FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you have adoption events? No. At SDR we work very hard to set our dogs up for success, and an adoption event for a dog is very stressful. People, noises, other dogs - dogs have no idea why hundreds of people are walking by, wanting to pet them (petting is not even a normal behavior for dogs, it is something they learn to accept and eventually hopefully enjoy). Other dogs come up to meet dogs face to face (another no no in the canine world) at adoption events so a dog who is not super confident in their social skills could have a negative experience at an adoption event. Also, our adoption process is so detailed and there is no guarantee people will be approved - so most people are not happy to meet a dog at an adoption event and then learn that they need to fill out an application, go through an interview and home visit - and then maybe will get the dog.
Who decides if I am approved to adopt a certain dog or any dog ? When your application comes in, if you have just one dog you are interested in, we ask the foster parent to review it to see if they think your home is a good fit for their particular foster dog's needs. If so, we proceed with interview etc. If they don't think it is a great fit, then you get an email saying that dog doesn't appear to be a good fit for your home. If we proceed, you get your phone interview, home visit and then the foster reviews those notes and will set up a meet and greet with you. After the meet and greet, the foster person submits all the notes from the meet to the board of directors and they review your ENTIRE file and look at the recommendation of the foster parent. After this review, you will be told if you indeed are approved to adopt THAT dog. If you don't have a particular dog in mind, you can be approved to adopt but then need that final approval before adopting a particular dog (foster parent and board make that final decision).
Can I come meet one of your dogs? At SDR, we only do meet and greets after a potential adopter's application has been approved. All our dogs are in foster homes, and we tend to get about 3 to 5 applications per dog (depending on the dog). Our foster people are kind enough to take in a foster dog, so we can't ask them to be letting random people who we have not pre-screened into their homes. If you are approved to adopt, the foster person will reach out to you to chat more about the dog and decide if you all are a good fit for each other, and THEN you can set up a meet and greet.
If you are in a hurry, we suggest you try your local shelter where adoptions tend to be much quicker. Or several groups like Life is Better, 4Paws4Life and Pawsco do much less screening of their applicants and have very nice dogs.
Why don't you list a phone number? We are all volunteers and literally spend collaboratively 100 hours a week just reviewing applications, making interview calls and doing home visits, in addition to having foster dogs in our homes etc. If we listed our numbers or called back everyone who asked us to call them, we'd never get anything done.
What is foster-to-adopt? Foster to adopt is when you are an approved SDR applicant but have no particular dog in mind, and we find you a dog in a kill shelter that we take because you are interested in him/her, you foster him and then you get a period of time (usually two weeks) to decide if you want to adopt the dog, or put it up for adoption. We do ask that you continue to foster that dog until it is adopted through SDR, and then we can try to find you a new foster to adopt option.
Can I volunteer if I live out of state? Yes! A lot of the work we do is online or over the phone. If you understand dogs, understand positive reinforcement/humane dog training, and have a computer - you can help us!
What areas in Colorado do you adopt to? We give preference to applicants who live in an area where we have SDR volunteers and support who can help our dogs with follow up if needed. These areas are Boulder, Denver (the city), Fort Collins, Winter Park, Buena Vista, Eagle/Vail, Steamboat and Glenwood/Carbondale. Applicants outside these areas can still apply but are at a disadvantage.
Why do you NOT allow prong collars, shock collars, choke collars or violent training methods? There are so many violent/force/punishment based trainers out there. Many even say they use "positve" training and say they promote a "bond of trust" with you and your dog, but then after giving your dog a treat or two, they revert to using force. Humane/positive/force- free trainers will never push, hit, startle, kick, choke, or shock a dog. Actually a good trainer should not need to touch your dog at all. Think about it... would you put a prong collar on your child? Would you throw a bag of chains on the floor to startle your toddler into listening to you? Would you put a collar that electrocutes the wearer on your wife to make her listen? Then why would these methods be okay for training your dog? We have a list of trainers that are approved as humane/positive/force free/science based trainers - and SDR adopters can only use them. In addition, science shows that dogs learn by association - so if they feel pain every time they excitedly pull to see a dog on a walk... they can very quickly associate dogs with pain and become fearful and potentially aggressive with dogs. This is not our opinion - this is science based fact based on the laws of behavioral science. It is called Classical Conditioning. Do you want a fearful or aggressive dog? Probably not, so please don't punish your dog in that case.
Can you answer all these questions I have about the dog I am interested in? Sorry, without an application on file, we can't go into detail about each dog that every interested person inquires about. Once your application is on file, we may give you more details about the dog you are interested in before your entire process is complete. Almost all the information we have about a dog will be listed on their petfinder page and the website page for them. Please check there.
What is your policy on adopting to a family with small children? Sorry, we do not adopt to homes with children under the age of 5. Children do not develop impulse control until around age 4, and a new dog coming in to your home is going to be stressed, fearful and uncertain. Your child might be exceptionally well mannered around dogs, but also has friends who might not be so savvy. Our experience has shown us that homes we adopt to with small children inevitably have returned the dogs to us. About 4 out of 5 of our dogs adopted to homes with small children were repeatedly returned, and so we no longer adopt to homes with small children.
I sent in an application and have not heard back from anyone. What do I do? If you have not heard from anyone for a week we recommend in this instance, it is best to re-send or double check that we actually got it and that someone is aware of it. Please email it again to firstname.lastname@example.org and send a quick email to email@example.com
An SDR volunteer is a friend of mine and is my reference. Does that give me priority? Sorry, no. We look at each application on its own merit. While we do appreciate the reference, it will not give you priority nor will we make exceptions because of your friend status. Sorry.
Why is your process so thorough? We have been rescuing dogs for a decade and have seen every terrible situation you could imagine (or not even imagine because it boggles our minds still). We don't rescue dogs to put them in mediocre homes - we are looking for exceptional and dedicated forever homes for our dogs. Most rescues and shelters just want to see a ton of dogs saved from death row and placed in any home possible. Go to craigslist pets and see what happens to hundreds of dogs every day that people don't want. Or your local Petco adoption fair. Most people have great intentions when wanting to adopt, but don't realize the work, dedication and commitment it is to bring a sentient being into their home and assimilate it into their lives. Through education and intense screening, we hope our dogs go to only amazing homes. We don't volunteer our time to provide a supply of dogs to the public, we rescue dogs to save them and find them incredible homes that will never traumatize and abuse them again. Our commitment is to the dog, and while we do try to be fair and courteous to people, the best interest of the dogs come first.
I have a dog I want to surrender or save from my local shelter, how can I get you to take it? We have very limited intake as it is hard to find fosters. Please email all information about the dog to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will forward to our intake coordinator (see courtesy posts also).
What is a courtesy post? A courtesy post is a dog that is not officially an SDR dog, but rather one that we were asked to help and so we put it on petfinder.com and sometimes our website as well. You will be adopting that dog directly from the current owner, not through SDR.
I live out of state, will you adopt to me? Yes on rare occasions we will adopt out of state if you are an incredible applicant, a good fit for the dog you are interested in, the foster parent agrees AND you are willing to come here to meet, adopt and drive home your dog.
I live out of state, is transport available if I adopt an SDR dog? No.