FAQs/Information

IN ANSWER:

 Sometimes, we get the following question…or something like it:

“Why is it that you continue to have the same dogs on your site? Rumor has it that you have a hard time letting go of your dogs…”

 As a matter of course, we utilize the inquiry to offer insight into how our shelter operates and the philosophy from which our actions are launched.  More difficult for us, however, is when this question arises from the residue of a defamatory bent and is posed in an accusatory manner.  We at Annie’s Orphans are entirely aware of the sadly rancorous source of discrediting spin and have met it repeatedly with concerted equanimity.  However, we feel that it is time to offer our statement publicly, to provide clarification and enhance understanding.  A thorough commentary follows – lots of words – so, hang onto your hat. 

The reasons you might see the same dog for an extended period of time on our website include the following:

1)    As a no-kill shelter, if one of our dogs is repeatedly passed over by the public, we do not automatically consider that dog unworthy or unadoptable and do not “remedy” the situation by opening up his held space through euthanasia.  Some shelters run by a different philosophy, but ours is that life matters.  We have been rewarded many times, over the years, by ultimately seeing that perfect match-up between a long-term shelter dog and the individual who wants him.  Various reasons we’ve encountered as to why a dog might be repeatedly skipped over:  breed biases; age preferences (everybody loves a puppy); color partiality; the dog is not the standard (popular) image of cute; the dog is not perfect enough.  Sometimes, the explanation for being passed over is simply not available to us, and about 23% of our current dogs fit into this category.  [An example would be Ellie: She has been at our shelter for years, despite the fact that she is so cute, energetic, responsive and has successfully completed “adoption ready” training.  She has been featured at numerous adoption events – responding enthusiastically to the many who make over her and insist that this (now) senior gal just has to be a puppy – only to be left with no serious follow-up.]

2)    Some types of shelters reject the sort of dogs that we frequently offer refuge to, deeming them unadoptable.  Several dogs have come to us as a result of being rejected by another facility.  Our reach extends to dogs that are in need of costly medical interventions, seniors, dogs requiring behavioral training, starved or malnourished dogs who temporarily fail food-aggression tests, those scarred from fighting or abuse, dogs who require a single-pet home, shy/disengaged pets, and those afraid of children.  By taking on the gamut, we are accepting the possibility that a quick re-homing may not be likely.

3)    This may be the most objectionable rationale for those who will insist on finding fault, but here it is.  We count it as our responsibility and reserve it as our prerogative to be choosy about where our dogs are placed.  We make it our mission to find good homes, not to win placement contests.  Our dogs’ well-being is critical to us: many of them have had awful life-experiences, and our desire is that they never again face another moment of harsh treatment, lack of care or abandonment.   We do screen carefully, including home/yard safety checks.  It also matters to us that a dog is the right fit for a particular setting and that advance screening occurs for any foreseeable risks (ex: the possibility of clashes with other pets).   Our protocol for adoption is detailed on our website.  Many, perhaps most, no-kill shelters follow a similar standard of placement.  Furthermore, careful screening helps to ward against impulsive dog shopping, while also decreasing the chances of dogs going out to fighters, flippers and bunchers.

4)    It is a part of our adoption-contract that, should the adopter find any reason to no longer be able to keep the adopted dog, that he be returned to our facility.  Part of our careful screening is in effort to diminish this risk, because it is a difficult disturbance for the pet and encourages a view of the pet as “a reject.”  As of this writing, eight dogs from our current adoptable list fit into this category, with the majority of these returns occurring through absolutely no fault of their own; still it impacts them.

5)    Our list of adopted dogs (see the website link) gives ample evidence of our successful rehoming efforts.  The dogs listed are a sampler from the register of a couple of thousand dogs adopted out over the life of our organization.  For an extended number of years, Annie’s Orphans kept a far greater number of dogs on site, and the easy-to-adopt dogs readily found homes.  Of the last couple of years, we have reconsidered our approach and have been taking in far fewer new dogs in the interest of investing more time into offering training designed to enhance the probability of placement for our long-term dogs.  Annie’s has also utilized the help of other Colorado- and New Mexico Shelter allies in heightened attempts at securing placement for select long-term or special needs dogs. As dogs find placement through these labor-intensive efforts which our minimal crew shoulders, new intakes come in; but this approach, necessarily, reflects in a reduced turn-over rate.

There it is: those are the primary answers to the question.  Thank you to those who inquire out of interest for the dogs.  We hope we have imparted more understanding into the dilemma that is faced by shelter dogs and no-kill shelters.  We welcome volunteers to assist us in our training, rehab and rehoming efforts. We also encourage responsible and dedicated people to visit with us about adoption. Make a difference that can be measured every day!  

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A USEFUL CHART OF FOODS DANGEROUS TO DOGS