Sunday, June 19, 2011

Adopting the Puppy

As I mentioned, we went nine days without a dog before we cracked.

As a rescue volunteer (albeit with exotic parrots), I am committed to pet adoption. I also understand that my home is not the best for every dog. What with the cat and an African Grey parrot. Not every dog can manage with other pets.

There is also a question of adopting a puppy or an adult dog. There are pros and cons with both. We just went through end-of-life with a senior dog, so I hope you won’t judge me for wanting a younger dog, but I have also had great experiences with adopting an adult that was already housetrained and could adapt quickly to my home environment.

I went to the Internet. is a great website that pulls together information on adoptable animals from shelters across the country. It allows searches by type of animal (cat, dog, bird, etc.), size, approximate age and even breed. There are profiles on the available pets including any information the rescue has gathered (like whether a dog is known to be good with kids) and pictures. Most also have links to the rescue’s website.

I talked with two different rescues about different dogs and decided to go with Wright Way Rescue, which has an adoption center in Niles. Wright Way rescues dogs and cats from downstate shelters with very high euthanasia rates, including an awful lot of puppies.

The process was interesting. I put in my online application right away. Many rescues, including the one where I volunteer, ask people to complete the application before meeting the animal. This is particularly prevalent in rescues where pets are primarily in foster care, or don’t have open hours for the public to visit. I know it turns off some people, but I also understand why it is a good idea for some rescues.
In Wright Way’s case, the dogs are driven to Niles from downstate, so they look for some reasonable reassurance that a family is serious before putting the animal through the trip. However, the benefit offered in exchange is that Wright Way offers the option to “reserve” a dog or cat – meaning they will hold the pet for you while you are waiting for an appointment to meet. In my case, I reserved a puppy a week ago that wasn’t yet available because he was too young.

On the day of the appointment, Wright Way asks for a good 60-90 minutes of your time in order to meet the pet and go through their orientation video, with time for questions. In my case, the questions were about crate training, which I have never done before. They also have a supply shop onsite, with proceeds going to support rescue efforts. It is worth noting that Wright Way has lost the lease on their building in Niles and is raising funds to purchase a permanent facility.

At the end of the appointment, I had adopted the puppy.

There are lots and lots of rescues out there doing great work. There is a huge need for volunteers, fundraisers and foster homes. And I hope you will consider pet adoption as your first option.

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Ainm Cleite said...

Gibbs is adorable! Thanks for sharing your adoption experience. So many dogs out there in need of homes. I would take them all if I could, but I have two myself. Good luck with the puppy!

Anne said...

Thanks. One tangent I didn't take with this post was to mention that walking in to a shelter with available animals and no plan is rather dangerous for me.

The online search and application process kept me mentally on track for _this dog_. And even then, there were a non-zero number of moments at the adoption center when we thought, "If those people aren't taking that dog home.."

Ainm Cleite said...

I am the same way. We used to make the mistake of going to Petsmart on Saturday's (the day a local shelter always brought in dogs for adoption) for food, etc. And I could not help myself from meandering to the end of the store where the rescue dogs were. I always left in tears. Drove my husband crazy. We don't visit Petsmart on Saturdays anymore.

Fluffycat said...

Working in animal rescue, I like the people who come in just wanting one animal and walk out with several. I managed to con some people into taking three cats home once. That made my week.