Adopting sight unseen

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Barked: Mon Feb 15, '10 9:16am PST 
I live in Massachusetts and I am (most likely) adopting the dog through the agency that places unwanted dogs from the South in New England homes. I am a little scared - what if the dog is not as described or if the check at my vet shows some serious health problems? I am in touch with the foster parent but she fosters a lot of dogs on the farm and I don't know how much can I trust her. I am looking for other people experience with long distance adoption and assurance that all will be well.I don't have the formal approval yet and can still withdraw my application .Honey will be grateful for any advice about her prospective new friend

ummm.... can you- repeat that- please?
Barked: Mon Feb 15, '10 9:59am PST 
What is the name of the group?
Rio, CGC,- RL1, CL1, TD

You can't say- that i can't- play!
Barked: Mon Feb 15, '10 10:26am PST 
It really does depend on the group whether or not the pup will be as described or have good health.... some are good and some are not.

When i was looking for a pup there were quite a few from the south that caught my eye but because i was looking for a specific dog i would not adopt a dog sight unseen. If you have specific traits in mind (i was looking for a specific size/gender/build/drive/exercise level etc... so to get the dog i wanted i HAD TO meet the pup first) you may not be able to get the right dog sight unseen. If you are just looking for a pet dog you may be able to successfully adopt.

So, i would talk to the rescue group about 'returning' a dog if it doesn't work out or what happens if the dog has some sort of health issue.... ask all those "what if" questions... ask how they screen potential adopters... how do they make sure they are giving the puppy to a 'best fit' home... if any of their answers are hinky then dont do it.

Rescue is important but it's also important to make sure you are making informed choices so the pup isn't just bounced around between foster homes or end up back in a shelter if you aren't teh best fit for the puppy.

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Feb 15, '10 11:47am PST 
Honey....is the dog from Tennessee? If so, I know the rescue you are talking of and can't say enough good things about them. We do the same....bringing dogs up from rural Louisiana. If you would like to go to our site - southpawsexpress.org - there are several "Celebrations" pages with letters/pictures from adopters reflecting on their experiences. It may help, and if you want to post any specific questions or concerns, I'd be thrilled to address them smile

Edited by author Mon Feb 15, '10 11:49am PST


Barked: Mon Feb 15, '10 7:24pm PST 
Thank you all very much for the replies.
Mesa: Sorry, but I am not sure if I should spell out the name of the group here.
Tiller: Thank you for the encouraging words. The testimonials of your adopters are really wonderful, but they reflect on your group, not on the one I am dealing with. So far they did not get in touch neither with me nor with my vet. My contact is with the foster mother - her email address was on the dog's bio and I wrote to her.You are right, the dog is in Tennessee, how possibly did you know?
Thanks again. Sophie (owned by Honey)
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Feb 15, '10 9:27pm PST 
Sophie....we are "Southpaws" - is part of that word in this rescue's name as well? That was my guess as they have a total saint down there who is able to foster a very large number of dogs. Assuming so, let me continue on.

First, they have been so giving and generous with us......we really wouldn't have had near the success we have without them. They have an exceptional relationship with a vet nearby the shelter, so the first thing they do is pull the dog out of the shelter and put him in the vet clinic, where he receives whatever care is needed. Not until the vet is satisfied do they move into the foster situation. She herself is an extremely dedicated woman, who really does her best with all the dogs there. Dogs that can be kept together and help heal each other are allowed to be friends to each other, but a full attempt is made to know each dog as an individual, and they do a really good job with that. They also are extremely dedicated to the dog for the lifetime of that dog. The slightest hint of a problem will find them more than willing to take a dog back.....they are very understanding and the well being of the dog is their foremost concern. If you are not happy, the dog does not stand to be happy either, and that matters to them.

The overwhelming majority of their fosters are actually people who adopted from them, and simply from meeting the dogs on the van, seeing them, seeing the people involved and how much love and compassion is involved in the whole process inspires them to offer as much outreach as they can. We actually had a litter of Chihuahua pups I fostered here, and I brought them to my mom's Assisted Living for some socialization. While there, a physical therapist was drawn to them, and when she learned the were southern dogs said she had one, too. I asked her from where, she said PAWS and spoke of how extremely happy she was with her dog.

I do know they struggle with volunteers being prompt.....it is a frustration to the directors. It is very hard for them to know, through the rather complex chains of command, how prompt everyone is being. It is a matter of trust, but sometimes people are slower than they'd wish, only they do not KNOW that things are moving slowly. It upsets them very much when they find out.....certainly, they do not want people to feel slighted or not treated respectfully. At the same time, lots of volunteers are trying to fit their duties into their own lives and fall behind. If this is taking longer than you'd wish.....if it is a part of what is working on your nerves.....please send me a pmail. I can contact JoAnne, one of the founders, who certainly would like to know and I am sure would expedite things.

Several of our adopters really required me to roll up my sleeves and gain their confidence. It IS a risk, but I can assure you that people who involve themselves in the best of these interstate rescues, a title for which PAWS most assuredly qualifies, take this very seriously. They really make an effort to know their dogs, do their best, and are always there for the long term. Other interstate rescues are good hearted, but don't quite have their heads screwed on straight. They pull too many dogs (often out of the gassing shelters), don't have the structure for assessment, and load up too quickly. PAWS has an exceptional structure with a great vet clinic and a marvelous foster who wants the best for every dog and puts no pressure in terms of when they find the right home. She'll love and tend to them for as long as it takes. Those sorts of things make a huge difference.

You are in good hands. Please feel free to pmail me with any questions, concerns, or if you'd like me to alert the directors as to your frustrations smile

Edited by author Mon Feb 15, '10 9:28pm PST

Max (aka- Sebastian)

Lovin Life
Barked: Tue Feb 16, '10 8:12am PST 
I adopted Max without meeting him. He came from a rescue out of state. I was in contact with his foster mom and I was confident enough in my breed knowledge and experience that we could work through any possible issues.
For us it worked out well, we have a wonderful mini schnauzer, although the rescue assured us he was a standard schnauzer, oh well.
I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, but you know your own dog owner abilities and know what you can or can't handle.
Since your future dog is in foster with other dogs, hopefully he's good with other dogs, my only worry would be no meet and greet between your dog and the possible adoption.
The rescue I used offered a refund if something happened and we couldn't keep him with in a certain time frame, so maybe prepare for the worse, just in case. What if it doesn't work out, will they refund your adoption fee if you return the dog? Do you have the ability to return the dog if it doesn't work out.
I really hope this works out, I love a good adoption story. I was really worried to, so I understand.
Shayne CGC,- RL2

Shayne- Disc Doggin in- the 'Burgh!
Barked: Tue Feb 16, '10 3:33pm PST 
Again it really depends on what you are looking for in a dog. If you have nothing really specific in mind, you can probably get away when adopting sight unseen successfully, so long as you really talk to the rescue/foster home and have all your fears addressed BEFORE making the decision.

I personally wouldn't do it, largely because i look for very specific traits in my dogs and i dont trust many other people to assess those traits in the dogs... so for me it wouldn't work... but i know many people who get dogs from rescues that just transport them up north and they resulted in very happy families LOL.

You've got some- 'splainin to do!
Barked: Thu Feb 18, '10 4:58pm PST 
I've adopted 2 dogs from the south. Both sight unseen, although there were a few health issues with both dogs. One I knew about, the other I didn't but we were able to nurse both dogs into probably the best shape/health they have ever been in. Both dogs are the sweetest most affectionate dogs I've ever had. I don't regret doing it for a split second but it does feel risky when you are going through it.