January 21, 2016

Five Reasons I Won't Adopt to You

Being in rescue is emotional.  It's full of highs - pulling a dog from a kill shelter moments before being put to sleep, saving a pregnant dog and watching them realize they can birth their pups in peace...and then NEVER be pregnant again, seeing the joy on the face of an adoptive family when we've found them the right match; and full of lows - fighting to get a dog healthy and it just doesn't succeed, watching a dog go through heartworm treatment and get sick and having to say "no" sometimes when we just don't have the resources to take even more dogs.

As any adoption coordinator will tell you, having to say "no" to an applicant is difficult.  And most of the time - we do it after trying to prompt better responses, reeducating an adopter, and well...just about anything we can think of to turn an applicant into the type of person that would do well with not just one of our dogs - but any dog.

But the fact remains - there are reasons that I just won't adopt to people.

  • If your yard is unfenced and you REFUSE to keep a dog leashed - I will not be adopting to you.  Dachshunds are scent hounds and will tune you out to follow their nose in pursuit of a squirrel, their pee-mail and that can get them into trouble.  I won't even tell you the heartbreaking stories of dogs who accidentally got out of their fenced yards never to be seen again. Or worse... You purposely let your dogs run?  Um...NO.

  • You don't see the need for heartworm preventative.  This is a nasty, nasty condition that could be prevented by a tablet (or topical solution) that costs about $20 a month.  If you won't invest $20 into your dog's health - I'm not confident you'll spend the money to treat them for other ailments, or God forbid, heartworm disease when they catch it from lack of preventative care. You won't be getting one of our dogs.

  • You won't consent to a home visit.  We aren't trying to invade your privacy or judge your housekeeping...trust me!  We just need to know that our dog is going into a home that is (reasonably) clean and safe.  Visiting you in person helps us get a grasp on what dog will do well with your lifestyle and environment.  When you say "no"...you make me say "no" back.

  • If your references can't say something nice about you.  I take references checks very seriously.  We check with your existing vet (if you have animals) and personal references.  These are individuals YOU are giving us to talk to.  When they think you won't be a good pet parent, or even scarier - tell us about the last dog you surrendered, we can't hand over one of our dogs.  We just can't.

  • Two words - outside dogs.  If you have dogs that spend their entire lives outside without adequate access to shelter - you are not going to be adopting from us.  This signifies to me that a dog is merely a possession to you. To me, to my rescue, dogs are family.  They deserve the love, the affection, the comforts, you would afford any other family member.  The lives our dogs led before coming into rescue is often a mystery to us - and we do our best to ensure the happy, healthy lives of our dogs moving forward. (Note: Please know I'm not casting judgement on hunting/herding dogs. While I'm not a huge fan of dogs specific to hunting, I understand the theory.  I know that these dogs have a "job", have safe, climate controlled kennels and are generally brought into a family environment at the end of the season.)



  1. Thank you for all you do, and I love this post and the standards your rescue sets (definitely not unreasonable)!

  2. Oh my goodness- this is the kind of job I want. I currently work in case management and want to so badly work in an animal shelter- I'm currently taking a vet tech class to get some animal experience. It sounds like an emotional rollercoaster though, which I have heard about vet tech, too...!

  3. Great post! I've never adopted a dog before but love knowing that people like you really are out there helping these cuties find loving homes. Thank you! :)


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