newhomeseekerApril 18, 2012

I adopted a rat terrier from a reputable rescue group. Unfortunately after about 9 months I had to return her for her own sake. She needed much more time and attention that I could give her (I work a lot which was disclosed when I adopted the dog) and even though it was a terribly hard decision I felt she deserved a home where she would have plenty of attention. she was very hyper because of not getting enough expecise. So I returned her to the group and gave them a very detailed history of her likes and dislikes etc as to help the next person who adopts her. When I adopted her the rescue said she was housebroken (she was not) and that she was good with cats (she likes to chase cats). THey also said she did not need to be in a crate when I was not home. also untrue. When I met her at the shelter she was very laid back and calm. This is NOT her personality.

I checked the rescue's web site and they have information listed about her. However they did not use ANYTHING that I gave them and they said she is "perfectly housebroken" and gets along well with all other pets and is good with children. I have no idea where they got the idea that she is good with children.. she was never around children at my house but she was terrified off ALL strangers. She would bark and hide and when I would take her to the park and she would see kids she was afraid of them too and would growl and bark and hide. Also she is definately not housebroken. She may not have had any accidents at the shelter but she would sometimes go to the door when she needed to go out and sometimes she would just pee or poop inside the house. WHen I was home I would let her out at least every two hours. And she does need to be kept in a cage when no one is home becuase she likes to chew on things including cords (she is 3 years old)

It really makes me mad that the rescue is not giving out the correct information because the dog deserves a good home but the adopters need to know what they are getting into as well. WHy would a rescue or shelter deliberately give out false information.

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Several reasons.

Some facilities have their own people who 'test' and categorize animals. That is done with their own criteria, which in many cases has little relevance to an adoptive environment. So, the animal passes their requirements, but they have no idea of how the animal reacts to other surroundings.

Or, the shelter folks have no idea how to test at all and simply want to get animals adopted. That usually comes from a desire to rehome animals for humane reasons(so animals are not euthanized). The real problem is by not categorizing and matching animals top prospective owners, they wind up misplacing a lot of animals.

Often, prospective owners have no idea of what type or size animal they need. Wants are usually incorrect for the average pet owner. I have two rescues now simply because owners/prospective owners could not deal with the dogs. Both dogs are doing well because I knew/was willing to learn what was necessary to rehabilitate them.

And, as a combination of all reasons, many groups simply let their desire to 'save' animals dictate their procedures. Which often make no sense whatsoever.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:07AM
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Another thing - often you have to sign an agreement that if it doesnt work you have to agree to return the animal to THEM - I understand why, but then what about someone like me (or maybe the OP) who could do as good if not better job finding a home and screening.

When I adopted my 2 cats I had to sign such a statement and I quizzed them about this - as I told them it would just break my heart if for some reason I couldnt care for my cats and they had to go back into sitting in a cage (they had been caged for almost a year when I adopted them.). They said they'd be OK with me finding new owners as long as the owners would fit their criteria and be approved, and then pay them the fee - the cats wouldnt phsyically have to go back to the shelter... . It's something to think about and ask questions about prior to adopting an animal.

I would suggest to the OP - maybe you could help find a new home. Talk to your friends, acquaintances, friends of friends who might be looking for a dog. Your promoting the dog and being honest about it and able to answer their questions honestly will help a lot

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:28AM
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".. often you have to sign an agreement that if it doesn't work you have to agree to return the animal to THEM.."

I doubt such an agreement is legally enforceable. I suspect its purpose in practically all cases is to reassure prospective owners that if things don't work, they have a safe and easy out.

My own pooch was originally adopted with such an agreement, but after 7 yrs, her owner died. The executor was prepared to return her to the shelter as a last resort, but was much relieved that I stepped up and took her. I notified the shelter to update their records, and they were cool with the new arrangements.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 2:55PM
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"When I adopted her the rescue said she was housebroken (she was not) and that she was good with cats (she likes to chase cats). THey also said she did not need to be in a crate when I was not home. also untrue. When I met her at the shelter she was very laid back and calm. This is NOT her personality."

And if you had this experience when you adopted her, there is no indication it would be any different the next time around. I'm not faulting you for returning her, you did what you saw best for her sake........but why are you surprised?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:51PM
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The folks who volunteer at rescues put in a lot of time and effort into the dogs they rescue. They try to make a good match and don't just shuffle them off to anyone who will take them. Since you do sign a contract to return the dog to them should it not work out, adopting dogs to homes they aren't suited for would practically guarantee the dogs would be returned. If dogs are being returned that leaves little room, time, or money to rescue additional dogs. So, I wouldn't think this rescue adopted this dog to you without you giving them good reason to think you could/would take care of it properly.

I'm trying to be nice so I hope you don't take this personally. But I can see in your post why they probably didn't put much faith in your description of the dog's behavior. You admit that you are not home a lot, that you gave the dog up because it needed more exercise, and that the dog's personality when you met it was not the same as at your home. Just from that I get the idea this dog spent a lot of time alone and confined.

A dog can be perfectly potty trained but if no-one is there to let it out to do it's business it will eventually forget it's house manners and relieve itself. Being potty trained doesn't erase the need to go, just means they rely on you to make sure they are in the right place when they need to. Many people just let the dog out without watching to see if it has actually gone potty then wonder why it later makes a mess later in the house.

The most well behaved dog will lose all of it's good manners if it isn't getting enough exercise. Aside from food I think exercise is the single most important thing a good dog needs. A good dog is a tired dog.

Your experience with the dog around strangers may stem from it's experience while in your custody. When you met she was laid back and calm. A dog who was terrified of all strangers would not have been laid back and calm just for you. Perhaps the swing from being alone and confined to being taken out to a busy public place (probably not after being exercised) was too much for her and scared her. Maybe at her foster home or shelter she is on a more even keel so her personality remains stable.

And lastly, those rescue volunteers have heard it all. What they hear the most from people who have dogs they just want to get rid of:

We don't have time to give the dog the attention it deserves and its not fair to the dog, the dog deserves better. We would love to keep the dog but want what's best for it.

The dog behaves badly (while not seeing the connection between behavior and exercise).

The dog goes potty in the house (while not accepting that they are responsible for making sure the dog is taken out when it needs to go, and making sure it has gone, not just letting it out for a few minutes and assuming that is what the dog did out there.)

They also see people who really want a dog, and a certain kind of dog sometimes, but who don't realize (or remember) how much work it really is. Sometimes it works out and the adopter can adjust their lifestyle, and sometimes it doesn't.

I'm not saying that all of these things happened just like this for you, but the people who volunteer at pet rescues are committed to making sure their fosters are well taken care of and they put a lot of time and effort into them. Perhaps that is why they don't see the problems with the dog that you did. Because you by your own admission did not have enough time for this dog. It doesn't surprise me at all that the dog you experienced does not have the same behavior as the dog they have experienced.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 12:28AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Thank you for posting a well worded reply, Jackieblue. I would add that an adoption contract or any written contract is absolutely binding and enforcable. Before signing a contract, one should be certain that they will abide by the terms in it. Violating the terms of some contracts call for serious monetary penalties.

I signed contracts when acquiring my two present dogs, one from a rescue and the other from a breeder. In both cases I understood and agreed with the terms when I put my name to the documents. Both contracts require that my dogs be returned to the rescue/breeder who would re-home them if I could no longer keep them, and this is a source of comfort to me in the event that something should happen, if I and my husband were both killed in a car accident for instance.

There are some rescues and breeders whose policies I am not comfortable with, and I would therefore never adopt or buy from these persons/groups for that reason. I look very carefully at the policies on the adoption applications before applying to adopt. I would never put my signature to a document that I did not intend to follow to the letter, nor adopt or buy from a party I was not in agreement with regarding the care and well-being of the animal.

When your home has been approved by a rescue group, they are entrusting the animal to your home and you, not to another home and family that they have not examined and approved. Many rescue groups have strict policies that an adopted animal cannot be transferred to another party, so that they can assure that the pet will be in a stable, safe home for the remainder of its life. If you are not in agreement with such a policy, then you should not sign an adoption contract with this requirement.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 12:46PM
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Many rescue agencies are excellent, but many are only well intentioned and misguided.

Example: Shelter operates with mainly volunteers who have a soft spot in their heart for animals and a desire to 'save' as many as possible. Well meant intentions are a miserable substitute for knowledge.

I've seen videos of rescue organizations who have extensive testing that is patently silly. Like feeding a dog and using a fake hand on a stick to test---on a one time basis---for aggression while eating. Absolutely ridiculous.

I worked for a vet, have raised several dogs, cats, horses and miscellaneous animals. Mot of the animals we get are with us for life. Yet, I was not eligible to adopt from almost all rescues/shelters because I lived in a mobile home community. I could provide notarized documents from the community management proving I had their permission to keep a dog, affidavits from several vets attesting to how ell I cared for all our animals, and even letters from local police officers about how well trained and obedient my guard dogs were. Had the required fence, yard space and inside accomodations.

Mobile home owners were bad owners. No dice.

Then there is the issue of me having an unneutered male dog. According to rescues, I am a criminal because of that. The city in which I live requires a special license for having any unneutered dog. I have a female---which is neutered.

Our last two dogs lived to be 15(Lab/chow mix---unneutered male, BTW) and a 20 year old chihuahua mix(which was a neutered male). Have had a purebred Alaskan Malamute, several cocker/terrier mixes and several other assorted mixes. I even spayed one of my dogs(while working for the vet and under his watchful guidance).

Our dogs seldom need medical care simply because I know how to prevent many injuries/conditions. They are never overweight nor underfed. They are generally well exercised and get annual vet checks. When the occasional problem arises, I take them to the vet.

All that ability to properly care for a dog is for naught because of one or two instances where I do not fit their criteria. That is patently stupid, IMHO.

Three years ago, a local kill pound advertised pleading for people to adopt some of their dogs on 'Death Row'. I needed a companion dog form my unneutered male guard dog. The problem was he was also very dog aggressive and I was sure bringing home just any dog could result in an severely injured or dead new dog. Solution? Let Max pick his companion. That idea was new to those folks, but after some conversation---and the determination to save dogs, they agreed.

I take Max and over the next hour get him calmed down(dampening the kill mode) and we 'interviewed dogs. He was 20 or so feet away---never getting any closer to the 'interviewees'. The first three he growled at---all females. The fourth was the most pitiful dog I have ever seen. Darn near starved to death(my vet said another week and she might have died)---and totally petrified of everything.

Of course, that was the one Max liked. The pound administrator was shocked when I said she was the one. She had been positive that dog would be euthanized because of all her problems. I would not have picked her either, but the circumstances were set.

End result, Molly is now a happy and fairly well adjusted dog. She is still timid at times, but loves attention and exercise---and has been exactly what Max needed. She is the one dog that has been the most challenging to rehabilitate with which I have ever worked. Max was very aggressive and dominate---and was less of a challenge to change. And he was so undisciplined when I first got him if I had not know how to deal with him, he would have bitten me. His previous owners and the two police officers instrumental in beginning the seizure paperwork(to have him declared a public hazard and euthanized) cannot believe the changes in him. All that training/modification was done with no physical correction(smacking/jabbing/rough touch) and only sound and body language corrections. In our yard/house, he is a guard dog. Away from the house he is rather aloof, but friendly to people. His aggression for other dogs has mellowed a bit---no more attack mode. He is still dominant if allowed to be. That is simply his nature.

These are all examples of people's ability(I am not the only person capable of such things) to be excellent pet owners, but because of rigid and uncompromising rules, cannot rescue any of the hundreds of abandoned animals due to misguided agency policies and lack of properly trained personnel.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 3:18PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I agree with you, Handymac, that some rescue groups have rigid and uncompromising and, to my mind, misguided rules. This is why it is important to adopt from a rescue whose policies you agree with before you sign on the dotted line.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 8:50PM
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handymac its really great that your dogs do so well under your care, however, your issue with rescues seem to be because they deemed your situation unfit to adopt one of their dogs. Here's the deal, when you are the one who bothers to go to the shelter or wherever and you take the animals no-one wants, you nurse them back to health if needed, you spend a great amount of your time taking care of them, a great amount of time raising money so you can take care of them, and then spend your own money because there never seems to be enough, then you get to make the rules concerning who you will send those animals you rescued home with. If a rescue decided not to let you adopt because some portion of your lifestyle was in conflict with their rules then so be it. You can, and did, go to a shelter to adopt a dog who needs you probably more than the dog in rescue did.

I adopted a cat from a rescue right after I bought my house. (Had to have him put down this past winter, still miss him.) But when it came to adopting a dog I didn't even bother. Most of the rescues around here require a 5 foot fence for the type of dog I was interested in. I don't know why, don't care why. I didn't have a five foot fence and I wasn't about to get one. My fence was four foot (except for one side which is actually 3-1/2 ft but covered by shrubs!!), which is adequate so long as you don't have a dog determined to get out. So I went to the pound and to my surprise found just the type of dog I wanted, a Boxer. I adopted him and just like your pound dog mine is doing great and is a well loved member of the family. Can't knock the rescues because of their rules though. In fact I donate and support as much as I can because they really do what they do for the good of the animals who would have been euthanized if they hadn't. That's not to say there aren't some who maybe shouldn't be operating without some oversight but for the most part they are all in it for the right reasons so if they have a set of rules their board approved then that's that. You shouldn't take it personally.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:23PM
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I take it personally because they are continually begging for money and will take my donations. I expect my donations to be used to take care of animals and find them good homes.

I do not expect to be treated like a criminal---yes, two national agencies talked to me like I was breaking a law for having an unneutered dog---nor do I feel a demonstrated and provable good home should be refused because of one unbendable rule.

I understand their predicaments. I sympathize with their problems. I have never paid for a dog in my life, save for adopting from a shelter/rescue. In fact, a good number of the dogs I have owned would have wound up in a shelter had we not adopted the animal before that happened.

I also make rules---as the lead Moderator for a website with 36,000 members---so I understand making rules can be almost impossible. The solution is to make rules that allow wiggle room, so good folks do not get treated like problem folks.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 3:21PM
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Surely you understand why they have a rule about not adopting to a home with intact animals. I mean really, that is the root of the entire problem which has created a need for rescue groups in the first place. Rescue groups don't just adopt out discarded pets, they work to eliminate the need for rescue by advocating spaying and neutering for ALL pets. I for one am glad for that rule and whole heartedly support it. But then I am one who thinks there is no good reason for anyone to not have their pet dogs or cats fixed. Obviously you don't feel that way so I guess that just means you don't qualify to adopt a rescue pet. I'm a little confused as to why you would care, since you don't seem to be of like mind with them.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 7:44PM
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I have a neutered rescue----she was not neutered when we adopted her. I had her spayed as soon as possible upon adopting her---as per the agreement with the pound. I have no desire to have or cause more puppies.

My male is a guard dog first and everything else second. I have seen how neutered and unneutered males act over my life. A whole male is much more protective and aggressive. Makes no difference if the male is a dog, cat, cow, or horse.

Odd that I tend to pick those animals that would not be chosen by the larger percentage of folks. Super aggressive or totally pathetic----I have demonstrated I can rehabilitate almost any dog.

I would love to support shelters by adopting---sadly, we only need to adopt about every 15 years or so---our dogs live that long or longer.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:46PM
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I know the OP asked why would a shelter lie. There really is no good reason. That is a terrible way to operate a shelter. It does no one any good -- and certainly not the animal.

However, there ARE very good reasons why shelters have strict policies. They are faced with the harsh reality every day of "what do I do now to make things better (or even semi tolerable)?" I don't want to get on a long diatribe here, but let's not forget the cold hard facts. There are very good reasons why those "harsh" policies are in place, particularly around spaying and neutering.

Plus, there are other ways to support shelter animals even if you don't qualify to adopt. IF that is what you truly want to do. No one says you have to though. They need bedding, blankets, food, cleaning, cat litter, and vet care.

Unless someone gives them those things, they aren't free. The "harsh" adoption rules that drive people crazy are truly there for a reason. It's math. It's simply the math. It's the math that most people ignore, or just don't want to think about. Frankly they are there because:

- for every 1 human born, there are 15 dogs born. I don't own 15 dogs and I don't know many people (if ANY)
who do or want to. That means there will never be enough foster or adoptive homes for that many dogs. That's not just 1 for every family -- that is 1 per PERSON.

- 1 unspayed cat and all her unfixed offspring can generate over 30,000 cats in 4 years -- wrap your head around that number... ONE cat can do that

- MOST shelters are not fully city or county funded. They operate on donations.

The majority are doing the best they can with what they have. But until we embrace the facts and math, its really not fair to overly judge. They are doing what we simply can't or don't want to do. God bless them. There simply is not any great solution. So yeah, they require spay/neuter. Can't blame them there, they are the ones who have to deal with the numbers. They make a mistake now and then or get a bad employee. No one at a shelter is getting rich, that's for sure. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater -- they're doing the best they can with what they have.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 5:29AM
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Righht off the bat you say you work a lot so the dog was being neglected. Dogs of virtually every breed need and require a lot of affection, attention and exercize. Do not blame shelters and rescue agencies when you adopt a dog and leave them aloner for 8-10 hours a day.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:36AM
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