HOW TO ADOPT




Details of the Process of Adoption -- plan, prepare, research, apply, vet check, visit, house check, contract, and follow-up.

ARE YOU READY? (PLAN)

Animal Ownership is a LIFETIME Commitment! ARE YOU READY?
. What can you offer an animal?
. Do you have the time and money?
. What do you expect from your pet?
. Do you have the patience it takes to properly train your pet with positive reinforcement?
. Are you prepared for your puppy to grow up and no longer be as little and cute as he is now?
. Will you be able to love your pet and meet all his needs for the rest of his life—as long as 17 years?

Before you adopt, plan, plan, plan for success. Consider your life-style carefully. Do you have time, energy, and financial resources to add another member to your family? Are all of the existing family members on board with the new addition? Are you prepared to make personal sacrifices? Do you, or any family members, have allergies? Better to find out now than have to give the dog up later. Are you in this for the long haul, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health? The lifespan of a dog can be up to 17 years! What kinds of changes are apt to happen during the next decade or two of your life? Will you still be there to care for him as your pet ages? becomes less playful? becomes more dependent on you? requires more frequent medical care?

You will need a minimum of 2 hours every day to feed, walk, exercise, groom, train, pet, and play with your dog. Your dog will require care even on those days that you would rather pull the covers up over your head and go back to sleep, and on those evenings that you need to work late or have a date. Your dog can't be ignored because you are too busy or having a bad day. He will need to pee, sometimes even in the middle of the night when the temperature is below freezing and the sleet is blowing at 20 mph. He will need medical care on a regular and emergency basis that won't wait until you can save up some extra money.

Is your home your own, or is your landlord going to have to be consulted for permission? Dogs can be messy, they have "accidents" in the middle of the living room carpet, they track in mud and dust, they shed...all year round! The world of cleaning up behind your dog extends to outside--poop happens, and it is your responsibility to clean it up, whether it is in your own yard or a public place. If they get bored they can become destructive. You have no idea how much stuffing is in a couch pillow until a dog has had several hours to spread it all over the room. If cleaning up behind another "child" isn't your idea of a good trade, then stick to ceramic or stuffed animals.

Do you have a safely fenced yard? While some dogs can be happy living their lives on the other end of a leash and satisfied with a couple of daily walks, your life will be much easier if you can simply open the back door and know the dog can not come to any harm when all he needs to do is go pee. It is also much easier to tire out a dog when you can let him off-leash in an enclosed area to run and chase balls or some other favorite toy. Even in that safe yard, your dog should never be left outside when you are not home to keep an eye on him...and listen for barking or other unusual noises. Family pets belong in the house with you, not outside alone. You should know that we generally oppose electric fences.

BEFORE YOU ADOPT (PREPARE)

SHOPPING LIST FOR NEW DOG:

ID Tag (minimum of phone number & street address)

Martingale Collar, flat (leather or woven) to hold tags
Leash, 6' leather (for general use & obedience training)
Long Line, 25'-50' (woven, to let dog run while remaining under control)
Harness (padded for car travel, woven for leash walking)
Seat belt strap (to hook harness to car seat belt)

Bowl, food (stainless steel, capacity 2 cups dry food)
Bowls, water (stainless steel, large, un-tippable), one for every level of your house
Measuring cup (plastic, 1, 1.5, or 2 cup capacity)

Food (Nutro Natural Choice Lite recommended)
Treats (Milk Bone dog biscuits, Mother Hubbard biscuits, or Nutro Natural Choice bones)

Bedding (old blankets work well and can be washed)
Crate, open wire (not plastic airline kennel) ~ 26x42x29
Note: a "folding" crate can be handy when you travel

Brush (soft natural bristles)
Furminator
Shedding tool (looped metal with handle)
Toothbrushes (hard or soft, over-the-finger)
Toothpaste (dog, not human)
Shampoo (dog, not human)
Nail clippers
Note: a film canister with flour to stop bleeding is handy

Toys (anything Kong makes, balls)
Bones (Galileo Souper, sterilized cow leg bones)
Note: rawhides, hooves, pig's ears, etc. are not recommended for many reasons

Preparing for a new addition can take both muscle and brain power. Look around your home. If a toddler came to visit right now, what kind of trouble could they get into? Are there dangerous substances (medicines, cleaning supplies, etc.) within reach? Do you have rare, delicate pieces of art or collectibles on tables at "tail level" that you would hate to lose? Do you have poisonous plants within reach? (Check out http://www.uexplore.com/health/poisonplants.htm ) Are there loose electrical cords across the floor?

Where can you put a wire crate that may become a permanent piece of "furniture" in your home? Will it be away from drafts? Have a pleasant view out a window? Be in a bright, cheerful spot near the center of family activity? In other words, will it be a place your new dog will enjoy spending time?

What will the house rules be for the dog? Allowed in the bedrooms? Allowed to sleep on the bed? Allowed on the furniture? Allowed throughout the house, or only in certain rooms? Dogs are "pack animals" and they are happiest when they are with you...their pack. If you don't want them in certain places, then you have to arrange to physically keep them out with closed doors, baby gates, or some other device.

IS A DALMATIAN FOR YOU? (RESEARCH)

Do your homework before you adopt-PLEASE! A Dalmatian is not the dog for everyone. They have a lot of energy that has to be channeled, they demand a lot of attention, and they want to be with their human family as much as possible.

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes; they can weigh from 6 pounds to 160 pounds; they can sleep in your lap or take up a king-sized bed; they can be "drip dry" or require frequent professional grooming. Some dogs are natural couch potatoes and others were born to run...fast and far. Google "select a dog breed" for sites that will help you choose a dog that is compatible with your lifestyle.

Possibilities for doing research on dogs are limitless. Go to the library; read a book or magazine; do a Google search; compare the needs of different breeds; consider their fit into your lifestyle. Consider the entire lifespan of the dog, not just how cute it is as a puppy. Puppies grow into dogs, and actions that are cute in a 6 pound puppy are not nearly as cute in a 60 pound adult dog.

Look into training. Again, go on-line, read a book, talk to friendly dog owners, check out training schools in your area. Remember, training starts the very moment your new dog comes through your door, so you can't wait until then to decide what, when, and how to teach him. Formal training sessions are a wonderful way to bond with your new pet. He will look to you for guidance and learn to trust your decisions to be good for him.

APPLICATION COMPLETION AND REVIEW (TELL US ALL ABOUT YOU)

There is no obligation on your part, but we suggest that you complete an application as soon as you decide that a Dal is right for you. A committee of experienced Dalmatian owners and the foster of the dog you are interested in adopting will review your application. The more we know about you, the better the chances are that we can make a successful match between your household and a new pet.

Husbands and wives (or significant others) should apply together...this is a family decision. We ask about the number and ages of your children; it sometimes helps if we know the sex of your children. Some particularly active dogs will do better with older boys than with younger girls, for example.

We want to know your housing situation because some dogs would drive you crazy without a fenced yard, others will settle for regular walks. Do you own your residence or do you rent? If you rent, we will need your landlord's name and phone number because we will check to verify that dogs of the size you are considering are allowed by your lease. Detailed fencing information is important to us because some Dalmatians can jump like a deer and easily clear a three- or four-foot fence; some dogs are very adept at climbing chain link, regardless of height.

How do you envision your daily activity with your dog? We want to know where the dog will be allowed on-leash and where the dog will be allowed off-leash. We want to know where the dog will be when you are at home and when you are gone, how long he will be alone, and where he will sleep. Most dogs would rather sleep on the bed with you but will settle for their own bed on the floor; others are more comfortable sleeping in a crate in the same room with you. We want to know who is going to take care of the dog if you go away or get sick.

How much work are you willing to put into a new dog? Do you understand why we crate-train all of our dogs? Have you owned a "recycled" dog before? Can you tolerate housebreaking accidents? Have you thought about: obedience classes? veterinary care? future moves? future children? vacations?

VET CHECK (RESPONSIBLY MANAGE YOUR PET'S HEALTH)

How much experience do you have with pets? Tell us about your current pets as well as pets you no longer have. If you no longer have them, tell us what happened to them...did they die from disease? have to be put down because of injury? given to a friend or family member? Tell us how long they lived or how long you had them.

Be sure to include your vet's name and phone number including area code. If you used more than one vet for the pets you've listed, include information on all of them. Note that our application is a Word document...you can add as much information as you like at any point in the document. We will check with your vet (or vets) to check on the types of care they provided to your pets. We try to go back at least 10 years or the lifetime of your oldest pet to see what experiences you have had.

QUESTIONS/CONCERNS ARE RESOLVED

Any questions that are raised about your application or vet check will be resolved by contacting you, either by phone or email. We will give you every opportunity to further explain any answers that we did not understand.

INVITATION TO VISIT THE DOG

If we feel that your application should be pursued for a dog, you will be invited to visit with the dog at the foster's home. We do this so that you will see the dog under "normal" conditions, in a home where it has lived for some time, where it knows the rules of the house, and where it is most relaxed and comfortable.

At this meeting, your entire family should be present. It is important in our decision-making process to see how the dog interacts with and reacts to all members of the family.

Most of our dogs have been well socialized and are completely ready to accept a new forever family, but some of the dogs we rescue have had terrible experiences. Some of them are left with fears that we will never understand. There are times when we can tell by the way they react to different people that a dog was mistreated by a male or a female, by someone with a beard, someone wearing a baseball cap, or a smoker...we might never know the actual circumstances, but we have to respect the feelings of the animal.

HOUSE CHECK (MEET THE WHOLE FAMILY AND ALL PETS)

If your visit with the dog went well and all family members agree that is the dog they want to bring into the family, then a Board Member and/or the Foster will make a visit to your home, usually with the dog along. We will want all members of the household available for this visit.

It is during this visit that we will introduce the new dog to any existing pets. All of us have lots of experience with introducing dogs to dogs and dogs to cats, so please follow our suggestions. We want this first meeting to be successful; if the dogs don't get along or the CCDAL dog turns out to be cat aggressive, then the adoption will not take place. Sometimes this part of the process can take as long as 20 or 30 minutes!

Once the dogs are introduced (or if there are no existing dogs), we will go into the yard. With the dog still on-leash, we will walk around your property. We aren't looking for a manicured lawn, we are looking for unsafe conditions or possible avenues of escape for this specific dog. (Fence types are a whole other topic covered elsewhere on this site. Generally, we oppose electric fences.)

If the yard passes inspection, we then move into the house. This will be the first time that the dog will be in your space. They are typically curious, moving from room to room, sniffing everything they can. This is the time that the rules of your house apply...from the very first second. If you don't want the dog on the furniture, now is the time to let it know that. If you don't want the dog going into specific rooms, you will need to have a way to prevent them from entering. "Accidents" can happen during this time, so just be prepared.

While the dog is inspecting your house with its nose, we will be looking for safety hazards or areas where the dog could get into trouble. Having potted plants sitting on the floor is an open invitation for a male dog to lift his leg and pee on it! Candy in a pretty dish on the coffee table won't be there for long if you turn your back, and if it was chocolate you could be facing a huge vet bill or worse because chocolate can kill a dog.

CONTRACT, PAYMENT, AND PLACEMENT (MAKE IT ALL LEGAL)

CCDAL is interested in finding the best possible permanent home for each dog in our program. If we receive more than one application for the same dog, we will do our best to choose the most appropriate home for the animal. In addition, we reserve the right to turn down an applicant for any reason if we feel that it is in the best interest of the dog.

The final steps in the adoption process are completion of the contract and payment of the adoption fee. The amount of the adoption fee rarely covers the money spent on the dog you are adopting. All of our dogs are spayed or neutered, up-to-date on all required vaccines, and as healthy as we can get them. If the dog came to us with medical problems (like being heartworm positive), we may have spent more than $1,000 getting him ready for adoption.

Because we have invested a considerable amount of our time, money, and emotions in saving the dog we are placing with you, we want to be sure the dog will continue to receive the same love and care we have provided. Our contract spells out exactly what we expect of you, so read it carefully before you sign it.

After we have left the dog with you (and probably shed a few tears on our way home), we will continue to stay in touch. We want to know about any problems you have while they are small so that we can offer advice to solve them. We need to know that the dog is settling into your routine and becoming a loving member of your family. It is the successful placements that keep our volunteers working in rescue. Our only payment is knowing that the dog we placed will be loved and cared for (and giving love in return) for the rest of his or her natural life.

Page updated July 23, 2013



Email Jackie Threatte at ccdal@comcast.net for more information.

Return to CCDAL Home Page for link to Application form.