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Old 04-29-2010, 10:34 PM
207 posts, read 854,922 times
Reputation: 339


Hi all-
I'm looking to adopt a small dog in about a month once I move to where I am going to school (I'm going to be a graduate student getting my Master's degree). I've been thinking about where to adopt from and I'm concerned that I won't get approved by a shelter because they have such ridiculously high standards. I am a student who is going to be home virtually all day except for when I am in class, and actually I'll be home all day every day until classes start in August. I will be renting a 2 bedroom townhouse to myself with no roommates or anything and I'll have plenty of room but no yard. My lease says I'm allowed to have a dog under 25lbs so they wouldn't really need a yard but I know a lot of places are very picky. I plan on taking the dog out every day on a leash of course and I've had dogs my whole life. I just wouldn't be surprised if I got rejected from a rescue or a shelter because I'm a student, I don't have a job or a yard or I am new to the area and don't have any vet references or something. Money is not a problem, my parents give me all the money I need for anything and I will be getting a stipend from the school. I wanted to adopt from a shelter because I'd like to save a dog but I'm not sure I want to put myself through all of that just to be rejected. I had considered maybe getting one from someone on Craigslist but that is just so shady and most of those people are just trying to dump their sick pets on other people so it would end up costing me a fortune in vet bills. I also don't want to get on from a pet store because I know they come from puppy mills and I think that's terrible. I don't have thousands of dollars to get one from a breeder so I'm wondering what I should do. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:59 AM
Location: GLAMA
16,584 posts, read 33,767,121 times
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I'm just the opposite from your current station in life (retired, home 24/7, vet and rescue references up the wazoo, 2 fenced acres, home and acreage in the country, own my homes) yet I was rejected by the local old biddy rescue for a couple of very persnickety reasons. I can understand your trepidation.

Around here, the County kill shelters are the places to go for painless adoptions. That's certainly where I'm going in the future. I am OVER these local rescue social clubs.

Maybe your area has similar shelters?
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:35 AM
161 posts, read 500,498 times
Reputation: 141
each rescue will have different requirements. ours doesnt require a fenced yard. owning a house with a white picket fence doesnt make you a good pet parent and most rescues understand that. a fence requirement may have more to do with the breed, some dogs NEED exercise and a walk or two wont be enough. we do check personal references and obviously if you dont currently have a pet then there wont be a vet check. i suggest determining what type of dog you are looking for then contact those rescues in your area and ask about their requirements. good luck!
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Old 04-30-2010, 05:08 AM
7,422 posts, read 13,713,652 times
Reputation: 4944
yeah, requirements vary greatly at different shelters and rescues. i wouldn't assume that the process is super stringent and/or unreasonable everywhere - just call the local places and ask what their basic requirements are for adopters and what the process entails. if you're really worried, whatever shelter animal control feeds into is your best bet for an easy adoption process (and you'll be saving your dog's life, most likely).

for instance, in my town, there are 3 major shelters, two of which are no kill. i've volunteered and/or adopted at all 3 of them over the years. one of the no kill shelters has pretty much no requirements for adopting - they just want to know that you either own a house or your landlord's ok with a pet. the kill shelter is in the middle - they have you fill out a questionnaire to determine that you understand what taking care of your potential pet means in terms of time and finances, and that you'll be a good match with the personality of the pet you want. the last no kill shelter is the strictest (they do home visits for a random percentage of adoptions and won't adopt to someone who plans to declaw a cat, things like that), but they're still not really that crazy. i'm sure some of the local rescues are very strict, but not all of them are. i got one of my cats from one and the lady basically met me, met my other cats, and that was it. she did check my vet reference as well, but she let me have the cat before she did that, contingent on the reference being ok.

i also know someone who adopted a greyhound who was rejected by the woman who did the home visit basically because the woman thought her neighborhood was sketchy and didn't like her personally. the woman was really rude to her. she called the rescue and told them this and they apologized, let her adopt the dog, and waived their fee. so really, you never know.

and no shelter is going to fault you for not having a vet reference when you don't already have a pet, although you might want to show that you have some foresight and pick out a vet in advance and explain that.

where are you going to school? there may be someone on the board from that area who can give you specific advice.

Last edited by groar; 04-30-2010 at 05:20 AM..
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:25 AM
Location: Huntsville, AL
92 posts, read 183,808 times
Reputation: 100
While each organization does have different requirements more often than not it is the rescue organizations that have the most restrictions and the shelters and humane societies that are more relaxed. I agree with the person who mentioned kill shelters being probably the most lenient. We adopted one of ours from a kill shelter and all we needed was proof that the apt we lived in at the time allowed the breed we adopted and of course the adoption fee. Our extended family have also adopted a dog from a humane society that had no restrictions whatsoever, all they had to do was pay the adoption fee and that was it.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:35 AM
Location: St. Croix
737 posts, read 2,248,514 times
Reputation: 756
Maybe consider adopting before making the move - might be easier for u to save a little guy/gal while you're still in your 'hood. Get him/her vetted before the move and then get the paperwork to the new vet when you move. I don't see the need to give your local shelter/rescue agency what your plans are. You know you'll do the right thing, so maybe just go for it now.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:46 AM
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
9,355 posts, read 16,836,371 times
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all 4 of my furkids (2 cats, 2 dogs) came from the same no-kill shelter that pulls from the kill shelters around here.... i had to fill out an application and agree to a home visit for each of them .... no home visits ever occurred for any of them and when i adopted my 1st dog, i did not even have a fenced yard yet.....

all that said.... i do home visits for a rescue group here and while i do check out the potential issues that are on the form that i fill out (where and how is trash stored.... are there cleaning supplies or other chemicals easily reachable.... exposed wiring or cords.... and several other potential safety concerns) ..... my main focus is on my "read" of the potential adopter.... i am usually pretty good at reading people and can pick up whether or not they have a clear understanding of what it takes to be a good dog parent. i will even sometimes take my own dog to see how the potential adopter interacts with her.... she is my "easy girl" ..... my last home visit was to a young single woman in a 1-bedroom apartment..... i spent about an hour with her, looking around some, but mostly talking with her.... and approved her adoption..... she and her new pal are doing SWIMMINGLY......

my own home probably would not pass muster with some of the more ridiculous rescue groups... but you know what?? all 4 of my furfaces are happy and healthy and loved..... their lives now sure as heck beat living in a concrete and wire shelter pen......

you might do better with a rescue that is not necessarily breed specific.....
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:38 PM
7,422 posts, read 13,713,652 times
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yeah, the shelter where i got my dog (the kill shelter i mentioned in my post above) asks you to agree to a home visit, but they don't actually have the resources to do them. they just want to know that you're comfortable giving someone permission to check out your home before or after a potential adoption, and they want to reserve the right to do it if they feel a need. i think this is a good policy, and is the case with many shelters.

i didn't have a fenced yard when i adopted sadie either, they were ok with that. my husband and i also work full time which means she's home alone for 6 hours most days, also no problem.

i think shelters and rescues get a disproportionate reputation for being super picky because while some certainly are, you're much more likely to hear about a person's bad experience with an adoption (or anything) than a good experience.

Last edited by groar; 04-30-2010 at 12:47 PM..
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:24 PM
207 posts, read 854,922 times
Reputation: 339
Thanks for all the advice, my main concern with getting a dog from a kill shelter (or a pound or something) is that it's a big gamble on the health of the animal. Most have disclaimers saying that this animal has had no veterinary treatment and could potentially be very ill and I'm worried that I'd end up with a sick pet that would soon die or require thousands of dollars in vet bills. I'd also like to get one that is already spayed/neutered because I know how much that can cost and when you get one from a rescue or shelter often that is already done. I guess all I can do is try, the worst that can happen is they turn me down for one silly reason or another. My worry then will be that if one place rejects me then all of them will because most do ask if you've ever been rejected before. Kind of like a credit score it keeps chipping away at your credibility... It's such a shame that a few bad apples who abuse pets make it so hard for the rest of us to adopt. Oh well, such is the world we live in.
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:35 PM
7,422 posts, read 13,713,652 times
Reputation: 4944
any dog can get sick (or eat something it shouldn't, or have an accident). i don't want to be judgmental, but if you're not ready for big vet bills you're probably not ready for a pet.

and if you're not spending money for a dog with a health guarantee from a breeder, you are going to risk big vet bills. there's just no way around it. as you mentioned earlier, the only other alternatives are dogs from a pet store or people giving them away on craigslist, and the health risks there are exactly the same.

i've never been asked if i've been rejected by another rescue or shelter when i've adopted, and i've never noticed that question on adoption applications at places where i haven't applied (i was daydreaming about adopting a greyhound a while back so i read a lot of rescue applications). i wouldn't think that they would care too much; they have their standards and other rescues have theirs.
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