Monday, October 8, 2007

A Perfect Dog

In rescue we frequently have really great dogs- but these dogs are misfits, dogs with mild issues, dogs with huge issues, and some dogs are just plain weird. Generally the dogs we get in rescue have
a) been abandoned,
b) are given up due to bad manners/behaviour,
c) are incompatable with current pets/family members or
d) aren't housetrained.

We do our best to ensure that we are aware of any issues the dog might have and I am very up front with people about the dogs problem. It does no good for anyone involved of I "forget" to tell someone that the dog isn't fully housetrained, or barks when left alone, or jumps the fence. It is amazing when people are completely turned off by any problem. (Now, I can understand if it's a big problem- not everyone wants to undertake a dog with major issues, but I am talking about the dog who is almost housetrained, or the dog who gets into the garbage, or whines and barks when left alone, the dog who is scared of men, etc. etc. I am always amazed when people expect perfect from a dog who is in rescue.
For example I had a phone call the other day that went something like this

Caller: Hi, I'm looking for a dog

Me:What kind of dog?

Caller:Well, a small one

Me: Okay, I have a few of those right now. What traits are you looking for specifically?

Caller:Oh, um, well one that is good in the house, and is friendly.

Me:Okay, I can tell you about a few of our dogs then. Polly is a nice little dog, she is very friendly, but can be submissive if you raise your voice. She is currently living with me and she is doing great in the house, only one accident in the past three days. She is.....

Caller:Oh, well, I was kind of looking for a housetrained dog, I don't really have time to housetrain.

Me:Well then, I also have Louie- he is a Poodle Cross and as far as I know is very well housetrained. He too is an outgoing little guy but is also Very active. He will need at least one good walk a day. He likes to play with toys and would do best in a.....

Caller:Well he sounds great! When can I get him, what next?

Me:It doesn't quite work like that, there is alot more to a dog than just how he is in the house. We like to tell you about the dog as much as we can, and then we like for you to visit him a few times. And there is an application form that you will have to fill out to start with.

Caller:Oh, okay tell more about little Louie- but he sounds just perfect!

Me:He's a pretty good boy- but no dog is perfect


Me:Well, he hasn't had any accidents but he jumps up on people, and we are finding that if he is left alone he barks for a little while. Louie is pretty good on a walk, but he could definitely use some leash manners. His foster home is working on basic obedience and he is doing really well- he's a very smart little guy!

Caller:Oh. um. well I didn't really want to pay for obedience classes, and well, how much does he bark? I don't want a dog that barks.

Need I go on? This person wants a perfect dog. A dog who never makes a mistake, a dog that knows everything already, and a dog that doesn't bark. I reccomended a stuffed one.