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Monday, August 5,2019

Such a Deal?

By Tina Valant-Siebelts  
Who doesn’t love a good deal? I have scored an unused $300 food processor with attachments for $20, and a $1500 wrapped sleeper sofa for $75. I had a plan, knew what to look for, what to avoid and how to assess the items. Sadly, some people don’t use this preparation when adding a pet to their family. They want what they want, when they want it.

Wednesday, a trainer friend contacted me, with an urgent situation.

Boomer (name changed for privacy), a small purebred dog was obtained via Craigslist. Within four days the dog had bitten (they used the word mauled) two people. They needed him out, and no longer felt safe with small children in the house. I made arrangements to visit Thursday. Having an unplaceable “Yorkshire terror” myself, I understood why this dog was acting out.

He was NOT the breed they were told, but rather an adorable mutt. I assessed, without incident. I asked, “With so many rescues and shelters around, why would you go on CraigsList?” “No one was calling us back from rescues or shelters. We didn’t want to go through the expense and paperwork,” was the response.

They drove almost an hour to get the dog, to a complete stranger’s home.

Got the intact dog for free. He came with a third of a bag of food and two toys. No papers, no vet records. They found a vet to check him out and update vaccinations: $155. Bought him a tag, new collar and lead: $33.

Boomer was immediately given run of the house, because “crate training is cruel.” The next day, one of the kids tried to pick him up. He growled a warning. No contact made. Kids were told to NOT pick the dog up. A family member was visiting. Boomer seemed to be enjoying her brushing him. Unprovoked, he “mauled” her hand. Person went to urgent care. Stitches were not needed. No bite report was filed. Wound was cleaned, tetanus shot administered, and bandaged. Urgent care visit: $195, antibiotics: $24. In four days, the “free” dog cost over $400. Now they were giving him up.

Young children plus an unknown, untested, intact (probably lied about) dog usually equals disaster. I had 36 hours to find a foster/rescue for Boomer. After all he had been through, I couldn’t chance an unneutered cutie ending up in the wrong hands or in a shelter. For the next few hours, I shelved my duties to make phone calls, email and post an S.O.S. on social media. I had work plans to leave the area Friday. Now this.

In the wee morning hours, Furry Friends in Jupiter committed to take him. Prayers answered! Boomer would have a chance at being a happy, safe to be around, well-adjusted dog, in a properly screened home. Tears were shed, the kids were sad to see him go. Guess who had to drive him? Me. Over six hours were redirected from my own work, family and pets. So much for the “free to good home” fallacy.

Adding a living, breathing, sentient being to your household is not buying an inanimate object like an appliance or sofa. Avoid the swap meet. Save yourself (your family, and those of us dedicated to helping animals), time, money, energy AND resources. Avoid headache and heartache, go through a reputable rescue organization. Not sure who? Message me.

STEP ONE: Fill out an application online. Can’t take the time to do that? Then we can’t take time away from helping animals, our jobs, families and pets to take your call.

STEP TWO: Be patient and honest.

The rescue will do their best to pair the right pet for your family. Even though you love dogs, or have had dogs your whole life, EVERY dog is an individual. The rescue best knows the dogs in their care, and how to match you. Put your trust in the people who live this life of dedication – every day.

STEP THREE: Always err on the side of caution, especially with kids in the house. Do not let the new pet immediately have run of the house. Crate-train, and do not push the pet too far, too fast. Trust is earned with people, and pets.

Can you now JUSTIFY the adoption fee ($200-$300)? Rescued pets are already up to date on vax, spayed/ neutered. Most likely they have been in a foster home, so the temperament, personality, tolerance is known. NEVER EVER give away/get a pet for free. The adage applies, you get what you pay for.


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