Have you sent in an adoption application and never heard from your local rescue organization?
There are many reasons why the application may not have born fruit. Included are the usual mishaps: lost in the mail, misplaced by a rescuer, Westie Rescue called several times while you were on vacation, etc.
It also is possible that your application was put behind more desirable applications. What makes a home most appealing to rescuers who are trying to place a dog? Here are some of the following best attributes:
- Flexible and realistic pet attribute requests
- Someone in the house works at home or is a homemaker or retiree
- An enclosed fence or a notation that you plan to hire a dog walker if away for long hours each day
- No small children living in the house or visiting often
- No non-dog small pets living in the house
- Proximity to a rescue group location or a willingness to drive to visit one for an interview
A frequent but highly unrealistic request is for a rescue puppy under one year old. People rarely turn in Westie puppies to be rescued since they can be sold for as much as $1500.00 in Northern VA. Generally our rescues range in age from two to ten years old.
The wait time with Westie Rescue varies according to the requests listed on the application. A person requesting a one-year old female may wait a year before hearing from Westie Rescue, since our typical profile turns up three to seven year-old males. A person willing to accept either sex and a wide range in age may receive a call in less than one month.
Some applicant's requests are based on misunderstandings. When making your request, avoid the common fallacies:
I want a female because they are gentle.
So wrong--females are much more aggressive than males. In Westies they are hunters and killers of chipmunks, birds and rabbits that they will bring to you as a trophy. They are less likely to be lap sitters and to get along with children.
I want a puppy because they are easy to train.
A dog with a "puppy brain" is a little difficult to get through to. Puppy exuberance causes a great deal of "attention deficit" during the first two years of life.
An older dog is difficult to housebreak.
Puppies do not have complete control of muscles to hold back voiding. Older dogs have complete control and a strong desire to learn and please. Most adult rescue our housebroken in one week.
I don't want to get attached to an eight year old because it will die soon.
Westies live an average of 14 years. Those leading the good life often reach sixteen or seventeen. A father/daughter Westie team living in PA have achieved the record by living to be 25 and 20 years old respectively.
Set up for Failure
Its easy to lose site of the fact that the Westies to be placed are dogs who already have become homeless once. Many of them have been abused or neglected and come to Rescue broken-hearted. Rescuers are in the business of making these dogs' dreams come true rather than in the business of helping people find the pet that they think is ideal.
To support these goals, rescuers will not knowingly place a dog in a home that has elements that can lead to the potential failure of the placement and the return of the dog. Many Westie Rescue groups do not place dogs in homes where:
- People have asthma.
- Cats, rabbits, rodents are in residence. Why?
- Small children reside or visit frequently . Why?
Some areas of the country such as Montana, the Dakotas, Iowa do not have sufficient , or in some cases-any active Westie Rescue organizations. Some States, are covered but are quite a long haul from the Rescue organization's headquarters. You can be part of the solution by volunteering. See, How you can help local rescue organizations.
Westie Friendly Environments
Many Westies do live in loving homes where their families are gone for eight to ten hours a day. In order to avoid frustration on both dog and owner's part, its important to provide adequate and frequent enough "potty" time.
A well-trained adult dog can hold their water for 5 to 6 hours. After that, even the best-intentioned dog will have accidents. By providing a dog door out to a safe, enclosed outdoor area, a noon visit from family, a mid-day dog walker or even a patch of grass with a small tree in an indoor area, you will cover this important need.
Crating does nothing to increase the dog's comfort with having no opportunity to eliminate waste, although it may curtain his activities. Withholding food or water is just plain harmful and should not be used as a solution to the problem.
Remember, Westies are not outdoor dogs. Although they enjoy the outdoors, living there will open them up to all kinds of health problems that can easily spiral out of control.
I have the ideal home-Still no call!
If it has been more than six months since you submitted your application or if you have changed circumstances-now working at home; got a new fence-PLEASE resubmit your application. State that you have applied before and ask for an evaluation of the attached application. This will give the rescuer a chance to discuss any problems with the application or shortages of rescue resources in your area.