We always knew that when we got a puppy we wanted them to be a rescue. The process was easier said than done but in the end we got exactly what we were looking for and more! Being a teacher, we knew we wanted to wait until summer when I would have time to dedicate to training and being home with the little guy.
You’d think that rescuing a dog would be a simple process and that since you want to save a dog, you’d be able to find one with ease. It’s a nice thought but not exactly how it goes. In comes Petfinder.com which is basically a match.com for dogs. You can search by size, breed, gender and location and the dog’s have pictures and corresponding profiles. If you live in NYC another great option is to start to follow some rescues on social media. They will post the most up-to-date available dogs. We have fostered through an incredible organization called Social Tees! Here are some of the tips I discovered in the process:
1. Before filling out an application (typically 30-40 questions inquiring about yourself and lifestyle) email the shelter or rescue and ask if the dog is still available. I can’t count the number of times that I loved everything about the dog’s profile and then received a response that they had already been adopted. Inquiring before filling out the application will absolutely save you time. On the application, they will ask you for 2-3 references and typically require them to not be family members. Be sure to have that info handy and inform those who are added to the list. They will be called and quizzed on your qualifications about being a fit pet parent.
Exception to this rule: If you find an organization on social media, say, Social Tees, fill out an application and get approved. That way, when you see a dog that you're interested in, you're all set to go! Their approval process can take a few weeks so even if you're thinking about it, just go ahead and get the process started. Social Tees also posts all of their animals on Petfinder as well.
2. Don’t be afraid to look outside your immediate area. We live in NYC but the rescue where we found Hudson was in New Jersey. It was challenging to find a small breed and puppy within the city so broadening our search was helpful. Hudson was rescued from a high kill shelter in Georgia and along with his brother was dumped off at 9 weeks old. Our rescue, Poor Paws Rescue, is run by a fantastic lady named Cara and the moment I spoke to her on the phone everything felt right. Poor Paws transported Hudson and his brother, along with many other rescue dogs up to New Jersey. Many rescues will transport dogs so don’t be afraid to broaden your search to more distant locations.
3. Don’t give up! Patience in this process is so important! There were times when I was frustrated with the process and it seemed that for one reason or another (landlord, availability, Andy working the NBA finals etc.) that we weren’t going to find a pup for us.
4. Watch out for unreasonably high fees. Adopting from Petfinder is not free because the fee most likely includes shots, microchip, spayed/neutered (depending on age) and transport if the animal is not in your location. However, some profiles were asking upwards of $800 and seemed more like breeders of purebreds than adoption agencies. Poor Paws’ fee was $275 which included his first round of shots, deworming and transport from Georgia. I remember being in shock when Cara told me the cost because that was by far the lowest I had seen. She simply said she wasn’t in it for the money, her fees are at cost of services and she wants to save as many dogs as she can! How great is she, right? Since that was 4 years ago, it seems like fees are closer to $400 now.
Petfinder isn’t just for dogs and currently has over 365,000 animals available for adoption. Check them out and save a life! Fostering is another great option and I'll have more to share on that another time.
Almost four years later Hudson is easily the best decision we've made. You can find him #hudsonpuppup