Growing up in Puerto Rico in the 1960s and ’70s, I was surrounded by stray dogs. My brothers and I brought home a number of “sato” street puppies over the years, but we were not allowed to keep them. Finally, when we were teenagers and my parents were out of town for the weekend, a dog followed my brother home from the beach. We plotted and schemed to keep the dog, and we were successful! And so began my life, with rescued dogs in it.
In the March issue you asked to hear from readers about their difficulties adopting dogs from rescues. Here is my story. About five years ago, my family and I decided to get a Miniature Schnauzer. I put in applications and references at two different rescues. I heard nothing for a couple of weeks. One rescue called me for a phone interview but told me that both of the dogs I was interested in had already been approved for other families. They tried to talk me into taking one of two other dogs, both of whom were out of the age range we were looking for. I declined, explaining that I was an experienced dog owner and was pretty sure I wanted a dog in the one-to-six-year-old range. They tried to convince me that a nine-year-old dog was not really that different. I heard nothing more from them for weeks. Then I called about another dog available on their website. They told me that dog was slated for someone who had been previously approved. I had not been approved yet because I had not had a home visit. They said they would call me and let me know when they could do one. I had a similar experience with a second rescue organization.
My experience two years ago was quite different. I found another Miniature Schnauzer at an all-breed rescue and put in an application and references. Within a week, I had a telephone interview and they had checked my personal and vet references. I had the dog within two weeks. They explained that they brought dogs from southern states where, in some counties, the euthanasia rate was over 90 percent, to the Northeast to new homes. They believed that even if there were difficulties with an occasional adoption, overall, many more dogs could be saved if they were not rigid in their requirements.