While we are committed to finding our dogs and cats the best possible homes, we want you to put time and effort into this process. After you have visited with the dog or cat and decided to move forward, we will then schedule a visit to your house. It is our intent to determine if the environment is as you have described. We don’t care if your bed is made. This is the time for you to ask questions and discuss routines with us. At that point, we are in the home stretch, so to speak. If you want to proceed and we don’t see any red flags, we will then schedule a time for you to come out and complete the adoption.
At the adoption, we’ll ask for you to fill out adoption paperwork, provide your own identification, bring the adoption fee, and provide a new tag for your dog as well as new neck ware.
We initially ask that potential adopters fill out a pre-adoption form. This tells us a little about you and what you are looking for. It also tells us what your expectations are and what type of environment you have for the dog or cat. This is to determine if we think there is going to be a good fit. We are pretty good at this, having counseled pet adoptions for more than 20 years. After we read the adoption form, we will email you and let you know next steps. If we think there is a good match, we will arrange to have you visit with the dog or cat, usually at our facility. We do not deliver dogs or cats to homes for trial periods.
We put most of our adoptable dogs and cats on petfinders but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a dog or cat that might be a better fit for your needs. Once we know what you are looking for, we can then give you a few options of other animals that also might fit your needs. We find many times that people don’t read the descriptions carefully and we spend time explaining how a super shy dog would not be a good fit for a home with five kids under age 5. For that reason, we ask that people interested in adopting to fill out a pre adoption form. That way, we can have a productive discussion about what type of animal you are looking for and who would be a good match for your situation.
Our goal is to find a good fit for you and for the animal. If we don’t feel your home is a good fit or an animal personality, size or needs isn’t a good fit for you, we won’t do the adoption. While we have a lifetime return policy, it is hard on pets to change homes and we try to minimize disruption in that dog or cat’s life. Also, the dog or cat’s safety is our top concern. We carefully evaluate a potential adopter’s commitment to that animal’s safety, including having a secure outside routine.
We do not adopt out the horses here. By the time horses arrive here at Dogwood Farm, they have had many homes and various owners. Our job here is to stabilize their care and their life. Because our horses live in a herd, we try not to disrupt the herd, adding and then losing in the event of a horses’ death. In addition, these are large animals and could possibly hurt each other if they didn’t get along. We prefer our horses be in one group so that they can spend time out on pasture and not be limited by who they get along with. Right now, we have one group and everyone gets along.
Chickens and ducks are short-lived as it is. Chickens are not easy to mix and match in larger groups. Again, our intake is limited by our options to divide our current group.
How can I help?
There are lots of things that you can do to help our animals and help animals everywhere:
Support Dogwood Farm Sanctuary by making a financial gift. You can help us care for the animals that reside here and increase our opportunities to adopt our dogs and cats into permanent homes, which makes a space for another dog or cat.
Adopt your next dog or cat from us or another animal shelter or rescue group. Each adoption DOES make a difference. Don’t say one thing and then do another. Each time you purchase a pet from a breeder that speaks volumes. You can make a difference if you want to make a difference.
Spay or neuter your dog and/or cat. Geld your horse. The world doesn’t need more dogs, cats or horses, no matter the breed. We can’t care the ones who are already here.
Volunteer and spend time grooming, walking and petting our dogs, cats and horses. You can also help us maintain our facilities. Dogwood Farm Sanctuary depends on an all-volunteer staff. (We do offer one internship position with a paid stipend only three times a year.)
Teach your children, nieces and nephews, and friends about tolerance. Step up to the plate when it comes to helping animals and providing lifetime care for your own companion animals.
And lastly, think about helping that stray that you found by providing a permanent home. We can all make a huge difference through small steps in caring.
Some animal rescue organizations take care of animals using foster homes. Other organizations have funding models in place and are able to call on a depth of funding sources and resources on a regular basis to help supplement the distance between costs to care for animals and adoption fees. It is a vast distance. While we have very generous supporters, we have to limit the numbers of animals that we can properly care for while we hold Dogwood Farm Sanctuary to the highest standards for the animals that reside here.
We control our costs by limiting the number of animals we care for – otherwise we would have too many animals and not enough funding. Foster homes occasionally work for us but using foster homes can pose standard of care issues. It can also make adoption management more challenging. While housing costs are not a factor for the organization with fosters, ultimately, foster parents pay costs of damage and wear and tear on their houses and yards.
Meet the animals
We are here for the animals and make every decision with their needs in mind. We recognize that companionship and human interaction are integral to the health of the animals – just as superior medical attention and premium food is necessary for animals to thrive. We have our dogs and cats divided in groups. With our dogs, we prefer that they all have a friend and try to pair them up whenever possible. Sometimes we have larger dog groups but these are groups that have more supervision and have a human as the “top dog.” All dogs spend one-on-one time with a caretaker when we are able to teach some house manners.
We also think space and exercise is important and recognize that density (how many animals occupy space) impacts the amount of stress that animals feel in a multi-animal setting.
So, for the health and well being of the animals that reside at Dogwood Farm Sanctuary, we are limited to the number of animals that we can care for at any given time. That dictates how many animals we are able to accept. In all, we care for more than 80 animals at a time, mostly dogs and cats but we also care for horses, ducks and chickens.
No. These dogs and cats have simply been abandoned by their owners, are lost or have fallen through the cracks at other animal organizations. We evaluate each animal from a behavioral perspective and determine what it needs and what type of home would best meet those needs. We are honest with prospective adopters. It doesn’t help the animal if we do not disclose all that we know and have observed. We do not adopt dogs that have a history of being dog or human aggressive.
Regarding the animals that you do have, where have they come from and why are they at your facility?
Almost all of our animals have either been found on the side of the road or have slipped through the cracks in other animal organizations, deemed unadoptable and destined for euthanasia because they were too old, too young, too sick or simply the wrong breed. Each animal has information in its file: where it was found, how long it has been at the facility and medical and behavior history. All animals are up-to-date on vaccinations, spayed or neutered and on heartworm prevention. We also medically treat all animals and do not adopt out animals with chronic conditions or in the midst of treatment.
Relinquishing a pet
Why do you ask for $5,000 to take a dog from an owner? Why don’t you just do a better job at adopting animals?
The bottom line in doing rescue is that many animals need veterinary care and a longer investment in rehabilitation and behavior modification. Some do not. Most animals regardless of their status stay at the facility 8-12 months prior to adoption. Our adoption fee for a dog is $250. This does not begin to pay for the actual cost of housing and preparing the dog or cat for adoption. For each animal that comes to the facility, we must raise at least $5,000 to care for that animal while looking for an adoptive or for the rest of his or her life. Finally, we are not an organization that keeps recycling pets. There will always be animals that are not adoptable – for health, behavior or other reasons. To these animals, adoption isn’t the answer. Putting them in a home to collect an adoption fee is not the right choice.
Pet overpopulation means that there are too many dogs and cats and not enough good homes for them all. It is hard, but not impossible, to find a good home for a dog or cat that you find. In the meantime, try to find the owner and/or temporarily provide a safe place for the dog to stay at your house while you look for options. Be sure to keep the dog crated or away from your animals and children while you evaluate this new pet. Most stray dogs are NOT aggressive, just lost or dumped by an irresponsible owner who cannot care for them.
If you must take the dog or cat to a shelter that euthanizes unwanted animals, know that there is a good chance that a stray will not be claimed by its owner in this facility, despite the fact that shelter personnel will advise you to bring it to them. Be proactive in trying to find the owner but don’t put the dog back into a dangerous situation. And beware of advertising this found dog in a way that someone might claim that it is their dog, to get a free dog. We have had this happen, especially with pit bulls. Be smart and have the caller identify the dog with information that you have not supplied.
Do not dump your found dog or cat. While it may put you in a difficult position to take on an added responsibility, finish the job and help the dog or cat by making sure it is out of harm’s way. Putting it back on the streets is the worst possible answer. Use the resources that you have and by all means, help this innocent victim.
Probably not. We are not an animal shelter. We are a sanctuary and that distinction means that we have a low turnover. Our mission is to not to simply recycle animals as quickly as possible. We carefully evaluate each animal that resides here. We take our time to find the best possible home for ones that are adoptable and offer lifetime care to the animals that don’t or can’t get adopted. That means space here is at a premium. Most of the animals here are found in rural areas on the side of the road. When we have space, we are able to take found animals with a minimum $5,000 donation.
We are deluged daily from people asking Dogwood Farm Sanctuary to take unwanted animals. I know all too well that pet overpopulation and plight of homeless pets are problems that Dogwood Farm Sanctuary cannot solve on its own.