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Week Four:
September 21, 1998 - September 25, 1998

Screening - Dogs and Adopters

Day One

Subject: CLASS: Screening - Dogs and Adopters
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 1998 22:08:03 +0000
From: Pam Bishop - dobra@pe.net


This week we discuss Screening. Thats for both the dogs coming in and the adopters wanting the dogs.

All dogs coming into your program should be screened to learn as much as possible about them. I personally use two forms that I've made to keep this information. One if the dog is coming from a shelter and one if the dog is an owner turn-in.

If the dog is coming from a shelter, ask them if the dog was a stray or owner turn-in to them. Ask where he was found if a stray, what condition. If an owner turn-in, if they found out anything about the dog. Ask questions. Some shelters do an intake interview, many don't have the time or staff. But you can ask.

If the dog is being turned into you by the owner, then do sit down with them for awhile and get as much into as possible. Realize that they may not want to tell you the truth. I've found just chatting will get you more then trying to ask questions. The more you do this, the more you'll learn.

Then there is how long do you keep the dog to find out more about it. This differs with breeds and with your facility and amount of animals you are handling. Do your dogs come into your home or go to a kennel. Who does the evaluation? What do you test for.

Then there are the potential adopters. Do you use an application? What questions do you ask over the phone. When you answer email? How much do you try to educate these people? How do you say no? Do you always do home checks?

We will start with the screening of the dogs. Breed size and type and temperament can make a big difference in what you test for. Please when you post about your methods, mention the breed(s) you work with. Lets share ideas and realize that some things work for one rescue and not for another. For all of us, the more ideas and information we have, the easier to make good choices.

Lets hear from you...

Pam Bishop
dog rescue class

Subject: Re: CLASS: Screening - Dogs and Adoptors
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 02:11:00 -0400
From: Sidney Helen Sachs - sleddog@gte.net

We rescue Malamutes & Siberians. We have the home pack and the rescue pack and each seperate pack comes into the house in the evenings. Both packs come in together and are crated in the basement for feeding (and sleeping in rough weather).

We ask lots of questions, a few to screen and then lots more to further screen. We always talk to every adopter many times. We always do homechecks and vet reference checks. (Because when we didn't, we got burned.)

Our 2 forms (Dog Eval & Adopter Eval) are LONG!!!!!! So I'll post Dog eval first.

1) Dog Evaluation:

Dog Description

  • Name:
  • Breed:
  • Sex:
  • Age:
  • Physical Description:


  • Who was boss dog in the home pack?
  • Was the dog dominant or submissive with dogs of the same sex?
  • Was the dog dominant or submissive with dogs of the opposite sex?
  • Did the dog ever injure another dog?
  • Did the dog ever injure a human?
  • How was the dog with cats?
  • How was the dog with children?
  • How was the dog with livestock?
  • How did the dog react to strangers?
  • Did the dog like grooming?
  • Does the dog dig?
  • Does the dog jump/climb fences?

Medical Information

  • Name, address & phone of dog's vet:
  • Is the dog neutered/spayed?
  • Has the dog ever been bred?
  • Date of Last Rabies:
  • Date of Last Booster:
  • Date of Last Heartworm (HW) test:
  • Is the Dog on Monthly HW prevention?


  • Dog's diet (amount and brand):
  • Where & when did you get the dog?
  • Registered Name & No.:
  • Breeder's Name, Address & Phone Number:
  • Why are you surrendering the dog?
  • What would an appropriate home look like?
  • What training have you done with this dog?
  • How was the dog housed? (Describe fence)
  • Did the dog escape from this fence?
  • Other:
  • Vet records provided?
  • AKC papers provided?

Sidney Helen Sachs & Ken Copeland
Sleddog Rescue, ~ Adoptions ~ Obedience ~ Dogsledding ~
A Shelter & Adoption Referral for Alaskan Malamutes & Siberian Huskies
Located in East Tennessee, USA --

Subject: CLASS: Screening - Dogs and Adoptors
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 08:20:03 -0400
From: Grannie Annie - grannie.annie@SHORE.NET

Good Morning, Folks,

I represent the NEOESR, Inc which is a 501(c)(3) Rescue for Old English Sheepdogs.

I am enjoying this class but have been too busy to offer much to the discussions.

We try, wherever possible, to use foster homes. When a dog comes from a shelter, we are very careful to make sure that the dog has been vetted before it goes to the home. [All foster homes must keep their own dogs up to date on immunizations] Separation is mandatory until and unless the dogs integrate happily with the foster family. The OES is usually a friendly breed so we don't have much problem there.

We have documents for everything (available for your consideration, or criticism) at our web site. These include:

  • Foster Home Release
  • Adoption Indemnity
  • Owner release
  • Questions For Someone Giving Up Dog
  • Adoption Application
  • Membership Application
There are also instructions to foster homes, grooming instructions and a zillion questions for those considering an adoption of the OES

We do extensive telephone interviews and home visits. Much time is spent on each dog evaluation. We find that the foster home method gives us the most information about a given dog. This cuts down on the margin of error in making the wrong placement. [All our placements are guaranteed and any dog that does not work out must be returned to NEOESR]

To make all this formality more friendly, we ask that each adopter join our membership! We have found this enables us to keep in touch with the adopting family and promotes trust in the organization. Members are the KEY to help screen potential homes and to hand-hold once an adoption has taken place. The members are the Life blood of our Adoption Program. We have about 750 members. Most of these are not active volunteers but all help in some fashion. It took many years to grow to this level. I wish to remind everyone that one (1) Rescue dog and one (1) adoption is a great cause for celebration and is the beginning of a new Rescue Program!

We are still learning ! I learned a lot this last week from teacher, Helen!

Great Class. Thanks!!


Grannie Annie
email: grannie.annie@shore.net
New England Old English Sheepdog Rescue, Inc.
Home Page: http://www.shore.net/~neoesr
Hotline: 781-259-8173 Fax 781-259-0720
NEOESR Inc., 49 Stonehedge Road, Lincoln, MA 01773

Subject: CLASS: Screening - Dogs and Adoptors
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 11:48:47 -0400
From: Susan Feingold - feingold@MINDSPRING.COM

We will start with the screening of the dogs. Breed size and type and temperament can make a big difference in what you test for. Please when you post about your methods, mention the breed(s) you work with. Lets share ideas and realize that some things work for one rescue and not for another. For all of us, the more ideas and information we have, the easier to make good choices.

Lets hear from you...

I work with two different groups but they handle the screening of the dogs similarly. The first group is sheltie rescue. They have a formal owner surrender form that the owners have to fill out which includes questions about the dog like is the dog good with children, good with other dogs, housebroken, behavior problems etc. It also asks where the dog is kept during the day and at night and what its favorite things are. We get some good information from these forms but since most of these dogs are living "outside only", we find that lots of their behavior changes once they are kept mainly inside the house with a family. We also find that the owners sometimes lie on the forms. I would guestimate that about 70-80% of the shelties that we get are directly from shelters or people who have found a sheltie and we don't get too much information from these situations.

The other group, Pet Orphan Rescue, works with all breeds/mixes/sizes and gets the dogs directly from shelters. Basically, the shelter calls us when they can't find a rescue group for a particular sweet dog that they particularly like and want to save. We also sponsor dog adoption days and try to foster as many of the dogs that are not adopted as we can. In both of these groups, the dogs go directly into a foster home for evaluation. Most of the foster homes have 1-3 dogs of their own and 1-3 fosters at a time. All of the foster homes bring the dogs into the house and keep them with their dogs without any separation period. We evaluate the dog to see if it is housebroken, good with other dogs, good with cats, good with children, etc.

Since the dogs are in our home as part of our family, we get to know them very well and then try to find the perfect "match" for each dog. We figure out quite quickly if some of the dogs need to be placed with other dogs, if the dogs need to be "only dogs", if the dog need a fenced yard or not, if the dog needs a 6 foot fence, if the dog needs someone home with them most of the time, if the dog needs lots of exercise, etc.

-Susan Feingold

Subject: CLASS: Screening - Dogs and Adoptors
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 16:43:31 -0400
From: Curtis Edenfield - curtisedenfield@worldnet.att.net

In the short time I've beeen involved in rescue I have learned one very big thing. That is when dealing with a dog(s) that an owner is trying to rehome (the dog(s) being in their original home,not mine). I absolutely cannot rely on the owners assesment of the dogs.

This is true even after a home visit I've made to a determine temperment.Not until I get the dog(s) in my home can I really determine how they'll interact with other dogs and people. The activity level of the dog is dramatically different than has been described by the owner too.

I think it's a few things in play here: one of course is that the mindset of the owner is that he/she wants the dog out of their house..usually pronto(and my goal is to have as few transitions as possible for the dog) and two is the very obvious one persons interpretation is NOT anothers. There are "dog people" and there are those who have a dog. We dog people live for the dogs,many people who have a dog don't incorporate the dog in to their lives and view the dog as a nuisance or a chore. These are the ones that veiw the dog as disposable ("it's just a dog").

This summer I got a call from the vets office about a woman who wanted to euthanize 2 three year old boxers. The owners assesment of the dogs was radically different from what I saw when the dogs finally came to my house. I had been trying to screen new owners for these dogs based on the owners information to me and of course everyone was put off by certain behaviors. THEN when I got the dogs here I realized I could've placed the male in any of the homes I'd screened. He was a sweety who'd been crated 98% of the time and all the owner saw was his "crazy" behavior in the short intervals he was out of the crate. He got here and had the opportunity to run unteathered over an acre and play with other dogs. He found out what being tired was,he got lots of human contact and he had to relearn going into a crate (a nap and to sleep in at night) and he was fantastic. Actually better behaved than most of my crew here.He did have obsessive behaviors that took time to work out because he'd not had the opportunity to play with other dogs. Also from that I decided to placehim in an only dog home.

These are all things that I discovered could only be ascertained from seeing the dog on your own turf and not relying on the owners "take". Very valuable lesson for me.

I also beleive that the initial contact for the prospective owners and the new rescue should take place outdoors and that they should bring the whole family (other dogs included).

Jane Edenfield: owned by:
Buster, M/neut 6/95 Flashy Red Fawn (cropped ears)
Cookie F/spd 9/96 Flashy Red Fawn(cropped ears) Deceased 11/2/97
Sophie F/spd 11/96 Flashy Fawn (cropped ears)
Simon M/neut 11/97 Flashy Brindle (cropped ears)
Living happily ever after in Odessa, Florida (near No. Tampa)

End of Day One

Day Two

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