With so many dogs waiting for homes in shelters, it can really break your heart, and make you want to do something to help. Adopting a dog may not affect your life massively in many ways, but I promise you, it will change that dog’s whole world.
Some dogs are left in rescue shelters for years, unable to find a suitable home, or just because no one has picked them yet. Rescue shelters are always imploring people to ‘Adopt, don’t shop’, to ensure all dogs have a happy home before new pups are bred.
However, if you have ever looked into adopting a dog, you may have noticed that it is a difficult process, and many applications often get rejected. Some people can try their absolute hardest to be suitable for rehoming a dog, but shelters just do not let these dogs go anywhere. So, why is it so hard to adopt a dog from a rescue, and what is the process?
Why is it so hard to adopt a dog from a rescue?
We are constantly told to adopt dogs instead of going to breeders, but the process is incredibly tough, time consuming, and many people get rejected, whereas there is no selection process for buying a puppy from a breeder.
So, why has it become this way? For the most part, most dogs in shelters will be from tough upbringings, difficult backgrounds, or may have behavioral problems. This means that many of the dogs will require a lot of special attention, care, patience, and training, which many inexperienced dog owners will not be able to give.
This is why the adoption process can be very hard. Although you are trying to do a good thing, and change a dog’s life, sometimes it is in the best interest of the dog that they are paired with another home.
If you are rejected by a shelter, then try not to take it personally, and you can see if there is another dog that is just perfect for you. Make sure that you ask them why they rejected you, so that you know what you can change in the future if you want to try again.
To help you understand the process of adopting a dog from a shelter, take a look at the 3 reasons most applications get rejected.
3 reasons most applications get rejected
To be clear, there are always valid reasons why the dog shelter may reject your application. It could be that your yard is not suitable, or that the dog you want to adopt is not comfortable around children, or men. It really could be anything, and it depends mostly on the wellbeing of the dog.
Dog shelters will also thoroughly interview you as a candidate, to see whether you are capable of meeting the dog’s needs properly, and whether you would be a good fit for the dog. Whilst you may feel that you are perfectly up to the task, you can still get rejected.
There are 3 most common reasons why an application for adopting a dog may get rejected. These are either your occupation and lifestyle, the environment you will be keeping the dog, and other members of the family that the dog will be around.
Occupation and Lifestyle
One of the most important factors that a dog shelter will take into consideration is your lifestyle and occupation. A dog will need a lot of patience, care, attention and affection in order for it to thrive and become fully settled in the home. If you have a job where you work all day, or work late nights, and are never home, then the dog could be neglected.
In addition, if you travel a lot for work, then you will not be able to bond or connect with your dog, and they could become lonely. What is even more important is if your lifestyle will not allow the dog to be happy or healthy. Dogs need a lot of walks and exercise, and if you have a busy schedule, where you are unable to meet these needs, then having a dog will not be right for you.
Another important factor is the environment in which you plan on keeping the dog. The dog shelter may visit your home to check that it is suitable, safe and secure enough for a dog. For instance, are there any gaps in the fence or in the perimeter that the dog could escape from? Are dogs allowed in your home if you have a landlord? You would also have to dog-proof your home to show that it is safe and secure.
In addition to this, will there be enough yard space for your dog to go outside, go to the bathroom, or play? A large breed of dog would be unsuitable for a small apartment with no back yard or space to run around, which would result in a rejection.
You should also think about whether you are settled in your home. A dog shelter will not want to move the dog soon, as they need time to adjust to their environment. They may also check to see if your lease is up soon, because they will not want you to adopt the dog, move on, and then find a place that does not allow pets.
Members of the household
The third factor is other members of the household. Some dogs are unsuitable or not used to playing with other dogs, or children, and would need to be housed in a place where they are the only dog, or there are no kids.
On the other hand, some dogs need to be around other dogs, and need companionship to build their confidence and learn new skills, and so your application may be rejected if you do not have a dog already.
Some dogs come from traumatic backgrounds, where they may have been abused or mistreated. In these cases, they may be afraid of certain people, such as women, or men, and so the shelter needs to be sure that they will not be placed in an environment that will cause them stress or harm.
What is the adoption process for shelter dogs?
With a few of the factors in mind, you may still want to adopt a dog, and you can feel ready to do so. Therefore, you will need to know exactly what the adoption process entails, and what you can prepare yourself for.
The important thing to keep in mind is that you should not be offended if you are asked a lot of questions that seem intrusive or unnecessary. I promise you, that they are. As previously mentioned, some dogs need a second chance in life, and the shelter is trying to give them the best chance of success in the perfect home.
The first step in adopting a dog is submitting the application form. Most forms will be available on the website of the shelter, and you can fill them in online, or visit the shelter and fill in a paper copy.
The form may ask a lot of questions about your personal life, occupation, home, finances and many other factors, so be wary that this is a normal part of the process. Some application forms will try to match you to the right dog, and so you will need to give as much information as possible about yourself, and what you are seeking from a dog.
Once you have filled the form in, be ready to wait for a match to be made, or for the shelter to get back to you and move you on to the next step.
The next step in the adoption process is to have an interview with the shelter. This may be at your home address so that the shelter can see the living conditions and environment that you plan on keeping a dog. You may also be asked to go to shelter to see the potential dog that you may be adopting, to see how you act with them, or whether you have a connection.
In this step, you will also be questioned and assessed as to whether you are the right candidate for the dog. Always aim to answer honestly and truthfully, and do not just tell them everything they want to hear. Your honesty will show and shine through.
Pay adoption fee
If your application is accepted, and the shelter believes you are suitable for adopting the dog, then it is time to pay the adoption fee. Although it can seem silly to pay a fee to adopt a dog, keep in mind that most shelters are non profit organizations, and will need a means of paying for dog food, shelter, and supplies. Paying the adoption fee is still going to be a lot cheaper than purchasing a dog from a breeder!
Once you have paid the fee, made some preparations, bought some food, some supplies, paid for insurance, and gotten your home ready for the new arrival, you can then take your new companion home with you, and start your lives together.
To conclude, adopting a dog is a very long and selective process. You will have to fill in an application form with lots of intrusive questions, your home may be inspected, and you may have to prove that you are the right candidate, and have a connection with the dog in question.
In addition, there are usually three reasons why it is so hard to adopt a dog from a shelter. These are typically because the environment is not right, your occupation and lifestyle is not suitable, or other members of the household are not suitable for a dog.
This is why the whole process of adopting a dog from a shelter can be a little disheartening. You are trying to do the right thing by adopting a dog instead of buying one, and changing that little furry friend’s life forever. However, the adoption process is very selective, and you may be rejected time and time again.
This does not mean that you should give up. A dog may come along one day that is just perfect for you, and the two of you are meant to be together. Or, on the other hand, you could try other dog shelters that have a different process, different dogs, and a different adoption system that may just work for you.
Adopting a dog is one of the most rewarding things that you can do, not just for yourself, but for the dog, too. It will truly change their whole life, and yours too, as you embark upon a relationship together that neither of you will ever forget.