Thursday, September 26, 2019

Second Try

I waited two months after being rejected by the dog "rescue" before trying to adopt again. I talked to everyone I could about "rescues" in our area and soon realized that each "rescue" had their own ideas about what was acceptable and what wasn't and since there was no way to tell which was which, I wouldn't even be able to lie appropriately.

I spent a lot of time looking at dogs online and scanning adoption applications for potential booby-trap questions. I realized pretty quickly that I was so scarred from my experience that I started to think ALL questions were booby-traps.

"Have you ever used a retractable leash?" (Well, yeah. Ray tripped me all the time when I was using a short one. He liked to be way out front. Or way out back sniffing something while I walked on. Is a retractable leash a deal-breaker? Is it like the Dog Door of Death, as my BFF sarcastically calls it now?)
"Will you take your dog to a dog park?" (Depends on if he/she gets along with other dogs. Ray LOVED the dog park right up until the moment that he didn't. Are you a "rescue" that thinks dog parks are the root of all evil?)
"Would you hire a dog walker?" (Probably, if I were incapacitated and couldn't walk and Gregg couldn't do it and I couldn't rope one of my neighbors into doing it. Is that the right answer? Are dog walkers a BAD thing? I don't know.)
"What kind of dog behavior concerns you?" (How do I even know until something happens that is concerning. Should I admit that I'm concerned or pretend that dogs never do anything that concern a person? What is the right answer to this?)
"Why do you want a dog?" (So many reasons, but not for dog fighting. Is that what you really want to know?)
"Where will your dog sleep?" (Wherever he/she wants as long as it's not with us, unless it's a tiny dog, that might be okay. Am I supposed to say that they will only sleep in a crate behind a locked Dog Door of Death?)

Some applications I rejected immediately because of the length (6-8 pages was a bit much) or because of the intrusive nature of their questions.
"What is your annual income?" (Really??????)
"Occupation." (I can't even begin to know why they need this info unless maybe I sell dogs to labs for evil experimentation or run a dog-fighting ring, in which cases I wouldn't be likely to tell them)
"Name of your employer and how long you have worked for them." (sigh)
"How long will you go on vacation each year." (This one really raised a red flag for me. Once they know your yearly income, your address, what kind of house you live in - another of their questions - "Check one: Area around your home: Rural, Suburban, Urban," you're really a sitting duck for thieves.)

Some of the questions were scientific:
"What causes heartworm in dogs?" (I know it's transmitted by mosquitos but do they want more detailed info than that? Because I don't really know.)

One of the questions kind of stumped me:
"Do you or your home have a weight limit?" (ummmm, yes? Is that the right answer? I don't want to become overweight so I set myself a limit. Not sure about my house though. As far as I know it's not sentient. Is that what you want to know?)

Finally, I searched on "Special Needs Dogs." Maybe "rescues" trying to find homes for "Special Needs Dogs" didn't care if my home had a weight limit. I almost immediately found the perfect dog. It was an actual person trying to rehome their perfect dog that loved kids, cats, people, and other dogs. I read the description and found that her owner loved her dog but didn't have enough time to give the "coonhound mix" the exercise she needed. Nowhere was there a mention of the "Special Need." So I sent an email.

The "Special Need" turned out to be exercise. Dog was between two and three years of age, and like Ray at that age, could go and go. Her mom was a nurse who worked long days. We set up a time for Dog's mom to bring her by for a meet-and-greet.

Both Gregg and I loved the little (compared to Ray) dog. She was charming. The one big problem was, I could tell that her mom loved Dog. Despite the fact that I had told myself I wouldn't try to talk her out of it, I found myself giving advice to Dog's mom. I told her that Ray became a different dog between the age of two and three. He really calmed down. He still needed exercise but maybe she could hire a dog walker (are they bad things? I'm still uncertain.) for an hour a day. That would really help. Dog's mom's circumstances were going to change in the next year? A year goes by really fast. Maybe the dog walker could take up the slack for the year. Then I asked her, "If you decide to give her to me and I'm standing on the curb holding her leash and you drive away and look in the rearview mirror and see her straining at the leash to go home with you, will you be able to pull the trigger and drive away?" She admitted that she didn't know. I had an upcoming short trip to Wisconsin. I'd be back the week after next, she could think about it and let us know after I got back.

I got the email while I was still in Wisconsin. Dog's mom couldn't pull the trigger. She was keeping Dog. Gregg and I were both disappointed and happy at the same time.







2 comments:

  1. I suppose the rescues are trying to make sure their pooches are never again in bad circumstances, as that would be so unfair and heartbreaking - but some of that information, as you pointed out, is far too personal and compromising for a general application. Maybe they need to have a less-intrusive initial application followed by a more detailed one, and/or an interview, with a winnowed list of candidates. I have no idea what a weight limit for a house is, either, but I laughed at your comment.

    After reading the whole post, I too was both disappointed and happy. In fact, I may have shed a tear or two. Well done on keeping a family together, and good luck finding "the one" that will become part of your own family.

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  2. I volunteered with a few different rescues and I can tell you, some of the people in those rescues are a little... different. After dealing with humans and the terrible things they do to animals or the flippant attitude they have about what it means to really care for any animal, I can see their point. However, I also have been on the receiving end of rescues and their high standards when I have wanted to adopt a dog.

    If I ever end up wanting another dog I think it’s more likely I will go through the humane society or local animal control. On the one hand, I prefer rescues because typically they should be able to give you a lot more information on the dog, which is a bonus so you have a rough idea of issues that might be present (but I can also tell you some rescues are shady enough to withhold significant issues just to try and get the dog adopted out). On the other hand, sometimes going through all the waiting and jumping through their hoops just isn’t worth it unless you really feel like the dog they have is the absolute one for you. Even before i was allowed to foster any dogs I was grilled and they had to do a home check to make sure it was suitable.

    What you did for that woman and her dog was exactly what any decent rescue does when someone wants to rehome their dog. That was pretty great!

    ~Blueberry’s human

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