What We’re Learning About Dog Adoption

With dogs Connecticut is to North Carolina as the US is to China. We are a net importer.

I wrote a dog rescuer in North Carolina last night. Her organization brings dogs up to Connecticut every month. The truth is if you search Petfinder.com most of the dogs listed for Connecticut aren’t actually here.

With dogs Connecticut is to North Carolina as the US is to China. We are a net importer.

The other thing I’ve learned is a dog’s listing is on Petfinder.com doesn’t mean it’s actually still available for adoption! Here’s part of an email I received this morning.

Abby Lynn has been spoken for by another family.

This all seems to be a labor of love by volunteers. They can be excused. Of course the problem is you can’t put out too many feelers at once and you don’t know which will actually get you the dog you want.

I wish the system was more efficient, but it’s not my call. The search continues.

30 thoughts on “What We’re Learning About Dog Adoption”

  1. I adopted a terrier mix from a shelter in New Milford a few months ago. The puppy was actually there so I got to see her before deciding. Some of the dogs are here in CT. Animal Welfare Society, Inc., New Milford, CT 860-354-1350 It took me about a month to find her, I was disappointed a few times with puppies that were not in CT although it was represented that they were.
    Good luck with your search. I am very happy with my puppy.
    Christy Flynn

  2. yes I’ve found that to be true as well – and therefore they charge huge fees under the guise of ‘relocation’ — this deterred me from getting a rescue from out of state. Watch the local papers for “oops” litters — or go online and read classifieds from Ma or eastern NY newspapers — that’s how we found ours. Good luck!

    1. Not true Laurel. There is no ‘guise’ of relocation fees. Most local rescue ‘groups’ that work to transport cats and dogs are actually individuals that belong to a larger group (ex. Amanda Foundation) and pay for the transportation out of their own pockets. Additionally, these animals are fully vaccinated and neutered or spayed before they are allowed to be adopted. The individuals then care for all the animals in their homes until they personally work to find homes for them. These are people that are personally vested in animal rescue; much more so than getting an oops from a family that couldn’t bother to spay or neuter their own family pet. Do you think the oops families had any veterinary care for the babies prior to giving them away in the paper?

  3. Hi Geoff,

    We adopted from Pet Rescue New York and they were fabulous! The dogs are here, they have been brought up from the south and vetted, found foster homes and then adopted out. We adopted Tiffany from them and she is a LOVE. Please give them an email and a chance to adopt one of their wonderful dogs.


    Lori Luton

  4. Hang in there! We went through the ups and downs of doggie adoption a couple of years ago. Petfinder can be brutal because it’s not updated on a daily basis, so you fall in love with one pup only to find out that they were adopted a few weeks ago!

    We finally found our Baxter (a S Carolinian pup) at http://www.ny-petrescue.org – based in Larchmont, NY. They were great! I do not know any CT rescues (not to say there aren’t any out there), but know of another NY state (Patterson, NY) rescue
    http://www.pawsafe.org – a place we looked at when we were on our search.

    Good luck!

  5. Hi Geoff,
    There are so many homeless animals out there just waiting for a loving family like yours; I’m sure you will eventually match up with the perfect one. Thanks for giving us animal rescue people a bit of a pass on efficiency. I am part of a feline rescue and adoption organization run entirely by dedicated volunteers. We are a diverse group with families, jobs and other responsibilities that consume our time, but we are united in our mission. We are not always as efficient with the administrative tasks as we would ideally like to be; the ongoing daily care of the cats is our top priority and frequently stretches our manpower resources quite thin. However, we are energized to keep going by the knowledge of the good we are doing. The greatest satisfaction is watching one of our furbabies go out the door to their forever home with their new family. Good luck!

  6. Geoff…. go down to the nearest Humane Society and see who’s there. If you don’t fall in love there, check out the local town “pounds”. Stay in the suburbs. For some reason, a lot the “city” pounds (New Haven, Bridgeport, etc) have a lot of Pit Bull types (unless that’s what you want, but based on the dachs/pom you showed us, I don’t think it is). Also, if you ever get down to Norwalk, check out PAWS. They are right off the Merritt, on Main Avenue, just south of the DMV. They get a LOT of cute pups there. I have friends who work and volunteer there… They also have a FB page which if you go to my page, you will see, they post frequently. There are plenty of rescue groups here in CT who do not import their dogs.

    Keep an eye out for adoption days at places like Petco, Petsmart, Pet Supplies Plus. They have them frequently. Petsmart has adoptable pets in the store, in fact.
    Good luck!!!

  7. Soon CT will take away your option to choose the breed or size you want…I work in Greyhound Adoption…25 yrs ago MOST were put down…now the vet bills will be redundent and astronomical. You must have a VET signed health certificate to cross state lines…the new law requires a NEW CT vet check within 48 hrs of entering state…15 days later and every 90 days after that until the dog is adopted. The good rescues will hang on as long as they can…when they fold, the people who don’t follow the rules will fill the void. Puppy mills are NOT covered under this law. Those pups in the local shelters are NOT necessarily CT pups.

  8. Geoff,
    I am so glad you are posting this info, we too were casually searching Petfinder, we will now try to stay local. Someone has suggested petstore adoption days, I think that is a bad idea, pet store dogs are notorious for having problems and are generally the results of puppy mills.

    1. Adoption Days held at pet stores like Petco & Petsmart are animals from local shelters or rescues. They are not from puppy mills. They are different from the puppies sold for many hundreds of dollars at pet stores.

  9. Try Helpsaveone.org as well. They have many babies up for adoption and most are in local foster homes or in foster homes within a few hours drive. They are all dogs from high kill shelters. Contact Marissa or megan via email. They are great about getting back to you. Nothing better then getting a new furbaby into its furever home!

  10. Geoff,
    check out local shelters! We adopted a sweet girl 3 weeks ago from a local shelter and couldn’t be happier. We have adopted all of our “girls” from local shelters over the years. you will have much better luck meeting your “lucky dog” in person.
    Good luck.

  11. Geoff:
    If you’re looking for a smaller dog, you can try Poodles For Rescue, Ct. Toy poodles are small, loving and smart!

  12. We adopted a cat a few months ago from The Animal Haven in North Haven. It’s a no-kill rescue shelter. They have nice facilities and our cat has had absolutely no health issues. And we love her. I did see her on petfinder and their results seemed to be accurate. http://www.theanimalhaven.com/index.php They have dogs too.

  13. Geoff, All of our dogs have come from various shelter/rescue organizations, and our favorite girl came from the pound in Meriden. Sometimes wonderful dogs are separated from their owners and remain unclaimed. Unfortunately, many local pounds also have time limits, but I encourage you to “make the rounds” of your local pounds once a week to see who’s available. Best of luck in your search!

  14. Petfinder.com may be a convienent tool, but it does not compare to walking into a shelter and looking at the animals there. I got lucky with PF, but I was probably the exception to the rule, since I was looking for a specific breed. Try Newington, or one of the local rescue sites. Even the town you work in…their shelter is at capacity. Unless you check them out, you may be missing out on your next family member.

  15. Geoff, I adopted my beloved dog, now gone, over 15 years ago from a local town “dog pound”. Go to the yellow pages and start calling around to see who has small dogs such as you want. You may still find some fees involved, especially if the dog has been spayed – you either pay up front for that or later when you have your vet do it. I have spent time on petfinders and connected with a local rescue group who was bringing dogs up north for direct adoption or foster homes. The fees included all age appropriate shots and vaccinations, neutering, and microchipping, and seemed comparable to my experience of owning a dog and doing all this on my own. But really, check out all the local “pounds”. I have found most of them happy to answer questions over the phone. Good luck, I’m kinda jealous you are getting a dog, but have decided I must wait till I am home to train a pup, and that may be when I retire!!

  16. We found our ‘new best friend’ in September of 2006 at the Monroe SPCA. We were very impressed by their operation. The SPCA is located in older house that has been adapted for their use. There are runs for large dogs behind the house, some kennel crates on the large side porch and more in what I suspect was once a dining room, at least two in the kitchen area and a few more in an “isolation ward” (former bedroom) on the second floor. The Saturday we visited, there were probably a total of 2 dozen dogs of all breeds, sizes and temperaments—many of whom had been rescued from “high kill shelters” in the South. The folks who run the SPCA are amazingly compassionate with each of the dogs. They know each one’s personality and what kind of home they’d fit into best. In the roughly hour and a half that we were there, at least 4 or 5 dogs were adopted.

    Whenever someone new approaches the house’s porch, most of the dogs perk up and start barking eagerly and loudly—as if to say, “Take ME, take ME! But, amidst the cacophony, there were a quiet few who just attentively watched the newcomers somewhat timidly, some with a look of dejection and lost hope, sure that they’d be overlooked yet AGAIN. These were the doggies who immediately drew our attention.

    The SPCA staffer greeted us and invited us to fill out their adoption application (which they utilize to make a good match between prospective owners and the pets ‘in residence’: i.e. # of kids in the house, apartment dwellers or spacious yards, other pets in the house, male or female, etc.) After filling out the paperwork, we were given a tour of the dogs available for adoption. Even after seeing them all, we were still drawn back to the quiet, sad-eyed sweeties we’d first seen on the porch.

    When we were first introduced to the dog who would become our ‘future family member’, she was extremely skittish. Whenever we went to pet her she’d drop to the ground on all fours trembling with fear. (Clearly she had suffered some major trauma which made her extremely fearful of attack or reprisal.) But, haltingly, she did let us pet her. Although clearly distressed by the trauma of meeting strangers and anxious from the constant barking of her fellow ‘inmates’, she had a responsive spark that both my husband and I saw. Separately, each of us spent some time walking her around the SPCA yard. As we did, it became clear that she’d be coming home with us.

    After more paperwork and a $295 payment to the SPCA, she was in my lap and we were driving home. Initially, I thought I’d resent paying out nearly $300 to adopt what was really just a stray. But when I considered how much work, attention, food, medical care (including the cost of spaying), weeks of boarding, and transportation costs from Georgia—not to mention the expense of labor, property taxes, facility maintenance and daily care for the animals, I understood how much it must cost to keep a place like the SPCA going. In that light, it seems like quite the bargain.

    It took some time for our new friend to learn to fully trust us—and even longer for her to learn to trust others who visit our home…but love is a powerful healer. She’s become the sweetest, gentlest and most loving and trusting ‘best friend’ anyone could ever hope for.

    So, based on our experience, I would highly recommend that you and your wife make a personal visit to Monroe to seek out your new ‘best friend’.

    I haven’t had any further connection with or information about the SPCA since our experince in 2006, but I was able to locate their address and contact information online…in case you’re interested.
    MONROE, CT 06468
    (203) 445-9978
    Good luck!

  17. Susan, that is a beautiful story. I am so glad you had the patience and love to give to that girly. I am betting she is pretty glad, too! Thank you for sharing that experience with us.

  18. We adopted two Welsh Corgis from LittleLegs.com- Di lives in Connecticut, but is plugged into the network with Petfinder. The first guy was a CT dog, and the second came from the south, with several stops on her way – they did the expensive vet stuff in Tennessee, I believe. With both dogs, the fee I paid approximated the cost of all the vaccinations, spay/neuter, and in the second case, transport. There is a regular route through the south, and the dogs on the trailer were all in great shape. When I met up with them, they were getting ready to stop for four hours to walk and feed all the dogs. They were very well organized, and had all the paperwork ready for me. The funny thing was that there were two Corgis with the same name getting off in East Hartford, and they tried to give me the wrong one!

  19. My daughter had an excellent experience with Betty from OurCritters in Virginia. Betty and hubby bring vetted dogs to CT and all stops on the way every few weeks and these dogs are very healthy. Our Vet says he cannot believe the quality of these animals as well as their socialization. My daughter did find the dog and kitties she was interested in on line and emailed Betty. The fees were reasonable and I am heartbroken to think that this new governor found it important to sign the bill into law that will prevent Betty from rescuing and rehabbing animals to us here. I would highly recommend Betty to any one. http://www.4-the-luv-of-a-critter.com/

  20. Have you considered a good lacal breeder in the New England /NY area? This may save you much heart ache and money. Watch out for abused, abandoned and nuerotic/ sick animal.

  21. Geoff: check out the website for the no-kill shelter I volunteer at. http://www.pawsct.org; PAWS in Norwalk. All of our dogs are housed at the shelter. Check the website each week since we are continuously bringing dogs in as others are adopted. Please don’t give up…adopt, don’t shop! There is a wonderful rescue out there in need of your family!

  22. Please Geoff, do not go to a breeder. There are so many wonderful “local” dogs looking for love and a home. Many terrific places were mentioned in the posts above. I agree with the poster about checking out the Animal Haven in North Haven.

  23. Geoff,
    A yr. ago I had to put my nearly 15yr old Cairn Terrier down.Like your ‘Ivy’, she was quite a lovable character. I lasted about 6 weeks and started surfing the web. Started with PetFinders.com and plugged in Cairns. I put an application in with the Col.Potter Cairn Rescue Network.(www.cairnrescue.com)They are quite specific in what they want in a dog ownership,and they contacted all of my references, and came in to inspect my home. Many of the dogs come from puppy mills. Col Potter’s buys them at auctions, the dogs are thoroughly vetted, spayed/neutered and then go to a foster home. I was lucky, in that Jasper was being Fostered right here in CT. I put the application in mid Sept and brought Jasper home mid Nov. The fees were applicable in that all but $50 was considered a donation and was tax deductible. These dogs need a lot of 1 on 1,in the beginning, but the progress he made in just 6 mos.was remarkable, and it continues daily. I never thought that i would go through an agency. when the ASPCA was located in Woodbridge, our family always went there, or to the New Haven Pound. These are the only 2 pure breds that we ever owned–but once you own a cairn or Westie, you are usually hooked. Good Luck in your search. I too miss “Ivy”.

  24. Geoff, I am surprised you are finding this on petfinder…… Several years ago, we adopted a rescue from a local pound in east haven, found on petfinder….after several looks and visits of other dogs….but I don’t remember ever finding a dog listed that was not available……perhaps the sustem is just not updated as quickly….perhaps dogs are being adopted at a faster arte…..which is a good thing…..the right one will come!

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