Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the frequently asked questions that we receive about our rescue, what we do and about adopting a rescued dog, along with our answers.

"What does "not-for-profit" mean?"

LOYAL Rescue Inc. is a not-for-profit organization. Our foster homes and screeners are all volunteers who donate their time, expertise, homes, and often their own money to help our dogs. The only "payment" we receive is seeing a dog end up with an amazing forever family. Our foster dogs' vetting is paid for through adoption fees and fundraising only; we do not receive government assistance, and we do not make any sort of profit off of our foster dogs. Most often, we take in much less money than we put out in vetting. Our foster homes cover all non-vetting expenses out of pocket including, but not limited to, food, grooming, classes, travel, and personal items (toys, treats, coats, boots, etc.).

"What kind of breeds and sizes of dog do you rescue?"

We are an all breed rescue, but focus mainly on small to medium breed dogs such as Yorkies, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apsos, Pugs, Brussels Griffons, Boston Terrier, Cocker Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Jack Russells, Rat Terriers, and mixes of these breeds and many more.  We also have more medium size breeds such as Basset Hounds and Beagles, as well as Lab mixes. Occasionally we get large breed dogs if our foster homes are able to accomodate, and from time to time get medium to large breed puppies, though the mix is typically unknown as we do not always know the breeds of the parents. 

"How much is your adoption fee? Is it negotiable?"

Our adoption fees for adult dogs vary between $375 and $450, depending on where the dog came from, breed and the vetting required, with the majority of our adult dogs being in the $375-$400 range. All adult dogs are spayed or neutered (unless there is some medical reason why they cannot be), and up-to-date with their shots.

Our adoption fee for senior dogs is $300. All senior dogs are spayed or neutered (unless there is some medical reason why they cannot be), and up-to-date with their shots. A senior is typically considered to be over 8 years of age, depending on the breed.

Our adoption fee for puppies (under 1 year) is $400-$425, again depending on breed and vetting required. All puppies are up-to-date with their shots, but depending on age may not be spayed or neutered. If this is the case, you will be required to sign a contract stating that you will have your new family member spayed or neutered by 6 months of age, and will be required to provide a veterinary certificate confirming same.

* Update 2011: Please note that we are charged 13% HST on all of our vetting which has caused us to have to increase our adoption fees in 2011 given our extra outgoing expenses *

No, our adoption fees are not negotiable. Often dogs come to us requiring extensive vetting that far exceeds the price of their adoption. The money that is collected through adoption donations goes directly back to the dogs that remain in our foster system to pay their vet bills. Donations from the public and through fundraising is very limited, so adoption donations are incredibly important to keep our organization running.

What we make on 10 dogs in terms of donations, we can easily lose on 1 dog if their vetting needs are extensive or ongoing.  For example, while we may break even or make a small "profit" on one adoption, we may lose thousands of dollars on another dog that requires surgery, and the majority of our adoptions do break even or lose money for the rescue.

"There is a dog on your website that I want to adopt. What now?"

Every potential adopter must go through our 5-step adoption process, without exception.  The steps are:

Step 1 – Submit an Application
Visit our website often. If we have a rescued dog that you are interested in adopting, fill out an online adoption application through our website.  Alternatively, you are welcome to send us an e-mail to confirm that that dog is available for adoption.  If the words "adoption pending" or "pending" are next to their name, we are no longer accepting applications.  Our website updates every few days, so even if these words are not next to the dogs name, they may have a pending adoption in play.

Step 2 – Phone Interview
Once your application is received and reviewed, and assuming all is well and that dog is available for adoption, a LOYAL representative will contact you via e-mail to set up a time to discuss your application over the phone, prior to which your veterinarian will be contacted, and following which your personal references will be contacted.

Step 3 – Home Visit
Assuming all goes well during your phone interview, our Adoption Committee will review your file and move it on to the next stage.  At this stage, a LOYAL representative will come to your home at a pre-determined time that is agreeable with both parties, and will review the application again with you and your family*.  This allows us to get an idea of your home, lifestyle, schedule and a general feel for your family and suitability for a rescued dog.

* All family members must be present at the time of the visit.

Step 4 - Approval
All reports are then reviewed by LOYAL's Adoption Committee, and a decision is made whether or not your home is the best possible 'forever home' for the rescued dog(s).  You will be contacted via e-mail by our Board of Directors with the final decision.

Step 5 - Adoption
If approved, an adoption contract is to be completed, along with the pre-determined adoption donation and, finally, pick-up of the dog by its new forever home.

"What will my newly adopted dog come with?"

Often dogs come into our foster program with nothing but the fur on their backs; they do not have their own collar, leash, ID, toys, or bed.  Sometimes a dog may come in with a lot of  belongings.  It really depends on the dog.  When you adopt your new dog, it will come with its vetting paperwork.  Often a foster home will send a loved toy or bed along with the dog depending on how long it has been in foster care.  You should be prepared to bring the following with you at the time of adoption:  a secure, tight fitting collar (we recommend martingale collars), a sturdy leash, ID tags with your information on them to immediately put on the dog's collar, and, if required, a crate for transporting.  What you choose to buy for your new family member beyond that in terms of toys, clothing, bedding, etc. is totally up to you, and their foster home will let you know what the dog prefers in terms of these items.  They will likely also send you home with a bit of food that the dog has been eating in order to transition him/her onto the food you plan to feed, assuming that it is not the same brand.  This transition is important to avoid stomach problems for your new pooch. 

All questions regarding the dog's likes, dislikes and preferences, as well as what you should purchase and bring with you at the time of adoption, can be discussed with the foster family.  The one essential item that is non-negotiable, however, is a collar with ID tags.  Dogs have been known to startle and go missing on the day of adoption or in the following days, and having a tight collar with ID on it is imperative and non-negotiable.  You will not be permitted to take a dog home that is not wearing a well-fitting collar with proper ID.

"I live in the Ottawa but the dog I want to adopt is in London. Do you transport or ship dogs?"

Unfortunately, we just don't have enough volunteers to deliver adopted dogs, so if you are the successful applicant, you need to make arrangements to pick up your new family member personally from their foster home, wherever that may be (we have foster homes from Windsor to Ottawa, and everywhere in between). This also applies for out of province adoptions. We don't mind an adoption out of province (or country, for that matter) because you never know where the perfect home will be, but we do require that you to pick up your new family member personally. We absolutely will not ship these rescue dogs.

**Before applying for a dog, be sure to check their profile to determine where their foster home is located. Each dog's profile should state their location, but if for any reason it does not, please send us an e-mail and we will let you know where they are.**

"Where are you located? Can I come and visit a dog?"

Since we are provincially based, that means our dogs may be fostered anywhere in Ontario, so please check their profiles as to the location of their foster home.

We are not a shelter, and therefore do not have one location where dogs can be visited, viewed and adopted.

If you are interested in meeting one of our adoptable dogs, please complete an application to begin our adoption process. Only approved homes can make arrangements with our foster homes to meet our dogs in person.

"Why can't I meet a dog before submitting an application?"

Often we receive multiple applications for one dog. Because our dogs are living in our volunteers' homes, out of fairness to not only the foster homes themselves, but also to the dogs that may have multiple families interested in them, we require all interested adopters to complete our adoption process before meeting our dogs. In reality, having every interested person coming to the home of our volunteers to meet our dogs is just not feasible.

"I was approved to adopt, but not for the dog of my choice. Why not?"

In most cases, applicants successfully adopt their preferred dog. When a situation arises where there are multiple applicants for a dog, we do not use the "First In, First Out" methodology. Our primary goal is to find forever homes that best suit the temperament and behaviours of our dogs. Part of the screening and home visit process is to determine lifestyle, environment, attitudes and experience of the applicant. We work very closely with our foster parent volunteers to determine with each dog which home would be the "best fit". At the end of the day, we try to place our dogs in the home we believe is most suited to his or her unique needs. If you are "approved" to adopt from us, you retain this status for six (6) months, and during this period we recommend that you continue to monitor our website for incoming dogs. New dogs enter our foster care system and are posted to the website regularly, and we request that if you have interest in a particular dog that you let us know immediately by e-mailing our Approved Home Coordinator.

"Why do you require so much personal information? It would be easier to buy from a pet store!"

LOYAL Rescue believes that we have a duty to ensure that our dogs are placed in the homes best suited for them, with applicants that believe in the philosophy of rescue and have the patience to work through the screening process. The application provides some of the detail needed to make this determination. Certainly it is easier to walk into the store and buy a puppy because of the "instant gratification", but adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment, not something to take lightly. We go through this process to make sure that the fit is right, the dog is ready and you are the best home for them.

"Why does the screening process take so long?"

All of our screeners and foster homes are volunteers, many of whom have full time jobs outside of rescue. We have over 80 dogs in rescue and very few trained screeners to screen potential adopters. During busy times we can have dozens of applications on the go and our volunteers are extremely busy. We try our best to move through the adoption process as quickly and efficiently as possible while still maintaining our thoroughness and attention to detail. Our adoption process can take upwards of 2 weeks to complete given the availability of the potential adopters and our volunteers, and we truly appreciate your patience. The more available you can make yourself, the better!

We are always in need of screeners to speak to and evaluate potential adopters. If you are interested in helping out please send an e-mail to our Volunteer Coordinator, who will be in touch with more info.

"Can I make a donation?"

Absolutely! We are a non-profit, 100% volunteer-based organization, so donations are always welcome.

If you would like to make a donation of items (food, blankets, toys, etc.) or money, please send us an e-mail and we will let you know how to do so.

"How can I become a foster parent to a dog in need?"

We are always in need of dedicated homes to join the LOYAL foster family. If you are interested in fostering, please send us an e-mail and we will send you a foster application. We currently have over 80 dogs in rescue with more arriving weekly, and the more foster homes we have, the more dogs we can save. Please note, however, that committing to a foster dog can be a long-term commitment, and you should be prepared to have that dog in your home for approx. 6 months, sometimes much less, and possibly much longer. Dogs remain in foster care until their forever home is found, however long that may be, so a very serious commitment is required.

Fostering is a hugely rewarding experience for humans and dogs alike.  If you are interested in learning more about fostering for LOYAL, please contact our Foster Home Coordinator.

"I really want a Yorkie. Are you getting any soon? Do you have a waiting list?"

Because LOYAL is 100% volunteer-based, we do not have the resources to hold onto applications for extended periods of time, or to keep a waiting list on our dogs. Please check our website often, as we get dogs on a weekly basis, and if you see a dog that you are interested in adopting, please submit an application through our website right away. We do get puppies from time to time, but often our intakes are very last-minute, so it is unlikely that we will know far in advance when puppies (or any dog, for that matter) will be coming into rescue.

"My current pet is not spayed/neutered. Will that be a problem?"

LOYAL Rescue's policy concerning all cats and dogs, regardless of whether they are indoor or not, is they should be altered unless a medical condition prevents it, or the animal is "champion" stock and intentionally is kept intact with the intention of improving the bloodlines. We will not consider a home with an unaltered dog or cat unless there is a valid reason for this not being done.

"I have invisible fencing on my property. Is this considered suitable fencing for a dog?"

The debate over invisible fencing is an ongoing one, and while we understand that not everyone will agree with LOYAL's opinion on this type of fencing, we have an opinion nonetheless.

LOYAL's stance on invisible fencing is that we do not consider it to be secure fencing. While we will, of course, consider a home that uses invisible fencing as the only form of fencing, we will consider that home to have no fence. Because of this, any dog adopted to that home must be on a leash when outside, and should never be left unsupervised. Why? Invisible fencing is not 100% dog-proof. Why? If a dog is a flight risk, and that dog sees a squirrel or another dog outside the properly, it can easily run through the fence. Then, not only is it outside the fence and unsafe, but it is unable to get back in. Also, invisible fencing may prevent many dogs from escaping the yard, but it does not prevent other animals or humans from entering the yard and potentially taking or harming your dog. So, in short, homes with invisible fencing are not considered, in our opinion, to be secure, and will not be considered to be fenced. We do adopt many of our dogs to homes with unfenced yards, but it is critical that the adoptive families understand and agree that these dogs should always be leashed and supervised when outside, and never left unattended.

"Why are some of your dogs originally from the United States? Aren't there enough dogs in Canada that need help?"

The sad reality is that there are dogs all over North America (and the world) that are homeless and seeking new forever families. While the majority of our dogs do come from Ontario (owner surrenders, shelters, strays, and other rescues), we do, on occasion, take a dog in from a U.S. shelter or another U.S. rescue that needs our help. Some States have extremely high rates of euthanasia in their shelters due to the sheer volume of dogs they take in on yearly basis. When a dog's status in a shelter becomes urgent (e.g., they are at risk of being euthanized due to space restrictions), we will step in when able and help out. Many of these dogs of wonderful, sweet, well-behaved dogs that would not have a chance at adoption unless they were brought to Canada. A wonderful, dedicated network of volunteers across the U.S. and Canada drive these dogs every weekend across the border and get them to their respective rescues. It is a long journey for some, but we feel that every dog, no matter where they were born, should be given the same chance at finding a loving forever family.

To get involved in these transports, or to learn more about how you can help a dog get into Canada and into a rescue, send us an e-mail.

"There is a puppy on your site that I am interested in, but I work a full time day job. Is that ok?"

Every dog, like every human, is different. Some can handle an 8-hour work day alone without supervision, and some cannot be left alone at all due to separation anxiety. Some require crating and some are fine having access to the entire home. For the average dog who does not have separation anxiety and who is an adult, 8 hours alone may not be an issue. This, of course, depends on the dog. The foster home will know what their foster can handle, and will let you know if a day alone is a reasonable expectation for the dog in terms of boredom, loneliness, bathroom breaks, destructive tendencies, etc.

In the case of puppies, however, the general rule of thumb is that for every month of age the puppy can be alone without a washroom break for that many hours - e.g., 3 months, no more than 3 hours alone. Not only do puppies need consistent mental stimulation and training, but they can only hold their small bladders for short periods of time. Expecting a puppy to go without a washroom break or human interaction for hours on end is not reasonable, nor is it fair to the puppy.

LOYAL Rescue will not adopt puppies out to homes where someone is not home during the day unless you can provide proof of one of the following: 1) you are able to come home on your lunch break to interact with the puppy and let it out to use the washroom; 2) you will be enrolling the puppy in doggy day care, or 3) you will be hiring a dog walker. Proof will be required pre-adoption in the form of a letter, receipt or a phone call to the dog walker or day care provider.

Many people work full time jobs and have healthy, happy dogs in their lives. Not every dog can fit into this mould, but we are sure the right dog is out there for you somewhere and we appreciate you looking at rescues when it comes time to add to your forever family. The beauty of a rescued dog is that they are living with families and have integrated into their day-to-day lives, so the foster family will be able to tell you what the dog can and cannot handle in terms of lifestyle.

"I need to surrender my dog to a rescue. What do I do now?"

Changes in family situations happen all the time and people feel that their dog would be better suited in another home.  If you need to surrender your dog to a rescue organization, please send us an e-mail and our Foster Intake Coordinator will send you more information and will get information about your dog from you.  We will go from there to work towards taking your dog into rescue when an available foster home opens up. If we cannot accomodate your dog, we will point you towards an organization that may be able to help.

"I have a question about your Blog, your Facebook page or your Twitter account.  Who do I contact?"

For all social media and marketing-related inquiries, please contact our Social Media Coordinator.

Should you have a question that is not addressed above, please feel free to send us an e-mail.

Happy adopting!

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