October is Adopt-a-Dog Month so we sat down with the founder of one of our favorite local dog rescues, Love at First Mutt (LAFM). Marina Russo gave us the scoop on what the adoption process looks like. To learn more about LAFM, see our earlier interview with Marina about Love at First Mutt.
What are the common misconceptions about adopting? How about the benefits of adopting vs buying a dog?
The common misconception about adopting is that rescue dogs are damaged, have health issues, and are untrainable. Unfortunately, these misconceptions keep good people from adopting great dogs — dogs who have the potential to change their person’s life for the better. These misconceptions also lead to higher euthanasia rates as shelters run out of space — and millions of healthy, very adoptable dogs never getting a chance to show how much they can love you. We are really trying to change that!
More often than not, dogs end up homeless due to no fault of their own. If you are adopting from a rescue and the dog may have had any health issues, the chances are that rescue has worked to fix or treat any health issues to the point where it has been resolved or become manageable. Dogs are receptive to training at any age, size or breed. While there are shelter dogs who can present more challenging training needs, this can happen with purchased dogs as much as dogs from a rescue or shelter. Anyone who acquires a new dog, whether a purchase or an adoption, and no matter how dog savvy they are, should seek professional training assistance or advice. There’s no love like the kind of love you get from a rescue dog! Seriously, it’s truly one of a kind.
Some benefits of adopting a dog vs buying a dog:
- You will SAVE A LIFE! Each year, it’s estimated that more than one million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States, simply because too many pets come into shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet. The number of euthanized animals could be reduced dramatically if more people adopted pets instead of buying them. When you adopt, you save two lives! The dog you’re adopting and also the dog you’re opening up space for at the shelter.
- Adopting a dog will also cost you less, since vaccinations, spay/neuter, microchip are all included in the adoption fee.
- If you are buying a dog from a pet store, online seller or a breeder, you’re almost certainly getting a dog from a puppy mill or a backyard breeder. Puppy mills are factory-style breeding facilities that put profit above the welfare of dogs. If you’re buying from a breeder, often times the moms of these puppies are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, and after they’re no longer profitable, breeding dogs are simply discarded—either killed, abandoned or sold at auction.These puppy mills and breeders continue to stay in business and will continue to do so until people stop supporting them.
- Because you’ll change a homeless animal’s whole world.
- And get a new best friend out of the deal. Seriously, what could be better than that?
Tell us a little about LAFM adoption process and how you place the dogs?
The first step when wanting to adopt is filling out an adoption application. Our adoption coordinator receives the applications and once approved, we reach out and can answer any questions you may have regarding the dog. We will choose an applicant whose lifestyle is most suitable for that dog and then proceed with a meet & greet. If the meet & greet goes well, you’ll be able to take your new dog home with you! We may do a homecheck the same day or at a later date. Some dogs will require a slower introduction and a longer meet and greet process.
What do you look for when interviewing potential adopters?
We look for people who want a dog in their lives and who will share their life with their pet in loving companionship. All dogs deserve the absolute best.
Can someone adopt a dog if they do not have a yard?
YES! Absolutely! We live in a small condo and have a 45 lb dog and a 12 lb dog! Having a yard doesn’t make you a better home for a dog.
What can an adopter expect when adopting a new dog from a rescue?
All dogs are unique in behaviors and personality, but ultimately they all want to be loved and please their humans, they are all able to be trained and coached with their new families help. It just takes time for them to learn and in many cases we like to say our rescue dogs need to ‘learn how to be a dog’ for many of them living inside, walking on a leash, having regular meals is all new to them. However with some patience, love and kindness they all find their way.
Explain a little more about the “fostering” process and what people who are thinking about fostering can expect?
Fostering can be an amazing and rewarding experience for you and your family. When you foster, you agree to take a homeless dog into your home and give him or her love, care and attention, either for a preset period of time or until the dog is adopted. Fostering saves lives and opens up space for another in the unfortunate overcrowded shelter system. Foster parents provide shelter, basic training, exercise and love for the dog. When you foster a dog, we will provide all the supplies needed such as a crate, leash, collar, toys, treats, food and medical care when needed. You just provide all the love and care the dog will need.
If someone fosters a pet, do they have the option of adopting the pet as well?
Yes! We also give the foster parent(s) first priority to adopt their foster dog if they’d like to.
What makes LAFM different from other rescues?
Being a smaller rescue, I think we are able to offer a more personal experience. We are able to take the time and try our best to make sure that it’s the right fit for both the dog and the family.
What other ways can people support a rescue if they are unable to foster or adopt right now?
Support comes in many forms. Donate! Share our rescue! Volunteer! Every little bit helps. Love At First Mutt is a Los Angeles County based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are an all volunteer and foster home-based rescue. As a non-profit, we solely rely on kind donations from our supporters. Your generosity helps save a life. Every mutt deserves a loving forever home, and your donation helps make that possible for a shelter dog.