Monday, November 18, 2013

Why Full Disclosure In Adoption is Important

Just yesterday I did a therapy visit at a local hospital.  One of the families we visited said they wanted to adopt a puppy but were not ready to deal with the bathroom mess.  I suggested they go to www.petfinder.com because they list almost every rescue and foster in the area and pretty much across the US.  I also suggested they go for an older dog that is perhaps 2 years old or more.  Explaining that this way, they know most of the baggage a dog comes with.  In example, if the dog is a barker, if it likes children, level of exercise needed, medical challenges, if it does better in a home with no other pets or if it gets along with cats. These are all very important pieces of information.    They may have been given up by someone who had to move due to losing their home,  not getting along with a dog the person already had, a new child or the owner passing away or moving.   

The truth is, one is better off choosing a pet already in the system if they want a dog for their family but they themselves are not necessarily dog lovers.  Now why do I say this? Because most people  who are not 'dog' people,  may have had a bad past experience.  Maybe a dog bit them, maybe it barked too much, maybe it was destructive or messed in their house - all common reasons why people give up dogs.  But, if this same person meets a dog who doesn't mess in the house, doesn't bark incessantly, is good with children and just behaves -- they may like dogs a whole lot more (even if they don't turn into 'dog' people).  A favorable outcome to ensure the dog's home is forever.    

In contrast, people who have always been dog lovers already have the expectation that with a newly adopted dog there may be barking, messes and required training - something a non-dog lover may not want to deal with.   So to all I say -- adopt a dog already in the system and learn everything you can about it.  This will help when you are deciding which behaviors you can accept in a dog.   

All these are reasons why people need to be honest about everything they find wrong about their dog when giving it up for adoption.  While one person can tolerate a dog who barks when the doorbell rings and at visitors, another may not because they have a baby that needs sleep. It is not good to make these discoveries after a person has adopted a dog.  That same person may give up the dog again or set it loose on the street.  Not good for the dog. 

Recently, a friend told me that she was fostering a dog along with her own dog and cat.  The dog seemed friendly and sweet.  Until she brought it to her house.  It terrorized her cat and would go into crazy attack mode.  She would try to keep the foster away from her cat, but the foster would make every attempt to get at the cat (within line of sight) causing chaos in her home.  It also went after her small dog, but appeared  more focused on the cat.  After several days, she brought the foster dog back to the shelter and informed them it should not be anywhere near cats and preferably, in a home with no other small dogs. Warning to keep away from cats as it appeared to view them as 'prey.'  Another woman on staff at the shelter took the foster dog home indicating she was not worried because her cat would always hide anyway and would stay away from the foster.  Sadly, within a few days the fostered dog attacked the cat and killed it.  The woman then brought the foster back to the shelter and the dog was adopted out to a single male.  My hope is that the man was given full disclosure and told what the dog had done - and that it should be kept away from cats and small dogs.  In cases like this,  it is very scary and good reasons why full disclosure is necessary.   
I encourage you to tell friends and neighbors planning to give up their pet to be honest.  Someone else may not mind a barking dog, or a dog that doesn't get along with kids or one that needs additional training.  You would only be doing what's best for the dog to get the best home possible -- and preparing future owners to deal with whatever the challenges may be.  To that, here is the current note we sent to the local chihuahua community about a dog we are currently fostering.  She is a challenge, but nevertheless worth the patience.    Please read on and see how we introduced her - and if you are interested, she is still available.  ;o) 

A Small Challenge If You Will...
This adorable tiny chihuahua is desperate for stability.  A home with no children and only older adults who are not planning to bring children into the home.  No cats, no other pets/dogs, and if other dogs, must be mellow, a non-puppy, relaxed and non confrontational, preferably male.  Will accept another small  dog  or chihuahua that is male.  She gets along with Monkey and Piranha just fine.
This little one has severe separation anxiety.  The trauma she has faced from having already changed several homes she thought were forever has made it difficult for her to trust.   When you pet or approach she may cower in fear or growl in belief you are going to hurt her.  So you will be challenged in that at first, she may not easily trust you.  Once she does, she will follow you around wherever you go.  But then if you leave her, again, separation anxiety will come back because she thinks you are abandoning her.  She prefers to nap, sleep, eat  and sit by you.  Now, you will find if you go to the store, the doctor or to take a shower, the little one will cry, and yes, here's the challenge, she will cry all night.  She will cry until you cannot take it anymore and bring her to sleep with you - she just wants to be with you.  But, if you decide to wait it out, she will become accustomed to being left alone napping with her little lamb. Oh, did we forget to mention she does not come alone?  She brings with her the only piece and constant in her short 6+ year old life.  A stuffed and raggedy little lamb.  The lamb is bigger than her.  No matter, she still carries it with her, sleeps with and lays next to it and cuddles it.
You will also find that this little one will never 'go' in your house.  We let her out several times during the day and night and she goes right away and comes back in.  But let's say you fall asleep on the sofa and she needs to go, she will bark and cry and let you know, doing her best to not mess in your house.
This little one's charms are delightful.  She will smile and grin repeatedly when she wants a bite of what you're having (she eats dog food but only gets people food if is safe for dogs). She will also sit pretty and try to get your attention.  She is a charmer who will capture your heart beyond words with her tiny little tail and sad little eyes, this 5.2 lb darling is the cuddle bug you need.  She is up to date with her shots and was recently spayed.  All she needs is people who are loving and extremely patient with understanding that things and trust take time.  Someone who will not abuse her or cause her pain.
Have it in your heart to say this baby will suffer no more, and bring her into your home to love and care for.  Sure she is a challenge and has special needs, but all she has had are circumstances where trust in people has been broken. Sort of like starting over after divorcing (and more than once) that cannot be easy.
Please let us know if you are interested in this little one, Requirements to adopt this little darling:
~No kids, no kids, no toddlers, no babies, no pre teens, no, no, no one coming to terrorize her
~No cats, no cats, no cats
~No puppies or overly rambunctious dogs that will rough house her to play
~A home without a dog, or if there is one, a non confrontational relaxed male is favorable
~Patience.  Lots of it. You will hear noise, you will hear crying, you will hear barking.  But once you are over the trust  hump, she is quiet as a mouse in your house and you will only hear from her if she needs to 'go'
~She eats little, she poops little and she does not take up much room
~She had a several recent check ups (as late as last week) and she was cleared at a full 100 percent good condition
This little baby is ready for her forever home.  

12 comments:

  1. Oh we hope the little baby finds a forever home soon. We are both adopted and we turned out OK. We think there should always be open and honest disclosure as it prevents failure and heartache. Good post today.
    Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. So glad you were adopted - my brother Monkey, Sister Daisy and Big Woof dog Weasel were all adopted. Pretty much everyone in my dog family was adopted except me - I was a 'splurge.' My momma always says if it were not for me, we never would have adopted Crazy Daisy nor Funky Monkey. I am glad because I now have like-sized siblings instead of all big dogs like we had before (Ethel, a rescued border collie (who has since passed away) and Weasel - who is an Aussie/Chow/Sheltie mix.). I think even if it breaks people's hearts to give up a dog, if they really care about it's future, they will be as hones as possible. There is always someone out there, who doesn't mind a challenge and is willing to do more for a dog. For us, all our rescues were challenges in the beginning, but after working hard and training, we are in a good place. We are hopeful we can find the little one a home... daddy is threatening to keep her, but we are at dog limit in our village and Daisy does not like other females in the house, so we have to keep them separated.

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  2. Poor little girl, we hope that she can finally find her loving, forever home. And it is definitely very important to have full disclosure when an animal is up for adoption.

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    1. You are so right Jenn - thanks for the hope for her. She desperately needs it!

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  3. What a little sweetie, we hope she finds a loving home soon. I don't think a lot of people realise that Chihuahuas need a certain type of home, I have lost count of the people who have said they would love Dip for their child.
    Lynne x

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    1. You could not be more right. Everytime someone meets me they say the same thing - that they want to get a chihuahua for their child. I immediately discourage them letting them know that larger mixed breed or maybe a beagle (most are fantastic with kids!), border collie or spaniel of some sort are better suited for children. Then I tell them about petfinder.com, where they can find out if the dogs needing homes are good with kids and the level of training they have. Always much easier than starting over with a puppy - whom they have to train to go out.

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  4. She is so adorable!! I really hope she finds the perfect home soon!! <3

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  5. I hope she finds her forever home soon!
    It's important to be honest. A home may be found faster by leaving things out, but it's less likely to work.

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    1. You're very wise Clowie. People think leaving bits of information will get the dog adopted faster, but in fact, it may cause the dog to be given up again or bring more stress to the household. When people know the issues beforehand, they can determine if they have the capacity to handle them and the success rate is much higher.

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  6. This is the message we are working on too- Outstanding post. Did you tweet the link etc as will definitely share. You can always share adoptable pups with us- have a look at Roxy and Diesel - our friend Trish came out on Sunday. We are on the same page as you.
    You ROCK!!!! X talent Hounds

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    1. This is beyond AWESOME! Thank you for the suggestion. I will go on twitter and do so. :)...

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