I don't get it.

We have some wonderful, adorable dogs who have been with us in foster care for weeks, and nobody is applying for them or even inquiring about them. Sweet, adorable adult dogs who are already housebroken and are past the chewing, nipping, sock-eating crazy puppy stage. (You know that stage between 6 and 12 months when the people who got puppies without having a clue what that entails in terms of time, work, commitment, etc. give them up to rescues?)

Day after day, I check the application and inquiry emails, and there is very little there for some of our guys.  We hear so many people complaining that they've been trying to adopt a doodle and have had no luck, they just can't find one, or the dog was already adopted. Why aren't they applying for these dogs?

Last night, we listed an 8-month-old red non-shedding female, and today the inquiry and application boxes are overflowing.

I guess what bothers me most about this is the hypocrisy involved. "I want to rescue a dog". "There are too many dogs without homes". Yeah, right. I have a news flash for these people, these dogs were already rescued, by us. They are safe. They need adoption, not rescuing. You want to "rescue" a dog, run on down to your local kill shelter and adopt a dog who's in real danger. Yes, everyone wants to "rescue" a dog, but for some, it has to be under a year old, and  under a certain weight, and a certain color, and a certain kind of coat, and preferably female because people who don't have much knowledge of dogs think males lift their legs and/or are more aggressive, and it can't have any "issues". At least, be honest. Say "I really want a brand-new non-shedding doodle puppy, but I don't want to pay a breeder $2500 for one."

Because if you really had compassion for homeless dogs, and wanted to help one, you'd realize that a puppy is going to be very easy to place and will have her pick of homes. It's the bigger, older, shaggier guys who are sitting there in foster care for weeks sadly waiting for their person to find them who need your compassion. Yet people who live an hour away from some of them are willing to do anything to get that curly red puppy. That's understandable, I guess. It just has nothing to do with wanting to "save" a dog.

I'm not trying to scare anyone off. After all, the puppy does need a home, and she's been through the trauma of losing one, too. And we are going to find her the most perfect permanent home in the world, count on that. One like this:

Last week, we had a couple who flew from Washington State to the Midwest and rented a car to drive back home (28 hours) with an older dog who has permanent damage to one of her legs. Tomorrow, we have another couple who will be driving 6 hours to get a another older dog who may have health issues, and they don't care; the exact words were "We are going to do everything we can to give him a happy and healthy life, but if it should be that we can't resolve his health issues, we are going to give him a happy life for as long as we're lucky enough to have him."

That's the kind of home every dog deserves, and that's the kind of home we want for every one of our doodles. Those are the kinds of people who understand what adopting a rescue dog is all about. Bless them.




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Comment by Jacquie Yorke - DRC Director on May 31, 2011 at 11:02pm
I am just catching up and reading through the posts here.  I think the opinions expressed and facts that are posted in this blog are invaluable. You should actually post this as a discussion in the main forum Karen. I think the topic would be more accessible to our members, applicants and the general public if it were presented as a discussion versus a blog.
Comment by Karen and Jackdoodle on May 31, 2011 at 3:24pm

I should also clarify that it is not true that there are not many families looking to adopt older dogs. Females, smaller dogs, and dogs with non-shedding coats tend to attract a lot of interest regardless of age. Overall, the demand for all doodles in rescue is much higher than the number available.


Comment by Karen and Jackdoodle on May 31, 2011 at 2:55pm
More than half of the 60 applications we got for the puppy were from homes without children, so I don't think the age requirements have much to do with it. The vast majority of our applicants are adult homes.
Comment by Dena on May 31, 2011 at 1:50pm
I just inquired about one of the dogs who was not a puppy. I was sent a general email and after reading it understood that you do not adopt to families with children under 5!!! This upsets me to read. I have a yellow lab who is 110lbs she is great with my children. I was looking to rescue an older dog as opposed to purchasing a puppy. I wanted a dog who does not shed but is comparable to my lab.  Maybe that is why there are not many families looking to adopt the older dogs?? Thank you
Comment by Nancy, Ned, Clancy, and Charlie on May 28, 2011 at 5:21pm

Here is my response to choosing an adult dog:

Clancy, age 2 when adopted. Currently age 3 and full of love: 

He was housebroken (he did lift his leg inside 4 times during his first month), didn't heal but walked ok on a leash, was past nipping, and was grateful to be loved.  He will de-squeak a toy faster than you can believe (probably did this as a pup also).

Raising a puppy is certainly fun and rewarding, but adopting an adult dog has rewards of its own - slightly different ones.

Comment by Karen and Jackdoodle on May 28, 2011 at 12:18pm

Susan, it's not a question of expanding the exposure to the listings; if 200 people can find the puppy's listing in four days, they can find all the other dogs' listings; they are all in the same places, Petfinder, Doodle Kisses, and every other cross-posting site out there. If they saw the puppy's listing, they saw the others as well.

We have had people who were not chosen as the adopters for a certain puppy, not because there was anything wrong with the home, but because only one home can be chosen for one dog. When these people are later contacted about another dog who has come into the program and would be a good match for them, many will often say "I only want a puppy". Some will go even further and say "I only want a female puppy". Everyone is entitled to want what they want, but these are people who really need to find a good breeder, not a rescue group.

It's a question of people's knowledge and perception about dogs in general, and their real reasons for wanting to adopt, and wanting to adopt a puppy rather than an adult dog.

For example, there is a common misconception, I hear it all the time,  that a puppy would be a "safer" choice if there are children in a home. Nothing could be further from the truth. Around young children, especially those who have not had a lot of experinece with dogs, an older calmer dog is 100 times less likely to nip a child, jump on a child, destroy a child's belongings, grab a child's clothing, etc. It has absolutely nothing at all to do with size, either. A smaller dog can tear flesh just as well as a large one can.

This blog was really born out of frustration. I think it would be a great idea for those who would like to have a discussion to start one in the forum about these issues and how we can get the word out that adult rescue dogs make fabulous pets.

Comment by Susan Harms on May 28, 2011 at 12:08pm
So one question is, how do we better promote the dogs we have in foster care, so more people read about them? Where are they listed, and how can we expand that?
Comment by Colleen on May 28, 2011 at 9:44am

For the most part, I agree with the sentiments expressed in this discussion.  However I do see another side to this older dog vs puppy debate.  It only applies to a very small group of people, but nevertheless does exist.  Here is my thought:  sometimes a person needs to see a creature discovering life for the first time.  Why?  Maybe someone has lost a person so dear to them they themselves feel dead.  What better way to start feeling alive again than to watch a puppy or kitten discovering the newness of the world.  Again, I'm sure this applies to a very few people want puppies for this reason.  It's just a thought.  

Comment by Catherine Zipf on May 26, 2011 at 1:46pm
Wow, I cannot believe there doodles who haven't been snapped up yet. I would love to have a second doodle, especially an older one. Wesley was three when I adopted him and I was so happy to find a dog that wasn't a puppy. Yes, he came with heartworms but he's been a wonderful addition to my life.
Comment by Tante & Jordan & Annie on May 26, 2011 at 1:08am
LOL! I was thinking What is Going on!

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