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Discussion Starter #1
I would like to get some advice from those of you that have experience in dealing with rescue organizations. I have been following a few different ones on Facebook and have decided that I would like to get a rescue dog. After reading some of these applications I have to say things have certainly changed since I was a kid. I remember going to the local SPCA with my dad, choosing a dog, making a donation and off we went. After reading some of these applications, I felt like I was looking to adopt a child. Now I do understand that there are many terrible people out there that abuse animals but some of the questions just seemed over the top.

So I would like to get some advice on anything you feel is important to add to an application and also what kinds of things to be aware of if a home visit is required. We are looking to adopt a small dog under 25 pounds. Something like a shih tzu, bichon, poodle mix etc. as my husband has some allergies so a dog that doesn't shed much would be a better option. We own our home with a big yard that has a 4 foot fence around it since we have a built in pool. My husband and I are home most of the time as we are both retired. No one else lives at the house with us though we do have young grandkids 8,10 and 12 that visit for brief periods of time. The dog in my siggy is my mom's dog and will someday come to live with us as my mom is now 80. I would appreciate any help you could give me. Thank you.
 

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I have done home visits for rescue groups. Generally, it is fairly casual and more of a mutual introduction of the dog to your house and you as owners to the rescue group. If there are resident pets, it is a chance to see if the rescue dog can get along with your pets as well as how the pets are cared for.

It is a chance for the rescue to verify the information you provided them-- as in, if you said you have no cats in the house and the dog you are interested in does not do well with cats, its a quick peek for the rescue volunteer to see if there is a litter box and cat scratching post tucked in the corner. If you say you have a "fully fenced yard", its a quick look to see if fully fenced is decent secure 4 or 6 foot fencing like wood privacy or chain link or if its a haphazard mix of chicken wire and random pallets that couldn't contain a lazy giant breed dog let alone a small lively pup.

As for the application, MOST (not all, some rescues are kinda nutty) groups are just looking to make sure that you have permission to have a dog if you are a renter or that you are the homeowner, that all adults in the house are on board for adopting, that all pets in the house have regular vet care and dogs and cats are spayed/neutered, and that really you are who you say you are.

Most rescues require resident dogs and cats to be fixed, some rescues will allow medical reasons for intact animals.

Typical visit for me has been something like-- walk the dog outside the house with any resident dogs as a get to know you time. Head back to the living room to sit for a casual chat and let the potential dog greet all the residents of the house and preferably, frequent family visitors. If there is some important safety feature like a pool cover or self-latching gate or secure fence, have a look at that.
 

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As someone who has been on both ends, both as a reference checker and home visitor for rescues, and as a hopeful adopter, my experience is that it has become very competitive. Desirable dogs (young, no special needs) can have dozens of applicants so the rescue has the job of choosing the "best" home for a particular dog. When my partner was looking for a dog, we were turned down a number of times even though we are experienced dog people, have a yard, a nearby park, a vet we have a long history with, do training as a hobby, and volunteer for rescues. It can seem somewhat arbitrary though I'm sure the rescues are doing their best to match personalities of dogs and owners. We also found that we had to monitor PetFinder constantly to try to be a first applicant because the dogs we were looking at went quickly. I came to the conclusion that these dogs do not need "rescuing." The dogs that truly need your help are the behaviorally or physically challenged and senior dogs. If you want to do a good thing, consider these.

That being said, nobody is out to get you or judge you, it is just due diligence. As a reference checker, I am looking for red flags such as references saying different things about the family or individual; likelihood that the dog will get returned due to moving, children being born, disruptive behavior etc; history with previous pets; and how much the dog will be left alone. Usually for our rescue, once we get to the home visit stage it's pretty much a done deal but we just like to look for things like cleaning supplies and other poisons being in puppy proof cupboards, the health of the fencing if their is a yard and/or balcony, and just give some tips on how to make the environment safe. The home visit for us is usually more of a helpful thing for the adopter, not scrutiny.
 

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When we adopted our older dog Rosie we didn't fill out an application, mostly because we met her and her foster mom at an adoption event. Jan (foster mom) did bring Rosie to our house first before agreeing to let us have her. That was actually quite helpful though because while we have a big backyard, there were a few things we needed to improve. Rosie is an ACD+border collie mix and therefore jumps! Really high. We were very impressed. While we have a pretty tall fence Jan suggested improving some spots near our gates that Rosie could probably jump. And a couple of other things. Luckily my husband's a welder so we were able to build the gates up that weekend.
With our puppy Gracie though, it was almost like you mentioned from when you were a kid. We went into animal humane to meet a dog we saw in their website. Not a good match at all. But, there was Gracie and her brother. They were about 11 weeks old. Truthfully we probably would have adopted her brother but there was somebody already going through the process for him. But that's just because we thought a male would get along with Rosie better. We did have to fill out an application and pay a $25.00 fee to place a "hold" on Gracie until we could bring Rosie in to meet her. That worked out well but the first week or so Rosie kept looking at us like "what have you done?!). Lol
 

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Yes it's a major pain!!! And I did adopt kids too, so I think it's really all over the top.

Honestly a good option is to check Craigslist for dogs people are trying to get rid of - just stay away from people who have more than one dog or don't say anything about the dog or ask for more than $200 as 'rehoming fee'. And just be aware that they might not be completely honest about the dog's issues.

Otherwise, I adopted my 15 month old dog through a rescue last year. Honestly, I applied for 3 dogs, and she's the one I was the most interested in, and they are the only ones who actually contacted me after I applied, although I did get approved through another rescue as well. The one I got my puppy from called two of my friends and my vet. My friend adopted around the same time, and she got denied for non bully breeds because she didn't have a vet (of course not - she didn't have a dog!). But she has a bird that she does take to the vet, so she ended up finding a rescue that could work with that..

Anyway, for mine, the process was easy, but the application was definitely long... lots of questions (have you ever rehomed a pet, do you own your house/are allowed to have a dogit took a week to hear back, they called my friends and the vet, then emailed me to set up a day and time to pick her up. I was totally allowed to change my mind there though, if I had wanted to. They didn't do a home check (even though their website says that they do). For my friend, it was more annoying, the puppy was transported and they had to pay up front without seeing him (they did get to facetime the foster though), and they had to wait an extra week because he got sick and his neutering got delayed before transport... then they had to go to a random rest stop on the highway to get him. It was pretty nerve-wracking for them.

My last rescue was a transport too but I was able to just apply and go pick him up... they only called my vet. That was 14 years ago though...

The one thing I have to say though - don't get a poodle mix because you'll never know if they're really hypoallergenic. A lot of people actually end up giving them away because they end up allergic to their 'doodle'.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you so much to all of you who replied. You have given me some wonderful advice. I really appreciate it.
 
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