Monday, August 2, 2010

Just Giving the Right Answers

We're planning to adopt a dog from our local animal shelter.  We've looked on the website and realized we could walk out with any of a dozen dogs.  There are a lot of dogs in need of homes.  Most of those we liked were either labs or lab mixes or shepards or shepard mixes.  We know a bit about both breeds, so it a comfortable fit.  The process seems pretty straightforward.  We complete the application, meet the dogs, make a decision, hand over our check, and walk out the door with our new pet.

Of course, we know it isn't that easy.  We have friends who were rejected by their local animal shelter.  They tried to adopt a cat from a shelter near their vacation home in Wisconsin.  This is a retired couple who have always owned cats.  They already had two cats.  The shelter informed them that they were unsuitable as they spent too much time going back and forth between their Illinois and Wisconsin homes.  They said it would be too unsettling for the cat, who also might not like being one of three pets.  Yes, they were rejected by the local humane society.

Instead, they walked into the local humane society near their Illinois home.  A few hours later, they walked out with a new cat.  Shortly after they adopted the new cat, the oldest of their previous cats died.  Now they are a two cat family again.

This story sticks in my head as I read the adoption application we are completing.  I look at the questions and don't want to give my real response.  I just want to know what the right answer is. 

For example, "Does anyone in your home have allergies to animals?"  Well, yes.  I am allergic to dogs and cats.  I get allergy shots to control my symptoms.  The brunette twin is mildly allergic to a couple of things.  She has a nasal spray.  I'll answer it honestly, but I wonder if this will eliminate us as an acceptable family?

Another question causes more problems.  They are asking about crate training.  I don't know how we feel about crate training.  We have talked to several friends and family about why they keep in their pets in creates.  We always had dogs when we were growing up and we never kept any of them in crates, so I am interested in learning more about why crates are the new "in" thing for dogs.  As far as I know, we don't have any strong feelings about crate training.  What I do know if the humane society believes in crate training, so our answer is "Yes, we do think crate training is a fabulous idea."  

At some point we'll turn it in and see if we're worthy of adopting a dog from this shelter.  I'm feeling really nervous about completing the application.  I don't want to go through all the work only to have to tell the girls we'll have to go elsewhere to get a dog.  It would break their hearts not to walk out with a dog, which would create a whole new set of problems for us.


Marketing Mommy said...

So happy to hear you're adopting a dog!

I volunteered as an animal adoption counselor at a shelter for a few years, and we rarely turned away applicants. The answers people gave were used as conversation-starters so that the shelter could educate potential adopters. I focused on cats, so I had to tell people why we recommended against declawing and free-range cats. I'm guessing that if you answer "yes" to allergies, the counselor will ask you how you plan to deal with them. They'd rather have that discussion now than risk having an animal returned to the shelter.

I can't wait to see photos of your new addition.

eatmisery said...

You could go downtown to Anti-Cruelty on LaSalle and walk out with a dog that day. A lot of them are Lab mixes, too. They have so many to choose from all the time, it seems. I know it's far for you to go, but it might be worth it.

Nicki said...

Another option is Almost Home Foundation ( They rescue dogs from high kill shelters, who are about to be euthanized, and put them in foster homes until permanent homes are found for them. I volunteer there on Saturdays and they have some of the sweetest dogs ever! They are also dogs who are used to being in a home because they're living in a household instead of in a shelter, they're usually housetrained or have already started being housetrained, and the foster "parents" know a lot about the dog's personality and temperament.
About crate training... our dogs sleep out of the crate at night, but they do go in the crate when nobody's home. They actually love it... its like a dog house for them! Especially when nobody's home, I think being in their "house" makes them feel more secure. We crate trained them simply by putting them into the crate and giving them a treat each time we leave. Now, when we say, "Go to bed!" they run into their crate and wait for us to shut the door!

Nicki said...

P.S. If you do check out the Almost Home Foundation website, check out "Janey," "Hillary," "Clarebell". "Momma Florida," "Mercy," "Hulk," "Sugarplum," and "Grommet". These are all 1 oe 2 year old lab mixes that are good with kids and other dogs.