I got Melvin from Labrador Retriever Rescue. I’d investigated several lab rescue groups in the area and my entire decision to try LRR was based on my web experience with them. In todays day and age, I think that must be pretty common.
LRR is committed to the forever home concept. It’s apparent in all that they do. Their site is very direct, you are clear on their philosophies, you can read about success stories (written by the now owners of each dog rescued out). The dog write-ups on available dogs are written so well and are very honest. I still read up on the dogs they take in and track their progress to adoption. They’ve got the internet bio thing down to a science.
They serve the MD/VA/PA area and you need to live in that general area to adopt. The main reason for this is the adoption process. Like many rescue groups, you first fill out an application (info about you, about past dog ownership and about your intentions for a dog). Once you submit that they will contact you and do a phone interview. This interview is to be sure you’re sure and to see what your motivation is. After the phone interview they will schedule a home visit. This visit is done by one of their volunteers, often the one who lives closest to you. LRR is entirely volunteer and I can confirm that every person I met in my endeavors with them were committed to the beautiful cause of saving dogs and finding them good homes. The home visit lasts about an hour, they tour the home, ask questions about your life with any current dogs you have discuss your plan for how you will acclimate a new dog to your home. It’s not a test in fact my home visit culminated in the humans sitting on the floor taking turns giving Max belly rubs.
Once you have the home visit and are approved, you can start meeting dogs. LRR requires that you meet at least three dogs before any decisions are made. They don’t subscribe to love at first sight, they want everyone to be certain. The main thing I loved about LRR is they were very honest about their opinion of which dogs to consider. Based on your initial interviews they will suggest dogs for you to start with. Perhaps you have a dog, they’ll want to match you with a dog that does well with other dogs. Same goes if you have a cat, you’re going to want a dog that tolerates them. If you are ‘less active’, they will suggest dogs who match your energy level. If a dog has any challenges (health or behavior) they will opt to place those dogs in homes with someone who is committed to working on the issue. As an example, one dog I met and considered was an escape artist. He needed a home with someone who would work on keeping him from running out the front door. Also, Melvin has severe allergies. He needed someone who would commit to medical care. There is no rush with LRR. You might find your match in a month or so (that is about how long it takes to meet your first three dogs) or you might take several months. It’s not a race.
All of LRR’s dogs are fostered in homes so they can know each dog. They can confirm if a dog is house-broken, good in a crate, able to be in a home where people are gone during the day. They know how the dogs are with small children, strangers, cats, other dogs, with sharing toys and any issues with food aggression or the like. They don’t sugar coat anything, the dog is who he/she is, as it should be. If the dog has any health issues when they come into LRR, they will keep the dog until it’s ready to be adopted. You meet the dogs at their foster home and if you have a dog already, you bring the dog with you. Your current dog plays a role in the decision of which dog you adopt. LRR encourages all family members to play a role in the process. Remember, the goal is a forever home.
Next, I’ll update on the dogs I met and how I eventually ended up with Melvin.