Choosing a dog
September 23, 2019 5:20 AM   Subscribe

The rescue recommended a dog to me, and I visited her at her foster home yesterday. She's lovely, but I'm just not sure. How can I know if I'm making the right choice?

I have never had a dog before, although I've dog-sat and volunteered at animal shelters.

This particular dog was recommended to me by the rescue because she's very sweet, calm, and gentle. She's a hound mix and I believe was originally a stray.

My primary worry is her health. She has heart worm (the rescue will pay for her treatment). She's currently on an antibiotic pre-treatment and will begin receiving the shots in a couple weeks. The rescue said she'll make a full recovery, and I also looked for any symptoms when I was with her, like coughing, and there were none.

She also has maybe 5-6 small lumps (moles?) under the skin on her face and neck. They're maybe the size/placement of if a human being had a bad breakout, and wouldn't be visible except that she has quite a short coat. I'm worried they might be a sign of a serious condition and want to discuss with the vet. Or is this normal, the dog version of acne or something?

My other worry is that she seems not to really have had any training, and I'm inexperienced too. I took her on a walk yesterday and it was really difficult, because she didn't really know to stay on the sidewalk or to stay close to me, she doesn't know any commands, and there was a lot of pulling. She was trying very hard to be obedient and do what I wanted, but she clearly was not used to being walked. I live in a condo where she'll have to be on-leash for most of her exercise during the week (although there are a lot of walking trails and pet play areas right in the complex and there is a dog park in walking distance for weekends).

The foster family says she's housebroken and has not had any accidents in the month she's been with them. She also did take the leash. And she's very food-motivated and immediately looked to me for direction if I whistled or clucked my teeth, so she seems very trainable. Still, I'm worried about having to start nearly from scratch training a dog when I'm also starting from scratch learning about dogs altogether. On the other hand, training would be a bonding experience and it's unlikely that any rescue dog would be substantially more trained than she is, right?

She's a complete sweetheart and I can already see her blossoming with some TLC. She's also a beautiful dog, and just right for me in terms of all the practical stuff like size and coat length.

But how do I know that this is the right dog for me? How do I make the choice?

After meeting her yesterday I was torn between wanting to take her home immediately to start doting on her and being suddenly very intimidated by how difficult training and building a relationship and just generally looking after her properly will be. I'm much more experienced with cats, so a lot of my instincts for how to relate to a pet are also wrong (too passive)!

I'm looking for practical steps, like "discuss XYZ with your vet" as well as more intuitive things, like "this is what a successful initial connection looks like, this is how it grows."

I'm also looking advice on how to learn about dog ownership well enough to be able to care for her properly from the moment I take her home (instead of using her as a guinea pig). I went from her foster family's house directly to the library and checked out yet more books on dog care, and have been doing hours upon hours of research already, but like I said, I'm intimidated.

If I'm this overwhelmed by the idea of taking home a dog, I can't really imagine how people manage to leave hospitals with newborns!
posted by rue72 to Pets & Animals (27 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
In terms of breed, she's mostly or perhaps even entirely a treeing walker coonhound.
posted by rue72 at 5:29 AM on September 23, 2019

Ooh! I'm slightly jealous. Getting a new dog is exciting and it sounds like you've found a keeper.
First - get a vet to give an opinion about the little lumps. They sound like perfectly normal moles to me, but it's worth having that checked out, as well as any other health issues that might crop up, especially hips.
Only take on an untrained dog if you are willing to put in the time and trouble it takes to learn how to train a dog. But honestly, any new dog, even a well trained one, is going to take some getting used to. A good dog training class won't just tell you how to get the dog to walk politely on the leash, but also all the little tricks to living comfortably with a dog. What your "house rules" should be.
You'll discover people are OPINIONATED AND DOGMATIC (whoops pun!) when it comes to dog training so prepare yourself for that. Some people are wedded to The One Method. It's going to be up to you to determine what approach works best for all the variables here - your personality, your dog's personality, your setup, etc.
From my experience (I've done a lot of obedience training with dogs but am not an expert by a long, long shot) is that the most important things are patience, consistency, paying careful attention, and trying to see things as your dog would. It is an incredibly rewarding experience, and of course, at times, frustrating.
As for whether this one is "the one", most dogs shape themselves to fit your needs. They are accommodating creatures. Some dogs have problems adjusting to living with humans, but from the sound of it, this is not one of those! Thanks for caring. Giving a dog a happy live is so rewarding.
posted by Zumbador at 5:38 AM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

We have been told by vets & our ow rescue organization that lots of rescues out of the South (e.g., Texas, Alabama) get -- or are serious risk of -- heart worms, so they all are treated, out of an abundance of caution. This implies staying on the medicine later, too: it's not a big pain.

I don't know what the rescue would say, but after you have ask local friends for recommendations of a vet, you might be able to get the dog looked at -- much as you would take a used car to a reliable mechanic.

If you are willing to practice skills, a dog who is "very food-motivated" will learn. My suspicion is that our probably-formerly-homeless dog is still just damn hungry a year later, so he's willing to do annnnything for food. *shrug* That's good, because he has some bad behaviors that we really want him to drop. To see if your potential dog has these, you would want to expose the dog to: other dogs, trucks (delivery trucks, landscapers, garbage trucks, pickups, Jeeps, and Jesus it's like Richard Scarry how he barks at anything over 15000GVW), cats, men in baseball hats, men in dark clothes, men, women, children, and, uh...anyone who isn't you.

Reactivity (as it's called) isn't a deal-breaker, but it should inform your decision: do you have the time and patience to live with a dog who might go bananas at trucks? If she's mellow now, that's a good sign! Our little guy was quiet at the rescue, and later became confident and bold and is slowly coming back to a calmer attitude.

Dog tax: here is our "open-box" dog, Cooper, hanging out in the garage with me and wondering who is on the phone.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:20 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ask the organisation to have the moles looked at by their vet and tell them you'll pay for it. Do not take the dog to the vet yourself, because you'll want to make sure any dog you have is insured. A vet visit under your name will void any insurance if there's a diagnosis.

Training classes are easy to fins and you two should attend! A food motivated dog is easy to train when you have a little guidance on how.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:24 AM on September 23, 2019 [5 favorites]

Take a dog training class!

You don't have to learn how to train a dog on your own. Taking a class is a completely normal thing to do, and even experienced dog owners sometimes do it if they're dealing with something new.

Zumbador is right that there is a lot of .... shouting ... about the right way to train a dog. But to be honest, if you're kind to your dog, and your dog doesn't have behavior or personality traits that make training more difficult, you don't really need to worry that much about whether you've picked the ONE TRUE WAY. Read about the trainers to see if their methods gel with you and then have fun.

have been doing hours upon hours of research already, but like I said, I'm intimidated.

I think you're intimidating yourself. There is a lot of writing about dogs ... but you don't have to read all of it or know all of it in order to be a good dog owner. You'll be fine.

I would start just by figuring out a daily routine for your dog. When and what will you feed your dog? When will you walk your dog? When will you work on training (outside of walking)? How will this dog slot into your daily life? As long as your basic daily routine is providing for the dog's needs, you're basically there. Yes, there's responsibility, but for the most part a dog's needs are pretty straightforward. A training class can help you with the less obvious stuff that might come up.

Just your worries about this show that you are probably going to be a great dog owner.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 6:31 AM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

Does she bark much? How does she respond to being left alone? If you're in a condo, a dog that barks all day when left alone could be problematic. And if you have to leave for work every day you won't want to take on a dog with separation anxiety issues.

Is she okay with being in a crate? That will make your life a lot easier if you have to leave every day, since at first you may not be able to trust her not to chew on things.

How is she with other dogs? If her main chance to be off leash is at a dog park, you'll ideally want a dog who gets along well with other dogs.

Would the foster family be willing to keep her until after her heartworm treatment is over? She'll need to be kept inactive as much as possible during that time, so you won't be able to do much with her. The boredom and lack of exercise could lead to problems with chewing or barking or just general annoying, crazy behavior due to frustration and pent-up energy. (I have a dog who's due to get her first heartworm-killing shot this week, so I'm about to find out for myself how bad it is living with a dog on exercise restriction. Maybe it won't be that bad, but I definitely have concerns.)

Teaching a dog to walk on a leash isn't that hard, especially if you go to a training class. I wouldn't worry too much about that.
posted by Redstart at 6:36 AM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

I know of a dog who was super mellow and sweet at rescue and it turned out she had pneumonia and was basically drowning during the whole adoption process, she needed expensive medical treatment and is now a bouncy happy dog. But it was a financial burden the adopter wasn't expecting, and the rescue didn't disclose it (or maybe didn't know about it?) This is to say a pre-adoption vet workup is important!
posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:42 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

My dog had heart worm when we got her (also a rescue from down south). The treatment worked well; she was a year old then and is now a lively eleven year old. The only major downside is that she doesn’t qualify for pet health insurance.
posted by Morpeth at 7:08 AM on September 23, 2019

I have a coonhound rescue and she's a damn fine dog. She's not food motivated, but she was an easy dog to train.

Some things you'll need to think about if you're taking in a hound of any kind, but particularly a scent hound. Your counters will not be safe the first few months, all the coonhounds I've known other than mine have been counter surfers and very good about finding any left out food. They also love to chew and do things in their puppy phase so get her a kennel and let her have a Kong filled with frozen peanut butter during the day. Get her in a dog training class ASAP. Read some books on positive reinforcement training, I recommend Culture Clash to every new dog owner. Find a dog park for her to romp in. And explain to your neighbors that they may hear some howls and to please be patient.

Hounds are smart, funny, and very loving but they can also be stubborn as hell. They are dogs that like to run and play, when they are healthy and young but as they age they can be big old couch dogs.
posted by teleri025 at 7:12 AM on September 23, 2019 [6 favorites]

Finding a class to go to with your dog shouldn't be that hard and the training is as much about training you as it is training the dog. Many times they go as you go.
posted by domino at 7:12 AM on September 23, 2019

Nthing that leash-walk training is fairly straightforward. I've had two dogs in my life, both were terrible on leashes when I got them, and both got the gist of it pretty quickly. With highly imperfect training, too. Just - do not use a retractable leash. Use a regular one. That's important.

I remember how intimidating this stage was. It gets easier as you get used to each other and you realize your own preferences (What is it that you will care about training? What is it that you won't?)

Training classes are HUGELY HELPFUL, not just because of the skills you gain but also because of the way it teaches you to communicate more effectively with your pup. Yes, various philosophies of training are controversial; I would encourage you to stick with training that is better rooted in our modern understanding of dog psychology (which does not support pack theory/dominance-based approaches.) It doesn't need to be the one true perfect trainer, but some trainers are doing things that are understood to be abusive, and it's important to steer clear of that.
posted by mosst at 7:13 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

You can offer to foster this dog for one week. That gives you time to take her to a vet and two dog training classes. You’ll also get to invite people over and see what kind of work you need to do around that.

This breed of dog is not lazy. You’ll have time in a week to see how long walks fit in with your general schedule. You’ll also have the opportunity to see how you feel about daily medication, which is a potential reality with every pet that you happen to know bout in the beginning.

Any reasonable rescue operation wants to ensure a good match and reduce the risk of return months down the line. If they won’t let you foster this dog with option to adopt, consider that a potential red flag.
posted by bilabial at 7:19 AM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

I also have a coonhound rescue from Alabama, who went through heartworm treatment. In her case she never showed signs of the disease and sailed through treatment - the worst part was keeping her quiet when she was clearly feeling fine. It's a common problem with dogs rescued from the south, sadly. She's not food-motivated, generally speaking, which makes her a little difficult to train sometimes, but in general she has decent manners and I don't feel like she needs more than what we have. Occasionally, when she feels entitled to a walk or a trip to the park but doesn't get it, she'll do some garbage rummaging, but on the whole she hasn't done anything too terrible (except the one time she decided to chew up my eyeglasses.) Some hounds are counter-surfers, some are very noisy, pretty much all of them are stubborn, but activity levels can vary a lot. Mine would be miserable if she didn't get her exercise, and then when we come home she curls up in her crate and snoozes. Walks and dog park visits help a lot - a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
posted by PussKillian at 7:25 AM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

Adult dogs are not as much work as puppies, but in the first while it's important to spend time with her to develop trust and work on training. My rescue dog is hugely food motivated so the use of some treats was enough to get him really paying attention to me and we saw a big turnaround in some problem behaviors (snapping at kids, resource guarding, taking food off the coffee table) from consistent positive reinforcement with treats, I actually forgot how he was when we got him until I came across some old emails. We saw a trainer for half a dozen private lessons and a handful of lessons was enough to have the basic principles engrained to get us going (basically how to use cue-behavior-reward to get him to do what we want in different settings). We've also taught him some tricks and gotten him used to playing with toys to help keep him busy, he loves tug of war now but still isn't a huge fan of fetch, every dog is different but it's a good idea to expose them to some different activities to see what they like, and that's great for building a connection too.

You need to decide where she's going to sleep, when to feed her, and schedule regular trips outside and walks so she can relieve herself, what you'll do if you need to go away (identify potential dog sitters or kennels). A vet can help with figuring out what food, how much food and when but the rescue should have a brand she's used to and guidance around amounts. I didn't know previously that switching dog foods is not ok to do all at once and can upset their tummies. Once you have a vet you like and trust they will keep you on top of needed maintanence things like shots and check-ups. Get a double handled leash so you can keep her close while she's learning and have extra grip if needed, I am a fan of dog harnesses too for more control while learning leash skills, they feel your direction a bit more than with a leash attached to a collar.

I would also ask the rescue if she's ok with having her nails trimmed, and you can decide if that's something you want to do yourself or if you'll take her in to have them clipped, but basic dog grooming is important like how often to bath, what's good for their teeth, keeping their fur in good shape.
posted by lafemma at 7:47 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hounds are noisy! Just a word to the wise.

You'll want to take a new dog to a basic dog skills class regardless—the teachers should be very aware that it's as much about training you on HOW to train her as it is about training her! My dog came to me with all kinds of manners and I'm still really grateful that we took a class at the local rescue organization—it gave me the framework for teaching him. Also, the Gentle Leader changed our lives as far as leash walking.

So, "will I/can I do basic training" isn't a good litmus test for whether this is the right dog; you always should, and with help you definitely can! And while it's a VERY good idea to do a trial period (most rescues allow/encourage this, in my experience; we didn't have to pay our full adoption fee until he'd been with us at least a week), unfortunately having a new dog can be so overwhelming that "do I feel 100% good about the first week and not like I made a horrible mistake" isn't the best test either. I think the question to ask yourself before the trial period is "can you imagine this dog in your life," and after, it's "can you imagine your life without this dog." I was kind of miserable my first week because I just didn't know what he wanted, but I also knew he wasn't going anywhere. By contrast, I had an overnight visit with the wrong dog and knew that right away too, even though it was sad. Trust your gut!
posted by babelfish at 8:09 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

A lot of dogs rescued from the South have heartworm (and it's spreading north, THANK YOU, CLIMATE CHANGE). The initial treatment is somewhat stressful because of the need to keep the dog from physical activity, but you can get through it.

Does your rescue have a foster/adopter support group? The main one I support does and it seems to be very helpful to people who have problems with their new puppenses.
posted by praemunire at 8:14 AM on September 23, 2019

This is making me feel a lot more confident about adopting her, thank you everybody! I will ask the rescue if they'll have a vet check her out more thoroughly, at my expense. Although it's a bit over-cautious, I'd like the moles and one nipple that looks a little "roughed up" (maybe from a previous litter) given the all-clear. Ideally, I'd like to take care of any health issues quickly and while she's still under their insurance, although they also extend coverage for a month post-adoption and I plan to have her on insurance going forward.

I'm not sure about taking her home for a week because she's already on track for the heart worm treatment. By the time her supplies arrive at my house, she'll basically be ready for the shots, and life with her during the subsequent four weeks aren't going to be "normal" since her activity will be severely restricted. I'd also like her with me rather than in the foster home directly after the heart worm treatment because my home is much calmer than the foster home, although maybe that's overly optimistic in terms of my ability to care for her. Not sure how to handle that with the rescue? They were fine with me taking her home yesterday if I felt prepared (I've held off on ordering size-specific supplies because I wasn't sure about her measurements, though, so I knew that wasn't a possibility).

Reactivity: I've seen her around men, women, other dogs, squirrels, birds, cars, trucks, etc (on our walk and at her foster home) and she was completely unreactive. That matches up with what the rescue and her foster home has said, too. I mean, she noticed everything, she was alert, but didn't try to give chase to the squirrels or bark at the trucks or anything like that. If anything, I'm nervous about other dogs being too assertive or aggressive with her, because she seems very gentle and low-key.

Food: I also hand-fed her and while she's very eager for treats and food, she was very gentle. She ate out of my hands happily and wasn't upset when the treats were done (she actually got more cuddles and then fell asleep in my lap for a second afterward, then we went for a walk). She is reportedly a counter-surfer, but I don't leave food out and actually have already gotten child safety locks for all the cabinets where food will be kept. Honestly, I think I actually kind of went overboard with the dog-proofing -- but I guess time will tell!

Energy: I have the feeling that she is more mellow and just exhausted right now than she ultimately will be because of her antibiotics and the heart worm, as well as the stress of being a stray/rescue/foster dog. Right now what she wants more than anything is cuddles and treats. She's around three years old and forty pounds (but still underweight).

Barking: Part of the reason the rescue recommended her is that she's very quiet. The foster home said they have heard her bark one single time in this whole month, and even then, it might have been one of their other dogs. She didn't bark once when I was around her, and we went for a walk and were around other (noisy) dogs in the foster home, so there was a lot of opportunity.

Training: She's crate-trained but the foster home doesn't latch her in during the day anymore because she hasn't had any accidents and socializes safely with the other dogs and in the home.

Resources: I already have a vet lined up, and have researched walkers and trainers/classes. I'm still waiting for some of the supplies I ordered to come in, though, because some of them are size-specific (like the crate).
posted by rue72 at 8:22 AM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

I recommend you think through whether you are ready to adopt a dog (or at least this dog!) at the moment. It can be really tough to look a cute dog in the face and say “not for me.” They all need homes!! But some of the hesitance in your question makes me think you would prefer to do a little more research first so you can feel more prepared. It seems like you don’t feel quite comfortable enough yet and ready to jump into this. That is absolutely normal for a first time adopter! But I bet you would feel more comfortable if you already picked out a trainer or training method you want to use, a vet, etc.

it's unlikely that any rescue dog would be substantially more trained than she is, right?

Some might be very well trained (especially if they are fostered first) but there is an inherent unpredictability to dogs, adopted dogs especially, that doesn’t seem as strong as what my cat-owning friends experience. Dogs are just messier, somehow, and they are definitely noisier (and nosier), and it’s a little trickier to bond with them because of needing to take them out to exercise and go to the bathroom, especially in a city environment where you’re likely going to be walking past other dogs on the sidewalk.

When I first got my girl (half coonhound) she was absolutely silent and “sweet” (which really seemed more like “scared to make a peep or a move”) and they estimated her age as three years old. Within three weeks it turned out she loved to make noises, she was a puppy with a puppy’s love of chewing, she was extremely stubborn and incredibly fast, basically she had a dazzling personality she had been hiding because she was so scared in the shelter. As we were bonding and I struggled with training a dog for the first time, she had some accidents indoors (more about anxiousness than being a puppy) and she ate pillows and we had to both get used to living with each other. It turned out she hated walking past dogs her same size on the sidewalk—so I had to learn to deal with her leash anxiety in that situation. Her accidents and my lack of talent with training made ME anxious and angry and I yelled at her at times when I should not have. Etc. That being said, she is the light of my life. I don’t regret a thing. But I was prepared for that beforehand!

Basically, all kinds of unexpected stuff happens when you bring home a dog. Make sure you are comfortable expecting the unexpected before you bring a dog home.
posted by sallybrown at 8:28 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think you've heard what you need to hear, but in case a few extra words of encouragement help: Do get her checked out, but in your shoes I would not be worried about the health stuff. That doesn't sound like anything major that's going to be an ongoing pain to deal with.

Dog training would be a good idea and bonding experience for you both regardless of how well trained she already was; you'll get more comfortable and can figure out how to read each other's signals better. So plan on doing that. You already know she's crate-trained, non-barky, food-motivated, and and not super reactive, and that sounds like a recipe for pretty good trainability to me.
posted by Stacey at 8:28 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm not going to say whether you should adopt this dog or not, but if you are new to dogs and also looking at getting a rescue rather than a puppy, I cannot recommend strongly enough Do Over Dogs by Pat Miller, which I really wish I'd read before I brought any of my dogs home. It's a great introduction to rescue dogs and what their issues are, and how you can work with them from the very first minute to help them settle in and become their best selves.

Please note: whatever your dog is like when you get her home, she will be a different dog in six months, and it's hard to predict what that dog is like. Any rescue will go through personality changes once they settle into a regular routine. They may get more difficult because they feel more confident, for instance.

Do some reading, if you have time: it will give you more confidence as well.
posted by suelac at 8:34 AM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

Talk to the rescue group about fostering to adopt for a few months. She's an older dog so it's not like you'd make it harder for her to find a home like doing that with a puppy & basically you'd have responsibility for the dog & most of it's expenses but it would be owned by the rescue still & covered by their insurance. It is a compromise a lot of rescues like because they know if the match isn't right the dog isn't given away but comes back to them & it saves them money as you're feeding it etc. If worst comes to worst & she's not a match she goes back to the rescue after having had a lovely time with you & you know you gave it your best shot. Go to training classes with her during this time.

A longer term foster is also good because usually after a couple of weeks any dog stop being on their best behaviour & starts to try pushing the rules to see what they can get away with (they're like kids like that), they're not being bad just making sure they fully understand the rules for the most part. This will give you more of an idea of her true nature & not her on her best behaviour ways. Firm but gentle reminders put them back on the right path no worries & dogs love stability as long as you set your rules & keep them. This is where going to training classes with her comes in handy as you'll both have the same language for training. ie if I do right I get a treat or a pat if I do wrong I get told no.

If they won't let you do a longer term foster, if she's been at her current foster for long enough they will have seen what she is really like behind the best behaviour, so they are always good to ask.

Honestly you sound like a great potential dog owner with reasonable expectations, she sounds lovely and if you weren't a bit nervous about bringing a new being into your household with the changes they bring to your life you wouldn't be human.
posted by wwax at 8:46 AM on September 23, 2019

I have a rescue TW coonhound and he is the absolute love of my life even though he is often a difficult pain in the ass. He's loud when he feels like it and he's stubborn and he likes to eat every piece of garbage on the street BUT he's also super food motivated and trainable and generally wants to do the right thing. He's also come a tremendously long way since I adopted him. When I first brought him home trying to go for a walk was like waterskiing. He just did not get the leash and wanted to pull in every direction at once. Now he walks like more or less a good boy. Highly recommend working with a good trainer (one with experience with hounds would be ideal -- they have some unique quirks) and being super patient. You're going to love your houndy girl!
posted by fancypants at 9:20 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

Basically, all kinds of unexpected stuff happens when you bring home a dog. Make sure you are comfortable expecting the unexpected before you bring a dog home.


They told us that our little guy was so docile and submissive that he got picked on by the other dogs and was penned separately -- and indeed, when we met him he was mild as milk.

But a couple of months later, with a good haircut on him, a hot bath, and after gaining a few extra pounds, he had become loud when he saw a truck...and over time became louder to most people. Not an awesome personality trait, but treat training and a lot of positive reinforcement is working that out.

But it's a long process, and one we thought we wouldn't have to do based on the rescue staff's word and what we saw with our own eyes.

In conclusion, rescue dogs are a land of contrasts.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:05 PM on September 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

For everyone telling you how loud hounds absolutely must be, I just want to say that I grew up with a hound mix and he never barked/bayed, ever, except for at the dog park. They do exist, and it's very possible that your pup is one of them!

I also want to say that it sounds like you're about as prepared as they come and you'll knock the socks off this dog thing. You got this.
posted by mosst at 3:18 PM on September 23, 2019

I will push you to choose a vet and have that vet evaluate the dog. A vet chosen by the rescue will have a possible conflict of interest which is that the rescue has a strong incentive to choose vets that provide a “good” report. This conflict is often unrecognized by the vet or the rescue.

It is similar to suggesting you hire your own home inspector instead of the one recommended by your realtor. Both the rescue and the realtor want the deal to be finished. Once the dog and the house are in new hands...the new owner is or at least feels responsible for things that come up.

I’m not saying not to trust, or accusing anyone of intentional dishonesty. I am saying to be diligent in your verification.
posted by bilabial at 8:52 PM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

I wrote the rescue back this afternoon asking that a rescue-affiliated vet give the dog a thorough physical (at my expense) very soon, which the rescue manager said she'd look into. I just want to be sure there isn't anything besides the heart worm that we should be treating.

I already have a regular vet lined up who I have a very long relationship with (we even took our family pets there when I was a child). But because of the schedule for the heart worm treatment and subsequent weeks of severely restricted exercise, I won't be able to take the dog to that vet until I've already had her a couple of months. By that time the insurance grace period will have run out, which may be a problem. So I decided to wait until the follow-up appointments to start using my regular vet and just use the rescue-affiliated vet for this preliminary checkup.

I'm actually wondering at this point if I should even tell the rescue "never mind" about the preliminary checkup. I've looked at a lot of pictures of hounds in the last day or so and the moles that I was talking about seem to be very common.

I also asked the rescue if I can bring the dog home on October 5th. Fingers crossed!

(The reason I keep saying "the dog" instead of using her name is that, now that I've met her, I'm thinking another name might suit her better, and am not 100% on what to call her. The foster family hasn't been using her "official" name anyway, so I figure a change shouldn't be too tough or disruptive to her).
posted by rue72 at 9:53 PM on September 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm cleared to pick up my gorgeous girl on Sunday! So excited!!!!
posted by rue72 at 12:58 PM on September 25, 2019 [8 favorites]

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