playing the field, doggy edition
October 9, 2013 11:23 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are in the process of adopting a dog. Based on online profiles and email conversations with foster families, we've got it narrowed down to two pups that have been fostered through two local rescue groups. Now we are scheduling in-person meetings with the dogs and "home visits" where they send a volunteer to make sure our house is ok for a dog. Should we be telling each group that we are deciding between two dogs, which we're meeting on Thursday and Friday?

We really want to meet both dogs before deciding, but both rescue groups are understandably eager to get their fosters into forever homes. We don't believe there is another family waiting in the wings to adopt the Thursday dog, so we're hoping they won't insist that we make a yes/no decision on the spot. We're just not sure whether it would be better (or worse?) if we were up front about wanting to meet both dogs first. Would it be more polite to say something, so they won't be blindsided when we decide not to adopt one of the dogs? Or would that be rude, like telling your date that you have an outing planned with another hot prospect tomorrow?

If there is another family waiting for us to turn down the Thursday dog, we understand that the rescue group has no obligation to hold him for us while we make up our mind, even until Friday. I just don't think that's the situation.
posted by vytae to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
Best answer: Yeah, you should mention it. They won't be offended, and it's good to manage the hopes of the people currently fostering the dog. (That's my opinion as someone who fosters, anyways.)
posted by inigo2 at 11:39 AM on October 9, 2013

I would mention it. The last two in-home visits I had ended with them just leaving the dog with us so they are likely assuming that you want this dog and are planning on taking it if they ok your home.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:42 AM on October 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Definitely mention it. If Thursday does catch someone else's interest, you don't want the pup to possibly miss out on a home because the rescue folks think it already has a place lined up. The odds may be low of that happening, but the dog should have every opportunity it can get. Also, as someone who has fostered animals, I agree that it's good to manage the hopes and to keep them from thinking they or the dog did something wrong if you find that you just jive better with the other dog.
posted by diamondsky at 12:19 PM on October 9, 2013

Our last adoption experience, from a rescue organization, did not go well. We went to meet the dog, and we were up front about NOT wanting to take the dog home, because we wanted to go home and think/talk about it overnight (we met the dog at the rescue "headquarters" where they brought her, from the foster home) but yet somehow we were bamboozled, railroaded right into taking her home right then and there. It was our fault that we caved, but they were very high pressure about what they thought was best for the dog and that the dog had "no place to go" if we left her behind (???) and so on. It was implied that we negligent people for considering walking away. So be aware that different foster organizations are filled with different people who may have very animal-centric views that may not jive with the way you want to do things. Stick to your guns because what you are asking is not unreasonable! (Our dog ended up being fine, we've had her for about 3 years now, but we won't deal with that rescue place again.)
posted by molasses at 12:32 PM on October 9, 2013

Best answer: I would tell them. It sounds like different rescue groups might react really differently, though! We told a rescue group that we were also looking at a dog in a shelter and needed more time to think, and they told us a) to take our time and b) not to feel bad if we went with the dog in the shelter, because the dogs they had already had good foster homes, and they would probably end up having to find a foster home for the dog in the shelter if we didn't take him.

Best of luck to you, I hope you find a great match.
posted by freezer cake at 4:12 PM on October 9, 2013

Going against the grain here. As admirable as rescuers are, that doesn't entitle them to a window into your thinking, or your life. People decide for or against things for many reasons, and they need to accept that, even in the era of sharing.

On the other hand ... Mrs LonnieK and I adopted a dog a few years ago, our first since our childhoods long years past. Before visiting the rescue operation we had agreed we would not be going home with a dog; we were bamboozled not by the rescuers, but by the dog. We have not regretted it for one second. Our lives were changed.

When our space enlarged, we took on another, and everyone was delighted. And then, by surprise, another one dropped in. Now it's all for one and one for all. We have become That Kind of People.

All of this is by way of saying: Consider taking both. Dogs need company.
posted by LonnieK at 4:40 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Make it clear that you will not make a decision until day X and that you understand someone else may adopt the dog before day X.

They should appreciate that you need some thinking time.

(Have you thought about how to handle it if you want both?)
posted by Lesser Shrew at 5:14 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would tell them before Thursday, so that they will know when packing for the trip that they definitely need to be prepared with supplies for the trip home and afterwards, etc. They should be ready for that anyway, but that should stop them from pressuring you a lot in person. Good luck!
posted by onlyconnect at 7:11 PM on October 9, 2013

Response by poster: Have you thought about how to handle it if you want both?

Oh man, you guys are such delightfully bad influences. I would adopt ALL THE DOGS if I could. As much as my id is clamoring to adopt both of them, the responsible side of me knows quite clearly that we should only get one dog right now. I guess if it comes down to it we'll flip a coin or something, but I'm hopeful that one of them will win our hearts more than the other.

Thanks for all the input about disclosing. We did end up letting the rescue groups know that we're planning to see two dogs in two days, as the scheduling emails from them have become increasingly enthusiastic throughout the day. We don't want to pull the rug out from under anybody. Thanks for the advice.
posted by vytae at 7:16 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thursday dog was nice, but Friday dog stole our hearts. I'm pretty sure MeFi rules say that I owe you guys a picture. This is Merlin.
posted by vytae at 6:59 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

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