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Why is it so hard to adopt a dog from a rescue? Why so many questions?

(24 Posts)
DogsBestFriend Mon 01-Aug-11 16:14:37

I've often had people complain that rescue asks too many intrusive questions, been asked why they should agree to a homecheck or heard complaints from those who have been or would be turned down by rescues.

So why is it so hard to adopt a dog? Why so many questions?

Here's why.

Ormirian Mon 01-Aug-11 16:17:37

Well said!

tooearlytobeup Mon 01-Aug-11 16:44:00

I know it's a little off topic, but can anyone tell me what they would be looking for in the homecheck? I'm guessing it would be that the garden is secure, and that we seem pretty 'normal', no dog torture chamber in the attic etc, but how in depth is it?

Do they need to see upstairs? Would they judge me on clean washing hanging around to be put away? Would they want to look in cupboards (if they do, my hopes of owning a dog can be forgotten!)

Also, would they need to see all the family at the same time, or can I keep the kids out of the way so they dont pester them?

Do they speak to the neighbours? Sorry, I really dont know what to expect.
Not that I've even got that far yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed lol.

tinyizzy Mon 01-Aug-11 16:59:51

My experience of home check when we had our rescue dog about 3 years from local dogs home is a form to be filled in with the "assessor", which detailed where you would walk it, local amenities etc, size of garden, owned a dog previously/experience of dog keeping etc, asked about age of child and who would be the primary carer/walker and just really talked about dogs. No snoopying in cupboards or upstairs, just looked at garden to see if it was secure (ie. no dog sized holes to escape through)!

All the same a positive experience and have a very happy pouch!! Best of luck acquiring a new member of your family.

megapixie Mon 01-Aug-11 17:03:30

When we had a home check for our 1st dog in 2006 it was all pretty simple, and this was the RSPCA! So a man came around, sat in our living room and asked us questions about who would be in the house and when and what preparations we'd made.

He then took a massive torch in the garden, and they checked for holes/gaps. He said we'd need to put a a bit of fencing up around the edge of the hedge but as it was a big dog it shouldn't be too much trouble, but he'd had to say it iyswim. He didn't look upstairs, look in cupboards, nothing too intrusive and certainly didn't talk to the neighbors! He put a good word in and we could bring him home the next day (which was new years eve - was lovely). We actually got a puppy from the same center 2 months later when we went back for his vacs! They didn't need another home check.

Sadly, we had to have him put down earlier this year, but all those questions were so worth it to have our time with that lovely, handsome dog. I've just bought a puppy from a family member, but otherwise would not have hesitated going to a local rescue or the RSPCA again, and definitely wouldn't put anybody else off doing so.

Scuttlebutter Mon 01-Aug-11 17:05:16

Nice article.

Tooearly - Homecheckers are NOT interested in wiping fingers along surfaces to check for dust!

They will want to know if your garden is secure and the property is safe for a dog. They will ask you if you own or rent - if you rent, please be prepared to show written evidence that your landlord allows pets. No reputable rescue will rehome to a tenant who cannot prove this.

They will want to meet all adults who live in the house (even if they are not related to you), and will want to know the ages, sex and any special characteristics of the children who live there. They will also want to meet any existing pets. They will probably ask you about allergies or other health concerns. They will want to know your lifestyle and working patterns, and what arrangements are being made for exercising the dog. If you are going to use a dogwalker they will probably want to meet them.

Piles of washing won't be a worry, but for instance, heaps of food, or dirty dishes, MIGHT be a red flag depending on context - they would want to know for instance that your dog could not gain access to your child's chocolate dessert or raisins (as both chocolate and raisins are poisonous to dogs, and often found in people's homes). Some dogs, greyhounds for instance, are easily capable of "counter surfing" so the homechecker will need to be aware of how you might manage that.

Reassuringly, if a house is incredibly tidy with perfect white carpets and cream coloured sofas, then the homechecker will want to make sure the adopter will really be able to adapt to the hair, mud and general oomska that comes with dog ownership.

Much of the homecheck will be about talking to you about your understanding of dog ownership and your expectations. Finding out about your experience with dogs, why you have chosen a particular breed (if applicable), how the dog is going to fit into your lifestyle and what your expectations are. You should feel comfortable with your homechecker, and you should also use the opportunity to check the rescue out. Ask lots of questions, about how dogs are assessed before adoption, how they are matched to a particular home, what advice is given on settling in, early training, feeding, and ongoing aftercare/support. They should also be able to tell you about the fun things that the rescue do/organise such as social events, dog walks, charity dog shows, activities etc.

Finally, they should walk you through the adoption process, explain what they are going to do after the appointment, and give you clear timescales and outlines of what will happen next to progress the adoption.

Good luck!

minimu11 Mon 01-Aug-11 17:22:35

As a home checker the things I have to check are:
Security of garden and fencing height
Security onto main roads etc
Hours people work
What they plan to do with the dog if they leave it
What they will do with the dog if they go on holiday any holidays booked
What training classes in the area that they are going to attend (some rescues like you to have made contact with a class already)
Experience with dogs - this is not judgemental just so the right dog can be matched with the right home
Where the dog will be exercised and how often
Who will exercise the dog
How old the children are
Are there any other pets
How tidy the cupboards are and how well the ironing has been done (only kiddinggrin)
How they plan to feed the dog
Information on insurance and how much it could cost
What vet will they register with etc
General chat about prospective owners expectations of having a dog
Any changes that may be happening in the foreseeable future
Reason for wanting a dog
Do you rent or own your house - if renting copy of lease to check animals are allowed
Do you have a pond and is it sage
How long will the dog be left at any point
Are your other dogs neutered or spayed
where would the dog sleep
A lived in house is much more comforting and reassuring than a show house so really do not worry.

I can't think of any other questions off hand but this gives you the idea

emptyshell Mon 01-Aug-11 17:53:47

We've had two - the first one was the local dog wardens whom it was a harder battle to remove from the biscuit barrel than anything else (but joking aside were very helpful) - they were more interested in the garden and fencing than anything else, but did check out the home-status in terms of rental/owned.

Second one was really really helpful - spent a huge amount of time fussing over dog number one and the cat, discussed greyhound-specific things but basically gave us the OK from the off and just wanted us to be clear in our own mind about things like where the dog would sleep and similar, checked out holidays we had booked (not an issue because the holiday we have planned is dog-coming-with anyway).

House was an utter lived in tip - cream carpets permanently accented with pet hair anyway (3 black furred pets and cream carpets... don't do it - seriously), cream sofas covered with throws anyway and the garden was in the middle of being done... we may even not have had a back gate at that point as well tbh because that was being replaced - but passed anyway.

chickchickchicken Mon 01-Aug-11 18:32:03

yes, good article. any ideas how to brainwash educate silly people who get a dog without really thinking of the lifestyle changes for the next 15 years or so

chickchickchicken Mon 01-Aug-11 18:34:48

yes, good article. any ideas how to brainwash educate silly people who get a dog without really thinking of the lifestyle changes for the next 15 years or so

chickchickchicken Mon 01-Aug-11 18:35:14

oops, sorry dont know what happened there

tooearlytobeup Mon 01-Aug-11 18:48:32

Thanks all, that's really really helpful.

It's good to know that showhouse is not expected, our house is definately 'lived in' most of the time.

I am confident the garden will pass muster, because our bunny has tested every boundary repeatedly for escape points grin

I am a bit of a worrier, and really want to make sure I have put everything in place for when we find the right dog. I also really don't want to bug the rescue with silly questions incase they get sick of me and decide it's less hassle just to reject us blush

higgle Tue 02-Aug-11 10:45:19

Our home checker brought her rather bouncy collie with her and although she did all the expected things, such as checking the fences etc. I felt the real test was being nice to her dog while he sniffed, jumped up and bounced around our house.

QuietTiger Tue 02-Aug-11 11:46:07

Higgle that's nothing! I once did a homecheck and took my older Border Collie girl with me to check out the prospective adopters...

My normally incredibly well behaved Pets As Therapy dog (so used to different situations and people) embarrassed me totally. She peed on the carpet, stole the biscuits off the counter, chased the pet rabbit, climbed on the sofa and was basically demanding cuddles and was thoroughly pushy and obnoxious. All things she has never done, before or since. I was mortified blush, but the way they behaved about it reinforced what they were "saying" about how much they loved dogs, IYSWIM.

To be fair, following my collies my homecheck, they went on to give a fabulous home to a very, very lucky Wiccaweys collie.

At the other end of the spectrum, I did a homecheck and the same dog came with me. The home sounded perfect. "Good agility home, experienced with collies" alledgedly. My dogs behaviour in this homecheck was exceptional - very well behaved, she lay at my feet, did exactly as she was asked at all times. Couldn't fault her behaviour. AT all.

Except, the person I was doing the homecheck for told me in no uncertain terms that dogs were to be relegated to the kitchen because she liked a tidy house, and not once did she interact with my dog. She didn't even acknowledge her to say hello.

It's not always intentional that the dog ends up doing the homecheck instead of the homechecker! wink

CherryMandrake Tue 02-Aug-11 14:22:36

i had a homecheck done to rescue a greyhound a few months ago (didnt end up with a greyhound, but am adopting a dalmation this weekend) the lady brought her greyhound with her who immediately decided to climb onto my sofa, shove my brother out the way and proceeded to go to sleep. it was highly amusing! grin

Scuttlebutter Tue 02-Aug-11 23:01:56

Cherry, at least that was giving you a VERY realistic picture of greyhound behaviour. grin

Love Quiet Tiger's ASBO collie - stealing biscuits and chasing rabbits.

Empusa Tue 02-Aug-11 23:23:40

I didn't find the questions and homecheck difficult, surely the only people who find it difficult are the ones who haven't put time and effort into preparing for owning a dog?

tooearlytobeup Wed 03-Aug-11 00:09:41

I am finding the questions stressful, Not because I haven't thought through owning a dog and how it will work, but because I am not sure if the answers will be good enough.
I see a question like 'describe your garden' , start off with size and fence height, which I think is probably what is meant, but then find myself worrying that the grass hasn't been cut for a week hmm

I will now be very disappointed if I don't get a homechecker with an ASBO collie. I have plenty of biscuits, don't mind cleaning up pee from the floor, love a dog on the sofa for cuddles, and will hide the pet rabbit! grin

Empusa Wed 03-Aug-11 00:31:14

That makes sense!

We worried a bit as we'd literally just moved in, so for the home visit we had nothing in the property. Save two deckchairs and a cardboard box for a table. grin

emptyshell Wed 03-Aug-11 07:07:31

"Describe your garden" - I think my answer to that was that the "borders were a disaster and my husband had gone on grass cutting strike but that it had fences higher than my 6 foot 7 hubby and a gate that was bolted when the dogs were out in it is probably the bit you really want to know about."

The guy who did our grey's homecheck said he normally overemphasises the work required for a dog to try to put first-timers off slightly rather than get them to go into it thinking it'll be a doddle.

It was things like where would the dog sleep (I did reply that did he want the "correct" answer or the honest answer probably involving my backside having to hang off the side of the bed with a huge lump of dog in the middle of it, where would the second dog be fed (opposite corners of the kitchen was fine as an answer there), we did get asked about during days if we went out, and planned holidays and places near us that we'd walk the dog (we're sorted on that one - LOADS of parks around here - you can't go more than half a mile without a park or playing field!)... basically checking you've got a clue what you're going to do and how to approach things. He normally takes his two greys with him when he homechecks houses but knew we had the cat so didn't bring them along.

chickchickchicken Wed 03-Aug-11 08:57:19

grin at quiet tiger's asbo collie. <hijack> do you think your cat could train any dog how to be behave around cats? if yes can i visit? smile

QuietTiger Wed 03-Aug-11 17:26:01

chickchickchicken - no question - the last dog the cats traumatised "trained" ended up on his mums lap, on the sofa, having wet himself after my 7lb dog hating cat sorted him out! Apparently he now gives all cats a very wide berth is very respectful of cats now!

chickchickchicken Thu 04-Aug-11 19:19:12

quiet tiger - would it be possible for your cat to beat up meet my dog? whereabouts are you? could you pm me if possible please?

bumpybecky Fri 05-Aug-11 11:12:33

we had a homecheck for fostering last week and one of the cats decided to take on the terrier that the checker brought with her! I had to rescue the poor thing from under the kitchen table before putting the cat outside. Cat then spent the rest of the homecheck lying outside the patio doors staring at the dog!

Chick you are very welcome to come here to meet the abso cat if you'd like smile we're in Leighton Buzzard

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