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The Home Visit: An Essential Part Of Adopting A Dog

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“Hello! I am here for your home visit!” If you’re adopting a dog, you might be greeted by these words from a stranger at your door. Not to worry, he’s not here to sell you anything – this is a home visit and it’s an increasingly common part of pet rescues adoption procedure.

In fact, I may end up on your door step because I do home visits for a local dog rescue. This is my favorite part of volunteering. I love to meet people and feel so special to be part of the final step in a dog’s journey to finding a new home.

Related: Adventures In Fostering: Meet Francis

I understand that people may be nervous about a home visit.  Relax – I’m not there to judge your home décor color scheme (but since we’re on the subject… do you think that flashing beer sign goes with the couch?) or make sure you’ve dusted everything with a flat surface. This home visit is to ensure that this adoption is going to be successful. The best way to do this is by having an in-house conversation, as well as a pair of trained eyes that will help you eliminate any potential problems around your house and yard.

What questions do I ask?

While I don’t have a script or a clipboard, I find that simply having a conversation puts people at ease.  We’ll talk and our discussion will be guided by a number of questions many home visitors will ask.

Related: A Day In The Life Of Dog Foster Dad

I’ll want to know if you have a vet you’re using. It’s best to have a vet set up before you bring your dog home, rather than rushing to find one in case of an emergency.

Have you ever taken an obedience classes before, and what activities you are looking to do with your dog?  What’s your daily routine and how you will include the dog in this? This includes where the dog will eat, sleep, be trained and exercised.

I’m not here to tell you how to do it; I am here to get you to think about it.  Some families have a bed already in place and bowls out for meal time. Others are looking for guidance, and we will discuss options and possibilities that will work for you.

What am I looking for?

In general, I am looking to see that the home is safe for the dog.  If you have a fenced yard, I will inspect it with fresh eyes for any possible escape routes.  Maybe your gate is sagging, or you have a stack of firewood piled against the back corner, which a dog might use as a ladder and escape the yard.  These are easy fixes, and it’s my job to point them out to you.

I also look for potential hazards to your new dog.  Many dogs just love to eat from the cat litter box, or get confused by kid’s toys vs. dog’s toys.  I check to see that household cleaning supplies are stored away safety – products such as laundry soap can be harmful to dogs if ingested.

Most of the homes I visit, the humans have to work outside of the home. Hey, someone has to bring home the bacon for chew toys and food. I understand! I am also looking to see where the dog will be spending time when his owners are out of the house.

When a shelter takes on the commitment of a dog, it’s a huge responsibility. Finding it the right fit for a forever home is part of that responsibility. The home visit is intended to support the adoptive family and to ensure that this will be the right match. Be open with me; ask me whatever questions you want. I’m here to make sure that everyone is happy, and that you and your new dog live happily ever after!

 


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