I submitted an application and never heard back. What’s going on?
We’re so sorry about the confusion. We are a very small rescue with a small group of volunteers who, like you, have jobs and families, and need to do all of the other time-consuming things everyone does. In addition to applications, volunteers perform house checks for adopters, work with people giving up their dogs, and basically contribute time enough for a second full-time job to support our rescue. Recently, we have had a huge influx of applications. Many more than a very small staff could handle. This isn’t an excuse for leaving you hanging: it’s an explanation. That’s why we now have an adoption coordinator (matchmaker).
Our adoption process has several different pieces. Each piece takes time. After you submit an application, there will be a phone conversation with you, we will check your vet references to see that you are a responsible pet owner, we will come out to your house for a house check to see that any dog we place with you will be in a safe and loving environment. None of that happens unless we are sure we have a very good potential match for you. We simply do not have the resources to cover all of this for everyone who submits an application. So we hold off on this until we have a dog we know is a good potential match for an applicant. After that, we require that an adopter, the family, and pets, meet with the potential adoptive dog twice. The first time at the foster’s house, the second time at the adopter’s home (or vice versa!)
To do all of that requires time. Once all of that is done, if you and Peaceful Paws still think it is a good match, the dog will go to you for a trial period (typically 2 weeks or more in length). Like the two visits, this is critical and will not be waived. We do not want you to end up with a dog that doesn’t fit into your house. Within two weeks, you will know and so will we. If it isn’t a good fit, we will continue to look for a dog for you and the dog you took in for a trial will go to a home more suited to it. You won’t be blacklisted because it turned out not to be the ideal match.
Please see the answers about the application process above. That will explain why you can’t adopt a dog that quickly.
I found a dog I love on your website, but you said we wouldn’t be a good match. Why not?
There are a few possible reasons. It could be that with the limited space on the web, we know more information that makes the dog less than ideal for your particular circumstances. We put the information about the dogs on the web as soon as we have it and update as frequently as possible if things change.
It could be that as a dog lives in the foster home, we learn things that make it unsuitable for your home. For example, two weeks into its life in the foster home, a dog we were told was good with cats, goes after the foster’s cat.
It could also be that you think a specific dog’s traits would be a good fit in your home and we disagree. For example, you may have a very busy household with people and dogs coming in and out – which is absolutely fine. You’ve fallen in love with a picture of Dog X. But Dog X is a very quiet dog. You might think Dog X will come out of its shell with a little company. While some dogs might be like that, based on what we know, Dog X isn’t one of them. Remember, our goal is to match you with the best dog and match our dogs with its best adopter. So if we feel a dog isn’t right for you, there is a better dog out there for you.
It could have nothing to do with the dog at all, but be the distance between you and the dog. As mentioned in the question about the application process, you have to go meet the dog and the dog has to go meet you. If you are four hours away from where the dog is being fostered, you might be fine with driving that far, but the foster simply can’t. Since we will not waive the two visits, you cannot adopt that dog.
What happens if I run into problems with the dog after I adopt him?
Hopefully, it won’t come to that, and we will all realize it isn’t a good match before you adopt. If you adopt a dog from us and love him, but run into an issue with his behavior that you don’t know how to fix, we can try to help you. We also strongly encourage all people who adopt from us to take their new dogs to positive training class. This kind of training can be fun for both of you and will help build a strong bond right from the start. We are happy to recommend a positive training class in your area–just email us for recommendations.
You said someone would call me, but I haven’t heard back. Is there some reason you haven’t called me?
Once again, this isn’t a reflection on you. It is a reflection on the size of the rescue, the number of dogs, the limited number of volunteers and the number of applications coming in. If you haven’t heard anything back in a week, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to drop by your shelter and see the dogs. Why won’t you let me?
We are a foster-home based rescue. We do not have a shelter and our dogs do not go into kennels. We can’t ask our foster homes to open their houses up to anyone who has put in an application. You will meet a dog when we have one that you and we both think will be a good fit and are farther into the adoption process.
Your site says you won’t adopt to families with kids under 10, except in rare cases. I have kids under 10. I’m a great dog owner and my kids have been raised with dogs since they were babies. They are great with dogs. Your site said the dog likes kids. So why can’t I adopt? How do I become one of the rare cases?
Unfortunately, our experience has been that the majority of our dogs that have been adopted out and returned come from families with small children. There can be a number of reasons that it doesn’t work out. Also a dog may “like” kids, but not be good living with ones of certain ages. We want to give our dogs the most positive experience, and because of this, we normally turn down applications of people with small children. Becoming one of the rare cases depends on the case. If you really feel you can be a great home to a dog while you have small children, after you receive a note saying we don’t adopt to families with small children, you should write back to us and explain your situation. There is no guarantee we will make an exception. This is one of the areas where we are more strict than most rescues.
I know your website says you only adopt to people in PA, NJ, DE, and MD. I live outside of those, why can’t I adopt?
Part of the adoption process requires two visits between you, your family, and pets and the potential adoptive dog. One of those will be at the foster’s house and one at yours. Sometimes the driving requirement for people living in the area we cover is too much for the adopter or too much for foster home. Finding a foster home willing to drive distances outside of the four states we normally work with is rare. If you live in a state outside of the ones we normally cover, there is a good chance that a rescue closer to you has the type of dog you are interested in.
I have a very busy household, can I still adopt from you?
Having a busy household or very active household will not stop you from adopting. Finding the right dog from breeds that tend to be couch potatoes after puppyhood can be a bit of a challenge. We do get high energy dogs that might fit well in a very active, busy household with people coming and going. We just never know when we’ll get them.
I rent my house/apartment, but I’ve had dogs before and I’m very responsible, will I still be able to adopt?
Unfortunately, unless you have special circumstances, renting is a problem. You would be amazed at the number of dogs turned into rescue because people have to move and can’t find a place that will take a giant dog. It is heartbreaking for the owners and for the dog.
I don’t have a fence. Can I still adopt a dog?
It depends on your situation and the dogs available for adoption. We base our criteria on whether or not the dog in question needs a fence, not on whether every dog needs a fence. However, if you have no fence and kids and rent, we’re not going to be able to accommodate all of those exceptions.
We do not and will never adopt to someone who has an electronic fence. They are painful to the dogs. Sadly, we know of a number of dogs who have been injured or killed by outside dogs coming into the yard or when the dog living within the electronic fence broke through it.
Your website says you don’t like electronic fences. I want to use an electronic fence. Why can’t I do that and adopt from you?
Please see the question about fencing. It covers electronic fences.
I’ve never had a big dog before, what do I need to know? All big dogs basically have the same personality, don’t they?
Individual breeds can be very different from other breeds. Individual dogs can be very different from other dogs of the same breed. However, there are certain personality traits that are stronger in some breeds than in others.
Some breeds are similar enough that the differences might not be that important to you and you would be just as happy with an English Mastiff as a Great Dane. But some dogs are very different. If you love Great Pyrenees you might not want a very clingy dog like a Great Dane.Do research about the breeds you like, make sure you know which type or types of dog will be best in your house. This will help ensure a happy match for you and your future dog. If you are interested in three or even four different giant breeds, that’s great. If you mark off you are interested in every different kind of giant dog there is, we worry that you don’t know what you are getting into.
Don’t let a pretty face sway you. If you just absolutely fall in love with a picture of a dog on our website, but the info about the dog isn’t a good match for you, look at the others on our site. The perfect match for you may be a few listings below. Personality is much more important than look
I filled out the application very quickly. I may have checked a box or two too fast that I want to change. Who can I contact to explain this?
Send an email to email@example.com, put in the title something along the line of “a mistake in my application” so someone is aware there is an issue
Your main page says “training collars” are not part of what your rescue is about. What is a training collar? How do I know if I’ve used one?
Training collars include electronic or e-collars, prong or choke collars. We advocate positive communication with all animals. While many of us have used choke chains in the past, we’re asking you to move on to more positive ways of handling/communicating with your new (and existing) dogs. Consider using front-hook harnesses and gentle leaders, use treats, toys and other positive reinforcements to encourage dogs to do as you ask. So it’s OK if you’ve used choke or prong collars before, but join us in a new era where dogs are our best friends! Please email us for more information about positive communication–we’re always happy to share information and encourage you to learn more.
I like the idea of positive communication. But I’m not sure I understand what that means as far as adopting a dog and how I have to take care of it. Where can I find more information?
Here are a few of our favorite articles about positive communications/training:
- Positive Reinforcement Training
- Benefits of Using Positive Reinforcement to Train Your Dog
- Common Dog Training Mistakes
If you are really interested in changing your relationship with your dog, we encourage you to buy or borrow our very favorite book: The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson.
In the past, I used choke collars and tugged on the leash to get the dog to do what I want. I understand that isn’t what you want from your adopters. How can I learn about positive training methods?
See the question above about positive communication.
I am gone from my home ten hours a day. I have a dog sitter who comes in every day and spends an hour with my dog. I know I’m gone for a long time, but I really love my dogs. And my dogs have been happy with me. Can I still adopt?
Quite frankly, ten hours is much longer than we’d like. However, it doesn’t necessarily rule you out. It depends on your home circumstances, if you have other dogs, and a number of other factors.We recognize that between full time jobs and commuting to and from work, many people, including dog lovers are away from home that much.If you are gone from home that much, you should drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and start a discussion about it.
I have never spayed or neutered any of my animals. I don’t want to do it with any animals I have in the future. Can I get a dog from you that isn’t spayed or neutered?
Sorry, you cannot adopt a dog from us. We require spaying and neutering of animals we adopt to you and any animals you have had in your household. We won’t adopt to people who do not spay and neuter. Too many animals that deserve good homes are put to death because of the overpopulation of dogs and cats from unplanned breeding.If there is a specific reason you couldn’t spay or neuter, for example if a dog was too ill to survive the surgery because of a heart problem, then you need to write to us at email@example.com and explain the situation. But if you had animals and never had them altered because you didn’t want to, you need to adopt from somewhere else.
I think your requirements are too strict. I’ve had dogs all my life. I don’t think I need to do all the things you say I have to just to adopt a dog.
You are absolutely welcome to your opinion. However, our rescue has a very specific mission to adopt dogs into homes that will work with our philosophy of positive communication and training. Fortunately for you, there are many, many unwanted animals and rescues to help them. You may find a rescue whose requirements work better for you.
I say “no” to dogs. Does that mean I can’t adopt from you? That isn’t positive.
We’ve all done that. If that is the only negative thing you do, you can still adopt from us, if we find the right dog for you. However, we would want you to learn alternative methods besides saying “no.” Here is a great tip about not saying “no.” It takes a little training, but it is so worth it. Instead of saying “no,” say “sit.” Teach your dog to sit. Not just sit when he wants a treat, but sit all the time whenever you say it. It is possible. There are positive ways to do this. You can find them on the web or we can help you.If you tell your dog to sit when he is doing something you don’t want, he can’t do the thing you don’t want. He will be sitting instead. You won’t need to say “no.”Just telling a dog no doesn’t tell him what you want him to do. Telling him to sit gives him a task. If he is running off with your kitchen mitt, a “sit” will be a lot more helpful than a “no.”
I want a giant dog, but I don’t see one on your website that matches what I need. What do I do?
Keep checking our website as the dogs coming in change quite frequently. We also understand that you may want to look at other rescues, breed specific or larger rescues. For example, if you are looking for a Great Dane, many people also look at the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League. They only take in Great Danes and Dane mixes. They also cover more states than we do.
I am only interested in an Irish Wolfhound (or Borsoi or fill in the blank). When I look at the website, you seem to only have three or four breeds, not the one I am looking for. When do you think you’ll have my type of dog?
I’m sorry, but we can’t answer that. We take in dogs that people need to give up. While we have control over which dogs we take in, we can’t control what breeds people want to surrender to us. We are open to taking in a variety of dog breeds, but if you are looking for one you haven’t seen on our site, you might want to look at a breed specific rescue.
How much does it cost to adopt a dog from Peaceful Paws?
Peaceful Paws asks for a donation at the time of adoption to help defray the many expenses of running a rescue, including administrative, medical, behavioral, general and emergency costs. In return, we make sure the dog is spayed or neutered, heartworm tested, up to date on vaccinations. On average, we spend $350 or more on a dog in our program (see average vet costs>>). Some dogs with medical issues that need surgery cost us over $5000 each.
12 months or younger – $400
12 months to 6 years of age – $350
Over 6 years of age – $250