Monday, December 7, 2009

The Ugly Dog Facts

I use to work in dog rescue, at least until BlackDog became a permanent foster dog. Because of that experience, I often get calls and requests from people wanting animals or wanting to place animals. As you can guess, more people are looking for homes than there are people looking for dogs.

I wish sometimes I could scream because they don't understand the facts of life in rescue.

The Ugly Facts:

1) If your dog is over the age of four and over 25 pounds, both at the same time, he has less than a 15% chance of finding a new home unless he is a purebreed or is exceptional in someway. Loving everyone is not being exceptional.

The local shelter here will euthanize all dogs over the age of 3 unless they are 'exceptional' in some way. These they try to place in private shelters. Few find placements with groups such as ours. We're just too crowded.

2) If your dog is over the age of seven, he has a better chance of becoming a cat than getting adopted. There are some exceptions for small dogs but even with those the odds are lousy.

Over the age of 10? Beg a relative to take him.

3) The larger your adult dog is, the less likely we'll be able to place him. If he's a purebred or looks close to one, that will help but there are no guarantees. Few people have the room or patience for a 100 pound mix-breed adult dog. If the dog is age two and under, there is still hope but the big dogs just take longer to place.

4) Adult Beagles aren't wanted by anyone in the tri-county area. People breed them constantly in the area and you can get an 8 week old puppy off a back of a truck for $25 dollars. Try then to convince someone to pay the $80 dollar adoption fee for an adult one.

Hounds are often loud, smelly, and not as cute when grown up. The rescue turns down about three out of every five beagles and beagle mixes. Not because we don't like the breed but because they take 12 to 18 months longer to place. We need the space. Beagle puppies do adopt quickly though.

5) Dogs that aren't housebroken, have no shots, test positive for heartworm are not eligible for placement. Period. These are the minimums. Dogs that need medication can be placed (sometimes) but it takes longer so expect a huge wait.

6) It isn't acceptable or cute for your dog to lunge, bite, pee in the house, howl, eat furniture, or growl at children. If you can't live with this behavior, why do you think someone else would? You need a trainer, not a rescue.

7) Placing dogs together is nearly impossible as well. The rescue has more luck with small breeds if you want to place a pair. Pairs of large dogs are almost always a no-go.

8) Just because it is a puppy doesn't mean we have room for a litter of 12. We'll try to make room but space is limited and puppies are expensive. All our pups must be vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and housebroken before being homed, so we're committing to a lot of work and expense.

Therefore, we rarely take sick puppies or ones in need of extreme care. On occasion we may make an exception and take donations for a special pup but we only have some much money and time. Our dogs are adopted out at between $80 and $150.00. Most have had $200.00 worth of vet care or more. We don't exactly make a profit. We do this for love.

9) If we can't take your dog, sometimes we will list it for you on the website. Expect it to take a month to a year to place your dog. This is with you working diligently to place him. You need to Facebook your dog, post him at work, run an ad in the paper (with an adoption fee). No fees attract the lab collectors who get dogs for lab experiments. Gee what fun. You need to WORK at getting him adopted, just like we do. People rarely just come up to you and offer to take your dog.

10) We do NOT adopt to anyone who plans on chaining their dog in the yard and leaving him out there in all weather and with no socialization. Sorry. And no, we don't adopt about 'mean' dogs for protection. All of our dogs are well-socialized.

Also, we won't adopt to you if your children try to torture the dogs during the application. Torture includes jumping up and down on a dog, prying open it's mouth, kicking at it, biting the dog, or in the case of one kid, setting it on fire. This isn't cute or kids being kids. So don't be upset if we ask to meet your kids.

11) If one adult is against the dog in the house, then we won't adopt to you. They'll resent the dog and in the end, the dog will come back to us. It's happened before. Everyone must agree.

12) Dogs are not gifts. They are living, breathing animals. Never surprise anyone with a dog.

13)Reasons to get rid of your dog do not include: a new job, a new baby, a new husband, tired of having a dog, want a new puppy, he got too big, or just not interested anymore.

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