Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Timmy Finds His Furrever Family! It's ALL About The Dogs!

About a year ago, we took in a little shelter dog, then about 5yo or so, who we named Timmy who became The Timmy.

The Timmy weighs a wee 12 lbs. and is a Min Pin mix. (note in this pic, the usually perky prick (up) ears and demeanor is missing. Poor guy, he just had a dental and hey, the vet? Ugh!).

Timmy came in very thin making his little head look WAY too big for his body. When we were at the Pet Expo, it was sad to see people laughing at him. I really wanted to slap them silly. Hey, so you are what? A glamour queen/king? Poor guy. WHY we always dwell on looks versus heart--in people and animals--escapes me.

Timmy is also a mostly black dog, the very hardest type to photograph well. I took hundreds of pictures of Timmy and barely eked out three that were somewhat acceptable.

Timmy's story was truly one of luck and caring. The very day the shelter scout was at the shelter (she only goes there once a week), she was approached by a shelter staffer who said they had a nice little dog that for some reason was still alive given he was to have been killed the evening before. He survived due to some kind of error. Okay. The Timmy, The Living error. I take a different view but whatever.

The shelter scout checked Timmy out--then bailed him out--then checked me out. "Yes," I said. "Get him out we will take him."

So, for the next year plus, Timmy became part of the family. And The Timmy (eh-hem) got VERY spoiled, sleeping under the covers and (eh-hem) going about everywhere with me for quite a while. And The Timmy gained weight, and The Timmy got healthy.

No matter what I did--from showing to making him the poster boy--I never got even ONE application to adopt The Timmy. Until last week.

The young late twenty something couple that applied--a really mellow and sweet couple with a WONDERFUL application (I get tons that are just awful and are rejected on sight and even more rejected because they don't really have a clue, or lie, or the match is just all wrong) fell in love with his story--and him when they met him. (We do home inspections for the safety of the dog (and often potential adopters HAVE to make safety changes to trash cans, fencing, gates and if puppies are involved the list is VERY long) , so we took The Timmy to them to meet once we approved their app). They loved him. We walked him around their condo complex and he met other doggies and they were SO impressed that even when other dogs tried to get snarky with him, The Timmy just didn't react.

The Timmy is really SO above all that.

So I called The Timmy's new companions today to see how he is doing. Well... he was laying on the male companion's feet. I asked, "You are at your computer? (The Timmy liked to lay at my feet when I was typing.)

"Nope. We're on the bed watching a movie." (Big smile on my end of the phone...)

"Is he being a gentleman and good?" I asked.

"He is perfect," came the reply. (Another big smile on my end of the phone. Just as I suspected!)

When we adopt a dog out, we adopt them out as perfect as we can get them. They leave with clean teeth (The Timmy's were cleaned the very day he left thus the bit spacey look in the photo, and he had his second blood panel done that day also, make sure all vaccinations are up to date (to good protocoal) and if any other problems are suspected or found that we cover them, and we pass along all the veterinary information in a packet for the owners and the dogs/cats are all microchipped each one kept in my OWN personal name for very good reason), and we do an exit exam with the owners present with the vet so they can ask any questions they have all of us together with the vet so we ALL know the condition the dog left in. I do this so if ANYTHING goes wrong, my butt is covered, legally, morally and ethically plus it is good for the dog and the new owners.

And if they have ANY problems within some reasonable period, the dog is taken back to my vet, free of charge to the dog's/cat's new companions, and we deal with it.

If a groomed dog, the dog either leaves perfectly groomed, or if the owner wants a specific groom, we allow for that in adoption fee.

So, you might ask, what was the fee for Timmy? $200.00 ($25.00 cheaper than the shelter which often releases sick dogs with no such blood tests or clean teeth or experience with other cats/dogs to unknown people who may or may not take care of the dog).

We ate probably $500.00 on The Timmy which is hardly unusual. It's not about the money, it's about the dog. So whenever I hear people bad-mouthing rescues for their fees, I go nuts. Sure, some rescues are lousy and should just plain get out of it. This isn't a business, it's a RESCUE. But most break their fannies to do right by the dogs.

Yes, we are probably in the go-to-extremes category, but that is how we do it and that is what I can live with. I know many rescues, likewise, that spend thousands of dollars on a dog's behavior training. I don't take behavior cases anymore just because I don't have the time and am older and don't feel confident enough--especially given the amount of stairs here--in properly and safely handling a wild 100 lb. dog and keeping that dog under control to do that extremely precious and VERY hard work, but I used to do that. I hold great respect for those that do.

And, yeah, the new owners get the big lecture on nutrition and WHY good food makes a difference (DUH!) (and, um yes, in dogs anyway, human food is fine--often better than dog stuff--for snacks as long as... long list), and everything else you can imagine including, importantly, efficacy of vaccines and new vaccine recommendations, blood titers for parvo and distemper versus auto vaccinations and we near insist they go to a vet we know and approve of given we know a LOT of them and some are absolutely terrible and some are remarkable.

So, when someone clears our application, interview and home visit they have to be pretty damn good!

THEN, they sign a contract that the dog is returned to us, regardless of age or location of the dog, should the adopter not be able to keep the dog for WHATEVER reason. We provide lifetime protection for the dog which is why the dogs are kept in MY PERSONAL name. If a shelter or group sees a first contact rescue name on a microchip, they often ignore it. That's why I don't do it that way. We get the call, we get the dog/cat out, and we wait for a call from the owners.

Given our screening process and the emphasis on calling us immediately if a dog is lost, we rarely have to go through this. It has, in fact, happened only once in the last five years. And I personally found the dog. Long story.

Is this great or what?

And more of The Timmy...

We miss The Timmy, he had become a part of our family.

But in rescue--as in foster--one thinks or really must think differently. The more we release to good homes, the more we can save.

There is just so much space.

God Bless The Timmy and his new and wonderful companions.