Rain Jordan has seen some truly horrifying things in her life – from a dog whose owner thought they could be rid of her by breaking all her legs, to a podenco (Spanish hound) whose hunter owner shot her in the face after she had her puppies (she was no longer needed), but it didn’t kill her so he just left her die, slowly, with a half a face.
It was stories like this that spurred her to start the Hound Sanctuary in 2013.
“I came across the podencos and galgos in Spain, learned about their torturous plight, was of course appalled, and knew I could not just forget about them. Many of their hunter-owners, once done with these dogs after hunting season, will dispose of them in horrendous ways: Instead of being adopted out, surrendered to rescues, or even humanely euthanized, these dogs are routinely hanged, thrown into wells, tossed into garbage cans, burned, drowned, or dumped on roadsides after having one or more legs broken, eyes gouged out, or mouth pried open to keep them from finding their way back home or surviving. My life goal was always to have an animal sanctuary; I had thought it would be cows, sheep, goats, wildlife, but when I learned about the torment these dogs suffer, I didn’t think twice about adjusting my goals. We can always expand.”
So the dog gets rescued. But what then? The dog sits in a kennel at a shelter or in a foster home, waiting for someone to want him.
Then someone comes. But is it happily ever after?
Jordan had a lady tell her straight-out that a dog she had adopted from a local SPCA (whom she claimed to love) just kept getting out so one day she just let her go out the front door and live on the street.
Yet people wonder why Jordan says no to many people wanting to adopt. It’s a wonder she adopts out any dogs at all after seeing what she has. In fact, she has been accused of this she says:
“As one of the main decision makers on Hound Sanctuary adoption applications, I’ve been accused more than once of trying to not adopt out dogs. That accusation is part true: I do try to not adopt out dogs — to people who will fail those dogs. One way to fail is to expect perfection. “
See, the misconception is that once a dog is rescued, they all get that “fairytale” ending of a perfect family that lovingly cares for them and spoils them until they pass away – an ending that, according to the Pet Collective, will only happen to 1 out of every 10 dogs born.
Adoptive home may not end up being the warm, loving, or permanent placing everyone hopes for with each rescued animal.
While no one knows for sure how often an adoption “goes wrong,” Jordan says she imagines it depends on the rescue or shelter and their adoption policies. Cragslist may be the worst.
“For example, it is easy to envision that a dog picked up for free or cheaply on Craigslist is more likely to be bounced from home to home than a dog handled by a reputable rescue charity. We have taken in several dogs that were surrendered by people who had originally obtained them on Craigslist—and then were re-surrendering them via Craigslist.”
Jordan is therefore, like all rescuers, the person responsible for these dogs’ fates. It is she alone who chooses where that dog will go, and it may just be the difference between a happy ending and just another tragedy in this dog’s sad life.
This makes her picky, very, very picky. And what is she is looking for when she says no?
“Those fails are the applicants likely to lose patience with a dog for the slightest of errors, and return the dog rather than learn proper training methods or simply pay more attention to the dog. (Of course a dog being returned to its rescue is preferable to any other possibility, but it is still hard on the dog.”
This doesn’t mean she looks at 100 applicants for every dog. Jordan is all about treating each and every dog as an individual and as such, she is looking for their perfect match. For some dogs, that’s the first person to show interest, for others it may be the tenth or twentieth person.
“I am looking for adopters who feel the way I do about rescue — that these creatures deserve only the very best and safest, and that we must do whatever it takes to ensure that they have only the very best and safest, even if it inconveniences us, even if it is expensive, even if it means we cannot move to the place that we really desire, even if we have to choose our dogs over people who do not respect our dogs and the choices we make to protect them.”
“What matters is that the dog gets the best possible chance of finding that elusive forever home,” Jordan says.
I think we can all agree. And, if you are one of those people who gets denied, do not get upset – it just means that particular dog was not meant for you and that rescue person just saved you (and the dog) a lot of heartache. There are millions of dogs looking for homes, and yours is out there, don’t give up.