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WTF Petfinder?

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  • WTF Petfinder?

    I like looking at Petfinder, but it also makes my head hurt.

    1) I came across an ad for a older dog, maybe 10. Sweet face, I love old dogs, so I clicked on the photo for more details. And the dog had come into the shelter as an 8-week-old puppy.

    2) The many aliases of the pit bulls. Come on, people, if it's a pit bull mix, BE HONEST. Don't pretend that all black and white dogs are Border Collie mixes, all brindles are Boxers, the short ones are beagle mixes, the tall ones are mastiff crosses, and the skinny ones are greyhounds. If it has a head like a Buick, a body like a stone wall, and two dots for eyes, it's not a Pharoah Hound just because it's got an unusually pale reddish coat.

    3) The photos which show, apparently unbeknownst to the photographer/rescuer, some nastiness that's totally at odds with what the ad claims.

    Text: Buddy is a sweet, friendly dog who deserves a good home!
    Photo: Buddy stares into the camera with all the warmth and openness of a piranha. If there are multiple photos, all show Buddy tense, tight and utterly, utterly displeased with being handled, touched, or even looked at.

    4) Photos that prove the rescue/photographer is an idiot. I saw one today where Foster Daddy has his infant pushed up against the foster dog's face. Foster dog looks okay with it, but an infant? Shoved so close to a dog's muzzle that you couldn't even pull him away fast enough if, say, the the dog you just brought home X months ago had a reaction you didn't see coming? I've seen dogs I'd trust with infants, but only after knowing them for years.

    5) The inane transports. I get the sense of bringing puppies and setters, spaniels, and the like north to fill a demand for family dogs. What I don't get is the trend of moving pit bulls around like hot potatoes. Seriously, we have enough in the Northeast. Please don't ship more up from North Carolina, Georgia, or anywhere else. It's coals to Newcastle.

  • #2
    Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
    3) The photos which show, apparently unbeknownst to the photographer/rescuer, some nastiness that's totally at odds with what the ad claims.

    Text: Buddy is a sweet, friendly dog who deserves a good home!
    Photo: Buddy stares into the camera with all the warmth and openness of a piranha. If there are multiple photos, all show Buddy tense, tight and utterly, utterly displeased with being handled, touched, or even looked at.
    To be fair, a lot of shelter dogs don't photograph well. They usually get their picture taken shortly after arriving, so they're in a new, loud, chaotic environment with new people who are probably practicing some defensive handling, because who knows what you have on the end of that leash. Hell, the dog may never have even BEEN on a leash and is pulling against what it doesn't know. And if it's a black dog or has pale eyes, forget it! Like people who get creeped out by blue eyes on horses, a lot of people don't like blue or amber eyes in dogs.

    For example: Miss Ali looks rather stand-offish and worried in her pictures. "In real life" she is a bit nervous around new people, but once she meets you, she'll try to bust down the doors to see you and then will jump all over you. I have a hard time getting a collar on her because she alternates jumping up at me and belly-rolling on the ground. I've tried to get some pictures of her during walks but a) she's always moving, b) if we stop moving she wants to be ON me, and c) even if I can get a still shot, her eyes just look funny in pictures.

    I kind of think of them as CANTER pictures: quick and dirty pictures potentially taken by volunteers showing an animal with little grooming, and maybe not posed in the most flattering way. Do awesome pictures help? Definitely. But a rescue with dozens of dogs may not have time to do a great photo shoot with each of those 30 dogs.
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
      I like looking at Petfinder, but it also makes my head hurt.

      1) I came across an ad for a older dog, maybe 10. Sweet face, I love old dogs, so I clicked on the photo for more details. And the dog had come into the shelter as an 8-week-old puppy.

      2) The many aliases of the pit bulls. Come on, people, if it's a pit bull mix, BE HONEST. Don't pretend that all black and white dogs are Border Collie mixes, all brindles are Boxers, the short ones are beagle mixes, the tall ones are mastiff crosses, and the skinny ones are greyhounds. If it has a head like a Buick, a body like a stone wall, and two dots for eyes, it's not a Pharoah Hound just because it's got an unusually pale reddish coat.

      3) The photos which show, apparently unbeknownst to the photographer/rescuer, some nastiness that's totally at odds with what the ad claims.

      Text: Buddy is a sweet, friendly dog who deserves a good home!
      Photo: Buddy stares into the camera with all the warmth and openness of a piranha. If there are multiple photos, all show Buddy tense, tight and utterly, utterly displeased with being handled, touched, or even looked at.

      4) Photos that prove the rescue/photographer is an idiot. I saw one today where Foster Daddy has his infant pushed up against the foster dog's face. Foster dog looks okay with it, but an infant? Shoved so close to a dog's muzzle that you couldn't even pull him away fast enough if, say, the the dog you just brought home X months ago had a reaction you didn't see coming? I've seen dogs I'd trust with infants, but only after knowing them for years.

      5) The inane transports. I get the sense of bringing puppies and setters, spaniels, and the like north to fill a demand for family dogs. What I don't get is the trend of moving pit bulls around like hot potatoes. Seriously, we have enough in the Northeast. Please don't ship more up from North Carolina, Georgia, or anywhere else. It's coals to Newcastle.
      Feel better now?

      Comment


      • #4
        All white dogs with black are not a pitt either. If my students at school see a picture of my dog they call out "You got a pitt!" No, I have a wonderful mixed breed dog that was picked up in the middle of our small local airport runway and taken to the vet. I went to pay my bill and brought him home.

        Comment


        • #5
          By the same token, not every black with floppy ears is a Lab.

          Comment


          • #6
            Depending on the area, if they are called a pitbull, they are euthanized.

            Comment


            • #7
              I can sympathize.

              When we were looking to resuce a new dog, we drove 4 hours to see a dog that was listed on petfinder as a quiet, shy, smaller lab mix. Looked like a Lab x GSD. I grew up with GSDs so I was excited.

              When we got to the shelter to see him, we were greeted by a 100+ lb 9 month old GSD x Rottie that switched between trying to knock me down and taking off after the cats that were loose. We took him outside and he immediatly got loose from DH and the volunteer to go chase one of the other dogs that was outside because he wanted to play.

              I was so bummed that he wasn't ANYTHING like they had described him to be on Petfinder and if we hadn't had an infant I would have snapped him up in a heartbeat. He was friendly and smart, but handful was an understatement. I was bawling in the car that we had to leave him behind. We found our beloved Dixie on the same trip, when we went to look at a different dog, so it wasn't wasted. We love her to death, but I still wish the first dog had been what was described.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think it's pretty pointless to kvetch about a free website performing a service for animals in need. Many of these posts are placed by overwhelmed volunteers who might come across their info 3rd hand. And yes, there's a HUGE 'pit' population, valid or not.

                Petfinders is a conglomeration of a bunch of different rescues/ HSs/ shelters, that are staffed by folks from every walk of the earth. Are there problems? Youbetcha. But the point is to keep your eye on the prize (saving a dog) and putting up with the admittedly extensive misinformation and breed & behaviour mislabelling.

                What I find a bit disturbing is the rescues that will adopt/ foster sight unseen. I know what *I'm* capable of handling, but in light of the poor/ wrong descriptions how do you/ they handle it if the dog travels all the way up the east coast from FL to CT, say just to find out it's a bad fit? (I'm considering doing just this, BTW).

                Friend of mine did this and has a heart of gold. She was told about a well behaved young dog who liked company and car rides. What she got was an orangutan who was a chronic counter surfer, chewed the inside of her car when left alone for 3 minutes and peed everywhere. Dog had zip for training and was an absolute banshee despite my friend taking this dog out for daily extensive exercise and several-times-a-week running with a pack with a trainer with an ATV through fields. She loves her, but she admits she'd never have kept the dog had she been honestly presented.

                If only there were a way to 'vet' the dog, like we do with horses and our trainers, prior to taking over possession?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sansena View Post
                  I think it's pretty pointless to kvetch about a free website performing a service for animals in need. Many of these posts are placed by overwhelmed volunteers who might come across their info 3rd hand. And yes, there's a HUGE 'pit' population, valid or not.

                  Petfinders is a conglomeration of a bunch of different rescues/ HSs/ shelters, that are staffed by folks from every walk of the earth. Are there problems? Youbetcha. But the point is to keep your eye on the prize (saving a dog) and putting up with the admittedly extensive misinformation and breed & behaviour mislabelling.I find a bit disturbing is the rescues that will adopt/ foster sight unseen.
                  1) Well said.

                  2) Thank you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think the comparison to CANTER horses, regarding photos, is a good one. It's a quick shot to show you what the dog looks like, but you have to go meet them to see. The thing with dogs is, you miss a lot of who the really are if you judge totally by the picture (my dog looks like a total and complete slug in the majority of her pictures. Why? Because it is too hard to get a good picture of her running around like a maniac and chasing her tail!).

                    I have a dear friend who is the volunteer coordinator at a rescue. They do GREAT work (Richmond Animal League, if anyone is search of a new dog or cat!). They actually have a volunteer (I think she's a volunteer!) who comes in and takes pro shots of the dogs and cats playing and looking fabulous. They are a lucky group to have such a great service, and it makes a world of difference. I've seen some of the pictures of these dogs in the county shelters when they get picked up by RAL, and then their pictures later. It's amazing what a bath, some groceries, and a couple of days of play and interaction can do to a dog's outlook on life.

                    I guess my point is, don't take the dog for what it looks like on the photo on PetFinders. Most rescues and shelters are taking quick, hurried pics and getting them up. GO and interact. Love the dog and see what comes out. I walked past my dog so many times the day I went to "just look." Finally, I was encouraged to pull her out and interact with her. With a little interaction, she came to life, and we have be inseparable ever since (over 7 years).

                    My beef with rescues is the groups that make it IMPOSSIBLE to adopt. My dogs are with me 99% of the time. They live on a horse farm. Of course they don't have a fenced in backyard! They have 95 acres of their own! I've had dogs for 31 of my 31 years...you'd think I'd know how to take care of a new critter
                    Amanda

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I know that Petfinder doesn't create the listing, that the individual groups do. But many aren't exactly honest when it comes to the Pitbull types and Pitbull mixes. When you consider the restrictions potential adopters have placed on them either by insurance, landlords, and HOA's, I don't think the rescues are doing anyone a favor by misrepresenting the dog. NH has tightened their import laws, and dogs must be quarantined for 48 hours and get a local health certificate before going to their new home. I cannot even tell you how many "Lab crosses" I have seen who were clearly anything but. And these are dogs being adopted out of the south, site unseen.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Marshfield View Post
                        I know that Petfinder doesn't create the listing, that the individual groups do. But many aren't exactly honest when it comes to the Pitbull types and Pitbull mixes. When you consider the restrictions potential adopters have placed on them either by insurance, landlords, and HOA's, I don't think the rescues are doing anyone a favor by misrepresenting the dog. NH has tightened their import laws, and dogs must be quarantined for 48 hours and get a local health certificate before going to their new home. I cannot even tell you how many "Lab crosses" I have seen who were clearly anything but. And these are dogs being adopted out of the south, site unseen.
                        Agreed. I would always give my honest, most probable guess on a dog's breeding. But truly, if an apartment complex/hoa/city does have regulations, the ultimate responsibility lies on the adopter to do their own research and decide accordingly. That said, if I had an adopter considering a mixed breed with bully characteristics, id discuss what it would mean if their housing deemed the dog 'illegal'- and who exactly has the final say. I'd also steer them away from a very pitty looking mix just for that reason.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by saje View Post
                          By the same token, not every black with floppy ears is a Lab.
                          yes, everything is a "black lab" ... they don't even need floppy ears for this designation. The other option is a "golden lab"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes, I've seen the listings for animals that are older and have spent their entire lives at a no kill shelter, and usually in a big pen with a bunch of other dogs. The no kill near where I used to live had some long term resident dogs, and some spent almost their entire lives there, with a few failed adoptions along the way. Personally, I don't think that's a good life either.
                            You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have several random thoughts on this.

                              First of all, identifying mixed breed dogs is pretty unscientific. I found a dog about a year ago and took it into a vet's office to check for a chip. I thought the dog was purebred. The vet told me that he thought she was a mix and would describe her as a terrier mix. I contacted the rescue group for the breed that I thought she was, and took some photos for them. She was accepted into the rescue - they thought she was purebred (in fact, the lady who picked her up was pretty definite about it). A lot of boxer/lab mixes look very much like pit bull mixes. Et cetera, et cetera. I do think that dogs should be described as accurately as possible, but I also think it is important to keep in mind that any rescue is a rescue and it is really hard to say where the dog came from or who the parents were. I knew a lady whose neighbor had an accidental pit bull / lab mating. She adopted one of the puppies, knowing the parentage. The puppy grew up to look very much like a lab. Her vet was shocked when she told him she was part pit bull.
                              I would always advise potential adopters to go look at the dogs available before falling in love with a picture on the internet. Descriptions are great for narrowing down the search, but I think that some people get really emotionally invested in a picture and description before meeting the dog and then are later disappointed (the same thing happens when searching for a horse - calm to one person may not be calm to me : ) ). People who enjoy grooming rescues and taking their pictures are a huge asset to shelters and rescues, though. If you want to get your horse sold, you would take the best pictures you could. Pictures isn't the place to take a slip-shod approach if a group is having trouble placing animals - good volunteers are a huge asset in this area. There has become a real science to taking good photos of rescue dogs.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Casey, very true. We had a couple of pro/semi pro photographers taking pictures of our dogs for some time, and our website had a lot more traffic than it does now (now that it's half photos from an older lady who doesn't even get the dog in focus, and half my photos which are fine but lack any wow factor whatsoever. Back then people would tell us they checked out our site habitually just to see the beautiful photos.
                                There's a county animal control whose pictures id never look at (they're far away, dogs are usually sick) if it weren't for the professional who goes out whenever she can and takes pics.
                                It is so hard to get people's attention these days without really great quality photos.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Casey09 View Post
                                  I have several random thoughts on this.

                                  First of all, identifying mixed breed dogs is pretty unscientific. I found a dog about a year ago and took it into a vet's office to check for a chip. I thought the dog was purebred. The vet told me that he thought she was a mix and would describe her as a terrier mix. I contacted the rescue group for the breed that I thought she was, and took some photos for them. She was accepted into the rescue - they thought she was purebred (in fact, the lady who picked her up was pretty definite about it). A lot of boxer/lab mixes look very much like pit bull mixes.
                                  Yeah--just because You, random person on the internet, see vaguely bull-terrier-ish pictures of a dog in a shelter, that does not mean ZOMG PIT BULL! There are a lot of boxer mixes that look like what the average person thinks when they say 'pit bull.' And there are a lot of bull terrier types that are not American Pit Bull Terriers.

                                  What's REALLY funny on some shelter listings are some of the truly amusing and HIGHLY improbable "mixes." Really, are the odds that it's a Elkhound/Gordon Setter cross, or a GSD mix of some kind? Is it REALLY likely that dog is a Pharaoh Hound cross? When you see well-meaning shelters listing dogs as crosses with breeds that have maybe 200 individuals registered in the entire country, you kind of wonder if they're trying to write an exotic sales pitch by skimming through the dog-breed books. The reason there are so many "lab crosses" is there are SO many labs around, odds are if it looks rather like a lab, it's probably related to one. With pits, odds are they are a mix, too, sometimes pit, sometimes other bully breeds, a LOT of boxer mixes, unless you're somewhere like Detroit and even then, they're fighting crosses, not necessarily APBTs.
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                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by bits619 View Post
                                    Casey, very true. We had a couple of pro/semi pro photographers taking pictures of our dogs for some time, and our website had a lot more traffic than it does now (now that it's half photos from an older lady who doesn't even get the dog in focus, and half my photos which are fine but lack any wow factor whatsoever. Back then people would tell us they checked out our site habitually just to see the beautiful photos.
                                    There's a county animal control whose pictures id never look at (they're far away, dogs are usually sick) if it weren't for the professional who goes out whenever she can and takes pics.
                                    It is so hard to get people's attention these days without really great quality photos.
                                    I agree about the photos - I know when we were looking for our most-recently adopted pup, we'd actually overlooked her on the shelter website based on her original photos...then a professional photographer took shots of her and the other dogs there at the time, and her photo was so striking that we made a special trip over just to see her...here's a link to her her petfinder ad once the shelter uploaded her new photos

                                    http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/22678911

                                    How could you not not want to go meet that pup

                                    As for the Boxer/Weim cross...we'll there's definitely some Boxer in there somewhere...but what else is anyone's guess.
                                    ~Drafties Clique~Sprite's Mom~ASB-loving eventer~
                                    www.gianthorse.photoreflect.com ~ http://photobucket.com/albums/v692/tarheelmd07/

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                                    • #19
                                      Well, my cousin adopted her cat from the pound because it was listed as a "Russian Blue". So there are people out there who will go for exotic and overlook "Slightly plump gray cat".

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Tarheel, you're right, that first pic of your dog is GORGEOUS! So striking!
                                        And you know what- we have two weimaraners in the house right now (currently intertwined and acting positively absurd) and i do see a weimy face on your dog. Yeah, it would be an unusual mix but i would be tempted to call your dog a boxer/weim mix as well. And the volunteers/staff did state it well--- "has a weimaraner look to the face and ears." That's pretty much the best one can speculate (ie, giving observations on the dog's appearance).
                                        Cute dog!

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