carefully sourced reputable breeder) she is the best looked after dog on the block. I'm "not good enough" by rescue standards but it doesn't seem to effect the care my pudding gets.

It's very frustrating to convince someone to keep trying rescues when all they are going to get is rejections. Instead, maybe sell finding a reputable breeder. Often good breeders have a contract that if the pairing doesn't work out that the pup/dog gets returned to them. By making connections with these kind of breeders they might be able to source a perfectly good dog that just didn't work out with the initial buyer because the buyer went into it unprepared.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:23 pm 
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I think people psych themselves out with big commitments like pets. They convince themselves that no one would give them the dog they want and it would never be exactly what they have in mind so they go with an easy way out - puppy from breeder. Just tell them what you already know - if they are dead set on something specific, it will take more time than someone who is willing to take a shot in the dark. And maybe that time will pay off and they will get the perfect dog and maybe it won't. Dogs are as complicated as humans, some of them turn out to be your best friend forever and ever and some have health issues and some have behavioral issues and having papers on the dog means mostly nothing other than the fact that you might get a refund.

The best thing they can do is let every single shelter, animal control facility, and rescue (even if they're breed specific and it's not the breed they want, many of them are in the dog rescuing business) know what they're looking for and see what comes up. Keep asking and keep getting their name out there because people are flakey and you want to be remembered.

My biggest arsenal of debunking breeder-love is just my personal experience. We've been taking in dogs for my whole life and while we've never bought a dog, we've gotten the ones that someone else bought and decided they didn't want any more and those dogs were far from perfect. So were some of the ones we raised from puppies. You just can't control every single thing about an animal and if that's something you HAVE to have, you shouldn't have a pet at all because you will surely be disappointed.

I'd never recommend someone go to a breeder, they're breeders. The act of breeding and selling dogs is inherently irresponsible to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:53 pm 
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I completely agree with your post, but these are people who have been to rescue organizations and been turned down. Some of them are friends who have had me talk to them for months to convince them to even try a rescue. And they are always people who have money, good jobs and would be a good home for a dog. In one case, the rescue told them they would never get a dog because they have a child under 10 (my friends have what I would have thought it was an ideal situation - someone would always be home with the dog, plenty of money, own their own place etc), so they went ahead and bought a dog from a breeder because they really wanted a dog (and they didn't want a pitbull or bigger breed dog).

There are some people who would never buy (I never even met Cuddles before I took him, I just knew he needed a home) and some who will never ever rescue. We need to find a way to work with the middle group - the people open to rescue but will go to a breeder if they are turned down - partly by making rescue criteria clearer and more flexible. It shouldn't be a hard no for families with children to adopt, for example, but perhaps you insist on teaching the family to interact and supervise the children with the dog. Or maybe work it so the family meets a bunch of dogs as par of their application process or suggest alternatives for them (like Moon describes) - we don't think this is the right dog for you because... but this guy is perfect.

Fee wrote:
I'd never recommend someone go to a breeder, they're breeders. The act of breeding and selling dogs is inherently irresponsible to me.


Yes, this. I think breeders are just so suspect - especially after the whole AKC debacle with it coming out that many "AKC breeders" were actually just fronts for puppy mills doing all the things that Simply-Love describes.

Its just frustrating, to see good homes not able to get a good dog (and vice versa), while so many languish in shelters.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:41 pm 
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I have another example: my old roommate found a big dog in a parking lot. She took him to the vet, spend hundreds of dollars and she ended up fostering him for a rescue for 5 months in our tiny apartment. She bought toys, food, bed, crate, got all his shot, took him to get neutered, and she drove him hundreds of miles to meet prospective families at least 4/5 times. She even went back to get him after a family dumped him back on the rescue after a week. She arranged her schedule to run home from lab to walk him a few times a day. She took him to dog obedience classes that she paid for! He was a totally inappropriate dog for her circumstances, so she knew she couldn't keep him. He ended up with a great family who still sends her photos.

Here's the kicker: she then tried to rescue a small apartment appropriate dog from the same rescue and they refused her because she was a grad student without enough income and not home 24/7.

This was such an enormous what the fizzle. This girl went above and beyond for that dog, plus worked weekends walking dogs at the rescue. If not her, then who?

She eventually got a little mixed breed fluff puff from a Pet Smart day.

I'm not slagging on rescues because they do great work, but it's disheartening to see stories like this,

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:13 pm 
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Yes, that sucks!

Sometimes I feel like the best advice is to tell someone to foster a dog, and then keep him/her - it lets everyone try the situation out without much pressure - the rescue can recall the dog if there is an issue, the people don't have to take the dog if they find he/she isn't a good fit.

We were turned down by our municipal high kill shelter for several cats, and then they told us they'd never give us a cat unless it was one that did well when "dog tested" - ie they bring a strange rando dog into the room with the cat in a cage and if the cat displays any signs of stress, then they won't adopt him/her out to anyone with a dog. No amount of assuring them that we would work with a behaviorist etc would convince them (and they kill so many cats there). So we fostered 3 cats from a small rescue - no problem with the dog (who is basically an ottoman) and kept one of them. Our cats basically sleep on the dog, and spend the day snuggled up on his butt. But if you were to "dog test" them, I am positive neither would pass with some rando dog.

But that is the whole point - how can you tell someone that the world of rescue is weird and you just need to keep trying or accept that the only way you'll get a dog is by working around the system and spending money, time, bonding etc and even then you're not guaranteed a dog, and have them not say "yeah, thanks, I'm going to go buy one instead."

And the thing that sucks about buying a dog is that if you buy a healthy pup at a petstore, you are supporting a system than puts breeder dogs into terrible conditions and causes many young pups to die, because they are taken from their mother so early and transported for sale without adequate support etc, and of course those dogs that don't sell are then destroyed. Buying one $500 pup is enough to render the whole litter profitable, even if every other puppy in it dies.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:25 pm 
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That's one thing I never understood is the buying dogs from a shop. If I was getting a pup I would want to know the conditions it was bred in was more than acceptable. I think selling dogs in shops here is illegal.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:01 pm 
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I only bring up the bit about breeders because if someone goes through a breeder because they weren't willing to wait for the right one to come through rescue, then they're probably not willing to go through a decent breeder either.

Tofulish, the couple of instances you've mentioned in particular make me sad. Some 8 year olds are excellent with dogs, even small ones. I was a better dog guardian at 8 than many adults are. And an older person applying for a 10 year old dog instead of a puppy should be commended because the opposite is a big peeve of mine. Rescues being too picky are either very lucky to have lots of potential adopters or a surplus of volunteers, or they're unrealistic and will be run down quickly and have to reasses their procedures.

So what to say to people who have been turned down by rescues? I guess it depends on the person. I've they've been turned down by one rescue, then they should be willing to look into different rescues (or maybe consider a more medium sized dog in the case of the family with the bichon) and if they've been turned down by many, there's always "free to good home" pets on kijiji, shelters are usually less specific about adopters (not always) and finally, just tell them you hope they'll try going through rescue again in the future.

I think if you are completely against dog breeding you have to be in favour of the end of domesticated species, period. I get that breeding dogs when rescues/shelters are saturated appears to be irresponsible, but I do believe that without dedicated, "ethical" breeders we would lose many amazing breeds. I was raised in the confirmation world, so I definitely have a bias when it comes to that particular topic. And I always, always recommend people rescue (largely because I think most people shouldn't be aiming for puppies all the time). But if someone is dead set on being a dog owner and they won't/can't go through rescue, then I will do everything I can to make sure they're going through the best breeder possible, or try to talk them out of it completely.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:20 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
Yes, that sucks!

Sometimes I feel like the best advice is to tell someone to foster a dog, and then keep him/her - it lets everyone try the situation out without much pressure - the rescue can recall the dog if there is an issue, the people don't have to take the dog if they find he/she isn't a good fit.

We were turned down by our municipal high kill shelter for several cats, and then they told us they'd never give us a cat unless it was one that did well when "dog tested" - ie they bring a strange rando dog into the room with the cat in a cage and if the cat displays any signs of stress, then they won't adopt him/her out to anyone with a dog. No amount of assuring them that we would work with a behaviorist etc would convince them (and they kill so many cats there). So we fostered 3 cats from a small rescue - no problem with the dog (who is basically an ottoman) and kept one of them. Our cats basically sleep on the dog, and spend the day snuggled up on his butt. But if you were to "dog test" them, I am positive neither would pass with some rando dog.

But that is the whole point - how can you tell someone that the world of rescue is weird and you just need to keep trying or accept that the only way you'll get a dog is by working around the system and spending money, time, bonding etc and even then you're not guaranteed a dog, and have them not say "yeah, thanks, I'm going to go buy one instead."

And the thing that sucks about buying a dog is that if you buy a healthy pup at a petstore, you are supporting a system than puts breeder dogs into terrible conditions and causes many young pups to die, because they are taken from their mother so early and transported for sale without adequate support etc, and of course those dogs that don't sell are then destroyed. Buying one $500 pup is enough to render the whole litter profitable, even if every other puppy in it dies.


I'm a huge fan of foster-to-adopt and trial adoptions. I wish it was more commonplace.

I have to say, there absolutely is a huge difference between buying a dog at a pet store, or through a BYB ok kijiji and going through a serious breeder. It is a shame that people are taking AKC/CKC/FCI registration status as proof enough, because there are lots of bad breeders who are registered. But there are also lots who have a real love for their breed and don't make much money at breeding. And going through those breeders who take their dogs back in case of problems keep dogs out of shelters and breed specific rescues.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:02 pm 
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I'd considered getting a second dog for awhile and found a handsome three year old black-and-tan doxie on petfinder. The description of him sounded great: he was housebroken, good with kids and other dogs, blah blah blah. He was with a local dachshund rescue so I applied through them. Their application process was awful. You couldn't in any way indicate which dog you were interested in; instead you had to answer all of their obscure questions so that they could choose what dog they thought you were matched with. You couldn't meet a dog you were interested in or talk to anyone about who you were and who the dog was. They never even got back to me. I could have gotten a male black-and-tan doxie pup (not that that's what I'd been looking for specifically, just who I'd fallen for on petfinder!) from a backyard breeder in a hot minute. It's a really hard sell when people encounter rescues that are run that way. A friend of mine wanted to adopt a cat and found a rescue that wouldn't adopt out to anyone who lived in an apartment. Seriously? No apartment dwellers at all, ever? It was ridiculous. My last apartment was over 1100 square feet, I lived there for eight years and I can't have a cat because... why, again? It's a cat, not a great dane. She bought a kitten for $20 out of a box outside a grocery store. I don't have an answer to your question, Tofulish. How you're going to appeal to someone is probably personal to that person.

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Last edited by monkeytoes on Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:03 pm 
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Moon wrote:

I'm a huge fan of foster-to-adopt and trial adoptions. I wish it was more commonplace.

I have to say, there absolutely is a huge difference between buying a dog at a pet store, or through a BYB ok kijiji and going through a serious breeder. It is a shame that people are taking AKC/CKC/FCI registration status as proof enough, because there are lots of bad breeders who are registered. But there are also lots who have a real love for their breed and don't make much money at breeding. And going through those breeders who take their dogs back in case of problems keep dogs out of shelters and breed specific rescues.


This is what I was referring to. Finding a good breeder is so much more than looking if they have "certification". Being registered does not say anything about their breeders practices.


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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:12 pm 
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monkeytoes wrote:
I'd considered getting a second dog for awhile and found a handsome three year old black-and-tan doxie on petfinder. The description of him sounded great: he was housebroken, good with kids and other dogs, blah blah blah. He was with a local dachshund rescue so I applied through them. Their application process was awful. You couldn't in any way indicate which dog you were interested in; instead you had to answer all of their obscure questions so that they could choose what dog they thought you were matched with. You couldn't meet a dog you were interested in or talk to anyone about who you were and who the dog was. They never even got back to me. I could have gotten a male black-and-tan doxie pup (not that that's what I'd been looking for specifically, just who I'd fallen for on petfinder!) from a backyard breeder in a hot minute. It's a really hard sell when people encounter rescues that are run that way. A friend of mine wanted to adopt a cat and found a rescue that wouldn't adopt out to anyone who lived in an apartment. Seriously? No apartment dwellers at all, ever? It was ridiculous. My last apartment was over 1100 square feet, I lived there for eight years and I can't have a cat because... why, again? It's a cat, not a great dane. She bought a kitten for $20 out of a box outside a grocery store. I don't have an answer to your question, Tofulish. How you're going to appeal to someone is probably personal to that person.


I hate rescues that do that! It's one thing for them to say "We don't think Dog X will be a good fit for you and here's why, but we can recommend Dog Y or Dog Z instead." That I would understand. Why list dogs on petfinder if you are not going to allow people to fall in love with them and aim for that dog in particular?

A lot of rescues are very busy and put restrictions on their process to help streamline things. But there's a difference between having a blanket "No Kids under 10" rule, and just not allowing people to specify which dog they're interested in.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:57 pm 
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Moon, I really appreciate your thoughts and experience, and I agree that if someone is dead-set on getting a dog from a breeder, it makes a lot of sense to educate them on how to find the best breeder for them.

I am stopped with how to have the conversation though, because I'd like to be able to give people a clear way forward, and that was what I was hoping some rescue people could weigh in on. Like the foster-to-adopt idea, which I know about having gone that route. Maybe there are other strategies that would help someone get around arbitrary rules (and yes it is ridiculous to not adopt cats to people who rent or live in apartments, because even people who own their own houses sometimes have to move and may choose to go to a new place that doesn't allow cats). I wish rescues would underscore that they would take the animal back at any time, if they wanted to make sure the pet didn't end up dumped or passed on to someone else. But I know that even then, people don't listen.

Its just a complicated issue

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:11 pm 
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i dont really have an answer to the question but i think it can be hard for shelters in general.
a lot of them if not most are run mainly by volunteers. we've had ok experiences wth rescues and will continue to rescue because i cant ever imagine us not rescuing but they werent like 100% positive experiences.

our first dog we got from a rescue, he was in the pound and they were caring for the dogs in the pound. he had been there for i think 6-8 months and had been a stray before so they had him long enough to know him.

they neglected to tell us he was super reactive.

we found out the hard way and then i called one of the rescue people because i had a question about one of his vaccines and i was like "yeah so did you know he hates other dogs??"
and they were like "ohhhh...welll.........he did once get bitten by another dog blah blah blah"
they told me this BS story about how he was "playing" with another dog and got nipped. the nip was bad enough they had to put a drain in so you tell me if they were playing.
anyways i always thought that was crappy of them but im always thankful this dog ended up with us because i truly think if anyone else would have gotten him he would have been euthanized or bounced around between homes before he was euthanized. he jjust has too many issues.

our 2nd dog had literally arrived at the shelter (different shelter) the night before we adopted him so they didnt know anything about him other than the paperwork he came with. however the pace was an absolute zoo while we were there. we barely were able to talk to them. i always hear people suggest that you should work with a shelter about what kind of dog you want and make the best match and if they dont have what you are looking for they can call you when a good match comes in and i just cant imagine that ever happening based on how crazy this place was. i think we could have walked out of there with any dog or any number of dogs that day. certainly no one was available to help us find the right dog we walked around looking at the pens and were like "yeah that one"

we've never had a home visit or had to really show anything other than that we owned our house.
when ive adopted guinea pigs a lot of times they say they want pictures of how big your cage is and i always go with pictures on my phone of my other pigs and of the cage and stuff and no one ever really asks about it.

we've also been told we are "dream adopters"
two incomes, no kids, own our own house, exercise our animals, pay tons of money on vet and training bills, feed high quality food, etc.
but based on reading stuff above it seems like you can be a dream adopter and still be declined.

i dont know what the answer is.

i think shelter dogs also have a bad rap like they all have problems or are more work than a breeder dog.

people who buy puppy mill dogs are just flat out morons so i dont know what sense can be talked into them.

just today my friend sent me a text saying her sister's boyfriend bought a labradoodle and a mutual acquaintance of ours was also going to get a labradoodle and i said they should be adopting shelter mutts. she said the acquaintance has dog allergies. i told her you can still adopt a hypo allergenic dog. it just takes more work.
i also know two different people who thought it would be happy fun times to breed their dogs and sell the puppies.
it makes me want to bash my head against the wall.

i know this is a bit dramatic but i feel like telling them they might as well take a gun and go to the shelter and shoot some dog's in the head.

i honestly think people just dont care and dont want to hear they should be adopting. they probably know it deep down but it's not what they want RIGHT NOW so they are just gonna do what they want.

sorry for being cynical.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:52 pm 
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It is a complicated issue. I have had the conversation with people who have been denied adopting through rescue once, but I understand people being disheartened after being denied multiple times. I haven't personally known anyone to go through that, though.

The tricky thing with giving blanket statements is not knowing those involved, rescues can have very different adoption policies and rules, and each situation is so individual.

Probably the first thing to address is if they got a reason for the denial. If they didn't, it's easy to list the many reasons that may not have had anything to do with them specifically, like lots of people being interested in that particular dog. If they did, like child under 10 situation, you can talk to them about considering a slightly larger dog with similar traits, or help them find a rescue with a lower age restriction or one that will take each situation individually.

Dealing with multiple rejections, I guess similar steps would apply. Was it the same reason over and over? Is that reason something legitimate that they're not considering? Some people don't see the rescue's reasoning and need to be told flat out why adopting a puppy to someone who is 6 months pregnant is often not a great idea. If they are getting different reasons, is it possibly just bad timing because the dogs in rescue at that point just don't suit the family dynamics?

Because rescue groups have different adoption steps, tell them to find a group that focuses on what they're looking for and just ask what the steps are. When I adopted the chis we had the online application, a home visit, and then they called references. We were cleared to adopt in general, so when the adoption we wanted fell through we didn't need to jump through all the hoops to do it again. If they're going through similar steps and are being denied before the pet selection point, it's worth it to reasses their decision to adopt through that group.

As an example, there's a few greyhound rescues in the area and their criteria vary greatly. Some require a fenced yard, some are fine with apartment dwellers who will just do leash walks. A good rescue (IMO) should draw the line in the middle. Most greys are couch potatoes but you do find some who are energetic maniacs. Finding the rescue group that fits can be as much work as finding the pet that fits.

In terms of telling people to get involved with the rescue to get their foot in the door, I think that can be important but also for them to educate themselves on the breed or dogs in general, especially if they haven't had a dog before or haven't in a while. And I think approaching it that way can be more palatable for people so they don't feel like they're trying to join a sorority. And there's lots of ways to do that which people don't think of: offering to make things to sell at fundraising events, doing transportation for animals/supplies, joining their groups on Facebook and posts and animals for adoption! Getting out to events that they are a part of where you can see animals available, talk to foster parents, anything like that is helpful too. Show that they're really interested to learn about the groups and the rescue culture and find out how they can be a part of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:20 am 
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My mom breeded her pugs, and that experience made me even more against breeding. My mom is really compassionate and she loves the dogs, she was just really naive going into it. She really regrets it now, in large part because she did get attached and it was very painful selling the puppies.

But even when a breeder is compassionate and does all the right things, its not pleasant for the dogs. Purebreds have a lot of issues even if the parents aren't related. Pugs are particularly bad from what I understand, there's very little genetic diversity. The mother dog, Daisy, gave birth to twelve puppies, which sent her into shock. She absolutely would not nurse the puppies and for the first week or two mom had to bottle feed all the puppies. Poor thing's udders nearly reached the floor in the end. Eventually Daisy allowed us to push her over, and eventually she would do it on her own, but she really hated the entire experience and she was noticeably happier when the puppies were gone. Duke, the father dog was very stressed out by the whole experience and would freak out whenever Daisy would nurse, he had to be removed. One of the puppies had to be euthanized due to a cleft palate, mom took that very hard. The vet said that even that was really lucky, its odd for pugs to have such a large litter and the odds of birth defects are really high. The vet had no idea before hand that the litter would be so huge, he told mom no more than four and she began contemplating keeping all hypothetical four because even before they were born she was attached.

Anyway, after she sold them, one of the pugs died on the operating table when he got fixed, causes unknown. Could have been the vet's mistake, but I don't think its too unlikely that he might have had some kind of health problem. One of the ladies who bought a puppy bred her recently, and she had ten puppies, way more than expected and like mom the lady felt really overwhelmed. Mom kept two puppies, one has development issues, physical and mental (she's full grown, but the size of a puppy still and she's impossible to train). Anyway, she has all the dogs fixed now and lesson learned.

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 Post subject: Re: Rescuers, responses to people saying they couldn't rescu
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:03 am 
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Thanks Moon, that is really helpful and complete. I really like the idea of finding the right rescue group and then going from there. And being realistic about the animal you're going to adopt - I have friends who won't adopt a 5 year old cat because they are worried about his/her getting old, but cats live for so long and are so lovely and mellow once they get a bit older. A friend of mine wanted a rescued white, declawed cat for his home, and I found one, but she was 6 and that was too old for him. So he is still looking, which is great, but basically its going to be so hard to find that cat for him. And in the interim so many cats are being euthanized.

I think that a lot of the publicity on rescues focuses on "you can get any dog you want through rescue" - like Oprah getting a rescue 8 week old cocker spaniel for her birthday or the ASPCA campaign showing people who adopted the cutest baby doxies. It would be more realistic to focus on education on why not to support pet shops or irresponsible breeders and that you and you can get a great, healthy and happy dog. It would also be great to move away from the focus on given breeds, because so many dogs are bred for particular characteristics that have nothing to do with health.

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