If you are considering adopting a dog from an animal shelter or dog rescue group, this is wonderful! Every dog adopted from a shelter or rescue group helps eliminate despicable puppy mills and, more importantly, saves a dog’s life. Unfortunately, some dog rescue groups make adopting a dog almost as difficult as adopting a child. The first hurdle you must overcome is the initial adoption application. A “wrong” answer here will send you home in shock and empty-handed. For this reason, it is important that you read this application BEFORE falling in love with a specific dog.
Most rescue groups, especially puppy-dog rescues and breed-specific rescues, require you to submit an adoption application and approve it before they even speak to you or allow you to see your dogs in person. You will be able to see images of dogs available on the rescue website; but until they have approved your application, that is all that can come. Fortunately, not all rescues are so terribly demanding; And in comparison, the shelters are downright cozy!
I can’t overstate the importance of this initial app! Please understand that I am an honest person. I am not lying and would never tell anyone to lie on an application. With that said, there are certain responses that, if indicated in an application, will immediately disqualify you. When you read the application, you will need to determine if any of these apply to you. Then you will need to decide how you want to handle the situation. You can try to avoid having to admit the truth or you may need to find a less demanding rescue group.
For the questions below, I will give you the “correct” answer, by which I mean the answer the ransom wants to read or hear from you. I will also give you answers that will disqualify you. If there is any other acceptable answer, I will say it as well. For some questions, I’ll just say NOTB – None of your business – or I’ll just tell you to go elsewhere.
Typical “problematic” questions:
1. How much money do you make? This is one of those NOTB questions. They supposedly want to make sure you can afford to adopt a dog, but I think the only answer that can be given here is “I earn enough.”
(Just FYI – some bailouts are actually discriminatory, and questions related to salary, type of home, where you live, etc. are used to remove certain people.)
2. How long during the day will your dog be alone?
Disqualify: All day or I work all day.
Correct: NONE. There is always someone at home.
Acceptable: not long. I go home for lunch and my neighbor lets the dog out two or three times a day.
3. How long will your dog have to spend alone outdoors?
Disqualify: All day.
There is no other acceptable answer.
4. Is your yard fenced in with a 5 ‘(or 6’) wooden fence?
Disqualify: No fence; electric fence; 4 ‘wire fence. (I have not found any rescue that will accept an electric fence.)
Correct: Yes, I have a 5 ‘(or 6’) wooden fence.
Acceptable: this will depend on the dog. For an older small dog, a shorter fence might be acceptable.
5. Do you have children? What are the ages?
Disqualification: Baby or children under 6 years old.
Correct: There are no children, or they are all 10 or older.
Acceptable: Ages 4-10 will depend on the dog.
6. What pets do you have and, if you don’t already have them, please indicate why not?
The second part of this question is IT’S NOT B! They are trying to find out if he has left any pets or if he has returned any.
7. Where will the dog sleep?
Correct: In the house, with us, in a drawer.
8. Is everyone in the family excited about getting a new dog?
Disqualify: Any answer other than YES.
9. Have you ever returned or delivered a pet? This could be worded: Is there an acceptable reason to return a pet?
Correct: never. I would never do that.
Acceptable – This can be tricky. If an adopted animal and its current pets can’t figure things out, it may still be approved.
10. Have you had a pet?
Disqualify: Yes. Most rescues do not believe there is any acceptable reason to euthanize a dog. Aggression is never an acceptable reason. Serious injury or illness may be considered acceptable, but that depends on rescue. Some believe in the “while they can breathe” philosophy to keep an animal alive.
Before becoming fond of a dog, read both the adoption application and the adoption contract. If you find that you won’t be approved (young children, living in an apartment, unfenced yard, etc.) or you can’t agree to some of the requirements of the contract, don’t bother looking at pictures of your animals. Instead, find a different rescue or go to your local shelter or Humane Society.
Puppy rescue groups and breed rescues tend to have an inherent mistrust of humans. Therefore, their requirements are very strict. Rescues who make a concerted effort to save dogs from euthanasia in shelters are more human-friendly and understand that their first goal should be to bring these animals into loving homes.
Be patient and check the websites frequently. Visit your local shelter often. Your perfect dog will find you!