Recently, would-be adoptive parents — tired of long applications, intrusive questions, lack of communication and never-ending waiting lists — have started looking overseas to adopt healthy babies, primarily in China.
Unfortunately, local dog adoptions are bogged down in the same layer of red tape.
But with so many dogs needing homes, why must you jump through hoops of fire to adopt one? It seems to be a matter of simple bureaucracy.
The Adoption Process
When you’re working with a rescue, the adoption process is similar to human adoptions.
- First, you fill out an application.
- You let a rescue representative visit your home.
- Then, if you are approved, you can meet the dog.
But the reality is that rescues are underfunded, overworked and understaffed. Many of them don’t return emails or phone calls, or they wait days or weeks to get back to the potential adopter.
After all that, there’s still a good chance the adopter might not get the dog.
The Challenges of Rescue Work
I cringe when I encounter people who have been burned by rescues. Having worked with rescue for years, I understand the challenges involved with pulling dogs from the shelter, vetting them and finding them homes and juggling work, home and rescue work.
I’m well aware of how tiresome and infuriating it can be to wade through applications from whackadoos who’ll keep the dog in the yard 24/7 and feed him Alpo.
But there’s no excuse for failing to get a needy dog into its perfect home.
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Burned by Rescues
In addition to being a wonderful person, Maryanne Dennehy is one of the best dog moms I know.
She has adopted 3 dogs from my rescue, including an 18-year-old blind, deaf Dachshund named Beau, to whom I formed a particular attachment. Her home is beautiful and clean, she seldom leaves for long periods of time and she spares no expense dealing with her dogs’ medical needs.
So why didn’t Maryanne get to adopt the dog she wanted?
Maryanne and her husband, pining for the chocolate Lab they lost to old age a few years ago, started looking on Petfinder for a new dog. They wanted an adult dog, preferably a truly needy dog, even a special-needs dog.
When they saw Hershey, a 5-year-old, 1-eyed chocolate Lab, it was love at first sight.
Because the rescue was local to me, she asked if I had any contacts there. I didn’t, but I offered to contact them with a personal recommendation, rescuer-to-rescuer, and find out if Hershey would be a good fit.
I was lucky enough to reach a live human. I said that Maryanne was a rescuer’s delight, always willing to take the old, infirm and behavior-challenged, and that I could not recommend her more highly.
We agreed that Maryanne’s home sounded like a great match for Hershey, and I let her know that Maryanne would be sending over an application later that day.
That was the last we heard from the rescue. Weeks went by, but the rescue never responded to either of our inquiries.
Overseas Dog Adoptions
Fed up, Maryanne and her husband did as so many other people have done in the past few years: They adopted from China.
After being ignored by the first rescue, Maryanne and her husband soon found another chocolate Lab on Petfinder that warmed their hearts, a chap named Browny. The only problem was that he was located halfway around the world.
Geography notwithstanding, they had their Browny less than 3 weeks later.
As it turns out, just as it is with human baby adoptions, overseas dog adoptions can be a lot faster than working with local agencies.
Within 24 hours of contacting Asians for Humans, Animals & Nature (AHAN), a rescue that specializes in relocating homeless animals from China, Japan and other disaster-stricken nations, Maryanne and her husband received a response.
A few days later, a representative visited their home and pronounced Browny a lucky dog to be landing in such a fantastic place with such wonderful people. Not long after that, the dog arrived from overseas.
It was that simple.
Browny’s New Life
In preparation for Browny’s arrival, the Northern California rescue sent Maryanne information about getting their home and family ready as well as a flier about how to help him adapt to his new time zone.
“The first night he was very restless,” said Maryanne. “The rescue representative explained that he was on Taiwan time and to keep him up the next day so he would sleep that night. It worked.”
Restore your faith in domestic rescue shelters by watching this video of 2 adorable pups:
The day of the adoption, Maryanne and her husband went to the airport and met Vicky, the rescue representative, who introduced them to the angel who had transported Browny to his new home. After emerging from his travel crate, Browny jumped into Maryanne’s car, his tail wagging.
Just a few days later, he was firmly established in his pack, which included a playful young Dachshund-terrier mix, an elderly dachshund (Beau) and a somewhat persnickety elderly chihuahua, who has since made Browny her snuggle buddy.
I honestly don’t know why the other rescue blew off my friend, but it messed up big time. In the long run, it didn’t matter to Maryanne and Browny, but it might have mattered a great deal to Hershey.