We have a 40lb hound mix that we adopted from the local SPCA nearly 3 years ago. She is a phenomenal dog, pretty much perfect in every way!
Growing up, we always had 2-3 dogs in the house at a time. Now that my kids are getting a bit older, I've been very casually looking for a second dog. Last year we adopted a JRT pup from the same SPCA that we got our hound, but she was extremely high anxiety and was very stressed out by our household, even though our kids are very respectful and our hound is a sweet, goofy girl. It didn't seem fair to force it to work, so after several months we decided to re-home her with a good friend. She is a vet tech and lives alone, and the dog has done phenomenal with her.
It has been a year since Tulip went to live with my friend, so once again I'm starting to think about adding a 2nd dog. We'd like something under 40lbs, kid and dog friendly, and age is not important. I'd say we are pretty decent adopters-- have a stable home environment, I work from home so our dog is rarely alone, we have a fenced in yard, we are active people.
I've been visiting the SPCA regularly but no luck. It seemed like going through a rescue might be a good idea, since they have a better sense of temperament and have had more interaction with the dogs than the standard few days a shelter/SPCA has with a dog. I've been perusing PetFinder and there are a ton of local rescues... but HOLY SMOKES are some of the applications and provisions intense. They want names of multiple neighbors, multiple home visits, release of vet records on other animals in the house. One the rescues won't even let you meet a dog, want to pick a dog for you, and if you decline that dog they remove your application entirely.
We adopted a human baby in 2006 and I feel like it was less rigorous than some of the dog rescue adoption processes!
Anyone have any advice for finding our perfect mate, and navigating the dog rescue app process?
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
My best advice is to find a rescue that you can live with. If their rules and protocols are in any way bothersome to you, move on! There are as many different rescues out there, so look until you find one that meshes with what you're personally comfortable with.
With that in mind, most good rescues are going to have some form of application process, which should include a home visit. After that, the system of application varies and you should find one that is less insistent on being overly intrusive.
I would also say to find the right rescue before you find the dog. Go through the application and home visit and be ready to jump on the right dog when it comes along.
Thanks so much, that is actually great advice and I didn't think of it that way.... in terms of finding a specific rescue and then working with them to find the right dog, vs. just searching dog listings on petfinder or petango.
I'm totally fine with an app process and I know they are trying to look out for the dog's best interest, I am just surprised at how intense some of them are!
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
Talk to local people such as your veterinarian, dog groomer, or a reputable dog trainer. It's very important to find a reputable rescue, and it can be difficult sometimes. The more assessment that a rescue does, the more hoops adopters generally have to jump through.
I second the "talking to locals" advice. Get yourself hooked into the local animal rescue network (especially local vet staffers and folks who foster dogs) and let someone know what you are looking for. Word-of-mouth can go a long way. I've helped re-home a couple of critters by matching up my petless friends with animals who were in my barn owner's foster network.
Flash, I adopted the sweetest little dog from a no-kill shelter in PA in 2012. The shelter is called Animal Care Sanctuary and just over the NY line just past Elmira. They generally seem to have about 50+ dogs available. It's not a short drive by all means and it would be further for you than me. I think it took me a good 2.5-3 hrs to get there.
I would strongly suggest though that you take your children and your hound with you if do decide to give them a chance.
Yes, they are fairly intense with their applications and they will call any and all references you give them. I gave them my neighbor and my vet and they called both. They do this because they really do care where their animals go to live.
I initially found them by looking for another Australian Cattle dog to replace the one I had put down. I did find 2 there but upon talking to them was afraid the one I really wanted wouldn't work out and the other was too young, meaning very high activity level that I didn't want to deal with. Even though the Cattle dogs weren't going to work out I still inquired about a dozen other dogs and asked their ages, weights, activity level, and if they knew if they were housebroken. I came home with the sweetest little Shar-pei mix that 11 yrs old and had been there for 6 yrs. The only reason I can see that she was there that long was that she has several wart-like growths on her body and head. I figure we all have things that may be unpleasant but it doesn't show all the time.
When I started looking for another dog after my old one had to be PTS, I looked at several breed-specific rescues in the area - I knew I wanted another sheltie. I didn't have a specific dog in mind but told them in general terms what I wanted. 2 of them called me and checked my references and such and told me that they'd keep their eyes peeled to find a dog that met my criteria - something under the age of 5 (the younger the better), and it had to be good with other dogs. Color and sex didn't matter, but I also wanted a dog under 40lbs as I have a lot of steps and I know I can carry a dog that size up and down if needed. I had to do exactly that for my 2 senior dogs that have since died.
I had to fill out applications for all of the rescues but they were pretty similar so not a biggie. They called all of my references, and even wanted an additional vet reference since I have only been going to my current dog vet for 4 years. I gave them the previous dog vet's info but also my horse vet, whom I have used for 17 years now.
I thought for sure that I would be waiting for a few months to find the right dog. It actually took about a month.
I also asked my current young sheltie's breeder where to look. She actually put a word in for me at another rescue who happened to get purebred puppies in that were a hoarder surrender. I ended up getting a blue merle female that was 8 weeks old. She is the cutest puppy on the planet and she and my 2 year old sheltie are having a fabulous time playing and making friends. They are snuggled up together at my feet sleeping as I type this.
Anyway - put applications in at several rescues that are close to your location, and don't ask about any specific dog but ask for one that meets your criteria. Be as specific as you can - if there is something that is a deal breaker, be up front about that (for me, it was a dog that didn't like other dogs as there are lots of them where I live).
Be patient, check back every so oftent to let them know you are still looking but don't be a pest about it. It may take a little time but something will come along. Check their available dogs frequently, too, for something that might fit what you want.
I certainly never thought I'd be getting a puppy, and certainly not a blue merle, which I have always wanted. But I was in the right place at the right time and everything fell into place.
Have you looked at Ron & Danny's rescue site? I think they have transportation options, and I know they aren't near you, they still seem like an option. And I recall someone on here is connected to a rescue near Philadelphia, and they seemed very reasonable. I've also had some great dogs that acquaintances were rehoming because of a family emergency, or similar issues, and they worked out great for me.