Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
rescue. rehab. adopt.
Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue

Adopt, Don't Shop

by User Not Found | Jul 08, 2014

Adopt, Don’t Shop.  It’s become a catchy or trendy or whatever you want to call it phrase that pairs cute pictures with this logo and can be found all over the internet and social media.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it and I support it, after all I live in this Neuse River Golden Rescue world.  We may even say it without thinking assuming our audience understands what that means.  I love working with rescue, placing dogs in loving homes, but lecturing people to adopt and then doing nothing to support them is a hail Mary.  Over the last several years NRGRR has dreamed up big ideas for helping to support the growing family of volunteers, adopters and of course the dogs.  It’s a wonderful family, albeit somewhat dysfunctional at times….hey who isn’t?  But here’s the reality, dogs sometimes get returned.  In the world of rescue, we sometimes forget or neglect to make sure the homes that we send our dogs to are ready and willing to take on the challenges.  As a foster of more than 30 dogs, I’ve been seasoned to know what it’s like to bring a strange dog in to my house and introduce them to my pack.  But even I forget that we are gaining new and wonderful adopters all the time. While they have educated themselves and are helping make the effort to save a life by adopting, they still need our help.  With the amazing amount of knowledge and experience among a volunteer rescue group like NRGRR, they should be looking to us!  What an amazing resource!

The moral of the story is, with a little education and preparation, reasons for a dog being returned can be avoided.  I bestow this bit of wisdom to you when adopting a dog.  “The challenges will be there, but they are rewarding beyond measure once you get past them, you just need to know they are coming.”

  1.  Put all dogs, no matter the age, in an obedience class.

Some dogs come to us with training, but the majority don’t and let’s face it, all dogs have their quirks.  Some dogs are smart enough to know they can play the rescue card and take advantage of “bending the rules” a bit.  Humans are suckers for the story, but not providing rules and boundaries will only make small behavior issues bigger.  For a puppy, this is literally, for a senior, at least you know them ahead of time and for that, I am grateful.  A class is not only a great way to get to know your new dog, build trust and bond, it’s under the supervision of a professional who won’t let you or your dog get away with bad behavior.

  1.  Full disclosure!

We are always 100% honest with adopters.  We provide as much medical and behavioral information we can on a dog when we are speaking with potential adopters.  Changing a dog’s environment can change their behavior, so just because they behave one way in a foster home, doesn’t mean that they will do the same in a new home.  We do what we can to give fair warning and do our best to make the right match.  Sometimes it’s hard to take in all the information and truly understand it, especially in the excitement of adoption day, but being up front about this information should encourage everyone to find the right dog for them.

……which leads to me to my final point

  1.  Remind new owners to BE PATIENT.

I have yet to bring a foster dog home and NOT have a day that I seriously regretted it.  It’s true!  The dog eats something expensive, has diarrhea all over your new rug or climbs the fence and chases the neighbor’s chickens.  The key is to acknowledge that bumps in the road are normal and expected.  We should rely on each other and support each other to work through them, rather than just give up.   We are all here because we love our dogs and our commonality brings us together like family. 

Here’s the good news.  Learn to appreciate the 3-day rule.  Just trust me.  It’s not that long, but surprisingly a lot happens in that time that seems to calm the seas of frustration and the feelings of being overwhelmed.  In those three days, you subconsciously or consciously form a plan and put it in place for dealing with whatever it is that you are unsure of.  As your new routine begins to fall in place, you and your new dog learn about each other.  You learn that three circles and a stare mean "I need to go out" and he learns that banging his tail against the wall in the morning gets you out of bed.  Remember that they are as lost and confused as you are and just need some time to adjust.

You'll form a bond like you never thought possible and then you'll realize where the phrase "rescue dogs are the best" came from.

Cheers!

Katie

Neuse River Golden Retiever Rescue
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P.O. Box 37156 Raleigh • NC 27627 • Phone: 919-676-7144