Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keep your friends close . . .

I have been fostering a little chihuahua lately for a local rescue group. Being involved in the process of trying to find a forever home for him has opened my eyes to some of the unrealistic expectations people have when it comes to adopting a dog; among other things.  I have decided to make a list for potential adopters or people who are just thinking about getting a dog that will be helpful for them to find their new best friend.

  • No dog is perfect.  I don't care if you are the freakin' Dog Whisperer, the dog you are trying to find a playmate for might seem perfect to you, but it's only because you are used to it's idiosyncrasy's. So any new dog you look at will seem a lot different. Because it is.  Don't judge harshly because the new dog isn't as "perfect" as your others.
  • Not wanting to "go through the puppy stage" is a cop out.  I understand that it can be frustrating to have a dog that chews on things or potty's in the house.  But that is what they have you for.  They need to be taught, and the best person to teach them is their new "parent".  Don't be so lazy.  
  • I strongly suggest that anyone looking to adopt a dog, go watch a training session at PetSmart or someplace like that.  It will give you a feel for just how smart dogs really are and how quickly they can learn or unlearn things.
  • Talk to rescue groups.  If you don't know of any, ask your local humane society or animal control they usually have a list.  There are many small groups that don't even have a kennel.  All the dogs that they rescue are being fostered in homes while waiting for a new "forever" home.  Don't be intimidated by the adoption fees.  Some are willing to negotiate or let you make payments.  Remember that this dog has been seen by a vet, and is going to be up to date on it's shots and spayed or neutered.  It's a great deal if you really think about it.  Rescue groups are also not just for pure breeds anymore.  The one I am currently fostering for has everything from mutts, chihuahuas, a standard poodle, shepherd mixes, and Australian shepherds.  
  • Go to the websites of places like PetCo or PetSmart or Coastal Farm & Home Supply to look at their event pages.  They often have adoption events for small rescues or shelters on Saturdays.
  • Make a list of why you want a dog.  It will help you choose wisely so it's doesn't end up homeless again.  Dogs bond to their people pretty quickly so it's pretty stressful for them to think they found "the one" only to be sent away.
Another thing that has been bugging me lately is the amount of people who are getting rid of their pets.  I get that everybody has a time in their life when it seems like everything is going downhill.  Maybe you lost your job or have to move.  I personally think that having my dogs around me makes my life a lot better no matter how shitty it gets.  And if I ever ended up homeless, I sure would be glad of their warm fur coats when they lay next to me to protect me at night. 

I've seen ads on line that people wrote, giving their dogs away.  Or they want to re-coup their "losses" or the money they spent on it. Below is a list of crappy and/or lies of why people are getting rid of their pet.  Don't use them, people know you are full of shit.  Just be honest.  If you feel the need to lie and hide something then maybe you are doing something wrong.  Think about it.

  • "I lost my job."  I've lost and found so many jobs while having three dogs that it's just plain ridiculous.
  • "Moving and can't take her with me."  Why not? My husband and I moved cross-country with two cats in a U-Haul truck.  Then turned around a year later and moved back with the same two cats and a very young dog.  It can be done, my friend.
  • "She's afraid of my husband."  I saw this one today.  Seriously, you are going to get rid of her because she is too afraid of a human to listen to his commands?  Sounds to me like the man needs to be re-trained not the dog.
  • "We 'rescued' a dog, but it has to live in a kennel." What the heck did you rescue it from?
  • "Wants more attention then I can give."  I hope you don't have kids or they might get given away.
  • "Just got him, and it's not working out with our other dog."  So you decided to get another dog without letting them meet each other first?  Gee, that was smart.  Now you've stressed out both dogs and yourself.  Don't be so hasty next time.
  • "I've had him for two years and is a great dog, but needs more room than I have."  It took you two years to figure this out?  Walk him. 
  • "Free to good home: 10 year old lab. Had him since he was a baby."  Excuse me?  You've had this guy his whole life and you are getting rid of him?  When I see this I fume.  I may be judgmental but I figure that you just don't want to deal with an old dog and his health.  You are a twat.  <--- My new favorite word, pulled from my 7th grade memory.
  • "I work full time and have multiple other dogs and have no time for him."  Saw this one today.  So I am wondering how you decided which one to get rid of.  Did you do eenie-meenie-miney-mo?
I could probably go on forever but I wont.  I just hope that by reading this somewhere, some great pooch is saved from being misplaced, displaced or replaced with a younger model.
Spay or neuter your pets, keep your gate shut, put their collar back on immediately after bathing, get tags for them, and try harder.  We are the humans, we have thumbs, they need us and we need them.  One of my dogs gets out of the yard periodically for the last 9 years.  She is very good at this and very sly.  Therefore, ALL my neighbors know of her and knows what she looks like.  Why?  Because I told them.  I wanted to make sure that she never ended up at the pound.  She is micro-chipped. She has a reflective collar that also glows in the dark.  She also has three different tags on said collar.  When you have a problem you try to fix it.  Don't turn your back on it.