We housed and trained a rescue dog as a professional courtesy for 4 weeks. We had come to know and love him. Sadly, today he was picked up from us by the group like you’d drive thru for a sandwich. I won’t be working with this group again. These are the warning signs I ignored:
1. All communication was done by text or phone. Nobody could be bothered to sit down and meet with us, or meet the dog. No home visits took place, either here or in the prospective home. In this respect he was a virtual rescue. No one from the group actually knew him — and yet, they advertised him, accepted money for him, and placed him.
2. Information about the dog was communicated to the group in professional language but translated to marketing b.s. for the web site. For example, “hyper attachment disorder” became “I may hug you too hard.” The dog’s description was full of emojis and exclamation marks. Adopters would have to read between the lines to understand the hidden narrative of a dog’s challenges.
3. Another dog in our care (from the same group) had a bite history. She was misrepresented to a potential adopter with a two year old grandchild. When we objected, provided additional guidelines, and asked the group for more (free) training and socialization time, the dog was removed from our care.
4. Offers to present dogs to adopters in the context of a free training debrief were eschewed in lieu of speedy transport to the new family, no debrief required. We ended up wondering if the group had a quota. Why the rush to turn over dogs?
If you are looking for a dog, rescue is a viable option, but consider each prospective group thoughtfully. They are all different, and the industry is unregulated. Many groups love dogs, but don’t know much about them. You deserve full disclosure in plain language of the challenges facing you, and the dog you are interested in will only benefit from professional training expertise during the rehoming process. What I saw today is so much less than we can do.