I had such a positive experience adopting a dog from the Anti The Anti-Cruelty Society I have to share! The adoption process was seamless and informative.
I wanted a small dog. Both for myself and for my grandma to help care for. She lives alone, and loves having a companion to spoil. I knew it would really cheer her up to have a dog come stay with her since her last one died of old age, and she’s had dogs all her life. She’s a huge dog lover just like me! I tried contacting a couple rescue groups with no response, and I tried Craigslist, no luck. I was feeling a bit irritated, why is this difficult, I work in dog rescue (primarily Belgian Malinois Rescue). Then ACS (Anti Cruelty Society) was recommended to me by a trainer– they offer puppy and adult classes there in their on-site training center.
My criteria was:
- Small enough for an elderly woman to handle
- Not too high strung
- Sticks around naturally, not a bolter, which leads me to the next one…
- Temperament to follow a human, NOT independent, as I would be training her
- Very low-shedding
- Affectionate lap dog
- Adult, preferably older, no puppies
- Not going to cost me a huge fee to obtain. I was not interested in spending $500+ on a pedigreed adult. I certainly would never buy from a “backyard breeder” or pet shop who sells mixes anyway. There’s no need to.
I am a dog trainer, what can I say… I know what I want.
It is super important to know what you want. You know, going in, that you WILL have to say “no” to several dogs, no matter how cute they are, until you find the perfect match. I would recommend that any pet owner bring a dog trainer with them to help them select a dog for them. I will not lead my clients wrong, because I listen to their criteria, I ask the right questions, and I know what will be the best dog for them. I also give them transition advice. When I get hired to do “dog selection services” 99% of the time people will be happy with their choice. We take our time, and we look around. We do not grab onto the first dog that we see, and we use logic first, emotion second. Logic says “here are the pros and cons of this particular choice” and emotion gives you the ability to make a connection to love the dog. If you “logic, then emotion” backwards, you might end up with the worst emotion of all: regret.
I found a shaggy little dog on their website (they appear to keep their “adoptables” on the website up to date! I noticed this is rare for rescues). She is a Yorkie X Chihuahua, estimated 4 years old. I went in to see her. I was eager to get the paperwork started since it was almost 6:30, but the shelter manager said “Spend some time with her first.” That is fantastic advice. They have great hours, you have until 7pm to view the adoptable dogs. I walked her around the main room and checked her out– outgoing, tail up, happy go lucky! Perfect. So small. She is only 3.5 pounds. I immediately thought she was sweet and adorable. The picture I posted does not do her justice.
Then I was taken to a counseling room where the manager went over everything. She explained all the vaccines, and when more were due, and went over the vet exam, which detailed she has luxating patellas, common in tiny dogs. This might be an issue if I planned to compete in agility with her, but it is not a big issue for a house pet, and I will keep an eye on it. They also mentioned she has some tartar on her teeth, also not uncommon for small dogs. Then another employee went over the behavioral eval she conducted (THEY ACTUALLY EVALUATE THEIR DOGS TEMPERAMENTS) which included the dogs reactions, behavior around food, and soforth. The behavior eval was detailed. I really respect that they do this and report it honestly.This really helps one find the perfect fit for a person, and for the dog as well. Tiny dogs are not always good with kids– rambunctious kids may accidentally hurt a fragile dog like a Yorkie. They also give the dog a “beginner,” “intermediate,” or “advanced” label, and explain why– so people find the best fit for them. A dog who barks or startles a bit might be “intermediate,” slow to warm up, for example. Of course nothing is a guarantee, these are living animals, but it gives you an idea. Then they went over care– how often to feed her, how to house her best, etc. They knew I was already aware of all this, but they did their job.
The shelter facilities itself was very nice. I liked how some dogs had a cover, like a blanket kennel cover, clipped onto their enclosures. It can be really stressful for a dog to have constant commotion and other dogs walking past their kennel. It seems to help keep stress down. The facilities were bright and clean, and you can see some of the dogs from outside on the street through the window. I picked her up after her spay, at the clinic. When I called to confirm the time, they answered promptly. I saw several people taking advantage of the low-cost spay and neuters there, which is great.
The adoption fee was only $95… here’s what it included (pictured):
- Adorable dog
- Spay surgery
- Rabies, distemper, parvo, bordatella, heartworm test, Strongid deworming
- Goodie bag with dog food samples, 3 toys, a rawhide,etc.
- Leather collar with ID tag, Rabies tag, and microchip tag, dog t-shirt (just for her, I assume 🙂
- handouts on training, health, and more
- A DVD on how to begin training your dog, and the number to a behavior hotline
That is quite a deal for $95. And donations go to a good cause. The Anti-Cruelty Society is one of only two open-admission shelters in Chicago. Check them out if you’re looking for your next companion! And if you’d like professional advice, give me a call and I’ll come with to guide you.
Jennifer Hack, of Dynamic Dogs
Even at 3.5lbs, a dog is a dog and needs to socialize and be normal! Here she is running with the friendly big dogs. She is learning some obedience, especially “come when called,” and potty training, which she’s already taken to very well.