Who Wants to be a Meanie?

We love our dogs. I mean we LOVE our dogs.

ARLP makes a commitment to each and every one of them the moment we take them into our program. It is just what we do.

It is never our intention to hurt or anger people when we turn down their application for adoption. But inevitably it happens. You find yourself feeling like a politician, “How can I spin this to be a win win?”. Sometimes everything looks great on paper and in email but when the initial meeting takes place you get this nagging sensation in your belly. You look at the foster parent and ask with your eyes, “Are you feeling what I am feeling?”.

When you have done rescue long enough you just start to “know” things. Because cycles, in their infinite journey to stay on track and continually complete themselves, repeat themselves over and over and over again. So you see the potential for this or for that because you have seen it before.

So you suss out each potential adopter. Do they SEE the dog? I mean really SEE the dog. Sometimes excitement clouds reality. We get it. Totally.

Is this particular pit bull (or Rottie) the best fit for their household? If not but we like the applicant we will suggest another dog in our program.

If the potential adopter currently has a dog we look at that dog. A resident dog is a pretty good indication of what kind of canine human dynamic is at play. We look at their house, their yard, and meet their family. We stalk them on the internet. We are dedicated, and yes probably a little crazy.

Bully or Rottweiler experience is not a must but a willingness to learn and do your part for the breed is. See, ARLP is more than a rescue, we want to change the reality that is currently at large with regard to pit bulls (and the Rotties) not just place dogs. We don’t move ‘em in to move ‘em out, if you know what I mean.

We know that all hearts are in the right place. The trouble is that ever since some light was shed upon the abuses these dogs have faced and the press has gotten their hands on them, pit bulls and their glorious little faces have been thrust “out there”. That is great, DO NOT GET ME WRONG. We need more advocates for this breed! We need the public’s perception of them to change. We need them to be given a chance to prove the BS wrong.

BUT, (yes but), feeling sorry for the breed is not a good enough reason to bring one into your home. Anytime an individual is thinking about bringing a dog into their life they should do their research and find the breed that suits not only their personality but their lifestyle. Pit bulls are not for everyone. Of course neither are Rottweilers, Cocker Spaniels or Border Collies.

To be a great bully owner (or owner of any dog for that matter) you need to train your dog OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME. I can’t stress enough that a dog whose training has occurred only in the home environment will not automatically transfer that behavior outside of the home. Imagine being stuck in your home zone basically 247 and then, suddenly, you are at Pet’ smart or the park. Can you say PARTY people? And some, from what I have seen, party hard.

We get push back from people looking to adopt from us on our training requirement. So we listened. Hmmm, we wondered, how can we make this easier, how can we make it more attractive? So we developed a training program we could offer free to our adopters for the life of their dog. A fantastic deal! We also bend over backwards to support our adopters post adoption. We want to set everyone up for success. If a placement does not work out we want our dog back. As I said we have made a commitment to that dog and that does not end when they have been adopted.

You foster for ARLP you get the same commitment to training and support an adopter does. We want your foster to be the best and most adoptable dog that they can be.

Ok, so our application is a little long. Well – so is the duration of this commitment you are about to make. The time you will need to invest in this new sentient being you are bringing into your home. The process is cumbersome? Well, perhaps it is but imagine the time and energy we as volunteers, each having our own full time jobs and personal dogs, spend adhering to our processes for each dog that moves through our rescue. If we are willing to make the investment we do into your potential dog shouldn’t you?

We have an entire breed’s well being at stake and we take that a little seriously.

So if we seem to put people through their paces we want them to understand. We are every bit as excited about the possibility of placing one of our dogs into their "always to be" home, we just made a very big promise the day we led a certain someone out of animal control. It’s a promise we just can’t bear to break.

No, we never mean to hurt feelings or make people angry but it happens and frankly it sucks. Yet at the end of the day when we look into our dogs' faces the stress of turning people away dissolves. After all they are the reason we are even here in the first place and we do know what is best for them even if it means waiting just a little bit longer for not just a home but the best home.

Copper (pictured above with the lovely Rachel) loves to cuddle in his down time. Copper is available for adoption.


5 thoughts on “Who Wants to be a Meanie?

  1. Sara

    Wow, I really feel for you guys on this one. I’m totally non-confrontational and would HATE this part of your job more than anything and I’m sure it’s not pleasant for anyone! On the other hand, it is one of the most important things that you do, and your dogs are SO lucky that you stick to your guns! Thank you for being such wonderful advocates! 🙂

  2. Caitlin

    Excellent post. Anyone who disagrees/dislikes the application process, doesn’t care enough about the dogs. This should be a permanent page on the ARLP website.

  3. Harmony

    I love you guys!!! Best group around and at some point all of the dogs will find forever homes with the right family 🙂

  4. Kellie

    Kudos to you ladies who do this very tough part of rescue. As if it isn’t hard enough to go strolling through the kennels of A/C knowing that you MAYBE will be able to save one dog where a dozen or so will be left behind to die….but THEN you have to hear people complain, lash out, or even deny them when they may be very well intentioned. I tried doing the finalization of an adoption once, I sucked at it….was so much harder than I could ever imagine, so thank you, thank you thank you adoption finalization ladies for doing an awesome job at screening and recognizing when there is not a good fit! You rule! 🙂

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