Starlight Pet Talk

Pet Adoption Secrets: Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid

July 09, 2024 Amy Castro, MA, CSP Season 2 Episode 26
Pet Adoption Secrets: Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid
Starlight Pet Talk
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Starlight Pet Talk
Pet Adoption Secrets: Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid
Jul 09, 2024 Season 2 Episode 26
Amy Castro, MA, CSP

 In this candid episode of Starlight Pet Talk, host Amy Castro sheds light on the common challenges shelters and rescues face with potential pet adopters. Drawing from her 15 years of experience in animal rescue and sheltering, Amy shares 10 significant problems that can arise during the adoption process. These issues can not only delay the adoption but also lead to an adopter being declined. And we're not talking about obvious reasons for rejection like animal hoarding or abuse. Instead, Amy highlights the mistakes well-intentioned people make that signal they might not be ready or fully committed to the lifelong responsibility of pet ownership. This episode offers essential insights for anyone looking to adopt, helping you avoid these pitfalls and ensure a successful adoption experience. 

This episode is a must-listen for anyone considering adopting a pet because it provides important insights that can increase your chances of successful adoption and your ability to provide a loving, stable home for your family member!

Join the Conversation:
Have you faced any challenges during the adoption process? Share your experiences with us on social media using #StarlightPetTalk. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more tips and insights on pet adoption and care.

Comment on this episode! For questions or if you need a reply- please email us at Amy@StarlightPetTalk.com

Support the Show.

Support the show: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/starlightpettalk

LISTEN & FOLLOW!
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

 In this candid episode of Starlight Pet Talk, host Amy Castro sheds light on the common challenges shelters and rescues face with potential pet adopters. Drawing from her 15 years of experience in animal rescue and sheltering, Amy shares 10 significant problems that can arise during the adoption process. These issues can not only delay the adoption but also lead to an adopter being declined. And we're not talking about obvious reasons for rejection like animal hoarding or abuse. Instead, Amy highlights the mistakes well-intentioned people make that signal they might not be ready or fully committed to the lifelong responsibility of pet ownership. This episode offers essential insights for anyone looking to adopt, helping you avoid these pitfalls and ensure a successful adoption experience. 

This episode is a must-listen for anyone considering adopting a pet because it provides important insights that can increase your chances of successful adoption and your ability to provide a loving, stable home for your family member!

Join the Conversation:
Have you faced any challenges during the adoption process? Share your experiences with us on social media using #StarlightPetTalk. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more tips and insights on pet adoption and care.

Comment on this episode! For questions or if you need a reply- please email us at Amy@StarlightPetTalk.com

Support the Show.

Support the show: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/starlightpettalk

LISTEN & FOLLOW!
▷ Official Site: https://www.starlighpettalk.com

▶ Facebook: / starlightoutreachandrescue

▶ YouTube: -https://bit.ly/starlightsubscribe

▶ TikTok: / starlightou...

Amy Castro (00:00.014)

If you've ever felt frustrated by the pet adoption process, you're not alone. It is just as frustrating for us in sheltering and rescue sometimes as we strive to ensure every pet goes to a home committed for life, not just a temporary stop. This week's episode of Starlight Pet Talk reveals the common frustrations shelters and rescues face with potential adopters. Tune in to understand these challenges better and learn how we can all work together to ensure successful lifelong matches. Stay tuned. You're listening to Starlight Pet Talk.

 

Podcasts for pet parents who want the best pet care advice from cat experts, dog trainers, veterinarians, and other top pet professionals who will help you live your very best life with your pets.

 

Amy Castro (00:47.086)

Welcome to Starlight Pet Talk. I'm your host, Amy Castro, and I'm doing a solo episode today because I want to get on my soapbox. I don't really want to, but I feel like I have to. Otherwise, I'm going to pull out what's left of my hair. So what I wanted to share were some of the most common pet peeves that rescues and shelters have when it comes to potential adopters. We wouldn't exist without adopters, so I don't want anyone to feel bad about this.

 

What I'm hoping is by sharing these things that make us wanna pull our hair out, it will help you who are listening be better prepared to go forward in your search for a pet, whether it's with a rescue, whether it's a shelter, and maybe even with a breeder. So number one is having unrealistic expectations. I think too many times people think that a pet is going to be perfect. Maybe they read this glowing stellar

 

description of the pet, and of course, us as rescues, we're trying to put the pet's best foot forward. I hope that most rescues are being honest if there are issues or problems with the pets, but too many times I've seen situations where a pet is house trained, maybe at the foster home that they're in, for example, it gets home, it has an accident over the weekend, and Monday morning, the family or person wants to return the pet because it's not housebroken. I think that's a pretty good example of an unrealistic expectation.

 

You have an animal that has gone from one home that it may be the only real home that it's had to a completely new home and situation. There's going to be a level of anxiety, nervousness, and not really knowing what to do or what you're expecting from them. So you have to give these animals some grace when it comes to acclimating them to your home, not making too high of a demand on them. And really what I try to tell people is treat everything that you bring home as you would treat it if it was a puppy or a kitten.

 

even if it's an adult dog or a senior dog. So many outings, making sure you're limiting their space, things like that, and that will minimize the problems that you might run into. But the bottom line is there is no perfect pet. And I think understanding that taking on the responsibility of a pet, even if it's a well -behaved pet in a rescue, doesn't mean that you're gonna be able to sit back on the sofa and not have to do anything with the pet. The work will continue. Pets do.

 

Amy Castro (03:11.726)

unlearn behaviors that they may be previously learned. So it really does take commitment and it takes work to make sure that you are living harmoniously with a pet. So keep your expectations realistic, start from the very, very basic level and then work your way up from there as you get to know your pet a little bit better. A second pet peeve is impulse adopting.

 

And sometimes I think we set you up for failure in this front, I will be perfectly honest. When we do adoption events and allow animals to be adopted on the spot, that basically makes it a right picking for people to make impulse decisions. I just went to the store to get food for my fish, but there was a litter of puppies available for adoption and they're so cute and I want to walk out the door with them. But adopting on a whim without considering...

 

the many factors that will make or break your relationship with this pet and your ability to keep the pet is a recipe for disaster. That's why hopefully good rescues and good shelters allow a waiting period. You meet the pet, maybe we'll even hold the pet for you, but we wanna give you a good 24 hours to make sure that you have everything in place to be successful and that you truly wanna follow through with it. I think people really need to take the time to consider the long -term responsibility of a pet.

 

and not just either go with the excitement that you're feeling in the moment or even feeling bad for an animal because it's homeless, because it doesn't do the animal any good if you're gonna turn around and need to rehome it in a week, six weeks, six months, or a year because you didn't really think it all through. So do your homework before you adopt and go into it with full knowledge of what you're getting yourself into. Along those same lines, tip number three is basically

 

Adopters who aren't prepared. They don't have the supplies. They don't have the environment. They don't have a carrier. And this is kind of an interesting one that I run into where we do cat adoptions where it's prearranged. I'm meeting you at a location or you're coming to my home or you're coming to my rescue ranch and you're adopting a cat and you come with no carrier. How are you planning on bringing that cat home? Now people will say, I can carry it. That's probably not the best idea.

 

Amy Castro (05:32.686)

It could get loose from you going from my building to the car. It's gonna get spooked in the car and then start running all over the place and cause you to have an accident. So something as simple as bringing a pet carrier. So one of the things that you can do to help yourself there is when you are thinking about adopting a pet and you have arranged to pick a pet up, ask some questions about what you need. What are the basic equipment or food or whatever it might be that you need to get started with that pet? You don't have to have everything under the sun.

 

but it is important that you at least have the basics ready. And a carrier to bring a small pet home in or a leash and a collar is something that you would definitely wanna have with you when you go to pick up that pet. Pet peeve number four is actually it's not even as much a pet peeve. It's something that can really keep you from even being in the running for adopting the pet. And that is incomplete applications. Too many times shelters and rescues, even if they have paid staff, they don't have the time

 

to call you up or email you back and ask you about the three or four questions or maybe 50 questions that you left blank on your application or that you responded in a vague way. So oftentimes what will happen is even if you were the first person in line for that pet, if your application is incomplete, it might just be put aside and they might move straight on to the next one. Especially for organizations like ours where it's all volunteer run, there's only so much time that I can put into tracking down

 

your veterinary records for your existing pets. That's actually an issue I ran into recently and the lady got very upset that I was asking for a kidney. I wasn't asking for a kidney. All I want to know is if you've got four pets, have they been to the vet recently? And if you can't provide that information and you've gone to five different vets in the last three years, I don't really think I'm going to make it my job to call them all and track down all of that information. So make sure that you find out.

 

perhaps in advance before you even fill out the application, what kind of information that organization is going to need so you can have it ready. So fill it out completely. And if you're not able to fill it out completely, maybe take a pause and get that information before you continue on with the application process. Number five is inconsistent communication.

 

Amy Castro (07:52.078)

Even if you are the first person on my list, if I can't reach you at the phone number that you gave me, if you don't respond to the emails that I send out asking to arrange an appointment, you're making it very, very difficult for me to help you adopt this pet. And I'm again, only going to put so much effort into tracking you down before I move on to the next person. So make sure that you are staying on top of that communication. Another factor that is a real deal breaker for many people, just because it's

 

Let's just put it honestly, it's rude, it's inconsiderate. When you make an appointment to meet with a pet and you cancel it or no show, either canceling it at the last minute or no show, then I may not give you a second chance because even if it is at a facility, like it's a shelter and that person is at work, they've put aside that time to be available at their front office to greet you and to show you that pet.

 

and they may not be able to make that availability down the road. So keep that communication flowing. It's not to say that we're gonna penalize you if you need to reschedule, but you need to give us a little bit of heads up. I had somebody the other day that I met with that had taken a pet, the person had already been approved for the pet, the adoption application had already gone through, and rather than having the adopter drive two hours to pick up the pet, they were kind enough to offer to meet them halfway.

 

So they drove the hour to meet the person and about five minutes out from their meeting time and meeting destination, the adopter called and said that they hadn't left yet and they weren't gonna be able to make it. So if you were in that situation, would you be likely to make another appointment with that adopter? I'm not so sure. Maybe you're nicer than I am, but I probably would move on to the next person because not only is it just about inconveniencing me,

 

When people do things like that, it starts to make you question how responsible are they? Are they gonna keep those vet appointments or are they gonna no show at the last minute? So it is important to be consistent in communicating even if an emergency situation pops up. Pet peeve number six is, and it may not even be within somebody's control, but it could be something that could cause you to be not selected for adopting a pet. And that is somebody with an unstable living situation.

 

Amy Castro (10:12.846)

So we run into this a lot with college students. I love college students. They're great. I love their energy. But oftentimes their living situations are very unstable. They don't know where they're going to be for the summer. They don't know if their parents will allow them to have a pet home for the summer or after they graduate. And so it makes us hesitant to adopt a pet to them because we want to make sure that that pet has a stable environment to be in. Case in point.

 

Last year we adopted to a young woman, she was in graduate school and we adopted the cat to her in February. In May she called needing to return it because she did not get a job immediately after college. She had to move back home with her parents and they were like, absolutely not, you're not bringing a cat home. So now we have a cat that we adopted out as a kitten who is gonna be much easier to adopt out, being returned as a much older kitten looking like an adult cat.

 

and also terrified about being moved around and having to adjust to a new living environment because cats do not like change. So it's definitely a situation where if you know that you're gonna be in an unstable situation for a while, it's probably best to wait on getting a pet. And I'm going to even soapbox on my soapbox there because this is something that has been coming up a lot lately in our rescue and on our podcast is the issue of

 

selfishness in many instances. We have a lot of people that get very angry and upset when they are not selected to have a pet. When we have determined through our best experience, through our knowledge, and through just what we can live with, that that person's situation is not the best situation for the pet. Not even just for the pet, but for that person, because we have the foreknowledge of having been through some of these scenarios before. And so,

 

before you get upset about that and realize that it's not just about you and what you want, it is about the pet. And I know I like to get what I want, I'm spoiled, I don't like to be told no on things, but as a rescue or a shelter person, we have to take the best interests of the pet and the person into consideration. And sometimes we have to protect people from themselves from making bad decisions.

 

Amy Castro (12:37.198)

You know what, we might be wrong, but what I told this person the other day that was not happy with my decision is that I'm the one that has to be able to live with it. And the bottom line is, if you do not get selected from a certain organization, the odds are there's probably some other way that you can get a pet. But I would certainly consider what it is that that rescue or shelter is telling you as to why they feel like it's not a good fit and really do a little bit of soul searching before you move on just to fill that void for yourself.

 

because it's not just about you, it's about the wellbeing of the animal, your family, and a lot of other factors. Pet peeve number seven is people who either ignore breed restrictions where they live. Oftentimes this could be in planned communities, it could be in apartment living where certain animals, certain breeds of animals are not allowed. And that also goes along the same lines with certain size restrictions or the number of animals.

 

It's gonna be a deal breaker with adopting a pet when you have already four animals in your apartment where we call and we confirm that only two pets per apartment are allowed. We're not going to adopt a pet to you no matter how nice you are and no matter how well you take care of your pets because when you get that eviction notice, guess what you're gonna be doing? You're gonna be calling us up to take that pet back. So that's something to consider whether it's again, the breed restrictions, size restrictions,

 

number of animals that you're restricted to. And another factor here is fully understanding your pet deposits. We get a lot of applications from people who say, I live in XYZ apartments and there is no pet deposit. And we call and we find out that not only is there a $500 pet deposit, but there is also a $125 per pet fee per month. And when we call the adopter back to say, hey, this is what we found out.

 

Many times they're shocked. They either never asked or a neighbor told them there wasn't and so they didn't check. Or sometimes people are being dishonest and they don't want to tell us what the fees are because they're planning on sneaking that pet in. And again, that's not a situation that makes us comfortable with adopting a pet out to that person because you're probably going to get caught, especially if it's a dog.

 

Amy Castro (14:54.894)

Pet peeve number eight is people who are not financially prepared. So that kind of ties to number seven from the aspect of not really truly understanding what your pet deposits and fees are going to be and whether that's doable for you. But I think oftentimes people underestimate the cost of owning a pet. It is very expensive to go to the veterinarian these days. It is very expensive.

 

to go to the groomer if you decide to buy a pet that needs regular professional grooming. And food alone, I kid you not, and for those of you who are pet owners already, you know this, the same food product that you bought three or four years ago for a certain price is now probably double or triple the price. And so we like to see that people are prepared to take on those financial responsibilities. And when you call and you say, I really want to pick Fluffy up on Tuesday,

 

but I'm not getting paid until Wednesday and so I can't afford the $50 fee for XYZ, that's a little bit of a red flag for a rescue or a shelter if you're cutting things that close because that's less than a bag of dog food. And so it's something that you really need to take into consideration long -term, can you manage this pet? I will also say that many times the reasons that people are returning pets have to do with finances, whether it's unexpected, which that you can't help.

 

but whether it's something that they should have known was coming, then it's definitely something that you need to take into consideration. Pet peeve number nine is just kind of a general lack of commitment that people have to their pets. I believe that there are certain circumstances, and I think it's very limited, that are good quote unquote excuses for giving up a pet. But when you make a commitment to a pet, it is for their lifetime.

 

And so it could be three or four years for certain pets. It could be 30 or 40 years for other pets. It could be even longer, depending upon what pets you take on. And so making the decision that I need to give up my pet because I'm moving, or I need to give up my pet because we're having, and probably an even bigger issue is the people that say they're going to give up a pet because they're having a baby. Let me back this up. So you got married two years ago.

 

Amy Castro (17:17.006)

I would hope that before you got married, you had a discussion with your significant other about whether you were planning on having human children or not. And most of the time, I know that's not always the case, most of the time people have some type of a timeline in their heads as to when that is going to happen. And so if you had that discussion, knowing full well that you planned on having children within the next three or four years, why would you get a dog at the two year point or when you get married?

 

And did you think that through as to how having a child added to that responsibility was going to work for you? If you didn't, you need to, because a pet is a lifetime commitment. There are very few good excuses or good reasons that you can have for giving up a pet. Okay. So it is a lifetime commitment. Make sure you understand that commitment and make sure that you are 100 % fully able to make that commitment.

 

I will also, as just a little bit of a sidebar note to that point, is that we will get sometimes people that will come to adopt that are adopting with a friend or a roommate or somebody that they're dating. And I think it's super important, and I've done another little quick video on pet custody, is to make a very serious decision if there is not, and even if there is a legally binding commitment of marriage, let's say,

 

I still think it's important to determine who is legally responsible for the pet if something was to go wrong, because it is a lifetime commitment. And so that's another thing that we see as we see people that are, they're getting divorced. Nobody wants to take the pet. And so the pet gets given up or the couple breaks up when they're dating. And my boyfriend left me and I had this the other day. My boyfriend left me with a female dog who was pregnant and now she had seven puppies and I've got the dog and the puppies and I can't take care of them.

 

Well, that's a bit of a problem that you've got on your hands there that's gonna be very difficult to solve, especially in this day and age where shelters and rescues are packed to the gills with animals and many of them are not taking in owner -surrendered animals. So you're gonna have a bit of a problem there. So make sure you're ready to make that long -term commitment. And last but not least, pet peeve number 10, and these are certainly not all of them, these are just some of the big ones, is people who adopt for the wrong reason or

 

Amy Castro (19:42.638)

buy a pet for the wrong reason. So they see a particular breed of dog and they've got to have it because it's a status symbol. Big mistake. Especially if you don't know what that pet needs and what kind of responsibility is going to go along with that. I think also sometimes the wrong reason can seem like the right reason. We've had situations where people have wanted to adopt from us because they felt so bad for the animal because it has been in our system for two years, let's say.

 

And feeling bad for an animal is probably not a good enough reason to take on a 20 year responsibility to that animal or a 15 year responsibility to that animal because you might feel bad, but you're gonna feel even worse in a couple of months when you can't keep that animal and you're looking to give it up. So make sure that you are looking at what are the right reasons to adopt a pet or to take a pet into your life. Another wrong reason is adopting a pet for somebody else.

 

You may think that your mom needs a companion, but does your mom really want a companion? Do they want the responsibility of taking care of a pet? Or giving a pet as a birthday gift is probably not a good reason to give a pet because again, that person, the person who's going to have the ultimate care and financial responsibility for that pet is going to be the one that needs to make that decision of A, whether they want a pet at all.

 

be what kind of pet they want. And I think they really need to be involved in the decision -making process. So I hope I didn't come across as a negative Nellie, although I probably did to some of you, but I feel like I've done enough episodes of these podcasts where we're giving out helpful information that sometimes I wanna let you a little bit behind the scenes.

 

especially when it comes to sheltering and rescuing, to see some of the things, some of the challenges that we face in getting pets adopted. It's not just about getting pets out the door. Contrary to people who have gotten angry at me and said, I'm doing you a favor by taking that animal off your hands. I'm basically thinking you're not doing me any favor if that animal's coming back in a couple of months or if you end up dumping it on the street or surrendering it to another shelter. So.

 

Amy Castro (21:53.038)

Again, just a little look behind the scenes so that you can see some of the challenges that we deal with. And hopefully by understanding some of these pet peeves or challenges that you can be better prepared to put your best foot forward when it comes to getting your first pet, your next pet, or whatever the case may be. So thank you for listening to another episode of Starlight Pet Talk. I'd love to hear what you think about what I had to say today. So feel free to reach out to us to comment.

 

on the episode to get involved and ask some questions on our social media so that we can continue this conversation. As we close out today's episode, I want to make sure that you realize that the journey doesn't end here. We have tons of information for you in our show notes, including additional resources, links that you can get

 

further information, and sometimes we might even have some surprises there for you as well. Keep in mind too that our conversation is a two -way street. This is your show too, and we want you to get involved. If you have questions stirring in your mind, ideas you're burning to share, or a story you think the world needs to hear, don't keep it to yourself, let us know about it. Your thoughts, your questions, and your ideas are the lifeblood of the show, and we cannot wait to hear them.

 

You can find all the ways to contact us in the show notes or on our website. So don't be a stranger. Drop us a line, send us a note, send us a voicemail, get in touch on social media. Let's keep this conversation going and build a community that's driven by curiosity, empathy, understanding, and our shared love of pets. Don't forget to tune in next week and every week for a brand new episode of Starlight Pet Talk. And if you don't do anything else this week, give your pets a big hug from us.

 

Introduction
The Importance of Preparation and Complete Applications
The Role of Communication and Financial Preparedness
Unstable Living Situations and Breed Restrictions
Financial Preparedness and Commitment
Adopting for the Right Reasons