Thursday, October 30, 2008

Free to a good home?

I see ads like this all the time..."free to a good home." I know the people mean well. They need to find a new home for their dogs or cats, sometimes animals that are well past the puppy/kitten phase and therefore harder to place. They feel that if they offer them for free, they're more likely to find someone to take them and take them quickly.

The animal might end up in a great home. But this is not always the case. For anyone considering offering their pet as "free to a good home" or know someone who is considering it, for anyone who has seen one of these ads, please go to this page:

Free To Good Home?

It describes the many perils of an animal in this situation: from being used as bait for a dog fighting ring, to being used as a breeder in a puppy mill, to being a dog chained up with no room to move.

If you do need to find a new home for an animal, please consider these steps instead:

(1) Decide if you really do need to find a home for an animal. A lot of times people give the "we're moving" reason for rehoming their pets. This is not always necessary. Animals adjust well to moves. You can easily transport them even across country or to a new country and they will adjust quickly. Finding an apartment can be trickier, but it is not an impossibility. The first thing you should always do is to consider keeping your animal(s). You are their home, not the house or town or state or country you live in.

(2) If you absolutely cannot find a way to keep your animal (dog, cat, rabbit, etc.), check with friends and family to see if anyone is interested in adopting it.

(3) Contact local no-kill shelters and rescues to see if someone can take your dog. If your dog is of a specific breed, there are guaranteed to be breed-specific rescues that may be able to take it in. If you are afraid that because your dog is a mutt, you will not find a rescue for it, then I have good news! There are plenty of rescues that are all-breed (including mutts) rescues. Some breed-specific rescues will also take in dogs that are clearly mixed with their breed if they have room. Ask around or look on for nearby rescues.

(4) If you absolutely must post an ad on Craigslist or some other similar place, always ask an adoption fee. Always ask the person questions, set up an interview, maybe even do a home visit. It is your responisbility to ensure that your companion finds that good home. This means asking a lot of questions. If the person is not interested in answering them, then they are not interested in adopting your dog. You can find many adoption applications on the internet. Here is just one that you could use as an example:

This certainly takes time, but very few people move so quickly that they can't take a couple weeks to find their animal a good home. Once you know you are moving, set everything in motion and give yourself the time to find a good home for the pet. I notice many ads that sound frantic and I wonder how long those folks knew they were moving before they posted the ad.

Please remember that your pet is a commitment and part of that commitment is always ensuring that the animal has a good life. Do not ever get a dog or a cat if you think you may be the sort to dump it if you have to move.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Ten Commandments for Pets

I thought this was incredibly beautiful and moving. I think it should, I hope, make people stop and look at their pet and hug them. It's certainly a reminder to cherish your animal, whatever he or she may be.

The Ten Commandments For Pets
by Stan Rawlinson

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don’t be angry with me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainments, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don’t understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I’m not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can’t bear to watch. Don’t make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

You can read the original version here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dahlia is coming home to us!

I think I spent hours looking at dogs on petfinder. I had over 30 of them saved, all possibilities, some more so than others. And in the end, the perfect dog for us was right under my nose. Well, sort of.

Dahlia, of the transport in April, is coming home to us on May 17th.

After reading her description on petfinder, we knew she was just the perfect dog for us.

If ever there were a PERFECT companion dog--Dahlia is it. Which breaks our hearts, cause we pulled her one day before she was to be euthanized--the curse of the BBD (Big Black Dog) syndrome : ( Dallie is 3 yrs old, so at the age of sanity, and only 46 Lbs, so not a BIG big dog (the breed mix has been the guess of several knowledgeable dog people). And what a LOVE!! She lives for love and affection, and while not a velcro dog, is a want-to-be-with-you-cause-that-makes-me-happy kind of dog. NO, none whatsoever, bad behaviors!! None of the Border needs for high exercise nor herding behaviors. Dallie is house trained, leash trained, learning sit, sleeps right next to you, not barky (but will let you know someone is at the house), SWEET and LOVING girl. I fear she might be one of the many foreclosure dogs that are turning up in the shelters these days. She obviously came from a loving home and is of a very endearing nature. Dallie is good with other dogs, fine with cats and kids, and she really wants to be your baby.

After putting in an application, much shifting around and getting set up, we've been approved to adopt her. We're very excited to welcome her home soon!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lucky transport #13!

Lucky #13! And boy was I lucky. My weekend was supposed to consist of two transports. The first one was for a random couple dogs (which kept changing, finally ending with an Airedale mix named Kelly). That one was set up for Sunday morning. Well, Friday rolled around and suddenly it got switched to Saturday and I could no longer do it. They found someone else and the transport went on without me. The second transport was for three Brittanies. A woman had written to find out if I could help out. I volunteered for a leg and never heard back from her. On Friday I finally got in touch with her and she said she didn't need me. So, since those two got canceled, I contacted the people who needed help with Dahlia, a BBD (big black dog). For those who don't know this, BBDs often have a harder time getting adopted than dogs (and even cats) of lighter colours. Some of it is attributed to not photographing well in the confines of a shelter, some is attributed to people not being able to read their expressions as easily, and some is attributed to people finding BBDs more frightening. Whatever it is that causes it, BBDs are euthanized more often than other dogs. Dahlia was scheduled to be euthanized last Tuesday and a rescue pulled her for transport this weekend. I stepped in at the last minute to relieve a driver from having to drive 164 miles each way to help this beautiful dog. And wow am I happy I did!

Today was a beautiful day. Mid-70s, sunny. I drove all the way out to Rochester with my windows down partway (of course, some of this is attributed to my air conditioning being broken!). I arrived about 15 minutes early, relaxed, and then met up with the other people and Dahlia. My first impression of Dahlia was that she was a wonderful dog, and seemed much smaller than the 50 lbs they said she was (I would guess more like 40-45). She was utterly sweet and wanted to do nothing more than snuggle up to you. She immediately came over to me and gave me kisses. She walked over to the other women that had brought her on the previous leg, sat down, and put her leg up on her. She was just utterly sweet. We got her into the car easily enough and then it was on our way!

Unlike last week's crazy transport, this one was incredibly easy! Dahlia curled up in the back seat, not even tethered, and slept the whole way. She popped her head up a couple times and I reached back to pet her a bit (and was rewarded with some kisses), and then she'd just curl back up and sleep again. She was quiet and mellow.

We arrived a bit early, which was just fine with me! I got her out of the car and we wandered around a bit. She only pulled a bit on her leash and frequently ran back to me and looked up to me. She seemed like she'd be an easy dog to train. She already knew sit and shake, that much I discovered! We spent a bit of time out on the lawn. I sat down and let her explore around me and she would return to me and press her face up against mine. She was SO sweet. I would have adopted her in a heartbeat if I fact, I may get in touch with the rescue she's going to about possibly adopting her. I just totally fell in love with her!

The other woman showed up way too early and I think she could tell I didn't want to let her go. Oops! They finally took off and now Dahlia is on her way to Vermont. *sniffles*

Here are a few pictures. The rest can be found here.