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Should we adopt this puppy?

We’re actively looking for a dog now. Last weekend we went to the Humane Society and scoped out their pups, as well as to a foster home with Friendly Giants Dog Rescue, to visit a golden doodle puppy (part golden retriever, part poodle). Unbeknownst to us, this just happened to be the foster home where Lulu was staying, too.

Lulu is the schnauzer/poodle mix that we saw on the website and fell in love with, but there was already a lineup of people who wanted to adopt her. It turned out she was a bit more rambunctious and vocal than we thought she would be, and probably not a good fit for our bird-loving household.

The golden doodle, Vixen, is about four months old, and very sweet. She’s very cuddly and affectionate. She was born at the Paws R Us puppy mill which was recently raided and shut down. For most of her life she’s been living with the shelter that seized those dogs. When we met her, she’d been living in a foster home for only two days. She was brand new to houses and stairs and walking on a sidewalk. (We took her for a walk, and GC had to carry her.)

We think she’d be a good fit with Duncan and the birds. She doesn’t seem to have an aggressive bone in her body. But we can’t seem to make up our minds. First of all, she’s got a lot more poodle than golden in her, and we’re not really poodle people. We’re not crazy about the look of poodles. She’s not ugly, but she’s not drop-to-your-knees heart-meltingly cute either. I think we’re both feeling guilty about this. Is it terribly shallow of us to reject a sweet little dog on the basis of her looks?

So we keep waffling. We want her. We don’t. We do. We don’t. I do and he doesn’t, then the next day he does and I don’t.

We could see ourselves with a golden doodle that looks more like a golden. Or an adorable scruffy little mutt we could name Scruffy. Or a white dog with one black eye. We just want a cute, lovable dog who won’t chase parrots.

Last night we stopped by the pet store at Carlingwood. Not to buy, just to look, because we are obsessed and must look at dogs every single day. They have a basset hound puppy named Watson. Poor Watson! We felt like rescuing him. The rescue dogs are living in much better conditions than poor Watson. He lives in a glass box in a pet store. He’s been there a month. He looks so sad. And cute! Oh my god, he was cute in a ridiculous sort of way.

But he’s a thousand bucks, and he’s a pet store dog. I’m very leery of getting a dog from a pet store. The pet store has a sign up saying they don’t buy from puppy mills, blah blah blah, and the reason they won’t reveal the sources of their dogs is to protect their breeders’ privacy. That screams puppy mill to me.

Meanwhile, there are three basset hounds at the Hopeful Hearts Dog Rescue. One adult, and two 6-7 month old pups. They’re all rescues from the Paws R Us puppy mill.

My research on bassets says that the #1 reason they’re given up is that they slobber a lot. As much as I wish that weren’t an issue for me, I have to admit I don’t want a slobbery dog.

Anyway. Friendly Giants Dog Rescue is coming to both GC’s house and mine on Saturday to do an official home inspection. We’ve passed all the other tests – reference checks, vet checks, questionnaires, etc. The home inspection is the last step. Then we’re officially approved to adopt one of their dogs. (This is another thing that bugs me about pet stores. They don’t do any checking to make sure the animal is going to a good home. If you’ve got the money, you get the dog. I asked the salesperson at the pet store about this last night, and she said they’re pretty cute at assessing people just through normal conversation. They can’t refuse a sale, but if the person is obviously unfit to be a pet-owner, they’ll “try to talk them out of it.”)

So, back to Vixen, the poodly doodle puppy. We’ve thought about what we’d name her if we were to adopt her. We think she’d need a name that would give her courage and confidence. Like Stella. or Roxy. Or Butch.

She’s sweet, gentle, affectionate, calm for a puppy, doesn’t shed much, and would be respectful of birds and cats. She loves other dogs, adores people, and is good off-leash. She feels wonderful and she smells good. We have no doubt that we could love her.

Do you think we should adopt her, or wait until we find a dog that we both fall instantly 100% head-over-heels in love with?

187 comments to Should we adopt this puppy?

  • ADOPT HER! She’s adorable, she needs you, and golden doodles are lovely. I sometimes go (for work) to a daycare where the owner has two of them and they just walk around and hang out with the kids. Very sweet and calm. And wow, will she ever love you forever for rescuing her from her sad life.

    I will also say that I felt much the same about Sacha when I first met her. She wasn’t the kind of dog (looks wise) that I thought I wanted. But she was so sweet and our personalities fit well together and now I can’t imagine my life without her and I’m getting choked up just writing this. :)

    • As soon as I read your comment I was convinced we needed to adopt her! Because it’s true – we’ll love her and she’ll love us and then it won’t matter anymore if she’s got a long, thin nose. In fact, we’ll probably start to prefer long, thin noses.

  • Julia

    I think you need a sweet, submissive dog, one who will listen to you and want to please you. I can’t however, tell you this is the one. What were your initial impressions, when you met her for the very first time? Have you been second-guessing yourselves? If you can recall the first impression, go with that – it is usually correct.

    As for what she looks like, do you have to cut her hair like a poodle or is it like a Golden and it won’t get any longer? If you have to cut it and don’t want to, that may be the deciding factor. If you have to cut it and don’t mind, they you can give her the haircut you like!

  • mosprott

    Did you fall for GC head-over-heels instantly?

    Adopt her! She’ll nuzzle you with that cute nose, and be a great perch for the birds! And she’ll be a pushover for Duncan!

    • Actually, yeah, I pretty much did fall instantly head-over-heels for GC. But I think back to Duncan, and it took me about 18 hours to fall in love with him. I actually left him at the Humane Society for a day so I could sleep on it. As soon as I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t believe I had risked losing him!

  • sassy

    I recently spoke with a friend whose daughter had purchased a dog from Paws R Us (just before they were raided). The dog was very shy and not socialized at all – was too afraid to even enter the house for the first few weeks. Given a little time this dog has done a emotional 360º and is now very comfortable and sweet. This in a hectic household with a 6 year old and two teenagers.

    Dogs, especially dogs with less than wonderful backgrounds, usually just need time. I adopted a dog from the humane society here in Ottawa almost 2 years ago. She was terrified of riding in cars, men and BIG dogs. To meet her today you would not suspect that she ever had any problems.

    Hope this is helpful.

  • currently I have no dog but the son and daughter have a golden doodle who is smart friendly but does yap a bit more than I would like. I would be leery though of getting a dog that doesn’t strike you at first meeting. There are plenty of them out there and one of them will look at you and you’ll know right away its the one.
    As for poodles though a lot of people forget that they were originally hunting dogs and they are a lot tougher than people expect. A team of hem actually ran the Iditarod a few years ago, and they are one of the smarter breeds and so easy to train if you take the time. The smarts however also means they are masters at mischief too if left to their own devices,

  • Don’t buy from the pet shop – all your rescue there does is open up that spot for another puppy mill puppy! I can’t say if you should take the goldendoodle. I do think that a dog’s looks grow on you as you come to love them. I never liked poodles either until I met Nellie and Nellie was a poodle mix with ugly snaggled teeth but she is beautiful because she is such a sweet loving smart dog.

    • I know, I know, I won’t be buying from the pet store. I don’t want to encourage them.

      But poor old Watson, the sad Basset pet-store puppy, spending his puppyhood in a glass page in a pet store. I feel very sorry for him.

  • Please, please, please don’t buy a dog from a pet store. I know those dogs just cry out to be rescued but you are supporting the puppy mill industry and the suffering of breeding dogs when you buy from them. I know I am laying it on thick but I feel very strongly about this.
    As for the doodle – I say follow your heart. She will find a good home and you will find the right dog for you – even if it turns out that she’s not it.

    • I won’t buy from a pet store, Laurie. I feel strongly about it too. I’d like to see Ottawa outlaw the sale of animals in pet stores. That store also had an African Grey parrot and a blue-fronted Amazon parrot, and I felt sorry for both of them, too.

  • OK – having though about things a bit more. I’m back.
    I think the little doodle girl is heart-meltingly cute. I also wanted to add that I just remembered that I did not fall in love with my Jasper at first sight but he became the great dog love of my life. I can’t even type this without tears in my eyes. My other two dogs were arguable cuter puppies but Jasper – oh my. I loved him so much.
    So – ack! I am not helping at all.

  • me

    Have you ever tried this? It works to help you go with your heart. Flip a coin: Heads, you will take her; Tails, you will leave her for someone else.

    When you flipped it and still don’t know which way it landed, you may realize that you are hoping for a certain outcome. If so, that’s your decision, regardless of the coin toss.

    • Julia

      Flipping a coin is the perfect way to resolve a yes-no problem. All it does is focus the mind. If you want something more elaborate, I can do a tarot reading for you! I forgot about that. I use the tarot like the coin flip – it just focusses the mind.

    • I’ve done that coin-flipping thing in the past, and found it helpful. I think I’ve worn it out though, because it doesn’t work for me anymore!

  • Sheila

    We have two doodles on our street, Tya and Bella. Tya was a gangly, unkempt looking (despite the owners best efforts), dorky looking dog. Bella was beautiful from the start. Both are great dogs that I wouldn’t hesitate to steal if I could. Tya is still a bit of a dorky looking dog but mostly she has grown into her looks. They both still have goofy, puppy-like personalities that are just adorable. Bella tries to carry her cat around the house and once, when she escaped her home, was been seen following a neighbours cat around the circle we live on. They really are fun-loving dogs. However, both owners agree that they need quite a lot of exercise. Tya goes on two long walks a day and Bella goes on one in the afternoon but is in doggy day care three days a week to let her socialize and tire herself out by playing with other dogs. I can ask my daughter more about them as she is a dog trainer and may have a different take on them.

    • See, I like scruffy dogs the best. I like them with hair in their eyes and mud on their paws. Poodles tend to be a little too prissy looking for me.

      Lots of exercise isn’t a problem. GC wants a dog who can keep up with him!

  • H

    I’m surprised that the last two dogs you’ve considered have been poodles… They’re herding / hunting dogs which seems like a less then ideal fit for your household. :-) On the other hand, she’s still a baby, so would be spending her formative months with the other animals…

    I have to say, though, as someone who fosters rescue dogs:

    1- I’m extremely leery of the rationale “the dog doesn’t have an aggressive bone in their body, so I don’t think they’d chase the cat / catch the bird, hurt the kids, etc”. (not sure if this is what you were saying, but it’s super common). It’s not an aggressive or mean dog that chases or hunts, it’s just their instinct.

    2 – You really can’t assess a dog’s energy level or drive in the first few days. She more then likely extremely unsure (2 days in a home environment?) and coming out of her shell, which can make dogs seem a lot more passive. Other dogs are NUTTERS in first few days, from stress, then settle right in. Usually rescues will try to assess for a good 2 weeks before adopting out a dog so that they can get a true sense of their personality. So, just don’t count on her being as calm as you think. Poodle can be really high strung without enough stimulation…

    Anyway, just my perspective. I think she’s a cutie. Very exciting that the Paws R Us dogs are finally getting homes! Keep us posted on your search. :-)

    • H, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I’ve been giving your comments a lot of thought. Your first point, about it being instinct, not aggression, that would motivate a dog to hunt a bird, is well-taken. You’re right, I was thinking of it in terms of aggression. This one correction is making a difference in how I’m thinking about it, which is important since low prey drive is my first requirement in a dog. Your second point may be why the rescue hasn’t listed these puppies on their website yet…they’re still being assessed.

  • Lissa

    I think it is great she has more poodle traits than Lab. Poodles are wonderful, I know a lady with 3 standard poodles and she loves them. They can be quite wise so watch out.

  • I have to chime in here on the “looks” concern. We had NO intention of getting a shar pei when we started looking for rescue dogs – we were totally thinking about a corgi or basset, something low-slung and close to the ground. And Emmy Lou isn’t even the shar pei we wanted in the first place – the rescue just thought she’d be a better fit than the one we’d initially contacted them about. Now, as you know, she’s full grown on us, we totally love her and it turns out that she could not have been a better fit for us.

    Also, my brother has a doodle named Jasper who is hilarious – easy-going, chill in the house, ready for fun outside. He and his doodle pals all seem to have similar personalities.

    Basically, I just used your comment section to talk about our family dogs and not actually offer anything helpful. I guess I think that if you liked the dog’s personality, the love of her looks will come – and that hair will grow out and she’ll look cuter and scruffier. In any case, can’t wait to see what dog you and GC end up with!!

    • I agree – if you fall in love with the personality, the looks will follow. (This would explain the love people have for their pugs, for instance.)

  • All good comments, and I agree with all of them, I just feel I have to give my 2c

    do NOT buy a dog from a pet store. NOT NOT NOT. Pet stores are what keep kennels like Paws R Us in business, actively hurting dogs. Just please god don’t.

    Rescues are a mixed bag. Yes, you’re saving a dog, but unless that dog spends a good amount of time at your house (2 – 3 days), you’re not going to know how they react around you and others. As another commenter said, it takes them a few days to settle down and integrate.

    My Jack is a sweet, sweet dog and around us, and people he knows, he’s fantastic, but he barks at strangers constantly, scaring them, and he plays really rough dominance games with other dogs at the dog park. He’s been improving but it’s a long slow process (currently 3+ years for us). This is 100% due to the fact that he was taken from his litter early, and a traumatic 1st year and a half. It’s been a tough road at times.

    Secondly, the sweetest dogs can have a strong prey drive, and your birds might very well be prey. My Whiskey is a beautiful, sweet, kind dog who loves everyone, and everyone loves her, but she’s killed a rabbit, a budgie (that was a terrible day) and more mice than I can count.

    Any dog you do end up getting, make sure that they’re right for you, and that the seller will take them back if they don’t work out.

    Reputable breeders will take a dog back at any time, for any reason. Reputable rescues as well. Most rescues have the best interests of the dogs at heart and will take a dog back if it’s not working out. If they don’t offer to, look for another rescue.

    If you must buy a dog, here’s where I turn my nose up and turn into a real snob, (and this will probably make some people’s blood boil) but hear me out.

    Go to the Canadian Kennel Club website, and research breeds, and temperaments, and local breeders. Go out and visit them and spend some time seeing the facilities these dogs are born and raised in. Only buy a dog that has been registered with the CKC, and only buy a dog from that breeder if they’re not willing to take it away from it’s litter before it’s 8 weeks old.

    Purebred dogs are actually cheaper than “Designer dogs” like doodles and other poodle mixes, and the CKC has strict standards for breeders, as well as dogs. Breeders of these “Designer Dogs” are usually farmers making a little money on the side. There’s no way to tell how many of these dogs will turn out.

    • Thanks Matt. I won’t be buying from a pet store. I promise. I really would prefer a rescue. And thanks for the warning about sweet gentle dogs and prey drive. I always assumed that sweet gentle dogs had low prey drives, but I guess it’s not necessarily true. Do you know if there’s a way to assess a dog’s prey drive, without risking another animal’s life?

      • Beagles and Huskies are some of the sweetest friendliest dogs, and the dogs with the two biggest prey drives, by breed. I’m no expert (and you might want to consult one), but I think by watching the dogs behaviour if you bring in the other animal in a crate of some sort would give you a rough idea of how strong a prey drive it has

        • Both huskies and beagles have killed chickens here. One way to assess is to let the dog get comfortable in an environment – all explored out, exercised and calm. Then get them to sit and have someone else introduce the “prey” in a protected way (in a cage). Let the dog investigate it and recall them. If you can’t get them to look or listen to you when conditions are perfect then their prey drive is too high. I knew Marley was going to be fine because while she gets excited and tracks and will chase I can instantly recall her. Even excited and full of energy she’ll look up at me before continuing to track, and calm she’ll come and sit, even as a puppy.

  • …don’t animal shelters have a money back guarantee? I think I read something about people being able to take a pet home for a week or two to find out if it fits in, or see if its temperament is as advertised.

    • H

      @Gabriel, I don’t know of any local rescues that will do a “trial period” or “money back guarantee”. You can return a dog… most rescues will require (not only allow) that a dog be returned to them if any point you’re not going to keep him/her. The rescue that I foster for will refund your adoption fee if the dog is returned within about 30 days, at their discretion. But it’s not at all a “try it out and see what you think” kinda thing.

      It’s a bit different with the SPCA. They have must less strict contracts.

      • …actually, H, I just Googled “animal shelter trial period” and “animal shelter trial period Canada” and most shelters in the US and Canada seem to have a “trial period” — used to determine pet-human compatibility — ranging from a few days to a few weeks. And all of the ones I looked at had a time sensitive money back option as well.

        Just a couple at random:

        “All new adoption homes are carefully screened to determine if they are suitable. There is an adoption fee… and a 21 days trial period.”
        — (Montreal)

        “A 2 week trial adoption will be in progress. You may return the dog to us at any time during the trial period and receive a full refund.”
        — Take Me Home: Small Dog Rescue

        “The first 2 weeks of any adoption is considered a trial. We do ask that you are educated and aware that your newly adopted dog needs some time to settle into it’s new home.”
        — Pawsitive Match Rescue Foundation

        “You may be able to negotiate a “trial period”, particularly if the dog comes from a rescue organization, to insure everyone is happy and getting along before a firm commitment is made.”
        — Citizen Canine

        …TV is mostly reruns and crap tonight, so I had some time for Google research.

        • H

          Hi Gabriel, I’ve never heard of those particular rescues (I don’t think they’re in Ottawa), but of the rescues that I’m familiar with here, ‘trials’ aren’t common practice. I’m sure it’s hotly debated by animal rescuers. :-)

          I’m not so sure it would be in the animals’ best interest… it’s very hard on dogs to change homes and I would be afraid that it would result in people planning to ‘try out’ several, which frankly seems a bit offensive to me. The best rescues can do is know the dogs and adopters and try to make the best match. Who knows though, I suppose trials could result in some perfect matches.

        • H

          One thing that does happen from my experience is ‘fostering to adopt’, which functions a bit like a trial period in that if you choose not to adopt, you’re basically just a regular foster. The difference is that the dog isn’t bouncing back and forth between the rescue and potential adopters.

    • I’m pretty sure trial periods are the exception rather than the rule. If I remember correctly, the Humane Society does not offer any trial periods or money-back guarantees. If it doesn’t work out, you’re supposed to return the animal, but you don’t get your money back. (You might even have to pay a surrender fee.)

  • I say, do not adopt her. There are going to be days where a dog is OMG a CHORE and GROSS and WHY DID IT DO THAT? So you better start off with one you are OMG in LOVE with.

    • Wow, you’re the only person who says don’t adopt her, Tiana! I love dissenting voices.

      I’ve always wondered how so many people can dive right into parenthood, knowing that they have no say in which baby they get, and knowing they have to live with it for all those years, whether it’s a good match or not. With dogs you have the luxury -and the burden – of choice.

  • deb

    I think he is beautiful…love the colour. I agree about letting his poodle cut grow out and I bet you will like his scruffy look better.

  • Susan

    NO don’t adopt a breed of dog because someone online is telling you too, unreal you would ask people if you should “settle”for a dog you don’t love. Adoption is for LIFE, think of the dog first.

  • Obviously we know it’s for life and we’re taking the decision seriously. Like I said, we have no doubt we could love her, otherwise we wouldn’t even be considering adopting her.

    • Susan

      You should never have to ask people you don’t know if you should adopt a dog, I don’t believe any rescue should allow you to adopt.

      • I refer you to this post: Should I adopt the world’s biggest cat?. I wrote this post before adopting my cat, Duncan, four years ago. We’re living happily ever after.

        My blog readers always provide me with useful insights and wisdom whenever I ask for their opinions, which is why I ask them.

      • H

        Wow, this is really harsh. What’s wrong with talking to people about a big decision you’re about to make? I’d almost be worried if Zoom DIDN’T post about the process and solicit input.

      • Yes, of course Susan, because writing about the decision to adopt a pet in an open forum should automatically disqualify a person from adopting a pet.

        And, of course, so should discussing such matters with friends over coffee. Sweet Jesus, can you imagine someone adopting a pet who, previous to the adoption, had actually discussed the process with friends and family? Horrifying.

  • Tica

    Your priorities should be suitability to your lifestyle, energy level (and exercise requirements), and whether or not you can meet the needs of the dog. NOT the visual. If you’re focussed primarily on looks, you will almost definitely end up with a bad match.

    Do NOT buy from a pet store under ANY circumstances. You will be supporting puppy mills and backyard breeders. NO reputable, ethical breeder would EVER sell their dogs in a pet store.

    • Our first priority is whether the dog would be a good fit for our family, including our other pets, and whether we would be a good fit for her. We would never even consider taking in a dog whose needs we could not meet. We’d already determined, as best we possibly could, that we could meet her needs and that she’d be a good fit with our other pets. It wasn’t until after we’d established all that that I blogged about her.

      And, as I’ve said before, I am not even considering buying a dog from a pet store.

  • Okay, so here’s the update: GC contacted the rescue yesterday and said we’d decided to adopt her. Unfortunately, someone else in the meantime had already started the adoption process for her. We took three days to decide, and it was too long. It looks like we’re not going to get this dog after all. :(

    We’re consoling ourselves by telling ourselves that no matter what dog we end up with, we’ll probably be telling ourselves how lucky we are that we got the Best Dog Ever.

    • H

      Oh no! She was a puppy & “designer breed”, so I’m not too surprised. Most lovable mutts will stick around a lot longer.

      I’m fostering a Border Collie / (Golden?) Retriever mix right now. I love this dog. I wouldn’t recommend him for you because I’d worry he would be too interested in your feathered friends, but, I’ll show him off all the same because I think he’s gorgeous:

      • Friendly Giants Dog Rescue

        I know Gloria at Catahoula Rescue Ontario very well and I’m sure she would also not adopt to this family!!! I have sent her a copy of this blog.

      • H, that’s interesting. My last dog, Sam was part border collie, and GC’s last dog, Logan, was a golden retriever. I can’t think of a better combination than the best of Sam and the best of Logan. But you’re right, it wouldn’t be the right dog for our current family. Logan, as a gentle old man, was excellent with the birds, but I’m not convinced Sam would have been able to resist the challenge. 😉

  • sassy

    Have you had a look at the Navan Animal Rescue website.

    A good friend on mine adopted a dog from them last spring, with great results.

    It is run by one woman who is incredibly dedicated.

    • I’ve visited their site a few times, sassy. I’d like to go out there in person and see all the different kinds of animals they keep. It sounds wonderful.

  • Friendly Giants Dog Rescue

    This is totally unbelievable and irresponsible. These are not the kind of people we adopt to. Vixen was not adopted but we have declined this family from adopting from us. This shows absolutely no commitment to a furry friend. Animals are not pieces of furniture!!! We are thankful that a concerned animal lover brought this to our attention. We have also forwarded this to the other rescues in the Ottawa area. This family should not be adopting a dog.


    • H

      Kim: you’re seeing this out of context. I urge you to flip through past blog posts and you will see an intense committment to furry friends. Guaranteed dogs are adopted to less committed and less loving people every day.

      As someone who is also involved in dog rescue, I think this exact thought process is ENTIRELY normal, though perhaps not always publicly expressed. They make very clear that they would love & cherish any dog, as has been the case with their past and current animals.

      Zoom, don’t be discouraged.

  • Friendly Giants Dog Rescue

    Unless you ate looking for a lawsuit I would suggest you remove any reference of FGDR from this bl

    • H

      Am I entirely missing something here?? What ON EARTH would warrant a lawsuit?? I’m not standing up for Zoom because of any personal connection to her, I’m just really confused.

      • Friendly Giants Dog Rescue

        H (as you call yourself) I’m curious what rescue you are with??? Any “reputable” rescue out there would find all of this totally and utterly irresponsible! This is discrediting a rescue to think that we would “adopt” a dog to this family. “Reputable” rescues take adopting out the dogs in their care very seriously. The rescue community is a very tight-knit family and stuff like this travels like wildfire. I’ve copied everything in this blog and should anyone take us to task on why we would have considered this family a potential adopter, they will see my responses as well!

        • Susan

          I agree, well said.

        • H

          You haven’t said what exactly is the problem — that’s why I’m wondering if I missed something? They want a lovable dog that won’t hav a prey drive towards the cat & birds? Seems reasonable to be. It’s not like they asked if the dog’s colouring matches the sofa!!! Sure, they questioned whether the dog LOOKS like the dog they envision themselves owning. The point of the post was clearly that they would love, care for and go the extra mile for any animal.

        • Jessica

          I also foster for a reputable rescue and I don’t think I would foster for them if this was their reason why they declined a prospective family from adopting one of my fosters (unless Zoom has done/said something that we are all missing here)? I don’t see anything wrong with her talking about / gathering opinions. Before we adopted our first cat, I researched, talked to other cat owners and my friends. I don’t blog, but I’m pretty sure if I did, I would have for the adoption of my kitty. I’ve had her for 6 years now and she the biggest suck of the family.

  • OMG. Zoom – I think anyone who reads your blog knows that you give careful thought to every aspect of your companion animals’ lives from adoption on. I am mystified and so sad at what I am reading here today.

  • grace

    Zoom I can only hope that this person from FGDR is professional enough to do a proper assessment rather than judge by what they thought they read here. If I had to find a new home for my 18-year-old rescue cat with health issues you would be one of the only outside my family I would consider adopting him out to. I wish you would adopt me! I hope something good can come of this horrible mistake.

    • Friendly Giants Dog Rescue

      If they want something “drop-to-your-knees heart-meltingly cute” then they should go to Toys R Us and get a stuffed toy!

      Where do people find this whole thing appropriate????

      • Heather

        This is what’s so offensive (and even more confusingly — warrants a lawsuit)?? I was wondering if maybe something inappropriate happened during the homevisit or visit with the dog to solicit such a strong response… but I guess not?

        Honestly though, flip through some blog posts. This family will bend over backwards for their animals. The average person would think Zoom is crazy for the energy she puts into the pets.

        I’m with Grace — you want to adopt me Zoom? I woudn’t mind the homemade meals you prepare for the birds… 😛

        • Thanks H. Just for that, I’ll adopt you! I just made up a fresh batch of mash, too, with 36 ingredients. The birds say it’s the best one yet.

    • Thank you, Grace. As a friend and fellow animal lover, I appreciate the vote of confidence.

  • sassy

    Something VERY odd going on here.

    Could it be trolling or someone trying to give FGDR a bad name?

  • […] Yesterday’s blog post, Should we adopt this puppy? has had some completely unexpected and bizarre repercussions. […]

  • Rachel

    Interesting. Zoom, did FGDR use subterfuge when they told you and GC that Vixen was already in the adoption process?

    • I’m not sure what you’re asking, Rachel. Can you please explain?

      • Rachel

        Before the FGDR rep. started to state her issues with your blog post, it sounded like you and GC had already gotten word that Vixen was in the process of adoption. Then she states, “Vixen was not adopted but we have declined this family from adopting from us.” It sounds to me like FGDR weren’t upfront with you and GC about Vixen’s status.

        • Yes, Rachel, you’ve got the sequence of events right. As for your last sentence…I’m not sure. I don’t know if Vixen’s other potential adoptors were approved or not, or how FGDR would have chosen to resolve the potential conflict that we both wanted her. (We saw her first, but they made up their minds before we did. I think we assumed that they’d have priority.)

          • Rachel

            Zoom, you and GC are going to be(and have been) wonderful dog parents. The devotion you’ve shown to your animals is inspirational.
            Your blog is always sensitive, filled with curiosity, humor, love and community. This post was no different. What a strange path it’s taken.

          • Jessica

            Hi Zoom,
            How our rescue handles adoptions on the same dog is this: if we receive a lot of applicants, then they would close and incoming acciplations for that dog. Then they would screen every family. Then all the families that passed the screening, the adoption committee looks at all of them, talks with the foster home, and they decide which family best fits the dogs needs. It’s not based on a first come first serve, but the family that will be best for the dog. As long as you are an approved home, you have the option to wait until another dog comes into rescue that you would like to adopt (and you get to skip the whole process since you’ve already been approved). Hope that makes sense.

  • demae

    I find the comments from the Friendly Giant Dog Rescue person very disturbing. I cannot believe that this person has dismissed your application to adopt a dog based on this one blog post and has threatened to blacklist you with other rescue organizations.

    I do not find it inappropriate to consider a companion animal based on its cuteness or color or a feeling of attraction if you met the other criteria to adopt. And what is wrong with discussing this with others on the internet?

    I had never heard of their rescue until your blog post and they should be thanking you for the mention not threatening to sue you. If you are not the right person to adopt from them, you should have been told privately not in these comments. How unprofessional of them.

    I have read your blog for a number of years and you have always shown yourself to be a very caring and compassionate pet owner. I know you and GC will find the right dog and a very lucky dog it will be.

    • Heather

      Very unprofessional. And they think they have a lawsuit against you? I’m just kidding, but the irony is oh-so-precious.

      • Heather and demae, you’re absolutely right. I’ve lost all respect for this organization as a result of the unprofessional way they’ve handled this.

        • …unprofessional would be them forgetting to hand you the complimentary leash as you’re walking out the door with your newly adopted pet.

          Coming into an open forum and making threats to slander your name and character, and making unsubstantiated accusations — including that you are an unfit pet owner because you’re discussing adopting a dog with one criteria out of many that you find the dog attractive — is something completely different.

          • Agreed. It’s unprofessional, and potentially damaging to our reputations. Especially now that she’s circulating our names with Beware! warnings and claiming that we’re looking for a dog that matches our house decor.

            As if we even HAVE house decor!

    • Eric

      I’m pretty appalled at the behavior of these dog rescue folks. A serious discussion about weather or not to take in a new pet is an important part of the decision.

      These dogs are in shelters because people didn’t make the decision with enough gravity. I’m sure FGDR’s heart is in the right place, but they’ve been in the pound for too long. I’d certainly never deal with people who would post these kinds of comments or refuse to place a dog with, what any regular reader would know, is probably the nicest home in the city.

      Shame on FGDR, Kim, Susan and their ilk.

    • Thank you demae. It’s the threat of blacklisting us among the local dog rescues that is most disturbing.

  • Cuddly

    Dear Readers,

    They talk about the dogs in this blog like they are buying a new piece of furniture. I am deeply disturbed as this is not how you go about adopting a dog, from anywhere!!!! Have any of you ever been to a puppy mill? A pound? Seen a gas box? Seen how these dogs have been treated? You have no idea the amount of love, time and energy never mind numerous vet bills that it takes to take in rescue dogs. I personally would have disqualified you as well. This is outrageous and good for FGDR (don’t know them)but commend them for their actions.

    • Dear Cuddly. How interesting that you claim not to know Friendly Giants Dog Rescue, yet you have the exact same IP address as them.

      • grace

        I have spent the past couple of hours wondering how FGDR’s experience as a dog rescuer could cause her (though I know some Kims are male) to be so quick to shut down an adoption. I like to believe people do the things they do for good reasons. I hoped that she or he would take a few minutes to reconsider based on meeting you two or speaking with your vets and other references. I hoped that he or she would realize the sadness of their mistake.

        The same IPs address. Man, I feel like a fool.

      • Heather

        LOL! TOO Funny. I sympathize with the sentiment that the dogs have been through SO MUCH to be rejected for a silly reason. But this was obviously not at all your thought process, and the attacks from FGDR are making all of us dog-obessed people look bad.

  • Fri

    Seriously? why are you attacking for such a reason?
    We are biologically inclined to detect beauty and seek it.
    Looks do matter, and yes we can to some extent ignore them but, to deny that it is something taken into consideration most of the time is to be in denial.
    That should not be taken as an insult to the dog, I mean, don’t we look at physical appearance of our (present/future) human partners as well? Does that make them equivalent to a piece of furniture??

  • Does FGDR stand for Fairly Great Distance from Rationality?

  • Hey Zoom – John here.
    I am most definitely NOT an animal lover. BUT, I find this action by this so-called socially conscious individual to be abhorrent, ill-founded and libelous.
    There is nothing in your post that merits this treatment.
    The threat of legal action is laughable at best.
    I’m going to say something about this in my Saturday WTF post.
    They can sue my sorry ass if they want! Bonne chance!
    Merry Christmas, dude. This group has riled up the wrong folks.

  • Sue

    I too have been involved in rescue for over 16 years and I am sorry but I too am baffled. What I read in this blog was a family doing RESEARCH instead of blindly stepping in and adopting a dog for the wrong reason… many many many Paws R Us dogs who have already been adopted are now being returned to rescue because of special needs… how DO you choose a pet who you will devote your life to. You ask questions, of yourself, you ask your friends, you talk and you read and you make a decision. Zoom, I too have forwarded the addy for this blog to the rescues I am involved with and some are quite SHOCKED at the response you have received. I know many rescues in Ottawa would be GRATEFUL to adopt a dog to a family that doesn’t blindly jump into rescuing a dog, only to be returned the next day, or a week or month later because it “didn’t work out”. Good for you Zoom.

  • Sheila

    Geez. I haven’t looked at your blog for a couple of days and am totally surprised (and appalled) at what has taken place. I don’t know you from Adam, Zoom, and yet I know that you would make a great dog owner and that your trepidation about her looks were just the usual considerations that any pet owner makes when deciding to adopt. There are certain criteria everyone has: looks, personality, suitability, exercise requirements, health. The look of a dog is important, after all you are going to have to look at her every day for 15 yrs. When you look for a partner, don’t you consider their looks? Why not a dog. The three cats I adopted were chosen for personality and *looks*. The guinea pigs we adopted – personality and *looks*. The rabbit – personality and *looks*. Good gravy, we even buy a car based on what it looks like. The look of the pet is only part of the reason we love the pets we do.

    Cats and dogs, a lot of them anyway, have evolved the way they have because of the “cute” factor. Someone somewhere has thought, “That’s a cute dog/cat/rabbit/guinea pig/rat/horse. I’m going to take him home.” Even breeders look for certain external factors in keeping puppies for the show ring. It would be news to any of the judges at any of the big dog shows that looks aren’t important. Of course it’s right and proper that you should be considering what the dog looks like before you adopt.

    We are considering adopting a second dog right now. We want a collie because they are very nurturing/motherly dogs that protect everything they consider family, including chickens. One of the considerations? You got it – looks. Why? Because some of them have been bred so that the heads are narrow and the eyes extremely small. We want a dog that has good eyes. How will we get it? By rejecting dogs that don’t have the look we want. We know that collies have the right temperment for us. We have talked to breeders and now we are just waiting until we find one we like and that likes us. Will the breeder deny us the dog simply because we are basing part of our decision on looks? No. Why? Because they understand that it is only part of the whole equation.

    So if that rescue is trying to get you banned from adopting a dog from rescue because you are doing what every dog/pet owner has done throughout history, I have just one question – just what have these people been smoking?

  • OMG FGDR Do you realize Zoom’s last dog was a pound puppy, a howl-y excitable border collie- spaniel mix and Sam was so well loved, so well loved. As he grew older he had issues with snapping if people came near his tail, it didn’t deter her from keeping him. And he never was a problem for others, shje took responsibility for him. In his last years he developed dementia and other health problems and Zoom did not let that deter her – she spent a frortune on medications to make him comfortable and he was treated just like a beloved elderly family member who had Alzheimers. He was treated with love and respect and compassion and empathy. She put as much thought into his final months and hours as she did family at the end of their lives. She is the best possible kind of dog owner.

    GC too. His dog, Logan, was a lovely well mannered golden. I never had the blessing of knowing him when he was young, but I met him in his later years and fell in love the moment I met him. He was well trained and well loved and looked after. GC dropped everything to nurse him back to health when he developed diabetes in his last years. I know many dogs who advanced to blindness before this was caught but GC was so in tune with Logan it was amazing.

    You are completely out of line. And if you think Aesthetics are not an issue with people why do you run a rescue specifically for large breeds? People are seeking out a particular kind of dog when they come to you. AREN’T THEY SHALLOW!

    I have two lab crosses – a nova scotia duck toller lab x and a rottweiler lab x because I know that all 4 breeds work well with my family’s make up and our lifestyle and I LIKE the way they look. If Bear or Marley had come in a poodle skin I would have loved them, but I’d be asking myself on first meeting if they were the right dog for me because of my own preconceived notions about little poodles. THATS HONESTY.

  • I’m going to come back to this in the morning, but for now I just wanted to thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for your comments, insights, and support. You are the very, very best.

  • Mo

    It’s sad that a judgemental reader with zero knowledge or understanding of your incredibly caring, chatty personality and love of animals has caused such a ruckus.

    I know you and JC are loving, responsible parents to your pets and shower them daily with affection and attention in addition to meeting their daily needs.

  • Diane

    If looks matter to you and you are not totally in love with this dog then I think you should keep looking. This dog is not winning you over. This poor animal deserves to be with a family who is going to fall in love instantly, not over time.

    • sassy


      Your comment “… fall in love instantly” made me think of speed dating.

      Well, to my amazement there actually isspeed dating for dogs.

      That’s the ticket – meet dog, fall in love instantly, take dog home, no fuss, no muss. And silly me, with few exceptions I was under the impression that (with perhaps a few exceptions) “falling in love instantly” usually happened to those who, after five double martinis suddenly realized it was last call and they might have to spend the night alone.

      Learn something new every day. 😉

  • I will never, ever, understand dog people.

  • Observer

    I think it’s very scarey that you’d actually consider buying a dog from a petshop, when all around us, for the past many months, we’ve been trying to educate the masses about where these petstore dogs come from.

    How sad that you’ve brought your choice down to a question of taste rather than realizing that it’s YOUR typical mentality that keeps these dogs in bondage at puppy mills.

    Really! How tragic that you can’t even understand the difference.

    If you can’t adopt a dog because you want to redeem this dog’s plight, go buy a stuffed dog and call it a day. You don’t deserve more.

    • Did you READ the comments here? Zoom made it VERY CLEAR she wouldn’t adopt from a petstore but that she understands how rescuing those dogs in the glass boxes motivates many! I really hope people are not adopting out of some need to save an animal from it’s plight (thats why good people get dogs from pet stores – see above) but because they’ve done your homework, thought long and hard about it and want to add a member to their family. If the plight of every dog is your concern without regard for “fit” in your family then fostering is the way to go (and as with fostering children there are families who are suited to it and those that shouldn’t for a myriad of reasons – because their own children are too young and demanding for instance. Not being right for fostering does not mean they aren’t *good* parents or that they aren’t ideal candidates for adopting though. It is a different thing all together.

      I have no qualms about saying we have pets because we love having furry members of our family. We chose shelter/rescue because there are so many in need and we took our time and waited for the *right* dogs to come along. It wasn’t absolute love at first sight and we discussed it during our wait to see if we’d been accepted. By the time we knew we were adopting we were firmly in love with our dogs. With our livestock we have said YES to animals we haven’t even met yet based on recommendations. But the goats and chickens and ducks don’t sleep in our beds at night.

    • sassy


      nice try but your comment indicates that you have NOT read this post or the comments preceding yours.

  • Saintmom

    In reading this blog, I’ve got to agree with FGDR, your statements about the dogs’ appearance were first and foremost in the majority of your blog comments. What if, when the dog gets older, the dog gets “uglier” in your eyes? Would you still love it? Still take care of it?

    And to the person who was posting about how wonderful they were with their previous dogs, they just did what any dog owner would do, followed through on their commitment to not ditch the dog as it ages/becomes ill.

    Most rescues will research the home/family that applies to adopt a rescue dog. Perhaps you gave off the vibe of caring more about the dog’s appearance rather than the dog itself? Most people doing the home interview would immediately pick up on that. Are you perhaps more offended that FGDR WON’T adopt to you?

    And I’m delighted you won’t support a pet shop dog.

    • …only fools and Internet naifs judge someone based on a single blog post. A single post is not the totality of the writer.

      You haven’t read this blog, Saintmom, and you certainly don’t know anything about the writer, you’ve read one post she has written and made your judgment. Nowhere did she write her decision was primarily based on the appearance of the dog. She had a thought, a doubt, she wrote it out, and now you self-righteous Internet neophytes want her to defend it like it was a thesis.

      It’s not the writers fault this Susan, this Cuddly, this Observer, this Kim from ‘Friendly Giant Dog Rescue’ are so Internet illiterate as to believe a 500 word post is the sum total of a person. Shame on all of you… especially the one posting with multiple personalities.

      • Saintmom

        I read the blog. It’s not rocket science, Gabriel.

        • Nope, not rocket science at all. It’s about finding a safe, loving home for a dog. And only a narcissistic fool would deny a dog as safe and comfortable and loving a home as GC and zoom can provide based on such arbitrary and slim evidence you believe you’ve found here.

    • Yes they did follow through on their commitment to their previous pets ISN’T THAT WHAT ADOPTORS SHOULD DO???? WHY ON EARTH SHOULD THEY BE BLACKLISTED for acknowledging that they want a dog that looks like a dog, not an unnaturally groomed dog?

      You know if you blacklist people for honesty (admitting they like the looks of particular dogs over others)- like you would people who adopt animals to abuse them, fight them, or breed them you’re absolutely insane. Not only that but you are GUARANTEEING that people will go get puppies on kijiji and at petstores (not Zoom and GC but every person who sees and hears about these kind of crazy situations)because they want to avoid this kind of bullshit and invasion of privacy!

      And I’ll say it again: FGDR focusses on large breeds why? Why aren’t they just a rescue for all breeds and sizes? BECAUSE it was started with a preference and the people who go to them have a preference for larger breeds. And guess what, THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT, any more than there’s anything wrong with having a preference for ungroomed dogs!

      Do you not see that THAT is what this bullshit blacklisting is about? Zoom wants a natural looking dog, not one thats been clipped. THATS ALL!!!

    • Saintmom, there WAS no home visit. It was cancelled because of this blog post. This blog post is the ONLY reason we were disqualified and blacklisted. We passed all the screening tests (questionnaires, vet references, personal references) and were scheduled for a home inspection which was supposed to have happened today. Then Kim read this post and the rest is history.

      • Saintmom

        ” But we can’t seem to make up our minds. First of all, she’s got a lot more poodle than golden in her, and we’re not really poodle people. We’re not crazy about the look of poodles. She’s not ugly, but she’s not drop-to-your-knees heart-meltingly cute either. I think we’re both feeling guilty about this. Is it terribly shallow of us to reject a sweet little dog on the basis of her looks?

        So we keep waffling. We want her. We don’t. We do. We don’t. I do and he doesn’t, then the next day he does and I don’t.”

        Based on this part of the post alone, I wouldn’t adopt a dog to someone who blogged the above anyways. Most people who want to rescue are ready and willing to take the dog, not blog post about it. Sorry, but you’re the author of your own story.

        • You’d refuse to adopt to me on the basis of one paragraph in one blog post, despite abundant evidence throughout my entire 1,500-post blog that we’re loving and responsible pet owners? Despite stellar references from vets, friends and neighbours? Despite everything you’ve read in the comments here?

          Please let me know which rescue you’re with, so I can avoid applying to adopt any of your dogs.

          • I’d like to know too. Seriously. If this would make you blacklist a potential adopter then I really think YOU are part of the problem with te number of unwanted dogs out there! You are turning away good people. You are giving rescues a bad name. You are ensuring that people are going to go to reputable AND backyard breeders, petstores and places like Kijiji to get their next pet.

            I know THIS ENTIRE THING has turned me off rescue organizations,(all 4 of our cats and both of our dogs are rescues btw)but I’m going to donate and adopt from the SPCA which has SANE adoption requirements and is most concerned with spay/neuter and getting animals adopted out as quickly as possible to approved households.

            This is like a mommy blogger writing and asking for experiences and opinions on if it’s possible for her to love the new baby she’s carrying as much as she loves her firstborn, while pregnant with her second child. Then having CPS show up to take her children because she’s clearly demonstrated through that blogpost that she’s an abusive unfit mother.

            With HOW MANY animals are in need how on earth can you justify this behaviour?

            • Eric

              That’s a perfect analogy. Thanks. It makes it pretty clear who’s being unreasonable.

              • sassy

                Indeed, and a commenter said on another blog takes it a step further.

                …it is easier to adopt a child from China than it is to adopt a mutt from the local shelter

                This fiasco has not served the animal rescue/shelter community well AT ALL. :(

                • sassy

                  whoops, that should be

                  Indeed, and a commenter on another blog takes it a step further.

                  Coffee, I need more coffee

                • Heather

                  In fairness, I don’t think it’s right that we conclude that it should be EASIER to adopt a rescue dog. The checks and balances aren’t the problem… I don’t think that Zoom had a problem with the process (application, references, homevisit). What happened in Zoom case was insane, and should never happen again, but it’s really not the norm either. I think that most people have very positive experiences with rescues and recognize that the regular checks and balances are key to keeping the animals safe.

                  • Actually I think it should be easier. Several years ago I was immeadiately rejected from getting a small/medium sized breed from a breed specific rescue because we didn’t have a yard. Many rescues will not adopt to people who do not have secure fenced yards or to people who lived in apartments. It didn’t matter that I lived in a two storey duplex and was less than a block from a fully fenced dog park. I didn’t have my own yard so I was unsuitable. This was before the BSL and I was looking for an english staffie or staffie x.

                    Dogs are dying in shelters because the shelters are overcrowded and rescues are full up and they’re crossing good homes off their lists for really irrelevant reasons.

                    The funniest thing about this was that I could have fostered for them without a yard! I couldn’t do that to my kids – become attached to a dog and then have it be adopted away from us.

                    • Heather

                      It’s just a case of matching dog to owner, so I suppose someone assessed that the particular dog wouldn’t do great in that setting. Eg. a high energy dog that didn’t do well in dog parks could be a real challenge for someone in the City without a yard. I think rescues are also extra careful when there are kids in the home.
                      Or maybe they misjudged in your case… Who knows, dogs go to folks without yards all the time.

                      Often when someone gets a “no”, it’s actually a “we would love to adopt to you, but not this dog, so let’s find the right one”. But if the person had their hearts set on a specific dog, it’s taken really personally or otherwise the wrong way.

                      If it were easier, I suppose more dogs would be placed, but I think the thinking is that more dogs would also be returned and/or unhappy. There are already many dogs that get returned (often for reasons that the adopter explicitly stated would not cause them to relinquish the dog, I might add). Just a question of finding the balance, I guess and all rescues are a little different.

          • Saintmom

            What I meant was that if I was looking to rescue a dog, I would be very careful about what I posted on a blog, focussing so very much on the dog’s appearance, NOT the personality/needs of the dog. THAT’S what I’m getting at.
            The dogs that are coming from rescue are very special, and yes, adopters MUST be VERY carefully screened so that the dog doesn’t go back into the very same situation they came out of. It is a rescue’s perogative to reject those whom they feel is unsuitable. This particular rescue in question deemed you unsuitable.
            Don’t take it personally that you were rejected. Move on. I’m sure if you and I met I’d find you a perfectly lovely person, but, if you focussed so much on which of my dogs was the prettiest to suit your needs, I probably wouldn’t adopt to you either.
            You never know, maybe you would unknowingly apply for one of my dogs, maybe I would find you a suitable home for one of them. Given your reaction to being rejected, however, I would certainly research who you are very carefully. Maybe you would be a great home for one of my dogs. Maybe not. It’s a crapshoot, ya know? Don’t take anything personally, (although I’m sure it’s difficult not to), but keep in mind before slamming any rescue group, the community of rescuers IS small, we DO talk amongst ourselves.

            And Gabriel, back off please, name calling is very juvenile.

            • Only a narcissist or a fool or someone who is both could judge a person based on one blog post. According to your logic, if I wrote about a weekend out with friends where there was drinking involved, you would consider me to be an alcoholic unworthy of dog adoption.

              You’re a narcissist — someone who believes your judgment is so pure in its clarity, so righteous, that you can deny a dog a safe, clean, loving home based on a single blog post.

              • Saintmom

                And now you’re making it personal, Gabriel. Narcissist? No. Fool? Absolutely not.

                Someone who spends the majority of her time trying to SAFELY rehome the dogs in my care? Yes. Do I try my absolute best to ensure that they are no longer rejected based on appearance/size/smell/didn’t match the damn furniture? YES absolutely.

                Obviously I’d have better luck reasoning with my garbage can than I would the likes of you.

                I wouldn’t say my judgment is pure, nor righteous, BUT what I can say (since obviously the other side of this is so obviously wrong in YOUR eyes) is that most of the dogs I have in my care WERE rejected based on appearance and or size (yes, it’s St. Bernards), 3 have just come into my network because they drooled too much.

                I try my absolute best to determine which dog would go to which home. If you’re not suitable, you’re not suitable, and it’s the rescue’s decision.

                Obviously someone googled the blog owner’s name, and the search result was this blog. People will tell you what they THINK you want to hear as a rescuer, it’s those of us who are GOOD at our research that will reveal such traits as this.

                Nowhere did I say that one blog post would influence my decision. Obviously you cannot take a step back and take an objective look at this. And THAT’S a shame.

                • sassy

                  Obviously someone googled the blog owner’s name, and the search result was this blog.

                  Are your sure about that?

                • So… you’re upset that I took a few words you left on a blog and made a judgment about your character and worth as a human being? Based on your latest comment I’d judge that you have a fairly short temper, so maybe someone should look into the safety of the dogs you claim to represent.

                  What’s the name of your rescue, so we can make sure the animals are safe?

                  “Based on this part of the post alone, I wouldn’t adopt a dog to someone who blogged the above anyways.”

                  That would be you writing about how, based on this single post, you’d deny adoption to an otherwise perfectly acceptable human being. Something you’re now denying haven written. It certainly is a shame.

                  Stunning even.

                • “Obviously someone googled the blog owner’s name, and the search result was this blog. “

                  Nope. This blog doesn’t come up when you google my name. That’s because I’m an anonymous blogger. (Or at least I was, for the most part, until I wrote about a certain puppy.)

                • Sheila


                  I have to ask you a few questions: Do you run a rescue or do you work for one? If you run one, do you have a website with pictures of the animals to be adopted? Because if you have one picture of one adoptable dog you are doing exactly what you say you abhor. And that is you are abetting people in their discrimination of dogs by their looks.

                  Rescues put pictures of their dogs up on their websites because they know that is what helps people decide what dog they think they would like to adopt. FGDR has nice big pictures (really nice, too, not the typical dog standing outside or lying down in someone’s home but looking well-groomed and happy) and so when you go to their site what you see is the picture first and then the description beside it. A lot of rescues do this. Why? If looks shouldn’t count then take down the pictures.

                  This argument is specious at best. You can’t condemn Zoom for questioning whether or not she likes the look of the dog and then post pretty pictures of dogs on a rescue web site. People will look at them and base their decision to apply for the dog on the picture. They will read the description after they have already decided they like the look of the dog. So don’t you or FGDR or any other rescue try to make Zoom sound like an unfit owner just because she couldn’t decide if she liked the look of a dog. Your pretty pictures of adorable dogs only encourage people to judge based on looks. Take the pictures down and then let people decide just on a description and see how well you do adopting them out.

            • Saintmom, Gabriel’s a long-time reader and a loyal friend, and I appreciate his (and everybody else’s) efforts to defend me.

              I suspect you’re here in defense of your friend…or perhaps you feel the rescue community itself needs defending here.

              For what it’s worth, I don’t think it does.

              If I’m right that you and Gabriel are acting from similar instincts, I would like to suggest that maybe it’s time to agree to disagree.

              • Saintmom

                Ok, so apparently what I’m typing isn’t coming across as what I’m meaning. I don’t know FGDR. I wouldn’t put my own rescue’s name out there simply because I don’t think it’s relevant here. When someone attacks the rescue community as a whole, yes, it gets my back up and I do try my very best to defend why decisions are made the way they are. Obviously some of your friends on here are here to defend you, and if I was your friend, I’d do the same.

                Here’s a scenario for you to all absorb as to what rescues deal with on a daily basis, and my own personal experience with rescue (and more than likely why I got into it in the first place). My own St. Bernard was purchased as a Christmas present by someone who had no business owning a dog a few years back. I received a call regarding a St. Bernard who, from the age of 8 weeks old, grew “too big for the house”, so was thrown into the back yard like a piece of garbage, fed only household garbage until the owners just stopped feeding her altogether (I guess it was too much for them to bother). After SPCA and police interference, she wound up in my care. She was terrified of everything and everyone, was untrained, and pretty much left to fend for herself. I wound up taking her into my own home. What ensued was six months of intensive care of her. When she saw my husband, she would submissively cower and pee, then she’d require hours of gentle coaxing to get her out from under the dining room table. She required surgery to both spay her, and to remove a large mass from her intestines. We were sure it was cancer from the x rays. What it turned out to be was a mass of fused household garbage in her esophagus. We caught it just in time. She was eating household garbage simply to survive. After 2 YEARS of working with her, she will finally allow strangers to approach her, and is finally a happy dog.
                So yes, I will staunchly defend the rescue process as idiots such as her previous owner had no business getting a dog in the first place. It jades you and taints your view. Perhaps I’m crazy, perhaps I’m a fool, but I will defend to the DEATH the process as it tries its best to ensure that the dogs are not going to go through what our own dogs do. I’m pretty sure I’m done here, especially when some of your friends are launching into personal attacks, I never went that way with trying to reason with you. I’m sorry you didn’t get accepted by FGDR, I’m sure someone else will find you to be a suitable home for their dog, good luck and Merry Christmas.

  • Friendly Giants Dog Rescue

    We were polite this morning and sent an email simply asking for this blogger to remove any reference to Friendly Giants. We received many email today questioning our ethics as a rescue. Our request fell on deaf ears. Vixen’s foster family were terribly upset about what was posted about this adorable, lived puppy. We don’t care what people choose to blog about but when we have to defend our choice for potential adopters because FGDR was written about on this post that’s when we had a problem. All the blogger had to do was simply remove our name from their blog as they never asked permission in the first place.

    • sassy

      Don’t try and turn things around. It was YOU who posted the first negative comment, NOT Zoom.

      And since when does someone need permission to even mention the name of your organization online, is that some new *internet tradition* that I am not aware of?

      Did you ask permission to post your statement about this blogger and her family on your Facebook page – I think NOT.

    • Here is the complete collection of email correspondence between Kim and us. Prior to yesterday, all our interaction with FGDR was with Jaclyn, who was friendly and professional, and the foster family, who were friendly and helpful.

      [From Kim to GC] Friday, December 16, 2011 9:51 AM

      Good morning,

      Unfortunately (but not unfortunately), to my dismay, a copy of your post online about adopting a dog was sent my way, thank goodness. I am totally not impressed with this and it shows us that you are not a commited family to adopting a dog. They are NOT “possessions” like a couch or chair. Our dogs deserve ONLY the best given the lives most of them have already lived.

      I’m sorry to inform you but we will not be proceeding with your home visit on the weekend and will be closing your application. I would also request that you remove any reference to Friendly Giants Dog Resue from this post immediately!!!! This is not the way Friendly Giants conducts the rescue and definitely not the kind of people we adopt to.

      Without Prejudice

      Kim Knapp

      [From GC to Kim] On Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 11:43 AM

      I’m sorry you feel this way. The post was not written with malintent and we most certainly do not believe pets are possessions. We are very good pet owners. This should have been discovered by your reference checks of our neighbours and vets. Although the blog title asks the question “Should we adopt this puppy?”, the post was not written to ask readers to decide for us but to spark discussion and perhaps bring to light things we hadn’t considered. We take matching animals and their prospective homes very seriously.

      I feel we have been wrongly judged.

      [from Kim to GC] Friday, December 16, 2011 3:40 PM

      I’m asking you to remove the blog posts immediately. I have already contacted our lawyer and if it is not down by this evening, you will be receiving a legal request. Obviously you do not respect the rescue community and have no clue what rescue is all about and have outraged a number of people in it. I have forwarded this blog on to all known “reputable” rescues in the area.

      Without prejudice

      Kim Knapp

      • Michelle

        Hey Zoom I just wanted to say here that when they say they have contacted their lawyers half the time they say it to scare you, i would through something similar with a real estate company.

        Also, an future emails sent to this organization should end with the same thing she is saying “Without Prejudice” I forget why, but I went to law school a little while ago and it has something to do with saving your butt from something.

        • I’m actually not worried about their threats of a lawsuit. I believe truth and justice are squarely on our side in this matter. I’m more concerned about them maligning our reputations.

          As for “without prejudice” – I used to use a similar phrase (“without precedent or prejudice”) routinely when writing union correspondence to management. It was definitely a butt-covering mechanism, but it’s kind of funny that we use it without knowing what it means. (And thanks – if there’s any more correspondence with FGDR, we’ll stick it in there, just in case.)

          • LOL regarding the “without prejudice”. I used to check emails from someone to see if they tacked on “without prejudice” on the end. If it was there I was going to be attacked and threatened in the actual body of the email. Yes some people think they can tack that onto threats and that magically it means it can’t be brought up in court…ummm no!

            • Julia

              Have a look at the explanation of the civil use of the term here:
              It doesn’t really apply to this exchange, so it won’t matter either way, if you use it or not.

              • In plain english it means “just because I’m offering or agreeing to this right now doesn’t mean I will offer or agree to the same thing in the future, and you can’t make me!”

      • Meagan

        If you are requesting the blog post be removed, why the heck would you forward it to all your “reputable” rescue contacts? Why would you solicit requests for it on your organization’s Facebook page? This makes no sense.

  • Friendly Giants Dog Rescue

    You need to collect your facts. We sent an email to them before we posted on this blog but it was ignored. We answered so many emails today about this blog post it took up more time than actually responding to emails of dogs in need!!! There is nothing wrong with blogging and asking for people’s opinions on things but the way it was done was wrong. Adopting a dog is about finding the right fit for your family and lifestyle. I have met some of the, what people on this blog would apparently call “ugly”, dogs with the most amazing temperaments, personalities and smarts that would do anything to please their owners but because they are not “perfect” people don’t even give them a second glance. Yet we have had people apply for the “drop to your knees cute” dogs and the potential adopters would not have the first clue how to deal with the issues they hand but “want” them cause of their looks. Reputable rescues are about matching dogs to adopters based on both ability of adopter to meet the dogs needs, and the dogs ability to adapt to adopters home. If rescues don’t feel a dog is a good match for the family applying they don’t even set up meet and greets with the dogs. It would be a waste of everyones time including the foster home.

    • sassy

      So, by my understanding, you told Zoom (via GC) that the dog had been adopted and then, when she shared this information, with no malice whatsoever, on her blog, (which it turns out by your own admission was not true).

      Of course I am not saying that you wanted FGDR references removed from a blog if you thought there was any risk of someone putting two (dog has been adopted) and two (dog has not been adopted) together and wondering were the truth lies. That would be jumping to conclusions, and if there are any lessons to be learned from this online conversation, it is to NOT JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS.

      • Friendly Giants Dog Rescue

        You might want to ask them for the email where we told them Vixen was adopted. That’s a blatant lie and no such email was ever sent. The only email sent was a declination asking them to remove FGDR referenced from the blog. Again you need to collect the facts.

        • As I stated in the comments, above, we were told that someone else had already begun the adoption process for Vixen while we were still making up our minds. I have the email.

          We figured we’d just taken too long to decide, so we’d missed the boat, that’s all. We were then told there were two other similar puppies if we wanted to meet them.

          Of course, that was before Kim saw this blog post and all hell broke loose.

          • Eric

            These trolls are pretty well fed, but I wanted to throw my support in one last time by reminding them that you have no obligation to remove references to their group. I’d say at this point it’s important for the record to show what kind of people are working there.

    • Heather

      Wait a minute, Kim. Zoom needs to remove a post about FGDR — which is not in the slightest slanderous — but you can name their REAL names on facebook in an entirely slanderous manner (then delete all comments in support of them)?

      I would laugh if I weren’t so disheartened. This is the most unprofessional and hurtful thing I’ve heard in awhile. If I acted this way.. I would lose my job, I wouldn’t be allowed to foster for or represented ANY organization.

      You’re bullying Kim. Look at how many people you’ve turned off of rescue dogs. Perfectly lovely people want NOTHING to do with this community. This is heartbreaking.

  • Mary Jane Kelly

    After just returning from traveling in India and Nepal, I had to make a comment on this blog. There are literally hundreds of homeless dogs roaming the streets there and it was amazing to come home and read this. Anyone in Canada who has been “researched” as to what type of a good dog owner they will be and actually agreed to let strangers into their home to assess this has gone out of their way to comply with these “adoption agencies”. Shame on the decision makers when this was obviously a blog asking for peoples’ input. I hope you feel guilty when one more innocent animal gets put down because of your ignorance.

  • Kristine

    Rescue organizations are extremests at best. The love, time and devotion they put into adoptions is certainly no easy task, and they take on an enormous expense. HOWEVER, dogs are not disposable and there is nothing wrong with finding one you 1. Love 2. are attracted to 3. that fits your lifestyle. All things taken into consideration prior to any adoptions should be encouraged. It seems to me that this FGDR is on the extreme side. Go to another rescue group or a shelter. You are sure to find the right dog for you, your family and your lifestyle. This blog turned into a pissing contest over using a name. That’s just stupid all the way around. Nobody was badmouthing anyone else. Just stating opinions. Why all the hoopla?

  • By the way, if anybody wants to see for themselves what my idea of a drop-to-your-knees, heart-meltingly cute dog looks like, check out my Pinterest puppies page.

    • sassy

      YIP – you got that one right when you said heart-meltingly cute

      Have you ever noticed how sweet (literally) new puppies smell? I am told this is because of the mother’s milk.

    • My doggies are in there! :-) So essentially you like all kinds of dogs including the undesirable ones who aren’t easily homed because of looks like rotties and pits, and boxers and black dogs and big mutts.

      SARCASM FONT: You’re a terrible danger to dogs everwhere.

  • Kristine

    Just checked out the Pinterest page. AWESOME pictures, thanks for sharing.

  • H

    So, basically, you like all sorts of dogs — young & old — including many that are difficult to adopt out (pitties, boxers, danes, bernards, scraggly mutts)… You know… exactly the kind of adopters that we need….

  • Julia

    In other news, 400 people have been killed by a storm in the Philippines. Kind of puts things into perspective.

  • “Dear Cuddly. How interesting that you claim not to know Friendly Giants Dog Rescue, yet you have the exact same IP address as them.”

    My goodness, you seem to have fallen among utter fools! The threats of a lawsuit, by the way, are stupendously silly. You haven’t slandered or defamed these people in any way, and have clearly engaged in what in Canada is called “fair dealing.”

    I have read and re-read the comments from the owner of this outfit, and am completely bewildered. There’s something…a little off there, to put it mildly.

  • future landfill

    Yeesh!! How utterly gruesome for you Zoom. FGDR needs a serious reality check. Likewise their ‘informer’. We all know there are wingnuts among us but it’s still a bit of a jolt when you run smack into them.

  • […] of Trashy’s World – another Ottawa based blog, fills us in: Seems Zoom (The Knitnut) put up an innocent post soliciting opinions about whether or not they should adopt a certain type of dog from a rescue organization. She said […]

  • Don’t worry about a lawyer’s letter. FGDR doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on. Your blog article are not untrue, nor are they intended to vex or insult. I am not a lawyer, but I expect it would be very difficult for even a good lawyer to spin the blog article into a libel case.

    On the other hand… if FGDR did contact other places and counsel them not to adopt to you, they may well be guilty of slander and libel. There may be issues under retail laws as well. Perhaps it is you who should be suing them.

  • So the lesson folks is be completely disingenuous with rescue groups. Be completely PC (pooch correct) at all times with staff and online. Read their website and in hushed hallowed tones repeat back key phrases you picked up there. Remember these are “special dogs” and only “special people” may adopt them.

    Do not mention grocery store dog food, concerns over grooming, prey drive, or ask any questions that might suggest that you are looking for a dog that will fit into your current family and lifestyle.

    Be prepared to commit to adopting the individual dog before you have even met it, for goodness sake don’t think about it and be sure! Remember, your decision isn’t *really* final, if you rush into it without mulling it over completely you can always dump it back in the rescue again!

    Ignore the voice telling you that rescues and shelters are the right place to get a dog, a dog in need. You can always get one hassle free from a backyard breeder or a puppy mill.

  • CherylF

    There are a number of rescues out there, and they are not created equally. I conduct interviews for an awesome rescue, and our goal is to match the right dog with the right people so that the adopting family doesn’t have to make that painful decision to give up their dog because we didn’t do our jobs. If I had seen this post and been the interviewer, I would have picked up the phone and asked if there was anything I could do, or any information I could give them, to help make their decision easier. Please don’t lie during your interviews… those of us who know what we are doing really do want to match the right dog with the right family. And if you get a bad feeling with the rescue, just like anything else in life, then move forward. Just my 2-cents.

    • Hi Cheryl, I hope you realize I was being sarcastic about lying and being committed to adopting a dog before even meeting it. I’m just synthesizing some of the “helpful advice” on why Zoom was rejected, and a rescue community wide warning issued about her.

      I agree about moving on too. We looked at several dogs before adopting our Marley girl. It came down to us and one other family with another dog we had fallen for. They chose the other family based on their having just lost the same breed mix and they called us and spoke with us for 30 minutes about our “rejection” and rescue in general. We moved on knowing *our* dog was out there. Then we met Marley and knew without a doubt she was the right dog for us. Even rejection – if handled properly – shouldn’t put anyone off adoption.

  • DanielleE.

    Zoom, I think what Cheryl said here is very true. Not all rescues are alike. When a rescue gets so protective and emotional (albeit it is understandable) about their rescues that is not a good recipe. Look for a rescue that will take the time to answer ALL your questions without judging you and becoming defensive and making personal threats of legal action or saying they will ensure that other rescues are made aware of your blog. Because of THEIR reaction here and THEIR unprofessionalism (this is only my personal opinion)THEY, not you, are responsible for the negative coming their way. I truly hope that this rescue will continue doing the work that is so needed but will also take the time to treat potential adopters with as much nurturing and respect they do the adoptees in their care. In the end everyone wants a “WIN” situation for the animal and new owner. I have worked in the past with horse rescue and I know how easy it is to get defensive about a rescue but this doesn’t help the situation in the long-term. I am sorry that this entire situation has left such a sour taste in your mouth for rescues but please reach out and find the rescue willing to work with you and answer all your questions. My passion is horse rescue that I have been involved in and yes sometimes things get VERY emotional BUT I keep telling myself to let go of the past and look to the future for this animal and find a home where the animal with flourish and thrive and be loved.

    Merry Christmas to all here and Merry Christmas to all fur-babies out there.

  • DanielleE.

    I also wanted to tell you Zoom something about the prey drive. I own a purebred golden retriever who is above being gentle to the point that “Fuller” loves my ducks, yes you heard me, loves my ducks, my chickens, my horses and all of my 10 cats (strays all dumped on our hobby farm). You would think that a golden would chase ducks and so on, not mine. However, we did train him as a pup to be “friendly” to all the animals we own.

    • Prey drive is definitely trainable, and if you get them as puppies and raise them around other animals it’s never a problem, no matter what the breed.

      Even with rescues, you can, with some effort, train the prey drive out of dogs that exhibit it.

  • […] Should we adopt this puppy? […]

  • seo

    The very core of your writing while sounding agreeable in the beginning, did not sit perfectly with me personally after some time. Someplace within the paragraphs you managed to make me a believer but just for a while. I however have a problem with your jumps in assumptions and one might do nicely to help fill in all those gaps. When you actually can accomplish that, I will undoubtedly be fascinated.

  • MB

    Late to the party here, but I just had to say something.

    Zoom, I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this awful experience. As people have said before — not all rescue are created equal, and unfortunately FGDR seems to have forgotten what rescuing is all about.

    I don’t think you did anything wrong writing this blog post, and this is coming from someone involved in rescue. I have done a few “foster to adopts” for interested adopters and only one didn’t work out.

    As a rescue, our #1 priority is our dogs, and making sure they end up in the right home. I think you were being very responsible weighing the pros and cons. For FGDR to fault you for that is ridiculous.

    You have my email address. Feel free to contact me. We would be more than happy to help you find your furry family member.

    • Reputable Rescue

      Well said MB. Everyone, please don’t wipe all rescues with the same brush as FGDR. We are not zealots nor do we threaten to sue everyone that comes along. Keep searching for your forever baby Zoom. You’ll know when you’ve found him/her.