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WoofNPurr

How much does the general public need to know?

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I trust that most of you are active in rescue, so you are not shocked by anything anymore. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is accustomed to the things we hear every day and I'm not sure how much to tell people.

For example, when at adoption events, people often ask for a dogs history, and if it is a puppy they want to know if we saw mom and dad, etc. Often, we honestly don't know, the pup just came out of the shelter. Sometimes, we know what happened to mom and dad but we're not sure if they want to hear it (mom and dad were so torn up that there was nothing we could do, mom, dad and about 20 of his relatives came from a hoarder and only he was salvagable, unpleasant things like that). So do we just tell them size and breed and leave the rest? Or do they need to know?

With dogs who have been nursing pups recently, people always ask "Oh, where are the puppies?". Sometimes, it is a happy ending or maybe the pups are avaliable in our group, but the sad reality is that we do take mothers without their pups (weaned, of course) if we know the pups will be hard to place (for example, if mom is a cute poodle mix but the puppies look like pits). Do you tell the folks that we left them behind? Or just pretend we don't know?Or when we take half of a litter because we only have foster homes for 5 pups, how do we address the 'is this the whole litter?' question? Most people will not be understanding when you tell them that the shelter killed the puppies, they will be mad at us and mad at the shelter. (They will not, however, offer to foster puppies or adopt anything hard to place). I want to tell them, but I don't want people to avoid adoption events because they are sad. How much can you reveal without repeling people? I don't want adoption events to be depressing- adoption events are happy, friendly and we want people to want to come. At the same time, I really want to convey how desperate the need is for foster homes, donations, volunteers, adopters, etc.

How do you handle this?

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I have always been honest to a fault.

Of course I have NEVER left pups behind because they weren't cute enough. I have taken on large litters of pups that were weaned because I am not one to pick whihc pup should live or die. I give them all a chance.

In the case of pups dying be honest.

Of course I believe in honesty when it comes to animals. I recently took in several dogs from the guy next door who only had them for breeding stock. The rescues who took them knew everything I knew about them and now the adopters know their past.

I believe honesty is the best policy.

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I agree. I believe you should be completely and almost brutally honest with someone who wants do adopt a dog. That way they know exactly what they're taking in, which ensures that they know their responsibility to the full when they adopt.
A dog's history can be extremely important to owners, and although it may seem crazy to not want a dog for certain reasons, but that all goes back to the adopter, so they're entitled to know everything.
To echo Tammy, Honesty is the best policy. :wink:

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I don't think its right at all not to give puppies a chance because thier not cute enough. :( And I think a rescue should always tell the truth. I personally wouldn't NOT adopt a puppy because its parents were torn up..etc. If I found out that a rescue lied to me, I don't think I'd be very happy.

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I think I understand where the initial poster is coming from. While it's not "right" to not give certain puppies and dogs the same chance as others, when rescues are dealing with volume, they often end up pulling the more adoptable dogs from shelters. Unfortunately, that may mean that the little fluffies get taken way more than a black or black and tan Lab or Lab mix since the little fluffies are popular. Just because you (figuratively) would take a Pit mix or Lab mix, they generally aren't the more popular dogs. People just don't want the big, black dogs. It isn't the rescues' faults. I wish EVERY dog had a chance, but when you're dealing with volume, you often have to take what you can get adopted. From what I understand, it often varies from region. Certain dogs and puppies are just more popular in some areas than others. A very good friend is part of a rescue group that pulls dogs from shelters, and I can't tell you the times I've seen her upset because she was only able to take certain dogs and had to leave others behind. She's had to divide litters of puppies, herself (weaned, of course). When your resources are limited, you have to do what you can do with what you have.

As far as honesty goes, I'm all for being as honest as possible about whatever background and health information is available about the animals. I just don't think that's exactly what the initial poster was getting at.

[quote]With dogs who have been nursing pups recently, people always ask "Oh, where are the puppies?". Sometimes, it is a happy ending or maybe the pups are avaliable in our group, but the sad reality is that we do take mothers without their pups (weaned, of course) if we know the pups will be hard to place (for example, if mom is a cute poodle mix but the puppies look like pits). Do you tell the folks that we left them behind? Or just pretend we don't know?Or when we take half of a litter because we only have foster homes for 5 pups, how do we address the 'is this the whole litter?' question? Most people will not be understanding when you tell them that the shelter killed the puppies, they will be mad at us and mad at the shelter. (They will not, however, offer to foster puppies or adopt anything hard to place)[/quote]

That's a tough question to me. Part of me thinks people need to know the brutal truth... that a litter of puppies was killed because they would be too hard to adopt, but that mom was a relatively "popular" breed/mix and could be placed. I understand what the poster is saying... that people get very indignant and angry when you tell them this, but they aren't the ones offering to foster or help place animals.

It really comes down to resources. If you only have resources for X amount of animals, you have to decide based on that which animals to help. While I personally tend to deal with special needs animals, I know that in the grand scheme of things, you can save more animals with a higher turnover rate if you stick with the more easily adoptable ones. It doesn't mean it's easy to watch the less adoptable (which means less popular with the public) dogs die.

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The original poster is also asking if telling the whole brutal truth is worth the risk of making people not want to come to adoption days.

I totally understand what they are asking and when I read the original post yesterday it really got me pondering.... though I don't have any experience in rescue so I didn't respond as I didn't think I have enough experience in that area to answer.

Anyway... my initial thoughts were, yes, people need to know the whole truth about how and why dogs end up in rescue. If people understood that most dogs end up in rescue because humans are selfish, self-centred uncaring asses then it might make them stop to think, and also may make them be a bit more responsible and accountable for their actions.

However as the original poster said if each adoption day turns in to a depressing lecture about the plight of rescue dogs then the average joe isn't going to want to go..... they will stay away.

What the original poster is saying is that the aim of adoption days is to get people in and interested in adopting the dogs.... is providing too much information worth the risk as scaring people away defeats the purpose of what the day is about after all.

I don't think they were suggesting misleading anyone who was adopting a dog.

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Thanks Malamum and HF for clearing that up for everyone. I would NEVER suggest dishonesty with an adopter. Ever.


As for the selection process, please don't judge until you've been there. No rescuer can save everyone. The comments about rather having a pit than a poodle may hold true at your house, but they certainly are not the general opinions of the pet owning public. The group took in a pit mix pup almost 3 years ago. Despite a crazy number of obedience classes, advertising (T.V., radio, newspaper) and adoption events, the group still has him. We will probably always have him. In contrast, during those three years they have placed around 300 poodles and poodle mixes. Do you think it would be a good idea to take in more pits OR more poodles?
(thanks again HF for your explanation, I know it is better than mine!)

I'm seeing that there is a large demographic of pet owners here who are not involved in rescue. This is great, I really need an opinion from your side of the fence- How much would you be willing to hear before it crossed the line from educational to depressing? Is using a sob story to get donations appropriate or does it just upset you?At what point do you feel you are being 'lectured' rather than having a conversation? What things would you find to be a major turn off at an adoption event? Thanks, your input is valuable! (always trying to improve things where we can in the customer service department!)

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[quote name='WoofNPurr'] The group took in a pit mix pup almost 3 years ago. Despite a crazy number of obedience classes, advertising (T.V., radio, newspaper) and adoption events, the group still has him. We will probably always have him. In contrast, during those three years they have placed around 300 poodles and poodle mixes. Do you think it would be a good idea to take in more pits OR more poodles?
[/quote]

I know where you're coming from. Earlier this year, I had a little tiny long haird Chihuahua with several years on her... certainly no puppy. I sent a handful of emails out about that dog and got literally TWO pages of emails in response from rescue groups and individuals wanting that dog. People were virtually bidding on her. I have now a little seven month old Cocker puppy being treated for ear infections and demodex. Not nearly as much response as for the Chi, but still didn't take but a couple of days to arrange placement with a group. I have a three legged Dobe that's been here for about a year, and it looks like she's going to be staying. I've sent out emails and made a lot of effort to get her out there and get her exposure, and no one wants her. She's the sweetest, most well mannered dog in the world, but she's just not a "popular" dog. If I had to be all about volume (which thankfully I'm not, but I understand where most rescue groups do have to take volume into account just for the sake of getting more animals adopted out), I'd never have been able take her. It doesn't mean the rescue groups favor Poodles or any other little fluffies, or that they're dissin' Pits or Pit mixes or Rottie mixes or any of the other "less popular" dogs. It's just that those are what the public wants. :(

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Now go figure, HF, if you sent Peaches up here, I could probably place her in a few weeks, seems that we have a segment of adopters called "sympies" or sympathisers, the worse the horror story, the better :-? . One of the good things about living in a large metropolitan area, lots of screaming liberals who like to adopt the "broken" ones to make themselves feel good :P , which is fine by me!

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Better than the rednecks we have around here. So far, the only types of people interested in adopting a dog like her are p*ssed because she's "fixed." :-?

I've kind of played the sympathy card a little, but no go :oops: . She's had some interest... just not the kind of people I'd want to see her end up with. Then again, this is a really rural area, so it can be pretty slim pickin's, anyway.

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I think you need to tell anything which has bearing on the animal they are adopting. For example, I wouldnt hide the fact that a dog or a pup was a Pit mix because they need to know that they may have to deal with dog agression at some point in time. As far as things like, what happened to the father. mother, sibblings etc., unless it has some kinda bearing on the potential outcome of the animal in question, they have no reason to know.

The sad reality is that shelters play God. They dont necessarily like it, but they have no choice. Some people only see the good side of the shelter (the animals who find homes). Reminding them of the euthanasia (which everyone knows exist) can leave a negitive impact on the shelter and shelters need all the positive input they can get.

On the other hand, telling them about the dogs which were destroyed, educates the public on the urgency to spay, neuter and be responsible and commited.

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Well at the local shelter a few months back they had a litter of GSD/Pit mix puppies. They listed them as GSD mixes because they knew if they listed them as pit mixes nobody would want them. A few days later I came back only one was left. My point is that you could easily tell they had terrier in them. There was a family looking at them and they we're trying to figure out what they were mixed with. I didn't say anything because I had a feeling they'd go into how mean pits are and they shouldn't have them for adoption.

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[quote name='DivineOblivion19'][quote name='Lokipups']One of the good things about living in a large metropolitan area, lots of screaming liberals who like to adopt the "broken" ones to make themselves feel good [/quote]

[color=indigo]Hey now! :x

I love the broken ones!!!!! But only because they are more fun![/color] :lol:[/quote]

LOL, you're the exception, not the general rule, you love them, handicap or not :wink:!

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[quote name='CincoandDahlilasgirl']Well at the local shelter a few months back they had a litter of GSD/Pit mix puppies. They listed them as GSD mixes because they knew if they listed them as pit mixes nobody would want them. A few days later I came back only one was left. My point is that you could easily tell they had terrier in them. There was a family looking at them and they we're trying to figure out what they were mixed with. I didn't say anything because I had a feeling they'd go into how mean pits are and they shouldn't have them for adoption.[/quote]
I see where you're coming from, but like Alan said, shouldn't they have been informed that they were also Pit Mixes? At least until they got attached to the puppy (so they wouldn't drop it like a hot potatoe). What if the pups had dog aggression later on in life?

Just a Q. :)

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I think there's a "sales rep" side to this coin as well, not always easy to do. you dont necessarily have to "lecture" about the harshness of spaying and neutering, but if you mention it like a sales pitch (yea, this one is SOOO cute, part GSD/Pit, but the owners of the mom and dad didnt neuter them, so here we are. they really are adorable and well behaved....oh, you have a multiple pet/cat/ferret household? this one may not be for you, we wont know til she's older of course....")

you can give them the info without sounding like you are lecturing or calling the owners bad....I believe with Pits the possibility of aggression towards other animals SHOULD be mentioned, and maybe a flyer handed out about the history of Pits and their roots and purposes....

I would just hate to see a tragedy because the owners werent informed. that would definitely hurt the shelter involved...


:(

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[quote name='courtnek']I think there's a "sales rep" side to this coin as well, not always easy to do. you dont necessarily have to "lecture" about the harshness of spaying and neutering, but if you mention it like a sales pitch (yea, this one is SOOO cute, part GSD/Pit, but the owners of the mom and dad didnt neuter them, so here we are. they really are adorable and well behaved....oh, you have a multiple pet/cat/ferret household? this one may not be for you, we wont know til she's older of course....")

you can give them the info without sounding like you are lecturing or calling the owners bad....I believe with Pits the possibility of aggression towards other animals SHOULD be mentioned, and maybe a flyer handed out about the history of Pits and their roots and purposes....

I would just hate to see a tragedy because the owners werent informed. that would definitely hurt the shelter involved...


:([/quote]
Well said! :)

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[quote name='Rowie-the-Pooh'][quote name='CincoandDahlilasgirl']Well at the local shelter a few months back they had a litter of GSD/Pit mix puppies. They listed them as GSD mixes because they knew if they listed them as pit mixes nobody would want them. A few days later I came back only one was left. My point is that you could easily tell they had terrier in them. There was a family looking at them and they we're trying to figure out what they were mixed with. I didn't say anything because I had a feeling they'd go into how mean pits are and they shouldn't have them for adoption.[/quote]
I see where you're coming from, but like Alan said, shouldn't they have been informed that they were also Pit Mixes? At least until they got attached to the puppy (so they wouldn't drop it like a hot potatoe). What if the pups had dog aggression later on in life?

Just a Q. :)[/quote]
Idk I don't do volunteer work there(thank dog or else i would have left long ago :roll: ) so I felt it wasn't my place to say anything plus there was a volunteer coming in so I think she handled them but this family had more intrest in an older beagle I think anyway. But idk cuz I don't volunteer there. But the shelter Cinco is from they had him listed as Springer Spaniel mix on the card attached to his cage but his file they listed him as his entire breed mix.

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