So you contacted a rescue pet but can’t figure out why the rescue hasn’t gotten back to you?? Here are some tips that will increase your chances of a quicker response.
Please be patient. Rescues are made up of volunteers who are juggling family, job(s), pets, personal challenges and, in many case, helping other rescuers. Many rescues get between 30-150 emails per day (some even more) with requests to adopt, plea to surrender or help with strays or neighbour’s pets, medical inquiries, information on fostering, et al. That doesn’t include the daily communication between rescue and vets and stores and fosters and suppliers. So please be patient as there is usually only one or two people going through the email account (among their other rescue duties).
Please be understanding. When a rescue posts new kittens/puppies or a purebred, the emails in a given day will often triple. Sometimes the rescuer needs to prioritize the emails. Many times, emails for a purebred or kitten/puppy are lower priority because of the higher demand whereas an email for a senior cat or a bonded pair may automatically be treated as a higher priority.
Learn the rescue’s mandate. Most rescues will outline what kind of animals or situations they are able to handle. For example, some rescues are equipped to deal with strays and ferals. Others are equipped to deal with owner surrenders. If a rescue clearly states that they do not have the resources to take in surrenders (which includes your 8 year old dominant cat who pees everywhere because he wasn’t neutered) then please don’t contact them. If you are not sure, please ask if the rescue handles such a situation and, if not, if they can provide the name of a rescue that does. Calling a rescue “retarded” or “totally useless” or whatever foul names/curse words/adjectives you have in your arsenal of frustration helps no one. Rescues do not turn away people because they want to. They do it out of desperation.
Use sentences. Sending emails that contain few words “how much” or ‘Fixed?” or “Want!” is a poor reflection on you. While rescues are short on time, they do have enough time to read an entire sentence. There are ways to reflect that you are a serious adopter. So while you don’t need to write a whole paragraph, please try to express yourself in a positive manner. (Oh and it helps to use the correct name of the rescue. Too many people will email one rescue while typing the name of another. It tells a rescue that you are canvassing and they may assume that another rescue will step up which will further delay a response to you.)
Read the animal profile. Most pets that are listed online have some sort of profile information. If there is a personality profile, please read it before inquiring. If a pet is listed as part of a bonded pair, then you shouldn’t be asking to adopt just one of the pair. If a cat is listed as not being good with kids or dogs or other cats, please understand that this is important information that benefits YOU. Oh and if a pet is listed as a male or female, please do not refer to him/her as “it”. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but to a rescuer, it shows that you are not really engaged in the animal if you can’t remember its gender.
Don’t take it personally. If a rescue says that you are not a right fit for a cat, then you should be grateful, not irate. Rescues are looking at long term placement. They know the animal better than you do. You should understand that you are not being judged as an unfit pet parent but that you are not a good fit for that particular pet.
Don’t fixate on a picture, colour or breed of pet. The biggest mistake you can make is focusing on a pet for a physical trait. Like people, every pet has their own individual personality. Obsession like this can lead to disaster. We know that people get excited when a purebred enters a rescue but many of them come with their own set of quirks as well that you may not be equipped to handle. Nothing makes a rescuer’s eyes roll like someone who insists on adopting a particular pet due to its breed even though the character is not a good fit. But when the rescuer mentions another mixed cat or dog being more suitable for the environment, the applicant refuses to consider it. Do you want a loving pet or a showpiece?
Don’t believe the hype on hypo-allergenic. How is this still a thing? Allergens are created by dander which is increased by the grooming habits on the pet. What may be “hypoallergenic” to one person may just be the cat’s grooming habit. If you have allergies, please be prepared to take meds. If you don’t have allergies, please don’t limit your search for a hypoallergenic pet “just in case”. You are really losing out on the opportunity to meet some amazing pets. So sometimes when rescues see "hypoallergenic" as the only reason for a particular pet, they may feel that your application will take more time.
Don’t argue with the rescue. If you don’t agree when your application has been denied, it doesn’t help your case by having a tirade at the rescue. All rescues would love nothing more than to find homes for ALL their animals. However, reputable rescues must be very diligent in the placement of their animals for the sake of the animal. If you feel that the rescue overlooked some of your qualities during the review process, you should feel comfortable to politely express them in a calmly written email or polite phone conversation. Name calling, threats and tantrums will get you nowhere.
Don’t be a dick. Seriously. If a rescue cannot take in your surrender or run out today to pick up a dozen stray cats in your neighborhood or won’t adopt you the 1 year old Himalayan or whatever you want when you want it, don’t feel that you have the right to crap all over them. Abusive emails and phone calls are far too common when a rescue can’t take care of your problem. We understand your frustration. But it doesn’t compare to the frustration that rescuers feel when they don’t have the resources to help. You shouldn’t feel proud that you treated someone (who already does more than their share) horribly.
Rescues don’t receive funding from your tax dollars. Most rescues are small and end up spending thousands of their own money to save lives. If a rescue can’t assist you with that colony of strays in your neighborhood, ask them how you can help (yes, you!!!) or where is a better place to get assistance. Please don’ t be mistaken in thinking that by telling a rescue that you saw a dog in distress or a motherless kitten in the cold that you have done your part. Because you haven’t. Rescues need help too. If more people were willing to take in that animal into their (or a friend’s) bathroom for just ONE night or take it to a local vet and help pay for a few days of boarding or a wellness check, that would be helping.
Rescues always want to help. We want to save them all. We want to help you with your challenges with your current pet. But we are limited on capacity (foster homes, money, supplies, volunteers, etc.). Help us help you.
It’s okay to be concerned. It’s okay to be disappointed, It’s okay to be frustrated. It is NOT okay to be nasty.