We have had a lot of different pets come through the SPCA of Solano County in the last few years.
Some I remember and some I don’t. There have been so many that it is interesting when I find old pictures and see familiar faces. Sasha the Golden Retriever/Rottie mix that was returned several times through no fault of her own, just a victim of circumstance. Mama kitty, the Siamese cat that I fostered and had her kittens in my shower, Daniel our housecat that got adopted out twice and found his way back, twice!
The question I get asked the most is how do you keep from taking them all home? The short answer. A great deal of self control and the knowledge that we will do everything in our power to make sure they go to their forever home. That is the goal. Every animal to have a permanent home with a nice warm bed and a family that loves them. The reality is that we don’t always succeed the way we would like but we do make sure that they are happy and loved while they are with us.
We have had animals, dogs and cats with us for a year. People may question if that is fair. If those animals had been in a different shelter they might not have had a chance at a forever family. Honeydew was a very sweet female pitbull that we pulled from the county shelter. She had cropped ears and looked intimidating, combined with a standoffish personality (she wasn’t going to waste her time on someone not worthy) made for a difficult adoption. A year after she arrived she found her forever home and she still comes to visit.
Steve was a cat with us almost the same duration. He became a favorite fixture in our cat adoption trailer. He even has a room named after him. He was another one that you had to earn his attention. It takes just the right home. They make amazing pets put they don’t make it easy.
Some of them jump right out and say TAKE ME!!!! LOOK AT ME!!!!! That works for a lot of them. Then there are the people who want the one that isn’t so outgoing. The one who takes some time to get to know them.
So how do you know which one is the right one?
That is the question. How can you be sure? Everyone seems to have an idea of how to choose or what they are looking for, other people wait to be chosen. Still others want their current pet to choose. The most important thing….
Listen to the people who know the animals best! The shelter or rescue staff spends a lot of time with the animals. They know their different personalities. We hear all the time, “ I had a dog just like that when I was a kid” We don’t doubt that and we know that most likely you know about that type of dog but you don’t know THIS dog.
If the staff says the dog isn’t good with kids, cats, other dogs, small animals etc. it is because we have noticed behaviors that indicate there could be a problem. We can’t predict what any animal will do in all situations, but we do our best to make sure that everyone is as safe as possible. This is our SPCA dog not the dog you had as a kid.
One incident comes to mind. A few years ago we had a very cute miniature dachshund that was surrendered because it wasn’t good with the owners toddler. We knew it was a problem so we needed a kid free home for this dog. We made sure to stress that fact when we talked to anyone about the dog. I had a young couple come in and say they had recently gotten married and were looking to get a dog and wanted the dachshund. I mentioned that the dog wasn’t good with kids. Their response? We don’t have kids. So my next question… “Are you planning to have children?” The response, well of course but not for a year or so. How do you respond to that?
We as shelter/rescue staff get attached to them. Some people can handle fostering, some can’t. We want to make sure they don’t come back to the shelter. We ask a lot of questions and try to let adoptive families know as much as possible about the pet they are interested in. Adoption is a big commitment. It is very hard on everyone when it doesn’t work out and it is very frustrating when it doesn’t work out because the people adopting didn’t listen. We don’t have all the answers but we can give you a good starting point. If we recommend a crate, make sure they are in a crate when alone. The dog is getting used to your house and it is a much safer way. Dogs have been returned because the people got them home turned them loose in the house and went to work. That is a recipe for disaster.
We recommend that you introduce cats slowly to each other. It isn’t a good idea to just put them in a room together with one food bowl and one litter box. Nobody will be happy. Sometimes it works, often it doesn’t. The cat comes back and we hear, it won’t use the litter box, hiding under the bed, fighting with the other cat. I bet. The cat went from the place where it was comfortable and familiar and dropped into hostile territory without warning.
The easiest adoptions take work. There is always a transition period, some short, some long. It will be worth it in the end. Listen to the adoption counselors or talk to the trainer that they recommend. They all want it to work and will do everything in their power to help you be successful.