We’re spending a lot of time lately thinking about adopting a dog, looking at pictures of adoptable dogs on Petfinder, and talking to our local rescue groups. We’re looking for a new furry best friend (and companion for our current dog, Kelly), and it’s taking some time. That’s okay, we’re not in a big hurry. (At least, that’s what we keep telling ourselves. But when we see or hear about some of these dogs, our hearts get a little mushy!)

We’ve chosen to adopt again. There’s no shortage of homeless dogs. But you may be surprised to know that if you choose to adopt, it may not be a quick and easy process.  Here’s what you should know:

Rescue groups-
1. ask a lot of questions
2. may require you to fill out a lengthy application with questions about your schedule, your family, your yard, and more.

3. may ask for personal references
4. will call your veterinarian to check that you’ve properly cared for your pets
5. will inspect your home

6. generally charge around $150-$450 adoption fees

Here’s what else you should know:
Rescue groups-
7. Care about dogs. A lot. A lot a lot. Did I say a lot?
8. Care about people, too, and finding the right dog for the family.
9. Are volunteers with jobs, families, stresses, health concerns, financial pressures, and pets of their own. Yet they still put in countless hours to help save dogs in need. We sometimes get emails from one of our rescue group coordinators at three in the morning. I’m not sure that she ever sleeps.
10. May witness horrific situations of hoarding, abuse, neglect, and abandonment, and the reality of high kill shelters, and still continually put their hearts out there again and again. I often ask people in rescue how they handle it. Usually they say that they have to focus on the ones they save.
11. Have a heart for the old, the sick and the homely. And have witnessed situations of true transformations when these dogs are given loving homes.
12. Nurse sick dogs back to health. Bring homeless dogs to the vet for shots, treatments and surgeries. Have dogs spayed or neutered, microchipped. Often pay out of pocket for dog food and medical supplies. Those adoption fees only cover a small percentage of what’s needed.

Rescue groups ask a lot of questions because they care about finding homeless dogs good homes. They don’t want to see those dogs back out on the streets. They also have a lot of people waiting for certain dogs, and not enough people looking for other types of dogs.

So far, we’ve found a few potential dogs in our search. Some have gone to other adopters before we got on the list. (Laid back, not-too-old golden retrievers happen to be in high demand. Go figure!). Once, it was determined that the dog in question was likely too high spirited to get along with our Kelly. Once, the senior dog we were considering wasn’t able to manage stairs, so it wasn’t a match. But we’ll keep looking. We are happy to wait for the right dog who will fit in with our family and get along with Kelly. Those rescue groups can go right on asking all those questions. And we’ll keep answering. And soon we’ll find a dog who fits as well as Brooks had fit. And hopefully who needs us as much as we need him.

p.s. Keep going k9kampers! Check out Kol’s post today on Kol’s Notes!