HOW TO DO AN ADOPTION: GUIDELINES FOR FOSTER FAMILIES
So, someone is interested in adopting your foster dog! Here is a step-by-step guide to the process involved in your foster dog’s adoption. Contact us at any point for help!
1. Only “approved” applicants will be referred to you. An applicant is “approved” only when a) they have completed an adoption application and it looks great, b) they have had a home visit and they still look great, and c) their vet (if they have one) gave us a positive recommendation.
2. Once an applicant is “approved,” it is time for them to meet your foster dog. We will give them your name and phone number so you can arrange a meeting. We usually recommend bringing the potential applicant to your home, where the foster dog is comfortable, for a first meeting.
Issues to be aware of:
1. Applicants are not allowed to meet your foster dog until they have been “approved.” There is nothing worse than someone meeting a foster dog, falling in love with him/her, and then being told that they are not approved to adopt the dog. It can be very upsetting, so we avoid that.
2. Potential adopters might need more than one meeting with your foster dog. Sometimes they just want to be sure, and will need 2 meetings. Sometimes they have pets in their own home, and will require a first meeting in your home just to meet the dog and see if they feel a connection, and then a second meeting where they introduce their pets to the foster dog.
3. If your foster dog is going to have a second meeting to meet their pets, do it in “neutral territory.” A park, downtown on the Commons, a fenced yard, or any outdoor area is better than taking your foster dog inside another dog’s home. Here, we are trying to avoid the normal territoriality dynamics of bringing a new dog into the home territory of another dog. Talk to us when you get to this stage, so we can all figure out a good way to arrange the “pets” meeting.
3. The meeting between your foster dog and the potential adopter is both to let them see if they want to adopt the dog, and to let YOU see if they seem a good match for your foster dog. Just because an applicant is “approved” does NOT mean that they get to adopt your foster dog!!!
You will be getting new information about the potential adopter, because you will see them interact with your foster dog. You will see their reactions, hear their questions, notice their comments. Your task is to be extremely honest about everything you know about the dog, her/his characteristics/ temperament/challenges and see if this person/these people seem like they will offer a wonderful home to this particular dog. Please ask about any issues that you foresee with this dog. For instance, if the dog isn’t yet housebroken, ask about how they plan to achieve this. If the dog chews on furniture, ask how they are going to deal with this. If the dog has some separation anxiety, discuss this with them and see how they react. Let them know that any dog adopted from CDR comes with a lifetime of consultation and advice, so they will have help with any issues that arise.
If you think the adopter is a great match:
Let them know that you think they are terrific and would be a great home for your foster dog, and that you will report back to CDR that this is how you feel. Let them know that CDR will be in touch with them shortly about finalizing the adoption.
If you have any concerns, bad feelings, or aren’t sure how you feel:
Thank them for visiting with the dog, encourage them to take a few days to think about their feelings and what’s best for them, and tell them that CDR will be in touch about where things go from here. If they ask directly about whether they get to adopt this dog, just tell them that CDR makes that final decision, not you.
4. When everyone agrees that a great match has been made, it’s time to finalize the adoption.
We will email you the following before the adopter comes to pick up their dog (if you prefer them sent by regular mail, let us know):
A) An Adoption Contract (please print out 2 copies)
B) A Vet Care List (please print 1 copy)
C) An Adoption/Your New Dog/Your New Puppy Booklet (please print 1 copy)
D) ????????Spay/Neuter Contract (if your dog is not yet altered...)?????
When the adopter comes to pick up their dog, you will need to:
A) Have them read and sign both copies of the Adoption Contract. They keep one, and you send one copy to CDR (Cayuga Dog Rescue, P.O. Box 722 Ithaca, NY 14851)
B) Give them the Vet Care List and advise them that they should schedule an appointment for a general physical checkup with their veterinarian within 2 weeks. Also advise them that their dog will need to be tested for heartworm and be started on monthly preventive heartworm medications ASAP (all dogs in the US are advised to be on this medicine monthly).
C) Give them the Adoption Booklet/Your New Dog/Your New Puppy Booklet. Go over any section in the booklet that you think is pertinent to this dog. Remind them that CDR will be checking in with them in one and 6 months to see how things are going. Remind them that they are welcome to contact CDR at any time to let us know how things are going, or to ask for our help with any behavioral or emotional problems that arise with their dog.
D) Remind them that if they ever, in the life of the dog, feel the need to give the dog away, that they have promised (in the Adoption Contract) to give the dog back to CDR.
E) Have them write a check, made out to Cayuga Dog Rescue, for the adoption fee.
The adoption fee for a neutered/spayed dog is $115. This fee is not refundable, even if they decide to return the dog.
The adoption fee for a dog who is not yet spayed/neutered is $160. This higher fee includes a refundable $45 spay/neuter deposit. Once the dog is spayed/neutered, tell them that they need to send us written documentation of the spay/neuter procedure (their vet will provide this) . We will then refund them the $45 deposit.
PAYMENT OF THE ADOPTION FEE MUST BE MADE BEFORE THE DOG MAY BE TAKEN.
F) It’s helpful to the new adopters to know as much about their new dog as is possible. If you could write up a list of:
– things the dog likes (types of toys, kinds of playing, types of petting/scratching)
– what kind of food she/he has been eating (it’s good to mix new food with food the dog has been eating for a few weeks to avoid stomach upset),
– what sort of exercise she/he is used to/would be good for her/him
– animals the dogs enjoys socializing with
– animals to keep the dog away from
– anything that the dog is scared of
–what the dog dislikes
–what you’ve learned about how to help this dog be at her/his best
– what training the dog already has, and what training he/she might still need
F) Time to bid your foster dog farewell. This is a happy, wonderful, and often very sad occasion. It’s very common to feel upset for a few days before your foster dog is leaving, and for a few days after she/he is gone. Encourage the adoptive parents to send updates and pictures to CDR so that everyone can know how the dog is doing. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that this dog’s new home has been meticulously screened, and that your beautiful foster dog is off to his/her wonderful new life. You have served the most crucial role in this dog’s rescue. You have saved her/him from whatever terrible fate she/he was facing, gave her/him safe harbor and love, instilled a sense that humans can be kind, compassionate, and supportive, and given her/him a chance for a full new life. You are wonderful!!!!