You know, I’m all about adopting pets. Everyone in this house is a rescue and the adoption bug has hit me again in my search for another white standard poodle. I want to get another one because the boys and I share Jasmine for 4H, and inevitably a grooming show pops up that I’m not ready for due to having to keep her hair a little shorter for summer time activities in 4H.
I applied to a few rescue groups on petfinder.com when I found some dogs that I thought would work out. I have to tell you, when you use a reputable group, it’s probably worse than adopting a child. They have several pages of questions on their applications, and they want not just vet references but personal references as well. Then they call and check out all your references. You may get a home visit as well to make sure YOU are the right home for the dog. Some of the requirements for different groups may be must have a fenced yard or no homes with small children. They ask you about your current pets, what are they, what pets have you had in the past? Have you ever given away a pet? Have you even taken a dog to a shelter? Most of these very thorough groups I really appreciate because they want the best home for the dog. I can live with that.
My references called me to tell me that they were contacted about the dog. They were surprised not only because I didn’t warn them they’d be getting a call, but because some of the questions were pretty over the top and frankly hit me the wrong way.
My neighbor and another friend told me that they were asked if they had ever witnessed me “over correcting” my children or my dogs. I have NEVER had that question asked. I understand that they don’t want to put the dog into an abusive situation, but after hearing the glowing reports of my references, checking out my records with the vet, and speaking with me for an hour on the phone, I was a little shocked to hear they asked that! I told my neighbor she should have told them that no I don’t have to over correct my kids because I keep them in cages! PULEEZE! What’s next? Fingerprints and an FBI background check?
What about letting me meet the dog? When do we get to do that? How will I know if it’s the dog for me if I don’t ever meet it? I’m jumping through hoops for them, yet nothing is said about the dog in question to see if it’s the dog for my family. No meeting will be arranged until said dog goes through all of its health checks at the vet, etc. Then WHY is the dog listed on petfinder.com if it’s not already vetted and ready to go?
The road goes both ways.
I contacted another group in Chicago but they have strict limits. They will not adopt any animal out unless it’s within a 60 mile radius of them. I thought, well surely they would make an exception for “me” after all, I’m a groomer with a long history of adoption, and I have impeccable references, and several from Chicago, but they could only be contacted via email. So I emailed them and asked them if they would call me or give me a number to call them so I can ask some questions about the dog. The email I got back said, “How far are you from Chicago?” so I told them I’m about 3 hours South but I have Chicago references and I filled out and included their 4 page application. I never heard back from them.
My problem with all of this is, there actually ARE good homes out there in the world, but they may not be within a 60 mile radius of your rescue. It’s not that I’m not willing to travel to meet the dog, I am. In fact, when I adopted Katy my first standard poodle several years ago, they didn’t do out of state adoptions, but after speaking with me on the phone, they made an exception and I drove to Texas to get her! I still keep in touch with her rescue.
Which brings me to another dog I found, actually the link to this rescue was actually given to me by Katy’s old foster Mom in Texas. This dog is in Michigan, near Detroit but it’s not a rescue so much but an animal shelter. Shelters usually don’t have such strict adoption rules. This dog is a 5 year old female white standard poodle named Dolly. She is already spayed and vaccinations were given. In her photos she looks pretty scared. I spoke with them on the phone and they told me that she is very sweet and friendly, but I could hear the dogs barking in the background so I can understand why she was nervous looking in her photos. Shelters aren’t usually the most calming place for a dog that is suddenly given up, away from its home. Who can blame any dog for being a nervous wreck?
Well today they emailed me and told me that Dolly has come down with kennel cough. I had planned to go there tomorrow and get her but now she has to be isolated for a couple of weeks. I told my vet and she told me she would keep her in isolation for me. I can’t bring home kennel cough to my house. So the trip is back on. It’s a 6 hour journey for us to get there one way. Now there is no way for her to meet my dogs first, since she’s sick now, but at least she will be at my vet in very good hands. I know she will get better a lot faster in my vets care, than she will at the shelter in isolation rooms. I’m a sucker for a sob story. There is something about this dogs face, a look, she actually looks rather pitiful. I remember that look when I found Katy, she was so depressed looking in her photos, nothing a little love couldn’t fix. So I’m hopeful Dolly will end up as great as Katy was. Jasmine needs a buddy to play with; Dreamer just likes to bark at her. He’s getting elderly now, and not in the mood to play. So I should have “bookends” soon. Wish me luck!
In loving memory of Bogey
It has been such a tough year last year, and this year has gotten off to a rocky start as well. A few weeks ago, we lost Bogey, our 15 ½ year old Bichon. He was really a permanent foster dog for us, because he belonged to Libby Barnhart, who had to find him a new home due to her moving and health. She felt it was for his benefit to go to a home that could care for him better than she could at the time. She reluctantly found a new home for him, but about a year later, they too couldn't care for them as their health declined. I had heard about her needing to find him a home, and I had someone in mind, but when she called them, they didn't feel they could devote the time to him he deserved. So I volunteered, at the time he was 13 years old.
Bogey fit in from the start. He became best buddies with Jasmine and Dreamer, and was really no trouble at all. He was adorable with his sitting up and begging, and I dearly love older dogs. He was very happy here and even managed to find a few girlfriend dogs in some of my clients. He was quite the flirt, and would sit and watch me groom the object of his affections.
Bogey was well known in Attica when Libby lived here. She would walk him down the street and her friends would visit him when they came over to her home. He never met anyone he didn't like. He charmed everyone.
Bogey even got in the creative grooming fun when I made him into a football and turned Jasmine into a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader when we went to Dallas a couple of years ago. He was a great sport and everyone fell in love with the “little football”.
Libby came to visit him occasionally and he enjoyed his outings with her. He was a great traveler, and enjoyed trips to the ice cream parlor especially! He was a sweet little “old man” and I and many of my clients will miss him.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to a special pet, but it was especially hard to say goodbye to Bogey. I had done all that I could do to keep him happy and comfortable but ultimately, he told me when it was “time to go”. I recognized the look in his eyes. I was his groomer for a few years before he came to live with me, so the two and a half years he spent as a member of my family seemed longer.
Libby handled the news well under the circumstances, and I delivered his ashes to her and a few keepsakes last week. Most dogs are lucky enough to be loved by one family, but Bogey had at least two. He left paw prints on our hearts. I know I we were blessed to have him here.