Sunday, September 07, 2008

The search continues...

Tried to do a good thing and add to our household at the same time. Found a dog that sounded fabulous on petfinder.com. Called the rescue facility housing said pooch and talked at length about his appropriateness for me and Praline. Sounded good. His profile said he was housebroken. Great! Knew this would have its challenges, but based on what the lady told me, I thought we could manage the hurdles.

As we were leaving the shelter, I told the woman I was stopping on the way home to buy him a kennel. She told me not to get a plastic kennel, to get a wire one. I said okay.

Got him home, and he wouldn't pee outside, but didn't pee inside either. Let him choose where he slept that first night. Awoke to Lake Urie on the kitchen floor. Probably cleaned up at least a quart of urine. Um, okay. KNEW that would be part of the deal. Called the shelter, though, and the woman told me THEN that she never put the dogs up at night, that they could come and go 24/7, so he was accustomed to going out any time day or night. Um, that is not house-trained, in my book. (Petfinder listing said he WAS housetrained to a doggie door, and that she'd told me so long as he got to go out every couple hours or so, it would be okay.) Okay, at this point I thought it'd be more of a challenge than I originally expected, but not insurmountable.

Spent a LOT of time outdoors with both dogs throughout Saturday. Cleaned up lots more pee in the house. Fine. Bedtime came, and I put him in his kennel. I'd no more than climbed in bed than he started rattling his kennel door and thrashing about. I thought he'd quit eventually, and i drifted in and out of sleep several hours. At 3:30, he began barking. I came downstairs and took the two dogs into my back yard for about 30 minutes. Back inside and back into the kennel, he started howling and moaning. That really sealed his fate. I let him loose for the remainder of the night so I perhaps could at least get a few hours' decent sleep.

I have common walls with two other apartments. If someone complained to me their neighbor's dog was baying at 4am, I'd cite that resident and issue them a $250 fine the next occurrence. (company policy, not one of my own creation). The pee thing I could work around as long as necessary, but there needs must be a short learning curve on the bark/noise issue.

Sunday morning, I called the lady again about him and I said what a disaster the kennel thing was, and she said "you can't put him in a kennel! He's claustrophobic!" Again, this is a bit of information that would have been helpful when I was making the decision to take the bundle of joy home, and she could have mentioned this instead of advising me what type of kennel to buy. I feel misled, at the very least. She said I could let him roam free and never kennel him, and I said that would mean he'd never learn to be housebroken, plus, my little dog who must be kenneled for her own safety would bark incessantly if he had free run of the place as she was cooped up. This dog was just an unfolding series of nasty surprises.

Yes, I took the dog back to her. I thought I was doing a good thing for the 3 of us. Funny how the important questions turn out to be the ones not asked-- the ones you'd never THINK to ask. I've never heard of a kennel or shelter where they don't pen the dogs up at night. I would think that people who wanted the best outcome would try to be as forthcoming as possible to facilitate the best possible outcome for the rescued pets, yeah? I'm so disappointed.

Update: In a state of distress Sunday morning, I emailed mauser*girl who works extensively with dogs, and someone whose opinion on same I value. In her response, she wrote:
While any dog needs to have time to settle and get used to a new routine, this has nothing to do with patience. A dog is either housebroken or he is not, and a dog is either crate trained or he is not. As both are absolute requirements in your situation, I agree - you were hoodwinked. I would return the dog and ask for a refund. I don't know whether their contract states that they don't give refunds or not, but they LIED to you. It's not like you simply changed your mind.

Thanks, mauser*girl. I wanted this to work out, but this equation of partial or false information about the dog set us all up for failure, unfortunately. After all, we are talking about how several lives will be affected, and not the fate of a used car. I'd like to think things here can be held to a higher standard.

9 comments:

Hammer said...

It would behoove the shelter people not to misrepresent their animals.

Christina LMT said...

I'm sorry things didn't work out, but you were set up for failure by the folks running the rescue. Full disclosure is imperative when it comes to animal adoptions. How do they possibly think lying about the pets is going to help them find good homes for them?
Maroons.

phlegmfatale said...

hammer - After all, we're not talking about used cars here, right? Lying about the dog and their training is setting the poor creature and the adoptive family up for failure.

christina - Thanks, hon. I feel terrible about it. Given full information, I wouldn't have put myself or the poor dog through any of this. I want to believe they meant well, but this is a terrible way to go about it.

DBA Dude said...

That sucks, and it is a shame that the three of you had to through all that trauma.

Guess that you will be asking a lot more questions when you find the next prospect!

Kristopher said...

The problem with a lot of pet shelters, especially no-kill shelters, is that they are run by folks who are one step short of being that crazy cat lady who ends up on the six o'clock news.

They will do or say anything to place an animal ... each animal placed is one less that gets put down and one more space for another "rescue" in their own shelter.

You are dealing with a near religious fanatic here.

If you want truth in advertizing, you may have to find a reputable breeder instead ... you can usually get a good deal if you specify companionship only ... breeders often have dogs that will never be showable.

phlegmfatale said...

hammer - lesson learned, I suppose. Sadly. Yup, LOTS more questions, next time.

kristopher - I do think this place glossed over the problem issues of its dogs in hopes of placing them. However, in my case where I don't have the flexibility on noise, they doomed us all to failure. I suppose anyone can hang a shingle, these days, and call themselves anything they want.

Mauser*Girl said...

There is a huge difference between a shelter and a rescue. The place in question is really neither. They're a boarding facility that claims to "rescue" dogs.

Most shelters (both county ones and no kill ones) don't give a hoot about the dogs in their care or really whom they go to. Most don't even call the reference numbers they ask you to provide, and as long as you have a copy of your lease and something with your address on it, they will hand you a dog that same day, very few questions asked.

Most rescues (reputable ones) do not keep their animals in a shelter, they keep them in volunteer foster homes. Usually one or two fosters per home, not more. They are interested in finding the right home for the right dog, not pushing dogs out the door to questionable homes.

Just to clarify on what's what.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

How horrible for everybody concerned! You certainly did not get the information to which you were entitled. (I hope all the pee came out.)

Rocket Girl said...

I know this must have been very hard to do. I totally think you did the right thing.

By the way I have never in all my years of dog training heard of a claustrophobic dog. Dogs are den animals, they like to sleep in the security of small quarters. This dog was clearly not crate trained.

Good luck!