Author Topic: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)  (Read 21368 times)

Pigeon

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #50 on: November 11, 2014, 01:59:47 PM »
Dogs to make the house hairy.  But if I was that worried about it, I wouldn't get a dog to banish outside, I'd just skip the dog altogether.

iris lily

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #51 on: November 11, 2014, 02:14:52 PM »
The OP lives in a condo. How can he keep the dog "outside?"

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #52 on: November 11, 2014, 02:21:32 PM »
The OP lives in a condo. How can he keep the dog "outside?"

Well, we do have a small yard but I would never put my dog out there. Also, I hear it's unsafe to keep dogs outside in our area. At least, my local shelter will not allow anyone to adopt who cannot keep a dog indoors. This is because there are quite a few coyotes in our area and there have been plenty of incidents.

Emilyngh

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #53 on: November 11, 2014, 02:45:50 PM »
This is a timely question for me, as this month we just adopted our second shelter dog (we had the first for 14 years before he passed away).

We adopted a 40 lb, 10 month old, black lab mix.   She is very sweet to us and strangers out of the house, but we discovered after bringing her home that she has some fear-based territorial aggression (ie., she barked nonstop, snarled, growled, etc at people entering our house or yard, even after trying to quiet her, letting visitors into the house for awhile, etc).   She shows none of this to strangers outside of our property and no forms of aggression towards us, but we don't want to have a dog we can't have around people in our home.   We brought in a behavioral specialist right away, have been working with her, the dog has made great strides already (using all positive counter conditioning and desensitization if anyone's curious), and it seems like she'll be able to get over this issue.   My point is that one should plan on unexpected issues with any new dog (shelter or not)and be prepared to spend the money in the beginning in order to deal with issues upfront to ensure everyone in the family a great next 10-15 yrs.

So far, we've spent on her:
adoption fee $150
initial vet visit $100
crate, haltie training head halter, collar, leashes, brush, toys (esp chew toys to keep her from chewing up our house), dog tag, etc $250
house visit of animal behaviorist $100
dog training class (very needed for socialization) $150

So, $750 upfront.   And while it might not seem mustachian, if one if going to have a dog , IME, spending similar upfront on proper training and training equipment will save in the long term.   We are also spending about $50 a month on her food, treats, and maintenance items (tractor supply 50 lb bag, cheap treats, small pieces of cheese for training, flea/tick meds, etc).   We will be boarding her over thanksgiving and xmas (total of about $180) because we don't feel that she's ready for large crowds and people coming and going yet.   But, hopefully, after that we can take her to visit family, etc and just board her once a yr or so.

So, after upfront costs, I'm thinking she'll cost about $600 a year for food/maintenance, another $100 or so for boarding, and $200ish a year for vet bills (expected average over her life).   So, about $900 a year, or $75 a mo after the startup.   To me, a dog is totally worth $750 upfront and $75 a mo, but one getting a dog should mentally plan for spending around this and avoid the temptation to go cheap in ways that could wind up resulting in longer term expenses, unhappiness, or even devastation (eg., the dog bites, gets hit by a car, seriously hurts another dog, completely destroys a room when left alone, etc) that could be avoided through spending adequately on proper training, equipment, and boarding/care when needed.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 03:27:25 PM by Emilyngh »

The Architect

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #54 on: November 11, 2014, 02:47:10 PM »
The OP lives in a condo. How can he keep the dog "outside?"
My family had dogs all through growing up, but I would *NEVER* own a dog without also owning a place with a yard big enough to keep said dog in.

I'm saying the OP should reconsider owning a dog without also occupying a place for the dog to be outside.

Well, we do have a small yard but I would never put my dog out there. Also, I hear it's unsafe to keep dogs outside in our area. At least, my local shelter will not allow anyone to adopt who cannot keep a dog indoors. This is because there are quite a few coyotes in our area and there have been plenty of incidents.

In my neighborhood we had wild animals, but we had dogs big enough to hang without problems.

Man, very different views here - I consider it borderline inhumane to keep dogs indoors (and feel that it'll wreck your living environment), most here seem to find in inhumane to keep the dog outdoors.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #55 on: November 11, 2014, 03:02:10 PM »
Man, very different views here - I consider it borderline inhumane to keep dogs indoors (and feel that it'll wreck your living environment), most here seem to find in inhumane to keep the dog outdoors.

ha, I do think it's interesting. my views may have started from growing up with a toy poodle--definitely not big enough to hang with the wild animals, LOL--but also I think my opinion on outdoor dogs softens if you have more than one dog and they are buddies. until this year I've never had more than one, and it just seems super lonely and boring to me to be a dog in the yard all by yourself. I mean, I think we spend more time outside (grilling, hanging out on the porch, etc.) than a lot of people and I STILL think the vast majority of our time is spent inside, at least on weekday evenings. I mean, ya gotta cook dinner and fold laundry sometime. plus for part of the year it's just uncomfortable outside (for us to hang out, I know people put together really nice insulated doghouses and stuff). our dogs already don't get that much time with us since we work 40 hrs a week, it would be super sad if it was just one dog and it only got to hang out with us for, like, an hour a day.

also I don't feel my living environment is wrecked, but it IS covered in dog hair much of the time, and I am very glad we have hardwood floors or I think I would be way more grossed out. before I met my boyfriend (the owner of the husky/shepherd mix), I was sure I NEVER wanted a dog that sheds. well, I got over it. haha.

anyway, sorry to derail your thread OP! :)

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #56 on: November 11, 2014, 03:34:43 PM »
Man, very different views here - I consider it borderline inhumane to keep dogs indoors (and feel that it'll wreck your living environment), most here seem to find in inhumane to keep the dog outdoors.

ha, I do think it's interesting. my views may have started from growing up with a toy poodle--definitely not big enough to hang with the wild animals, LOL--but also I think my opinion on outdoor dogs softens if you have more than one dog and they are buddies. until this year I've never had more than one, and it just seems super lonely and boring to me to be a dog in the yard all by yourself. I mean, I think we spend more time outside (grilling, hanging out on the porch, etc.) than a lot of people and I STILL think the vast majority of our time is spent inside, at least on weekday evenings. I mean, ya gotta cook dinner and fold laundry sometime. plus for part of the year it's just uncomfortable outside (for us to hang out, I know people put together really nice insulated doghouses and stuff). our dogs already don't get that much time with us since we work 40 hrs a week, it would be super sad if it was just one dog and it only got to hang out with us for, like, an hour a day.

also I don't feel my living environment is wrecked, but it IS covered in dog hair much of the time, and I am very glad we have hardwood floors or I think I would be way more grossed out. before I met my boyfriend (the owner of the husky/shepherd mix), I was sure I NEVER wanted a dog that sheds. well, I got over it. haha.

anyway, sorry to derail your thread OP! :)

lol, no worries. It's really great getting varied perspectives of people who are current or previous dog owners and those who are simply against the idea of it (obviously, it's not the most "Mustachian" way to go but it is more of a quality of life thing). I feel conflicted because I do want to focus on saving and we are quite comfortable where we are now. It may just take some continued negotiation and coaxing of my parents before they actually come around. Right now, their whole response to me pleading my case is to hole up and avoid talking about it.

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #57 on: November 11, 2014, 03:39:14 PM »
Edit: I just read the post about your wife's dogs. Gosh, that is really hard. Your wife needs to be on board. Do her parents live nearby. If you would consider taking those dogs in, maybe talk to a good trainer to see what the chances are of them adjusting to indoor life would be. Older dogs are trainable. You would have to crate train them. But likely at 10+ years old, they will spend most of the day sleeping anyway. And if you walked them daily it sounds like they would get more exercise than they are now. That is a tough situation.


Yea I think it's hard for my wife whenever she thinks about it. Unfortunately, her parents live over an hour away (not including LA traffic). If we were closer, we would probably consider helping out much more. I'll have to ask one of my acquaintances, who happens to be a vet (or is finishing up at vet school) to see how it could work out. Yes, the walking part would be huge for them. My wife says her dad has been taking them out on walks more frequently so I should ask how that's been going and if he still has been doing it. Her parents run a restaurant and totally overwork themselves (without realizing it). They're close to 70 and have entertained the thought of retiring but I always take that with a grain of salt, knowing that they consider the restaurant as their child, pretty much. So in terms of dogs, there's little to no time for them. I was kind of urging my wife to try to find a good rescue that could re-home these dogs because I really don't think it's fair for the dogs right now. But if there's any hope that they could potentially be re-homed to us, I might consider it. I don't want to get myself into something that I'd really resent, however. Her parents seem to take on the same perspective as "The Architect" does where dogs are animals and belong outdoors haha. But due to all the time constraints and obligations they have with the restaurant, they don't really seem to be doing a very good job caring for the dogs.

Actually, I just checked through my emails and saw that I asked the acquaintance vet a question but he never replied back. I'll see if I can follow up with him on it to get some advice. However, even if it is possible to re-train them and such, I think I'd still be at odds with my parents.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2014, 03:44:18 PM by jplee3 »

starbuck

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #58 on: November 11, 2014, 03:43:05 PM »
I'm saying the OP should reconsider owning a dog without also occupying a place for the dog to be outside.

To be fair, the OP was originally considering dogs that were under 15 lbs. Condo living is certainly fine for tiny dogs. I've also met shepherd mixes that are not destructive/toy-driven AT ALL and just want to hang out on the floor at your feet. YMMV certainly. I also know a door-chewer. :)

OP, you sound like a prime candidate for volunteering at your local shelter, rather than adopting. With condo owners AND your wife not being on board, I'd probably wait rather than force the issue. Volunteering would satisfy your canine needs for now, plus you would gain valuable experience working with the different kinds of dogs (not just breed, but temperament too.) And as a volunteer, you would probably be able to foster the occasional dog if you wanted.

TrulyStashin

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #59 on: November 11, 2014, 03:55:15 PM »
Thanks! For a first-time dog owner, would you advise *against* going to a shelter/rescue then? Is it better to contact a breeder or find a new puppy via Craigslist or something vs dealing with a potentially traumatized dog from a shelter and having to re-home it? Especially if there are certain preferences for the dog (e.g. smaller dog that sheds very little, etc)

Rescue/ shelter dogs make wonderful pets.   Over the years, I've adopted so many rescue dogs that I've lost track and I'd never do it any other way.  Of them all, three had been abused and yes, it took a little time to work through some issues but it is so incredibly rewarding and dogs bounce back pretty quickly with a little love, consistency, and patience.

abbonney

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #60 on: November 11, 2014, 03:57:11 PM »
Understanding that everyone feels differently about stuff like this, I'll never own another dog once the one we have is gone.  Don't get me wrong, our little dog leads a charmed life, and she's kind of funny to have around.  But - dogs are expensive.  Not so much food, toys, beds, etc., but vet bills, boarding them EVERY SINGLE TIME you want to go out of town somewhere, cleaning and/or replacing stuff they tear up or pee all over, you name it.  Dogs also limit what you can do and in that regard are kind of like having another child.  Want to go out after work?  Cant, have to go home and let the dog out.  Want to go out of town with the Mrs. for the weekend, kind of spur of the moment?  Can't, nobody to watch the dog, too late to get them boarded.  See what I mean?  And a lot of people who have pets are absolutely, totally ok with these things, and that's great.  But just understand what you're getting into before you do it.  If you're not OK with these things, don't get a pet, as the only thing that's worse is someone who does get a pet and mistreats it because they didn't understand how much of a commitment it was.  Good luck.

I do agree that travel and a spur-of-the-moment lifestyle changes once you get a dog. However, there are crafty ways around it. Camping with your dog--easy. Most state parks allow dogs. Also, having an animal sharing system with fellow dog owning friends is great. You take care of their pets when they're out of town, they do the same for you. Maybe a few bucks gets passed in the process, but nothing like boarding. Also, a good number of casual restaurants have dog-friendly patios these days, so you can go out after work--just take him or her with you! The biggest question I ask friends when they want to hang out, "can it be a walk? Can my dog come?" in this way, my little nugget SAVES me money!

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #61 on: November 11, 2014, 05:07:47 PM »
I'm saying the OP should reconsider owning a dog without also occupying a place for the dog to be outside.

To be fair, the OP was originally considering dogs that were under 15 lbs. Condo living is certainly fine for tiny dogs. I've also met shepherd mixes that are not destructive/toy-driven AT ALL and just want to hang out on the floor at your feet. YMMV certainly. I also know a door-chewer. :)

OP, you sound like a prime candidate for volunteering at your local shelter, rather than adopting. With condo owners AND your wife not being on board, I'd probably wait rather than force the issue. Volunteering would satisfy your canine needs for now, plus you would gain valuable experience working with the different kinds of dogs (not just breed, but temperament too.) And as a volunteer, you would probably be able to foster the occasional dog if you wanted.

Yes, I am now considering just volunteering instead as that sounds like something I could get into. Unfortunately, my local shelter down the street is in the process of restructuring their volunteer program and told me to check back in a few months :(

In the meantime, I'll have to look around and see if there are other nearby shelters I could volunteer at.

G-dog

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #62 on: November 11, 2014, 05:47:40 PM »
Sorry, I didn't read all the replies before this posting but -
Please get a rescue dog - there are so many wonderful pets needing a home.
I have a real problem in general with the pet breeding market and many of the practices (and costs).
You can research some breeds, and if there are some breeds you are specifically interested in, check out petfinder.com which is an aggregate site for several breed specific rescue groups. Most of these groups take in breed mixes as well that are close to the focus breed, and many rescues don't come with their full history.  Most of these groups also have foster programs, so you could test this out by fostering.
Good luck, and I want a picture when you get your new dog!

southern granny

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #63 on: November 11, 2014, 08:42:30 PM »
I am 58 and have always had dogs.  We have had outside and inside dogs.  I will always have indoor dogs from now on, the relationship is just so much better.  We have the luxury of a fenced yard, so the dog can go out if he wants... but he only wants to go out if you go with him.  This dog is now 10 years old.  My suggestions are to okay it with your parents (agree to pay for any damages).  I also recommend that you get a shelter dog that is 2 - 3 years old. There are so many fantastic dogs available whose owners either choose to give them up or circumstances force them to.   That is past the puppy chewing stage and a dog at that age is able to wait 8 hours to get out to potty.  Raising a new puppy is every bit as much work as a new baby.  You have to get up in the middle of the night to potty.  They chew on EVERYTHING, and it is hard to housebreak if you aren't there.  A puppy is physically not able to go more than 5 hours or so between potty breaks.  Good luck and I hope you find a great match. 

BlueHouse

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #64 on: November 11, 2014, 09:24:56 PM »
How do you do with plants?  I ask because with all of the important people in your life trying to dissuade you from this decision, could there be a reason? 

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #65 on: November 11, 2014, 11:59:55 PM »
How do you do with plants?  I ask because with all of the important people in your life trying to dissuade you from this decision, could there be a reason?

If there were a more particular reason, involving something specifically wrong with me, I think it would be pretty clear.

My parents never have and never will like pets that are not caged and my wife is semi-traumatized from taking on a couple of dogs who she wasn't able to care for and had to leave with her parents to care for. Not sure what other reason(s) there are...

Pigeon

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #66 on: November 12, 2014, 06:22:29 AM »
I would bet that there are rescues near you looking for volunteers and most are chronically short of fosters.  Go on Petfinder and you'll probably find some.

Keep in mind that rescues are generally staffed entirely by volunteers.  That means these are people who probably have full time jobs, kids, activities, etc., so they may not respond instantly.  I  will also be the first to admit that some of the people who volunteer with rescues are a little over the top, and often a bit burnt out from dealing with crappy people who do stupid things to animals.  Most rescues I've encountered have at least one of these people, and they can be off-putting.  But they are trying to do the best they can for the animals, and they need new people to foster.

LadyMustache

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #67 on: November 12, 2014, 06:34:31 AM »
We have an English setter and have gone from spending a load on her to being much more frugal.

My no 1 tip is to raw feed. It saves so many health problems in the long run, helps keep teeth clean, reduces allergies, and is much cheaper than a good-quality kibble. My dog is 55 lb and it costs me under $1 a day to feed her. Would have to run math to say exactly how little. Also, I give her all the veg and fruit scraps (broccoli stems, apple cores, half-eaten bananas and sweet potatoes the kids leave), which is less wasteful and makes me feel happy!

I bought the dog as a puppy, but next time we will get a rescue. Probably another setter, though I wouldn't recommend them for a first-time dog as they are hard to train and need a lot of activity when young.

Go for a retriever, Labrador or a greyhound if you want an easy family-friendly dog.

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #68 on: November 12, 2014, 11:49:07 AM »
I would bet that there are rescues near you looking for volunteers and most are chronically short of fosters.  Go on Petfinder and you'll probably find some.

Keep in mind that rescues are generally staffed entirely by volunteers.  That means these are people who probably have full time jobs, kids, activities, etc., so they may not respond instantly.  I  will also be the first to admit that some of the people who volunteer with rescues are a little over the top, and often a bit burnt out from dealing with crappy people who do stupid things to animals.  Most rescues I've encountered have at least one of these people, and they can be off-putting.  But they are trying to do the best they can for the animals, and they need new people to foster.

I'll start looking around for volunteer opportunities. Fostering may still be up in the air depending on how my parents feel about having a dog in the house. What you say about the burn-out and "over-the-top" attitude is exactly the kinds of things I've read on Yelp reviews of my closest local shelter which is currently undergoing a restructure for the volunteer program... and that might be one of the reasons why too! A lot of reviewers spoke of terrible experiences with the some of the people at the shelter who were just plain rude when they tried to view some of the animals.

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #69 on: November 12, 2014, 12:00:59 PM »
We have an English setter and have gone from spending a load on her to being much more frugal.

My no 1 tip is to raw feed. It saves so many health problems in the long run, helps keep teeth clean, reduces allergies, and is much cheaper than a good-quality kibble. My dog is 55 lb and it costs me under $1 a day to feed her. Would have to run math to say exactly how little. Also, I give her all the veg and fruit scraps (broccoli stems, apple cores, half-eaten bananas and sweet potatoes the kids leave), which is less wasteful and makes me feel happy!

I bought the dog as a puppy, but next time we will get a rescue. Probably another setter, though I wouldn't recommend them for a first-time dog as they are hard to train and need a lot of activity when young.

Go for a retriever, Labrador or a greyhound if you want an easy family-friendly dog.


Interesting perspective on raw feeding. What else besides veggie and fruit scraps would you give a dog if "raw feeding" though? Don't they need protein as well? So would you feed them bones and other meat scraps too?

Pigeon

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #70 on: November 12, 2014, 01:06:08 PM »
I would bet that there are rescues near you looking for volunteers and most are chronically short of fosters.  Go on Petfinder and you'll probably find some.

Keep in mind that rescues are generally staffed entirely by volunteers.  That means these are people who probably have full time jobs, kids, activities, etc., so they may not respond instantly.  I  will also be the first to admit that some of the people who volunteer with rescues are a little over the top, and often a bit burnt out from dealing with crappy people who do stupid things to animals.  Most rescues I've encountered have at least one of these people, and they can be off-putting.  But they are trying to do the best they can for the animals, and they need new people to foster.

I'll start looking around for volunteer opportunities. Fostering may still be up in the air depending on how my parents feel about having a dog in the house. What you say about the burn-out and "over-the-top" attitude is exactly the kinds of things I've read on Yelp reviews of my closest local shelter which is currently undergoing a restructure for the volunteer program... and that might be one of the reasons why too! A lot of reviewers spoke of terrible experiences with the some of the people at the shelter who were just plain rude when they tried to view some of the animals.

Many folks approach the shelters and the rescues with the attitude that they are doing the rescues a huge favor and that the rescues should be thrilled at the opportunity to offload the dogs onto anybody who waltzes in.  I'll admit, that was sort of my feeling the first time we went to adopt a dog from a rescue. 

Volunteering, you see the other side.  Many of these animals have been in lousy situations, and the rescues want to see that they don't end up in another one.  The rescues/shelters have rules of varying strictness.  Some won't adopt to people who don't own their own home or have a fenced yard or who are gone all day long or who don't make enough money or whatever other rule they might have.  Sounds ridiculous on the face of it, but they develop the rules generally based on situations that cause a lot of returns.  Being returned is very hard on a dog, and can make them far less adoptable. 

You get a lot of people who come in who clearly are not in a good position to take the kind of dog they want.  We've had people in their late 80s insist that they want very high energy, high strength young dogs.  We have people who clearly want to use the dogs for dog fights or breed them.  We have people who have no-pets clauses in their leases, but want to adopt anyway, and they can be very nasty when their applications aren't approved.

My rescue doesn't adopt puppies to homes where no one is home for more than four hours at a time.  That's because they were getting lots of puppies returned for mostly housebreaking reasons.  The puppy comes back as not such a cute puppy any more, and it's going to be tougher to housebreak and thus to place.  If that's your situation, you can adopt an adult dog from them.

They wouldn't adopt to you, quite honestly, if your parents weren't on board and the condo association (if you have one) doesn't allow it.

I don't make the rules for our rescue and I try to stay out of the politics.  I just work at clinics.  We have one slightly crazy lady who is an officer, who freely admits she hates people after all she's seen.  I think she's burnt out, but she does work very hard.

The role of the rescue is to find good, permanent, loving homes for the dogs.  it's not to make people happy by giving them puppies.  I think some of the rescue staff gets a little hung up on finding perfect homes though, and that's probably what you see with the Yelp reviews.  Nobody likes to think that their situation is being judged as not good enough.

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #71 on: November 12, 2014, 01:31:57 PM »
Thanks for the insight! Definitely a good perspective into the other side of how things work.

I checked the HOA regulations and they do allow pets but within limit (I think no more than two animals is what it says). As far as my parents are concerned, they stay fairly silent about matters like these. When we dog-sat on several occasions, they never really said anything. I think they may have asked where the dog stays and we told them in the 2nd bathroom. They were kind of just like "oh okay" and probably something along the lines of "make sure it doesn't make a mess or whatever"

Still, that was under the premise that it was temporary anyway. So it would be good to clarify with them the idea of fostering at least. As far as puppies vs adults, I've been inclined to go with an adult (or younger dog even) with that in mind. A puppy would be nice, since you can see/track their growth, but I already know that would be too much work starting out of the gates. I'd rather start out owning a more behaved adult/young dog, and if it's something I really love then would consider puppies after. But never from the beginning - that was something I've always been pretty resolved on.

I would bet that there are rescues near you looking for volunteers and most are chronically short of fosters.  Go on Petfinder and you'll probably find some.

Keep in mind that rescues are generally staffed entirely by volunteers.  That means these are people who probably have full time jobs, kids, activities, etc., so they may not respond instantly.  I  will also be the first to admit that some of the people who volunteer with rescues are a little over the top, and often a bit burnt out from dealing with crappy people who do stupid things to animals.  Most rescues I've encountered have at least one of these people, and they can be off-putting.  But they are trying to do the best they can for the animals, and they need new people to foster.

I'll start looking around for volunteer opportunities. Fostering may still be up in the air depending on how my parents feel about having a dog in the house. What you say about the burn-out and "over-the-top" attitude is exactly the kinds of things I've read on Yelp reviews of my closest local shelter which is currently undergoing a restructure for the volunteer program... and that might be one of the reasons why too! A lot of reviewers spoke of terrible experiences with the some of the people at the shelter who were just plain rude when they tried to view some of the animals.

Many folks approach the shelters and the rescues with the attitude that they are doing the rescues a huge favor and that the rescues should be thrilled at the opportunity to offload the dogs onto anybody who waltzes in.  I'll admit, that was sort of my feeling the first time we went to adopt a dog from a rescue. 

Volunteering, you see the other side.  Many of these animals have been in lousy situations, and the rescues want to see that they don't end up in another one.  The rescues/shelters have rules of varying strictness.  Some won't adopt to people who don't own their own home or have a fenced yard or who are gone all day long or who don't make enough money or whatever other rule they might have.  Sounds ridiculous on the face of it, but they develop the rules generally based on situations that cause a lot of returns.  Being returned is very hard on a dog, and can make them far less adoptable. 

You get a lot of people who come in who clearly are not in a good position to take the kind of dog they want.  We've had people in their late 80s insist that they want very high energy, high strength young dogs.  We have people who clearly want to use the dogs for dog fights or breed them.  We have people who have no-pets clauses in their leases, but want to adopt anyway, and they can be very nasty when their applications aren't approved.

My rescue doesn't adopt puppies to homes where no one is home for more than four hours at a time.  That's because they were getting lots of puppies returned for mostly housebreaking reasons.  The puppy comes back as not such a cute puppy any more, and it's going to be tougher to housebreak and thus to place.  If that's your situation, you can adopt an adult dog from them.

They wouldn't adopt to you, quite honestly, if your parents weren't on board and the condo association (if you have one) doesn't allow it.

I don't make the rules for our rescue and I try to stay out of the politics.  I just work at clinics.  We have one slightly crazy lady who is an officer, who freely admits she hates people after all she's seen.  I think she's burnt out, but she does work very hard.

The role of the rescue is to find good, permanent, loving homes for the dogs.  it's not to make people happy by giving them puppies.  I think some of the rescue staff gets a little hung up on finding perfect homes though, and that's probably what you see with the Yelp reviews.  Nobody likes to think that their situation is being judged as not good enough.

LadyMustache

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #72 on: November 12, 2014, 06:10:14 PM »
Re: raw feeding. Yes, they need lots and lots of protein. Dogs are not designed to digest carbohydrates or grains, or cooked meat, which is basically what kibble and canned foods are made of. I feed chicken wings, chicken backs, turkey necks, minced turkey, tinned salmon and sardines on occasion, livers and other offal. Also large weight-bearing bones (like knuckle bones) just for a fun pastime for the dog. All raw and whole, unless it is a tiny dog, in which case you could break it up a bit. You can buy in bulk from butcher/ wholesaler and freeze. I add a few supplements like fish oil and glucosamine as my dog has a hip defect. You save on vet bills big time, as chronic diseases are reduced, and your dog will never need to have its teeth professionally cleaned, which is a huge money spinner. Even makes the dog less smelly and scratchy! Loads of great books and websites out there on raw feeding.

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #73 on: November 13, 2014, 01:22:57 AM »
Re: raw feeding. Yes, they need lots and lots of protein. Dogs are not designed to digest carbohydrates or grains, or cooked meat, which is basically what kibble and canned foods are made of. I feed chicken wings, chicken backs, turkey necks, minced turkey, tinned salmon and sardines on occasion, livers and other offal. Also large weight-bearing bones (like knuckle bones) just for a fun pastime for the dog. All raw and whole, unless it is a tiny dog, in which case you could break it up a bit. You can buy in bulk from butcher/ wholesaler and freeze. I add a few supplements like fish oil and glucosamine as my dog has a hip defect. You save on vet bills big time, as chronic diseases are reduced, and your dog will never need to have its teeth professionally cleaned, which is a huge money spinner. Even makes the dog less smelly and scratchy! Loads of great books and websites out there on raw feeding.

What about the bacteria and potential of salmonella ?

madame librarian

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #74 on: November 13, 2014, 06:00:54 AM »
I love animals and I am wholeheartedly in support of anybody who wants to have pets. However, it is with regret that I will echo all the other commenters who have said to square it with your parents first. If you have some ability to make those home repairs yourself, that might help. 2 major areas are carpets and door frames -- my dogs that I had growing up never went for the door frames, but some dogs do and a lot of cats do. Carpets are kind of a no-brainer, they will absorb the smell, the dog might dig in them, and the dog will almost certainly pee/poop/vomit.

Honestly, fostering sounds nice but I don't recommend it at all for people who haven't ever had a pet before. It might sound like a low-commitment way to have a dog, but a) fosters are often rehabilitating the animals, and that can be difficult and require advanced dog knowledge; and b) you'll get attached to it and then have to give it up.

Also, in my experience hardwood or laminate flooring is much better for pets than carpet. It's not as destructible. Just keep their claws clipped and make sure to care for the finish.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 06:02:57 AM by madame librarian »

GreenPen

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #75 on: November 13, 2014, 09:06:41 AM »
I still think it would add to quality of life and also force me to get off my lazy butt and get outside for some walks and other exercise.

Couldn't you get these same benefits by just volunteering at a shelter? Or by starting a dog walking business?

Every dollar you spend on a dog is a dollar not working for you, which means more time to retirement.

dodojojo

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #76 on: November 13, 2014, 09:29:49 AM »
Six years ago, I started volunteering with two rescues groups--one for cats and the other for dogs.  I started hankering for a pet but had never had one before so I thought volunteering would be a good intro.  After about 3 months, I adopted a pair of cats.  I still volunteer with both rescue groups.

OP, sort out your condo situation with your parents before you adopt a dog.  If you adopt from a private rescue group like mine--they will need confirmation that your condo building and owner(s) accepts dogs.  So poo-pooing your parents' concerns or objections may seem the easy way out now, but don't be surprised if you're turned down by a rescue group.  The dog rescue group I volunteer with pretty much is the poster child for the dog rescue nazi stereotype.  It annoys me at times but most of it stems from the intention of protecting the dogs.

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #77 on: November 13, 2014, 09:44:24 AM »
I still think it would add to quality of life and also force me to get off my lazy butt and get outside for some walks and other exercise.

Couldn't you get these same benefits by just volunteering at a shelter? Or by starting a dog walking business?

Every dollar you spend on a dog is a dollar not working for you, which means more time to retirement.

True - that is a good point. I'll be looking into volunteering at least. Not sure about the dog walking business but I'll have to look into that too, especially since there's the added benefit of making money on the side :) Although with dog-walking, I've often wondered how one gets into the business, no less starts one themselves... I'd probably need to volunteer first and gain much more experience, or at least do stuff for free before charging people haha
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 09:57:23 AM by jplee3 »

GuitarStv

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #78 on: November 13, 2014, 10:14:35 AM »
Re: raw feeding. Yes, they need lots and lots of protein. Dogs are not designed to digest carbohydrates or grains, or cooked meat, which is basically what kibble and canned foods are made of. I feed chicken wings, chicken backs, turkey necks, minced turkey, tinned salmon and sardines on occasion, livers and other offal. Also large weight-bearing bones (like knuckle bones) just for a fun pastime for the dog. All raw and whole, unless it is a tiny dog, in which case you could break it up a bit. You can buy in bulk from butcher/ wholesaler and freeze. I add a few supplements like fish oil and glucosamine as my dog has a hip defect. You save on vet bills big time, as chronic diseases are reduced, and your dog will never need to have its teeth professionally cleaned, which is a huge money spinner. Even makes the dog less smelly and scratchy! Loads of great books and websites out there on raw feeding.

What about the bacteria and potential of salmonella ?

Dogs evolved as scavengers.  They've got very tough tummies with regards to germs and stuff that would be harmful to people.  Wild dogs often have a surprisingly large portion of their diet made up of various types of animal poop.  :P

Forcus

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #79 on: November 13, 2014, 10:29:39 AM »
Just a couple comments (wife is head of a rescue for bully breeds):

(1) You will find that many rescues / shelters come off as very unfriendly. I find this is for two reasons: (1) many animal people are not people-people, and (2) they have experienced so many morons and liars if they have been doing it long enough, that they are jaded and protective. Try to have a thick skin if you go this direction, most of them truly care about the animals, and that's what counts.

(2) If you or the family are a little tentative on adopting, you might try fostering, or foster-to-adopt. You may find you are not as into ownership as you thought  you were; conversely, your family may relax and be a little less uptight about it. If you get attached to the dog, generally you can adopt the foster. The rescues call that a 'failed foster' but that's not really a derogative term, and again the point is to save a dog. One less in their network means one more that can be saved.

NumberCruncher

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #80 on: November 13, 2014, 11:07:52 AM »
Few things to say/reiterate:

(1) Different adoption fees are usually the result of different charitable financial backing. The rescue we got our dog from recently raised adoption fees, as they lost a big supporter. Shelters backed with govt. money typically have lower fees. In most cases, the money spent to rescue and rehabilitate the dog is much higher than the adoption fee.

(2) Old dogs are amazing and under-appreciated!  You most certainly can teach an old dog new tricks. We adopted our dog as a senior, and he is an angel (mostly...). When we got him, he knew how to sit, and was potty trained. That was several months ago, and now he can "leave it," "shake," "lie down," and "stay" like a pro. He can also play the "shell game," which is adorable. I highly recommend adopting an adult dog, because puppies are super energetic and needy, and I'd push you to consider an older dog as well. Our dog is still active, just not "needs at least two hours of high-impact exercise" active. He's also more chill at home - never had him chew something up that wasn't his toy (excepting food that's left in his reach unattended), for example. Only time there was an indoor accident was when he had diarrhea and we didn't realize it. :-/ 

(3) Dogs can be very expensive, and you need to think about what you would do in case of an emergency. Case in point: My dog just got bloat and we had to decide in 5-10 minutes at the vet whether to put him to sleep or pay $5000 (included hospitalization for a couple days immediately following surgery). You might want to get *reputable* pet insurance if that might be an issue. Not only is it costly, but if you don't proceed with treatment, you may not be a considered a good candidate for adoption in the future. (And since I mentioned old dogs above, age is not a factor for something like bloat, except perhaps in recovery as advanced age may mean increased risk of other conditions that decrease survival rate). Now, getting a healthier breed can help in cases like this, but never eliminates the possibility of emergency veterinary care. This is definitely a talk to have with the spouse, if you're already not quite on the same page now.

EastCoastMike

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #81 on: November 13, 2014, 06:43:45 PM »
Every dollar you spend on a dog is a dollar not working for you, which means more time to retirement.

That's true, but if you can fit the dog expense into a budget where you still save 75% of what you earn, then why not? 

farmstache

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #82 on: November 13, 2014, 07:32:36 PM »
I deliberated a loooong time before getting my dog ten years ago, but when you just can't stop thinking about something for months and months, you should probably just go ahead and do it. I had dogs growing up, so I knew what I was getting into (one reason for the hesitation), but pets can be so life enriching--I don't regret it at all. If you just keep coming back to this question of whether to get a dog, just go ahead and do it! It means you really want to and maybe need to on some level.

I had to stop reading just to second and third this.

I've always had dogs, so this wasn't my experience - I always just knew I'd have a dog, and after my SO and I moved in together, we did get one. But google this blog piece called Barnheart (I'm a victim of that). I'm pretty sure you can have Dogheart. :)

As for tips. We adopted actually *before* moving in together. The woman at the shelter was actually glad she could keep this puppy for a bit longer and spread out the withdrawal of them from the mommy. He was my SO's first dog, and we got him as a 55 day old puppy (totally mixed mutt, the bitch gave birth at the shelter so he never got a bad experience of abuse or anything). We chose him out of 10 siblings. I was looking for a female, large breed (mother was, and the puppies had huge paws), calm disposition. My SO fell in love with this one, male, largest of the litter, really calm, but pushy. He would kick his siblings out of his mother's teats, and would sleep after when everyone played. He wasn't aggressive with pushing, and it turned into a sort of lazy stubborness as a young adult (he's 2.5yo now). He is calm and pushy to this day. Still steps on my feet and bumps into me, but we did train him so it wouldn't be too much. We did take about 3 months of training classes, of me and my hubby together. He kind of wanted to leave it all to me and I didn't let him, which was great, because he turned out better at some stuff I'm not (plus also had a blast). That said, the puppy does chew and gets bored often up to 2 years old. Hubby now says he doesn't care to have another puppy, he likes the grown dog best. I love developing puppies so we'll see about the next dog... the one we get when our little human is a bit older.

I also agree with all the tips about going to shelters once a week for maybe a month to walk/play with the dogs there. This way you get a bit more experience about reading dog personalities and finding out what kind of dog you get along with (plus you get to have a great time! even better if you can convince your wife to join - her not being on board is also a bit worrying, unless you're a different kind of guy and doesn't end up leaving things on her hands out of habit).

Edit: Now that I've read through the wife's reasons and more discussion (I'm so sorry the closest rescue will take months to be able to get new volunteers!), I think you pretty much have an action plan... I'll just add: do for those two dogs at your in-laws whatever you can. I live 1.5h from my parents but every time I go visit I try to give extra attention and a bit of training to their dogs. I also walk them when I have the time. I even took their old lab/golden mix to class with my puppy when we got him in 2012. My mom's dog was already old  (9yo) but loved the classes. It also helped to teach the puppy his name, and how not to obey just any command said on his vicinity. :)
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 08:04:40 PM by farmstache »

MrsPete

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #83 on: November 14, 2014, 04:21:45 PM »
I wouldn't count on swapping boarding. My pup loves other dogs on the street, but if she realizes they live in our apartment building, instantly hates them. She's very territorial despite being otherwise friendly. I can't imagine what would happen if we tried to bring another dog in. I think she only accepted our new dog because we had just moved to our apartment & she didn't feel as possessive. I think it's a great idea, but don't bet the budget on that one!
Yeah, it'd be smart to do a trial run -- like a practice overnight -- first and be SURE that the two dogs will get along.  And it's possible that your boarding-buddy could move away or decide to sever your dog-swapping deal.  But it's definitely worth a shot. 
What are your guys' take on adopting via a rescue vs a shelter?
No difference.  The two work hand-in-hand. 

People who surrender dogs tend to take them to a shelter, and the rescue people work with the shelter.  The rescue people advertise more and work harder to make people aware of the dogs.  When we found our pup last summer, we became aware of him through a rescue online . . . and we went to the shelter to see him. 
Consider adopting an adult dog, you'll already know their personality. Go walk dogs for a few weeks at a shelter first too
My retired neighbor has decided he doesn't want the commitment of a dog any more . . . but he walks dogs at the shelter as a way to get his "dog fix".  I think this'd be a great way for a potential dog owner to get the feel for how different breeds behave.  While dogs do have individual personalities, the breed makes a huge difference; for example, we have a beagle -- and last weekend I saw someone else's beagle, and I was surprised that she plays EXACTLY the same way our pup does. 
I would recommend that you not focus so much on breed as on temper.  Small dogs are often more difficult on a number of levels.  As a pp mentioned, often they aren't well trained because people think they are too small to be much of a threat.  They also have a much higher incidence of housebreaking issues than larger dogs. 

I would also recommend an adult dog over a puppy.  Puppies are a whole hell of a lot of work.  I've had both and I'd never do a puppy again.  If you volunteer with a shelter or a foster, you would be able to get to know a bunch of dogs, and as an added benefit you'll have an inside advantage when the perfect dog arrives.
The thing about small dogs is that people begin to accept bad behavior when they're puppies:  Oh, look at him jumping on grandma and playing rough with the kids!  You wouldn't allow a big German Shepherd to jump on grandma -- why would you allow that behavior in a poodle?  Yet people often DO allow their small dogs to misbehave, and by the time they become sick of that behavior . . . it's already engrained in the animal!  Start out right.  Take obedience classes.  Be consistant. 

I've always preferred adopting a young dog so I can train it in my own way -- and not have to UNdo any negative training -- but I do understand why some people want to get an older, calmer dog. 

 

iris lily

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #84 on: November 15, 2014, 11:50:31 AM »
Just a couple comments (wife is head of a rescue for bully breeds):
...

Hey! I do rescue for English bulldogs and have done some Frenchie rescue as well (I took in 6 French bulldogs in one day. That's a long story!)

If your wife is doing pitbull rescue, that's god's work. bless her. That world is tough.

Exhale

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #85 on: November 15, 2014, 12:00:03 PM »
Please, please get a rescue - they're wonderful dogs in need of homes. Watch the Dog Whisperer (episodes are free online - great info on how to walk your dog, set boundaries, intorduce a dog to its new home, etc.) Be sure to research dog breeds. Consider fostering a dog - that way you can see how it goes for you and your wife. At minimum, volunteer for a few months as a shelter dog walker so you have a chance to meet different breeds, personalities. Also, if the shelter gets to know you they'll get a sense of what dog might be a good match for you. Good luck!

 







homehandymum

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #86 on: November 15, 2014, 02:14:54 PM »
I just wanted to say 'thanks' to the people in this thread recommending retired greyhounds.  They completely had not been on my radar at all as family pets, but since looking into them, I think we've found our future dog!

We're about a year away from adopting one, given that we'll have a new baby in the house in the new year and the backyard is completely unfenced, and the usual pace at which we tackle such home improvements, but it sure is nice to know what the plan is :)

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #87 on: November 17, 2014, 02:09:51 PM »
I just wanted to say 'thanks' to the people in this thread recommending retired greyhounds.  They completely had not been on my radar at all as family pets, but since looking into them, I think we've found our future dog!

We're about a year away from adopting one, given that we'll have a new baby in the house in the new year and the backyard is completely unfenced, and the usual pace at which we tackle such home improvements, but it sure is nice to know what the plan is :)
Oh! That makes me so happy! They are such wonderful pets and just gentle, loving creatures in general. Plus, they are so in need of good homes. We love our grey!

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #88 on: November 17, 2014, 04:51:16 PM »
I just wanted to say 'thanks' to the people in this thread recommending retired greyhounds.  They completely had not been on my radar at all as family pets, but since looking into them, I think we've found our future dog!

We're about a year away from adopting one, given that we'll have a new baby in the house in the new year and the backyard is completely unfenced, and the usual pace at which we tackle such home improvements, but it sure is nice to know what the plan is :)
Oh! That makes me so happy! They are such wonderful pets and just gentle, loving creatures in general. Plus, they are so in need of good homes. We love our grey!

What's your take on Italian Greys? Those have always been appealing to me since my aunt and uncle in TX adopted a couple over the past decades.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #89 on: November 17, 2014, 06:19:39 PM »
I just wanted to say 'thanks' to the people in this thread recommending retired greyhounds.  They completely had not been on my radar at all as family pets, but since looking into them, I think we've found our future dog!

We're about a year away from adopting one, given that we'll have a new baby in the house in the new year and the backyard is completely unfenced, and the usual pace at which we tackle such home improvements, but it sure is nice to know what the plan is :)
Oh! That makes me so happy! They are such wonderful pets and just gentle, loving creatures in general. Plus, they are so in need of good homes. We love our grey!

What's your take on Italian Greys? Those have always been appealing to me since my aunt and uncle in TX adopted a couple over the past decades.
That's a great question--I actually don't know much about them. We have a retired racing greyhound and I'm not familiar with Italian Greys. I believe Italian Greys need to be purchased from a breeder and I honestly don't know much about their temperament. It is my understanding that they're a very different dog than the full-size greyhounds. Hopefully someone else here knows more about them!

jeromedawg

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #90 on: November 18, 2014, 01:02:42 PM »
I just wanted to say 'thanks' to the people in this thread recommending retired greyhounds.  They completely had not been on my radar at all as family pets, but since looking into them, I think we've found our future dog!

We're about a year away from adopting one, given that we'll have a new baby in the house in the new year and the backyard is completely unfenced, and the usual pace at which we tackle such home improvements, but it sure is nice to know what the plan is :)
Oh! That makes me so happy! They are such wonderful pets and just gentle, loving creatures in general. Plus, they are so in need of good homes. We love our grey!

What's your take on Italian Greys? Those have always been appealing to me since my aunt and uncle in TX adopted a couple over the past decades.
That's a great question--I actually don't know much about them. We have a retired racing greyhound and I'm not familiar with Italian Greys. I believe Italian Greys need to be purchased from a breeder and I honestly don't know much about their temperament. It is my understanding that they're a very different dog than the full-size greyhounds. Hopefully someone else here knows more about them!

I suppose I could always ask my uncle, since he's adopted twice now haha. I *think* he mentioned he adopted them from an Italian Grey rescue though, and that Joe, the first one (who passed) was actually a retired race dog. I thought they mentioned something about his legs too - either they were slightly injured or maybe it was just that they were more prone to injury since the legs are brittle. My wife really dislikes the "skin and bone" look of greyhounds lol but I think they're awesome dogs. I'd just be scared to have one bolt as soon as I open the door. For this reason, my uncle had shock collars on his Italian Greys *just* in case.

Forcus

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Re: First time potential dog owner (adopt/rescue route)
« Reply #91 on: November 20, 2014, 10:27:04 AM »
Just a couple comments (wife is head of a rescue for bully breeds):
...

Hey! I do rescue for English bulldogs and have done some Frenchie rescue as well (I took in 6 French bulldogs in one day. That's a long story!)

If your wife is doing pitbull rescue, that's god's work. bless her. That world is tough.

That's awesome, I can only imagine the story behind that. As far as your comment, I agree. I admit I stay on the fringes (I provide the money and the tissues for her breakdowns) but it's been very revealing how people operate, their perceptions, and oh yeah, something about the dogs too.