Sunday, September 25, 2011

Field Trip + separation anxiety (mine)

Diesel (bathed and manicured) went on a field trip Thursday with a kind person who I reckoned might be a perfect match for him. He got a manicure with the Dremel tool. I can't believe two big dogs in a row have let me use that thing on their toenails. Anyway, I was nervous about him going in the same way a mom is nervous about the first day of school. Would he be good? Would they like him? Would he play well with others? Once he'd gone I was fine. Stella, on the other hand was a little distressed. She laid in front of his crate much of the evening and even manged to parlay that into sleeping in the bed with me and the cat.

It ended up being an exercise as much as anything. Although I'm told he did play well with others for the most part - it was also true he wasn't a good fit for their particular household. There were variables, like work schedules and energy levels and roommates. And roommates' pets that came into play, derailing his chances this time around. The good thing though is that everyone took something from the experience.

This begs the question: Once someone is interested in your foster dog - what is the best way to go about setting up meetings, home visits, etc.?  What's best for the dog and the dog's eventual success. Every situation will be a little different but I found once the interest was there I wasn't exactly sure how to proceed. Should we meet in the park and go for a walk? Should I have them over to my house? Or go to theirs? Sleep over? Loan the dog out for a day or a week? Would two nights be better than one? Do I wear him out before he visits or let them experience (and drain) his energy first hand?

In this first instance, there was someone I knew who could vouch for the potential adopter so though I didn't exactly know him, he wasn't a total stranger either. He suggested the sleepover and I just went with it. He was young and seemed perfectly capable, even well-suited I thought, to tend to the needs of a big goofy dog. Had it been someone that showed up out of the blue, or seemed only partially qualified, I think we would have moved much slower. My friend Beverly suggested a polygraph and a background check (she's taken a shine to Diesel herself) but that could be construed as excessive, working against us in the long run.

Hypothetically speaking, if this person had decided to adopt Diesel - then what? I know the mechanics of the application papers, the rabies tag and microchip transfer, that could all happen in an hour but is there some window of time or schedule of events that's better or worse for the dog? Should I let the new owner pick him up or should I drop him off? 

Am I talking about the dog really or am I talking about me? It's hard to say but I can't wait to meet the person who realizes that he's going to be their next best friend.

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