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Old 03-21-2010, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
4,033 posts, read 8,599,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Col.W.Deering View Post
You just haven't met the right dog yet. Patience...don't over think it. Your dog will present himself/herself when the time is right. And I have a feeling it's a lot sooner than you think.
I agree. When I went to adopt my cat, I walked into the cat area of the shelter--a large room full of about 50 cats in large cages--and thought, "How am I going to pick a cat?!" I had gone in thinking that I wanted a very young kitten but, instead, came out with an 8-month old juvenile. Why? Because, as I was walking by all of the cages, interacting with each cat, she was the only one that *literally* grabbed me. She was very playful, even agressive to some extent, and I just knew instantly that she was the one. And since that day, not only has she been the perfect cat for our household but our household has also been perfect for her. After living with her, I now understand why she was at the shelter, and why I am such a perfect caregiver for her, as I am not bothered by a lot of her behaviors that others probably weren't able to deal with.

I also agree that you're being a little over-anxious about choosing the "right" dog. While it is important to choose a dog that will mesh well with your lifestyle, etc., you also don't want to think about it so much that you never end up adopting.

Also, it is very difficult for shelter animals who have been abused and neglected to have what most humans would consider "normal" reactions to people, especially people they don't know. Moreover, dog behavior changes when you get them home. Yes, my cat is perfect for our household but our household had to adjust to accommodate her, which is something that should be considered. You're not going to find a dog that is perfect and that you have absolutely no issues with; it's a process of give-and-take while getting to know each other.
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-CityRelo View Post
Another really good way to choose is find a shelter that you like and volunteer there. You walk the dogs and have fun with them and if there's one in particular that you really love, then great! But if not then go back next week. It's really a win-win; the dogs get some play time and you get to hang out with them and have fun and also volunteering is so rewarding! Don't put a time constraint on it and don't worry about it so much, just go in with the attitude that you want to help and see what happens.
That is a really good suggestion, and one that people may not know is available.

I live outside of a fairly small town, and our shelter went no kill a few years ago. I was surprised to learn that they had started a program where they match up volunteers with dogs to go on walks, and even longer hikes in nearby areas where they will get some fun time and exposure to others on the trail (one group had "adopt me" bandanas for the dogs to wear on the hikes). If you hike out with a dog, but he/she isn't a good matchup, then at least you helped a dog get some time away from the shelter in a fun activity, and help with his/her socialization process.

It is a great way to get a small kind of trial run where knowing a bit about a dog first is what is most comfortable for an adopter.
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara CA
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It could be a body language thing. Have you tried sitting down on the ground so that you are not towering over the dog. Intead of reaching over it to pat its head try coming from under for a chin scratch or chest scratch . We look huge to most dogs so imagine this big beast leaning over you reaching down over your head..kind of frightening.

Smile and use a higher pitch to you voice and don't be afraid have some fun . If there is a toy grab it and get the dogs interest in it. Jazz can be aloof with people but throw a ball for her even once and she is your best friend for life and you will be greeted as such next time you meet.

Deaf, vision limited Phoenix was shy and afraid of new people yet came right up to me and tried to crawl in my lap. Why? well when I first spotted her in her run I went and sat in front of it so she slowly came over then when they took her out and brought her to me I made sure I was sitting down and used a slow wave of my hand low to the ground and she scooted right over into my lap..amazed the people at the humane society. It has worked many times when I find a stay dog that others are chasing after I sit and call it and it comes to me as I look like a safe person not like some huge beast chasing it.

As a kid my parents claim I was the pied piper of dogs as they all followed me home strays as well as non strays that were outside in neighbors yards.

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Old 03-21-2010, 02:57 PM
 
4,541 posts, read 13,129,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarsugar View Post
That is a really good suggestion, and one that people may not know is available.

I live outside of a fairly small town, and our shelter went no kill a few years ago. I was surprised to learn that they had started a program where they match up volunteers with dogs to go on walks, and even longer hikes in nearby areas where they will get some fun time and exposure to others on the trail (one group had "adopt me" bandanas for the dogs to wear on the hikes). If you hike out with a dog, but he/she isn't a good matchup, then at least you helped a dog get some time away from the shelter in a fun activity, and help with his/her socialization process.

It is a great way to get a small kind of trial run where knowing a bit about a dog first is what is most comfortable for an adopter.
That is a really good idea.

Volunteer at a shelter to walk the animals. You'll have the opportunity to meet and spend time with different dogs...

and, if you're like me,... you'll want to bring home more than one of them!
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Old 03-21-2010, 03:16 PM
 
7,422 posts, read 13,718,175 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-CityRelo View Post
Another really good way to choose is find a shelter that you like and volunteer there. You walk the dogs and have fun with them and if there's one in particular that you really love, then great! But if not then go back next week. It's really a win-win; the dogs get some play time and you get to hang out with them and have fun and also volunteering is so rewarding! Don't put a time constraint on it and don't worry about it so much, just go in with the attitude that you want to help and see what happens.
definitely a good suggestion. this is how i found my dog. you can even get to know dogs this way, if you go in often enough to walk the same dogs more than once.

and people are right when they say that a dog doesn't have to be super affectionate to you straight away. you just need to feel a connection with them. i wouldn't jump the gun and pick a dog that doesn't speak to you; give it as much time and see as many dogs as you need. but don't get worried just because a dog you like is reserved either. the dogs are in a weird situation and even if they are shy dogs, it can be rewarding getting them to come out of their shells.

seriously, you'll know the dog when you find him or her.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Suffolk County
826 posts, read 2,587,965 times
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Thank you everyone for all your replies. I appreciate it.

Unfortunately the rescue organization I am interested in adopting from is located about an hour away from my home. When I was at the event this past weekend, we did walk many of the adult dogs and I really enjoyed spending time with them. I kept telling my husband that I could totally do all this when they have events but just wish they were closer to home. Most of the people who were there (volunteers) have no clue the town I live in...that's how distant I am from them.

I do understand that a rescue dog has gone through a lot. One of the dogs we were interested in or hoping that he would be interested in us, seems to have been abused. I spoke to the foster family and they said that when they went to throw the ball to their own dog, the rescue dog ducked down. That was so sad to hear.

I do want to keep trying to adopt a rescue dog but my concern is b/c we are not able to see the "real" personality per se until after you take the dog home and he/she settles in, we do have 3 cats at home and we just get concerned that as the dog is coming out of their shell, that they will try to chase our cat and go after them, etc. The last thing I want to do is put my kitties in harms way when not knowing the true personality of an adult dog. I don't mind adopting a rescue dog 6 months or so but the rescue organization will not adopt out a rescue dog to me any younger than a year b/c I work full time. I told them I would hire someone to come into my house once or twice per day (depending on age of dog) to spend time with them and walk them but apparently, it's not good enough for them. Has anyone ever heard of them being so strict after I told them I would hire a dog walker to come in 1 or 2 times per day meanwhile I'm at work? We are out of the house about 8 hours a day.

Also, on a daily basis, one of my cats will harass my female cat and it will sound like a cat fight inside the house (not just hissing but actual cat screaming; sometimes when we are outside, we can hear this going on while all the windows & doors are shut..that's how bad it is). It's very annoying to me and I could see how a dog would get startled by this. I get worried that a rescue dog will get spooked by this while we are waiting for the rescue dog to come out of his/her shell.

As I said, I just get worried about the dog getting spooked with the cat fighting in my house (goes on at least once per day). After hearing the craziness in my household, do you still think an adult rescue dog is good for us? If not, I will definitely consider going to get a younger dog (puppy) from another shelter/rescue.

BTW, someone asked if I had a certain breed in mind, I've gotten bit by a terrier so I'd like to stay away from that breed. Ideally I'd like a lab or golden mix or a beagle mix. I'm really open to just about anything along as the dog is a medium sized dog (40 pounds, etc.).

Thanks again.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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Here is another thought - on my local craigslist, there are always ads from groups looking for foster parents for dogs. Even our local no kill shelter periodically asks if anyone would like to foster a dog for short periods, when they have more dogs than they can handle at the facility. If you found a dog you thought might fit in, it would give you an opportunity to see how it worked without a total commitment. If it didn't work out, at least the dog would have some time away from the shelter in a normal environment. Our shelter does this in hopes that the foster family will find a connection with their foster dog, or at the very least, give it some personalized attention until a permanent home can be found.

I had forgotten this until I saw your post. My Becca also ducked, cringed, and ran away at first when I tossed her a tennis ball, I mean really ducked like she thought I was throwing something at her in a bad way I am not sure she'd ever played fetch before, because no object I tried worked (including my older GSP's stuffed hedgehogs). In short order, she started running after not only the tennis balls, but also a rubber bone I got, a kong, and even the hedgehog She even learned that the hedgehogs were off limits, when she ripped one to shreds She runs around every morning with the ball in her mouth now, although she still sucks eggs at catching them with her mouth. When I get the ball out now, she sits at attention, all fevered up, and then when I toss it, she tries to catch it - with both her front paws, lol. We toss toys now for her to run after every day, and she is enthusiastic about it, which I thought would never happen!

I don't know how to answer the question about whether a rescue would work for you or not, and it is a good question. Becca suits us like a glove, but it is kind of an accident of fate. She had lasted only a week in a home that adopted her just before we did, because she kept escaping from the backyard to chase birds at the neighboring golf course. And that was a recipe for disater, so they returned her to the rescue. We are retired, our dogs live inside with us, and we have tons of time to spend and are very active - where we go, so do our dogs. So it was a perfect fit, yet not for the previous adopter.

Our rescue had us sign an agreement that if she didn't work out for us, that we were obligated to return her to the rescue so that they could re-home her. That is yet another option - find a rescue with a similar policy, and if the dog you take home doesn't work, return her to the rescue. Had the previous adopter of my dear Becca not returned her when they realized she wasn't going to fit in with their lifestyle, she would have continued jumping the fence, and at some point, either kept running or been hit by a car.

As it turned out, the dog that didn't suit them turned out to be everything we could hoped for and more. I'd just had a beloved dog (probably the best dog I'll ever know) pass away at age 13, and this little dog rescued me, as much as I rescued her. I hope you can find either a foster situation (a rescue or a no kill shelter like ours) or a rescue that will let you return the dog to find a better match, should it not work out as you hope. The rescue I found at petfinders was actually an 8 hour trip, one way, from where we live, but they met dh more than halfway to place Becca. Some rescues will work with you, and though it isn't popular to say out loud, some rescues will work against you every step of the way. You may need to broaden your search a bit.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Tx
1,203 posts, read 3,876,123 times
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I can't offer much advice, but I know that you will find your dog soon.

The first dog Ive ever owned I got when he was 8 weeks old. Buster is my shadow. Every where I go in the house, he is at my side, but he wasn't a rescue.

Bella is a rescue. My boyfriend and I were out to lunch one day and walked by the dog store in the area after. They had a rescue group outside doing adoptions and we were "just looking" lol My boyfriend was looking at Bella's sister when we found out she was being adopted by someone else, so they brought us Bella (then known as Star). She literally curled up in his lap and was so calm with him with all the craziness going on around her. The lady from the rescue was pretty firm on the fact that if we were both working someone had to come home during the day to take her out. My boyfriend worked full time and at the time I worked part time and shortly after was laid off so I had plenty of time to come home on my lunch break to let her out and he got home early enough in the day she wouldn't have to hold it for very long.

She bonded with him instantly. She was known as "daddys girl" from the second we got home. It wasn't until he had to leave in May of last year for Massachusetts for work until she bonded with me, and it took a couple of months of him being gone before she really started to get attached to me. He is coming home on Saturday after almost 10 months of not seeing her (or me for that matter lol) and I cannot wait to see how excited she is going to be when he walks through the door. I hope our bond remains when he gets home, but I won't be mad if she instantly re-attaches herself to him.
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Old 03-21-2010, 10:02 PM
 
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Also - I had the same concerns about bringing an older dog into our home, because we had an elderly cat and an elderly dog, and the new addition had to get along with both. A deal breaker otherwise.

I was worried a bit because Becca had been attacked by another dog at the rescue and from the looks of her stitches, she was really laid into. Was she the aggressor? If not, would she be okay in a home with an older male dog twice her size, that might remind her of the dog that attacked her? What if she wasn't okay with cats (she is a hunting dog breed)?

It was fine from the moment she stepped foot inside and every day after that. But that doesn't mean, of course, that this will be true for every rescue dog. My dh loves Becca to death. But when his elderly dog passes away, he will get a puppy or younger dog, because he understands that if he adopted a dog with major issues, it would tough for him to deal with that, but he wouldn't be right with giving the dog up either - an impossible situation, so he knows the adopting route might not be for him. He thinks that maybe we just got very very lucky with Becca being such a wonderful dog. Me - I think there are tons of dogs out there like her, just waiting for someone to take them home.

Last edited by sugarsugar; 03-21-2010 at 10:28 PM..
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Old 03-22-2010, 01:14 AM
 
Location: Santa Barbara CA
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When adopting a dog you never know for sure about how it will take to a cat or how the cats will take to it. But it has been my experience that if the cat has a safe place to go that is off limits to the dog that eventually they work things out among themselves. My parents have had cats and taken in many adult dogs over the years and yes I think every single one of them would chase the cats when they first arrived but once the cats realized the dogs were not out to harm them they quit running from the dogs then the dogs pretty much left them alone.

When I got Phonix and we would visit she loved to chase their cat and he ran. She is deaf so you could not call her off the cat chase. When I ended up giving them Phoenix I also got them an Extra tall Pet gate that had a small cat door on the bottom and we put it on the bedroom door where the cat likes to hang out so he then had his own room and could come and go. One of my other dogs found out that despite his size he could squeeze through that opening too and soon taught Phoenix that so My dad used a piece of wood and some bolts and made that small door even smaller so then only the cat got through. It probably took about 2 years for that Cat and Phoenix to become friends but they did and you see them together all the time now as he learned if he does not run she does not chase.

I had a cat that grew up with my old dog when I adopted Jazz. Jazz was 12 weeks old and she was a terror and that poor cat had to deal with her.Puppies can be rough on cats. They did become friends but their play was always very rough . Next came Dash who was 1 yr old and the humane society said he had never been around cats so they were some what reluctant about him living with one, just as they were reluctant about me adopting him as I live in a condo. ( he was a border collie X springer mix) I brought Jazz who was 2 at the time ( border collieX cattle dog) in to meet Dash and them and they figured I could manage it if I lived with that crazy girl. Turns out Dash was a cat lover from day one he and the cat enjoyed one another but yes he would chase the cat if she ran as would Jazz. A few years later my cat developed a tumor at the base of her tounge and could not groom herself so Dash would lay down with her and groom her..it was so sweet. So you just never know how the dogs and cats will do.


I no longer have a cat and Dash died last year so I do have Jazz and a new dog Dazzle who is a sight hound so yes he will chase anything that runs . When we visit my dad it did not take long for his cat and Dazzle to become pals. Mind you if we are there and the cat does run he has Phoenix, Jazz and Dazzle all hot on the trail but all he has to do is stop and they stop and look at him and might go nudge him to get him to run but instead he just strolls away. If he does not want to deal with dogs he goes down to his room and hangs out there.
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