Saturday, August 9, 2008

The High Cost of Doggie Adoptions

A couple of years ago when my precious Papillon turned 11, I began to think about adding another Pap to the family. Miss Katy has been the BEST little companion I could ever have hoped for, and I don't want to wait until she's gone to try to "replace" her. She can NEVER be replaced. But it would be nice to grow to love another dog who will already be here on the sad day I loose my Katy, and it would be nice for Miss Katy to have a friend her size. There is enough love in our home to make sure a new papillon never lacks for loving care or companionship.

Due to financial constraints, purchasing a Papillon is out of the question right now. I have to work a second job as it is to support Christian Activities, so a couple of years ago someone suggested I look into finding a rescue dog. I began to Google "Papillon rescue," and I found several organizations devoted to helping these lovely small dogs find good homes. Wonderful, right? Not so much.

Adopting a dog is not far removed from adopting a child! First, you must realize, the dog is probably already in a foster home, being carefully observed and cared for during this difficult transitional period. So you can rest assured your new addition is getting the finest care while you go through the adoption process... and a process it is!

The first thing you must do is read several pages of documents, tips, explanations, and FAQs explaining the process. Then you must fill out the application. You must provide references, preferably your neighbors -- who WILL be contacted. You must pay an adoption fee, typically several hundred dollars! You must have at least one in-home visit with your entire family present. You need a fenced in back yard, and in many cases it is required that you have a COMPANION Papillon to help the adoptee adapt! And, if you make it this far, you are instructed not to take it personally if the doggie social worker does not think you are a match, after you have jumped through all the hoops!

After reviewing three such rescue sites online, I decided I would NOT be one of the eager adoptive families jumping through all those hoops. I began to put the word out at my vet and through some Yahoo groups that I was looking for a Pap to adopt.

Last week I got my hopes up when my vet called me about a 9-year-old male Papillon who needed a home. I eagerly called the number and talked to the nicest woman who said she would email me some information. Imagine my disappointment when I learned this 9-year-old dog who needs a good home, would require me to read multiple documents, provide references, endure in-home visits, and would cost $395.

The $395 wasn't the issue, because I understand some dogs cost more and some less to house and care for during the time a permanent home is being awaited, but the other criteria were deal breakers. I emailed the woman back and told her that if I ran such an agency, I did not know what changes I would make, because I truly do understand why they feel they must be careful. However, I told her I thought the forms and visits were too intrusive, and that I would not be jumping through all those hoops to get a DOG, even one as special as a papillon!

Don't get me wrong. Miss Katy is part of my family. As a single woman, much of the time she IS my ONLY family! But someone needs a reality check if they think placing a pet requires in-home visits, phone calls to neighbors, in addition to the $395 adoption fee.

So, if anyone in Tennessee or an adjoining state knows of a Papillon within DRIVING DISTANCE that needs a good home, I would like to adopt another sweet companion. I don't care if it's male or female, pet-quality or show-quality, spayed or neutered, young or middle-aged, as long as it is in good health, housebroken (if it's an older dog), and good with other dogs. I have a fenced in back yard, no children, a gentle, 13-year-old companion Pap, and a great relationship with a local animal hospital which I would be GLAD to provide as a reference. I will provide a safe and loving home, a good vet, walks in the park, daily treats, many kisses, and the added bonus of having my business in my home, so the "pack" remains together virtually 24/7.

However, I must warn you in advance, I will NOT be filling out an application, providing the names and phone numbers of my neighbors, allowing you to come check out my house and family, flying a dog anywhere, in addition to forking over several hundred dollars to adopt or rescue a dog!

Also see:  
Pet Nazis: Turning Dogs into Dogma

View Kathryn Darden's profile on LinkedIn

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