Q. Why should I adopt from Help Save Pets (HSP)?
A. Adopting from HSP give you the satisfaction of giving a home to a cat or dog that was destined to die at a kill shelter, but rescued by HSP and transported to us via something we call the Rescue Railroad. Not all of our pets are “second hand”, many are puppies and kittens from areas with no demand for them in that area. Prior to adoption our animals are all spayed/neutered, up to date on vaccinations, tests, and have an identification microchip inserted to identify them should they be lost.
Q. How much does an adoption cost? What is included?
A. See the Adoption Process page for these details.
Q. If I find a pet that seems right for me, what happens? May I simply take the pet home?
A. The Adoption Process page describes the steps and requirements to adopt an animal. If you meet all the requirements and the adoption is approved, you could potentially take your new pet home immediately. However there are times a day or two is required to get required documentation on the vaccinations of your existing pets or lease/bylaw information.
Q. Is it difficult to adopt?
A. Every shelter has its own policies for approving adoptions. Our adoption screening process is designed to ensure that each animal is placed with a responsible person, one prepared to make a lifelong commitment with the resources available to care for and house a pet, so the animal doesn’t end up back in a shelter AGAIN. Our first priority is to help the animal find the best home possible where it can live out ALL of it’s remaining years and be properly cared for.
Q. What can you tell me about the breed of a specific dog?
A. Our method for determining the breed of any dog is to evaluate size, appearance, temperament and based on experience make our best guess. Mixed breed dogs can be a combination of many generations of mixed breed dogs, it’s typically not as simple as one of these and one of those. Some are easy and some impossible to determine. DNA testing is available for breed identification; however, the cost to provide DNA testing would be prohibitive for a non-profit organization like Help Save Pets and at times is inconclusive.
Q. How big will this puppy get when it grows up? What do you know about the mother and father of this puppy?
A. Since our puppies come from kill shelters, sometimes we see or hear about the mother, but almost never know anything about the father. Since Dad is responsible for half the genetic makeup of the puppy, that creates a significant knowledge gap that requires us to make our best guess based on appearance and characteristics of the other puppies in the litter (if they come with siblings) and what we may know about Mom. And even with that information, there can be dominant or recessive genetic traits that produce a puppy that is nothing like the parents. The size a puppy will grow into is at best a guess that at times we get wrong. Paw size is an indicator for a puppy that is 3 to 4 months old, but for a puppy younger than that it’s not a reliable method. If you require a specific size dog or are unwilling to give a home to a large dog, a mixed breed puppy is not a good choice. A dog approaching one year old is fully grown in terms of height.
Q. What can you tell me about the background of a specific animal?
A. Our animals for the most part come from shelters and pounds typically with no history on health, parentage or previous owners. The shelters that they are rescued from are run by the local county or town. They are usually overwhelmed and understaffed, record keeping is minimal. As such there is little or no information forwarded to us about the pet. Occasionally we will know something and are happy to share what we know, but that happens very seldom.
Q. Is this pet good with kids?
A. Our pets come from pounds and shelters where they are about to be put down and come with little or no background information. Their interaction with children is unknown and we do not have test children to try out with them. We attempt to flag any pets that we would not recommend with children, and we’ll do our best to help you select the best pet for your household, however the final decision and responsibility about what pet to adopt lies with parents. It is also important to ask yourself how your kids would be with a pet. It is unreasonable to expect that even the most docile dog or cat who is startled by a child screaming, grabbing, hitting or abusing the animal would not react. Training is always helpful, not only for the dog, but for the entire family to know how to manage a new dog. For more information on dogs and kids, go to our New Pet Tips page Children and Dogs.
Q. Is this dog housebroken?
A. For adult dogs we DO NOT speculate on housebreaking, unless we have had the dog in our own home and verified that it is housebroken. However, we take in hundreds of dogs every year, very few of them stay in private homes, so it is rare that we know housebreaking status. Adult dogs instinctively do not relieve themselves in their immediate living area and a dog that is housebroken recognizes their living area and as such does not relieve itself there. It stands to reason that a dog coming from a shelter isn’t going to immediately understand that your house is now their house too. Some do, but some need a transition period of a few hours to a few days to figure that out and we always recommend using a crate at least until they are fully acclimated. You need to expect a few “incidents” while they settle in to new surroundings and learn your routine of when they go out, go on walks, eat, sleep, etc. Very young Puppies are physically and developmentally unable to understand housebreaking. As they mature, you have to teach them. If you want a puppy you have to expect that you will have to train it, they never come pre trained. For more information on housebreaking, go to our New Pet Tips page Puppy Housebreaking and Adult Dog Housebreaking
Q. Is this dog good with other dogs?
A. We are able to identify dogs that are overly dog aggressive, and will identify them as NO OTHER DOGS in their adoption profile. However, there are various levels of getting along in the dog world that are dependent on breed, age, sex and most importantly the qualities of both dogs together. Our suggestion is that you bring your dog to meet any dog you potentially want to adopt, we can provide a neutral space for that to happen. It’s not required, however we do recommend a meet and greet prior to adoption. For more information on intregating a new dog into your household if you have another dog, go to our New Pet Tips page Adopting a dog when you already have one and Introducing Dogs to Each Other.
Q. Is this dog good with cats?
A. Dogs and cats can and do get along, however instant friendships are rare, it takes some time. Our recommendation is that you avoid breeds with high prey drives, especially Hounds and Huskies if you have a cat. Secondly, a cat that is not a fear runner is more likely to get along with a dog. A running animal triggers a chase reflex in most dogs and when the cat doesn’t run, the dog is more likely to respect the cat and not see it as a toy or something to chase, allowing a friendship to eventually form. For more information on introducing dogs and cats, go to our New Pet Tips page Managing Dogs and Cats.
Q. Do you visit my home as part of the adoption process?
A. We only do home visits for bully breed (Amstaff Terrier or Bull Terrier) adoptions.
Q. Where do you get your puppies and kittens from?
A. People assume that pounds and shelters are mostly for adult animals and puppies or kittens are in great demand, wouldn’t be at a pound, and surely wouldn’t be euthanized at the pound. The sad fact is that pounds are full of puppies and kittens that irresponsible people who don’t spay and neuter their pets have surrendered or abandoned. Most are euthanized unless somebody locally adopts them, but in rural areas where you can get puppies and kittens from your neighbors, very few people go to the pound to adopt. These babies require extra effort to care for, extra space, and they get ill easily, so they are frequently destroyed as soon as they arrive. We rescue as many as our resources permit and do our best to manage any illness that may occur, but if you’ve ever sent a child to kindergarten or day care, you understand that illness in youngsters travels quickly. Many rescues do not take in the very young for this reason, however we feel the effort and expense is justified to save these young animals.. We never deal with breeders or puppy mills.
Q: Is there a health guarantee for animals that you offer for adoption?
A. When animals arrive at HSP, they receive minimally two examinations by a doctor and daily observation by their caretakers.
Vaccinations: We strictly adhere to and go beyond standard USDA vaccination protocol, however vaccinations stimulate immune system development, they do NOT instantly make an animal invulnerable to disease. Illnesses can have incubation periods from one to three weeks at which time an animal has no symptoms of illness, but even after receiving vaccinations, a dog or cat can become ill. The vaccinations decrease the possibility and severity of an illness, but take some time and boosters to become fully effective especially in a young animal.
Parasites: We test for parasites and routinely de-worm animals every two weeks up to 3 times or more if necessary while they are in our care. Parasites are in the intestines and have life cycles of releasing eggs into the blood stream. Testing and deworming target the intestines, and if eggs are in the blood stream, the parasites can reoccur within a week to 2 months after treatment requiring multiple treatments to eliminate them before they reproduce. All puppies/kittens have parasites.
We do everything in our power to detect and treat illness prior to an adoption; however, the animals we rescue are homeless and typically receive little or no medical attention prior to arriving at our facility. Plus after adoption, the stress of the transition into a new home can frequently cause a pet that was healthy on the day of adoption to wake up the next morning sick. There is the possibility of illness and, in rare instances, death occurring after adoption, despite our best efforts at prevention, detection and treatment. Puppies and kittens younger than six months are more vulnerable since they do not have the fully functioning immune system of an older animal. While the risk of serious illness is low, if you believe any risk of illness/death is unacceptable, a rescue animal might not be a good choice for you and we would prefer you not adopt from us.
Q: What happens if an animal I adopt gets sick?
A. First of all, you should not be adopting an animal that you cannot care for, and animals are living creatures that do need medical attention from time to time. For new adoptions, the partner veterinary clinics that we operate from offer a New Pet Health Assurance Program at a cost of $50.00. This will cover the cost of treating shelter related illnesses, should one occur, for 60 days after your adoption date up to $500. If you do not purchase this coverage, you would assume total financial responsibility for any needed medical treatment immediately after you adopt.
Q. Are all pets shown online still available? Can you hold a pet for me if I call?
A. We update the pets shown on line daily. Adopted pets are removed, new pets are added. It is highly likely that a pet shown on line is available. However, our goal is to place homeless pets in permanent homes and holding them would potentially deny them a home while we wait for someone who may or may not show up and may or may not actually adopt the pet. If you see a pet online which seems right for you, please call the number shown on each on line pet description and you will be given the up to the minute information on the availability of the pet. If still available, we recommend you come in immediately to meet the pet and fill out an application if you determine you want to adopt.
Q. I live more than 50 miles away from your facility. Can I still adopt a pet from you?
A. We do NOT allow adoptions of puppies younger than six months old to anyone more than 50 miles away from our facility. We don’t make exceptions. For dogs older than 6 months and cats, we will consider an adoption and work with someone more than 50 miles away who may be interested in an older or special needs animal that has limited opportunities to find a home. However, we don’t hold animals and we don’t want to encourage anyone to drive a long distance only to be disappointed that the animal is no longer available. Also, you still need to meet all the requirements for adoption. There are so many animals in need of homes; we encourage you to adopt an animal closer to where you live.
Q. Where are you located?
A. We have ten locations, shown on our Home page and under Available to Adopt. The individual pet listings will indicate where a specific cat or dog is located with a phone number for the location so that you can get up to the minute information on the availability of the dog or cat.
Q. Do you put any pets down if they are not adopted in a certain time period? How long do you keep pets who are brought to your facility?
A. Animals are normally sheltered until they find homes, no matter how long it takes, unless they are seriously ill or dangerous.
Q. Why do you require the purchase of heartworm preventative for dogs?
A. Dogs are susceptible to heartworm infestations spread by mosquitoes outside or ones that can get into your house. In dogs, a heartworm infestation blocks the heart and eventually leads to death. It’s treatable if caught early, but is an expensive and very painful treatment, much like chemotherapy, that takes a month to complete. We are looking for good homes for our pets that will provide them with appropriate preventative care and insist on heartworm preventative for dogs as a necessary component of responsible pet ownership.
Q. Why was my puppy or kitten altered at such a young age?
A. All pets available for adoption from HSP are spayed or neutered PRIOR to becoming available for adoption. Kittens and puppies as young as 8 weeks old are spayed or neutered. Many shelters endorse this policy of early spay/neuter in cats and dogs. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association believe the practice to be a safe, effective tool to help end pet overpopulation and has numerous health benefits, including a drastically reduced cancer rate later in life.
Q. Why do you require that other cats and dogs in my household be altered before you will approve an adoption?
A. Experience has taught us that adopting into a home with an intact dog or cat can cause behavior problems that can escalate and can lead to one or more of the animals ending up back with us or at another pound or shelter.
In addition, for every animal we rescue, we are forced to pass up several more that won’t live another week. Many of them are puppies and kittens. It’s heartbreaking and discouraging to look into their eyes knowing their fate. However, it is also a motivator for us as an organization to promote and insist on sterilization of all companion animals to reduce and work towards eliminating this regrettable and tragic situation.
Q. Is it OK to let a cat go outside?
A. Outdoor cats are exposed to many dangerous things including being hit by a car, eaten by a coyote, disease exposure, fights with other animals and more. The fact is, outdoor cats live an average of 6 years, while indoor cats can live from 15 to 20. Isn’t that the dealmaker right there?
Q. Is this an animal shelter or an animal hospital?
A. Help Save Pets RESCUE is a separate entity from the animal hospitals that house our animals. The animal hospitals donate the space to house our animals and provide daily routine care, medical care, and a place to show animals/process adoptions. In turn, Help Save Pets pays for all the medical care, surgeries and vaccinations that our animals receive from the doctors, administers the day to day business of our rescue group (including fundraising) and manages the volunteers who help with animal intake and showing animals for adoption.
Q. What happens after the pet goes home with me? Does HSP offer any resources to help with the transition period?
A. HSP offers two programs to help post adoption:
- A New Pet Health Assurance Program provided by our partner veterinary clinics is available. This will cover the cost of treating shelter related illnesses should one occur, for 60 days after your adoption date up to $500.
- Also, a trainer is on staff to conduct puppy classes (which are required when adopting a puppy), training classes for teen and adult dogs are also available as well as advice anytime on helping you transition a new pet into your home.