Flashback to many years ago …
We drove around, spotted a “free puppies” sign … said “we’ll take that one” … guy hands us a puppy … dog & adopters lived happily ever after.
Fast forward to the process for our recent adoption of cute little Daisy…
After 13 years, we had to say good-by to our family dog Skipper … though he’s irreplaceable, we decided to get a puppy.
Things have sure changed. Here are some highlights of what to expect if you plan to adopt a dog …
First, there’s no such thing as a free dog.
Designer dogs (think: Labradoodles) can run into the thousands of dollars.
Shelter dogs – our preference – have adoption fees that start at a couple of hundred dollars.
That’s fair … probably doesn’t cover the cost of logistics, room & board while the dog is waiting for adoption.
Side note: the logistics costs add up … many of the dogs being placed in Northern Virginia are sourced from far away Puerto Rico … say, what?
Then, there’s the application and vetting process.
There are a multitude of well-intended organizations that locate & (try to) place dogs.
They have names like Lost Dog, Lucky Dog, PetConnect, Last Chance, Forever Home.
Most of the orgs post their dogs on PetFinder.com … think, LinkedIn for dogs & cats.
But, each of the organizations requires their own multi-page application … no common applications like colleges have adopted.
Then comes the interview … screening interviews by phone, then …
Did I mention the home visit by a doggie social worker?
Yep, people come out to your home to check out your digs.
Never did become obvious to me what they were looking for …. I half suspected that they were casing the joint.
Pass the home visit and you’re “pre-approved” to start looking … think, home mortgage pre-approval.
OK, head out to an adoption “event” – dogs on display in the aisles of pet stores.
You spot one you like and you buy it, right?
Not so fast.
First, another interview … off to the corner of the pet store to be grilled by a trained pet adopter interrogator.
Pass that and take the dog, right?
Slow down, not yet.
Put your name in a hat for the puppy lotto drawing.
You see, demand for puppies in Northern Virginia exceeds supply … not true for older, high mileage dogs … but certainly for puppies.
If your name gets pulled from the hat, you leave with a furry new puppy.
If not, you leave mumbling “what a stupid process.”
We did the latter …
Next morning, woke refreshed and reloaded …
Tried a new strategy …. out of the DC area … further west to Upperville (not really, it was Purcellville – town next to Upperville … I like the name Uppervile better since it sounds like the place where Superman grew up).
Wanted to see a specific dog whose mug shot was on the web site … not there … bait & switch?
Good news: spotted Daisy and fell in love … late-forming crowd (think LA Dodgers) … so no competition, no lottery.
One more hurdle … getting vetted by the vet … had to OK the release of prior pet dogs’ medical information from our current vet (glad we had one to call).
Vet says we’re clean … adoption papers signed.
Having fun with Daisy and thrilled that the process is over … especially considering that one lady told us that she’s been applying and losing puppy lotteries for over 5 months.
Final shot: Maybe the Feds should consider outsourcing the vetting of Syrian refugees to to Luck Dog or Last Chance … my bet: they’d be more thorough than the INS folks.