Adoption Guidelines

Imagine a scenario, where you were walking down a busy street. Suddenly you find a puppy who seems abandoned. Your kind heart cannot bear the thought of the poor animal having to struggle for food and shelter. You  immediately rescue her and take it home. It is only once you reach home, feed the puppy, clean her up and do a vet check that you realize that the puppy needs a lot of attention and your daily job does not permit you to have a pet at home. A pet, especially a puppy requires undivided attention and cannot be left alone during its initial few months. So, you click some good pictures and circulate them on local Whatsapp groups and Facebook, until someone finally comes forward to adopt her.  By now, you have grown quite attached to the little one and letting her go is not an easy decision for you. But you know that it is for her best. But you want to make sure that the people adopting her are genuine. So now what questions do you ask them?Here are some things you should look into and ask the potential adopters (potAdopts) before giving any animal, be it your pet or your rescue, to a home.

Do you have a dog?

If the PotAdopts have a dog currently, ask about:

  • The dog’s diet – ensure that the PotAdopts don’t feed chocolate and Chinese or spicy food in any form. Also advise them not to feed wheat or milk products often as it often gives rise to allergies with skin and the gastrointestinal system of the pet’s body.
  • Ask about the dog’s daily routine –
    • Play time
    • Walking schedule
      • Who walks the dog
      • Is the dog walked without a leash
    • Is the dog ever left unsupervised in the house. If yes, for how many hours?
    • Ask about bathing and general grooming of the dog.
  • Ask if the dog is healthy.
    • Regarding vaccinations
    • Regarding deworming
    • Ask which vet they normally consult with.
    • Ask if the dog has any health issues.
    • If it’s neutered or not.
    • Ask age of dog.
  • Ask what arrangements are made for the dog when they are out of town.
    • Do they know any commercial boardings, lodgings or home boarding?
    • If they keep their dog with their friends and relatives, ask if they will be comfortable boarding one more animal.
  • Ask if the dog is friendly
    • With people
    • With other dogs
    • With kids
  • Neutering status
    • If their current dog is not neutered and they want to adopt a dog of the opposite gender, ask what they intend to do when either of the dogs are in heat.
    • Ask if they intend to neuter the dog or not. 
    • If they don’t want to, ask why they don’t want to. Say it’s your policy to neuter dogs since that is best for the dog.
    • Tell them the benefits of neutering the dogs and why it is recommended by all reputable veterinarians and canine professionals.

If the PotAdopts have a cat,

  • Ask if he/she has ever interacted with dogs
  • Ask age and basic medical details.
  • Ask if it’s an indoor outdoor cat or indoor cat.
    If its outdoor cat do they intend to let the dog out alone as well?
  • Ask neutering status
    • If their cat is not neutered ask what they do when their cat is in heat.
    • Ask if they intend to neuter the dog or not. 
    • If they don’t want to, ask why they don’t want to. Say it’s your policy to neuter dogs since that is best for the dog.
    • Tell them the benefits of neutering the dogs and why it is recommended by all reputable veterinarians and canine professionals.

If they have small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters or even fish,

  • Interactions need to be monitored so as to ensure that it causes no harm to the small animal.
  • Ask if animal is caged or left to roam outside. Ask the routine of the animal.
  • You need to make sure that their already existing pet is well looked after before you give them one more to care for.

If they have never had a pet before and are eager to be pet parents, ask them the following:

  • If they know a vet
  • Are they aware of feeding schedule?
  • Are they familiar with a walking schedule for the pet?
  • Best play methods and toys for their new member
  • Guide them that they aren’t supposed to feed the puppy milk, wheat etc. so that they can avoid allergies and gastrointestinal issues.
  • NO chocolates of any kind should be given in any food products. Chocolates contain a substance called Theobromine which is toxic for animals and can cause instant organ failure
  • Say No to Chinese & spicy food. Also do not feed the pet beverages such as tea, coffee or any aerated drinks.
  • Suggest walking the new pet three times a day and advise to keep a set time for these walks so that the pet learns to relieve himself / herself everyday at that time and a schedule is formed.
  • Advise to visit a good vet to get a proper feeding schedule for the new member.
  • Deworming and vaccination schedules also need to be checked with the veterinarian. Preferably continue the same vet where the pup has been treated before to maintain continuity if logistically possible.
  • Also once the pup becomes a dog and comes of age, advise to get him/her neutered from a trusted veterinarian.

Some uncomfortable yet important questions to ask PotAdopts before adoption – 

  • Housing 
    • How big is the home they currently live in? Gauge if this space will be enough for the pet you wish to give them. Be fair and do not be biased just based on the size. Sometimes people with large homes have small hearts and people with small homes have large hearts!
    • Where do they intend to keep the dog – Inside the home like a member / Outside the house in a kennel arrangement / tied up in the house / tied up outside / in the balcony or terrace area. Advise against keeping the dog tied as it will create unnecessary behavioural issues.
    • Check if the house has a balcony and the dog will be allowed there. If the balcony is too open and there is a chance that the dog could jump or fall from there, advise to net the windows and balconies so that such an incident does not occur. Loss of a pet is very hard especially if it is due to a reason such as this which can be easily avoided.
    • What would you do if you relocate from your current home?
    • Is the house in your name? or is it rented if so are dogs allowed.
  • Members of the family
    • How many members in the family?
    • Which one of them will be at home most of the time?
    • Are all members comfortable with dogs?
    • Does anyone have any health issues or any allergies?
    • Who will be the primary care giver of the dog?
    • Who will walk the dog?
    • How would you transport the dog to the vet?
  • Diet Considerations
    • Is the family vegetarian / non vegetarian?
    • If vegetarian, are they comfortable feeding non vegetarian food to the pet?
    • If non vegetarian, what do they intend to feed the dog?\
    • Advise against roti and milk.
    • Suggest to include more animal protien in the diet over carbohydrates. Also suggest to include vegetables and pulses which are safe for animals
  • Neutering the pet
    • Ask them if they are okay with neutering the pet once he/she comes of age
    • Explain to them the benefits of neutering and if they need a medical opinion on this, take them to your veterinarian to get a better picture.
    • We strongly advise against give pets to families who are unwilling to neuter their pets
  • Training
    • What do you know about potty training? Unvaccinated puppies cannot be taken for walks, so quiz them about the alternatives.
    • Inform them about the paper training method and rug method. Also inform them that the pup can be trained to go to the bathroom if possible using these methods.
    • Advise them on the kind of toys they need to get for their pet. Toys such as teething toys and chew toys are good for pups in the teething phase. Also advise on kong toys and treat dispensing toys to stimulate the mind of the pet and keep him/her busy especially if they have to rush out and leave the pet alone for a while.
    • Ask them if they know any certified canine behaviourists in the area they stay in. Also ask them to check if the behaviourists are using positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement techniques on the animals. 
    • Negative reinforcement techniques include – electric or spike collars during training, 
  • So now that we have asked the PoAdopts all the possible questions and made sure that they are genuine people and will take good care Please also do house checks or ask for videos of the house and tell them they have to sign adoption papers after 2 weeks.

    Also keep following up.

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