By Alyce RUSSELL
Glendale Humane Society
Why do rescue groups make adopters jump through so many hoops to get a dog?
This is a great question and though the Glendale Humane Society (GHS) cannot answer for every rescue, we can relate how our process works and why we ask adopters to fill out applications and take the canine parenting class before taking a dog home.
GHS is a no-kill rescue. Every dog and cat has a safe home with us until we find their permanent, loving home. We obtain the majority of our dogs from high kill facilities in the L.A. county and city shelter system. Our method involves going to these shelters and choosing dogs that we think we can find homes for and bringing them back to GHS. The dogs we acquire have already been placed on the kill list or have been passed over by potential adopters at the city facility. Most of the dogs placed in shelters are there for behavior reasons (and most of the time those behaviors can be traced back to lack of training). Once we have them in our shelter we place them in quarantine for two weeks, medicating them when sick, and place them on a human-grade healthy diet with vitamins and antioxidants. When our vet releases them from quarantine they are placed in general population where the process of spending time getting to know them begins.
Our trainers work with the newly released dog to help identify its training protocol and to begin to evaluate its unique personality. Educated volunteers follow the trainers’ suggestions and work with the dog to teach basic manners (leash walking, sit, down) and to further explore the needs of the very endearing being placed in our care. Our dogs are walked daily, played with in our dog yard and, when applicable, they play together in doggie groups. This is how we learn who we have at the other end of the leash.
Information crucial to matching the dog to the family is obtained through this process. For instance, a dog that startles easily when you touch it or when it hears a loud noise would not be a candidate for a noisy, active home with small children. A dog that waddles slowly down the street would not be a candidate for a jogger looking for a partner to take running. A young puppy would not be a candidate for a home where the pup would have no supervision or, more importantly, no training for 8-10 hours a day.
We compile all the data we have on each of our dogs and create a profile.
Now, along comes the potential adopter. We know what the canine has to offer; we need to learn what the adopter has to offer and then we make a match. The adoption form gives us a window into the life, needs and environment of the new parents-to-be. Making a choice based strictly on the looks of a dog can lead to disaster.
We look at the amount of time human companionship is available, the activity level of the home, the prior experience the adopters have had with canines and the expectations they have for a canine companion. Are there any allergies? Are there any other dogs or cats? How old are the children? Will the dog be interacting with young visitors on a regular basis? Dogs interacting with children must find little people irresistible; just tolerating them is not enough. Dogs going home with novices must be easy going and without major training issues. When multiple pet households look for a canine friend to add to the pack, our trainer does the “meet and greet” between the dogs. They look for compatibility.
Once a match is made we provide the adopter with a class that gives them a blueprint for taking the dog home and transitioning it into the household. GHS covers house training, realistic expectations, basic training, diet and immunization protocol. The adopter has the added advantage of a one hour session at home with one of our trainers.
GHS is serious about finding forever homes for our dogs and cats. These steps are not meant as road blocks but as a clear path to success.
Glendale Humane Society is a no-kill facility, We are a non-profit 501(c)(3), enjoying the 85th year in business. Visit us at www.glendalehumane.org or call (818) 242 1128.