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Risks To Adopting Rescued Animals
Four years ago my wife and I decided that we wanted to get a dog. After looking through several hundred pages of dogs up for adoption on the Internet, we decided on an adorable Dalmatian/Yellow Lab mix puppy. He was mostly white with a few spots on his nose and a little bit of orange in his ears. He and two of his siblings were up for adoption, they were rescued from a puppy mill somewhere in Texas. We wanted a male, preferably the runt of the litter one that can be around children and cats, we have 6 cats.
After we contacted the adoption agency, they told us they would need to check us out to make sure we are legitimate adoption candidates. They checked us out to make sure we had no prior abuse of animals or a history of abandoning animals. They then wanted to know the name of our Veterinarian to make sure we had one and that we were taking proper care of our current animals. They then wanted to have an interview with us and to perform a home and yard inspection to ensure we had adequate room for a dog.
After getting approved to adopt the dog, we arranged to meet the couple that was providing temporary boarding for Squirt. We picked Squirt up on April 12, 2008, he was exactly four month olds when we picked him up. He was the runt of the litter, so he was appropriately named Squirt. He is in our opinion, the best dog ever. He is gentle and loving, he gets along with the cats and is very well behaved around the children.
When he was about a year old, he began to start to gag on food and would regurgitate almost every meal. We ended up raising his bowl a foot off of the floor and purchasing puppy food so he would not choke on the food. Shortly thereafter he began to snore when he slept and when awake he would groan and mumble. He also coughs quite a bit. After taking him to the vet, they indicated that he has a small esophagus and it is the reason why he is coughing and gagging all of the time. They had no idea why he mumbles and groans.
In November of 2011 we noticed that he was starting to lose weight, a lot of weight. After taking him to the vet, we discovered that he had lost 40 pounds in three months. We were very confused about why he was losing weight, he was eating normally and he was acting normal. We agreed to run every test that the vet could think of and to change his diet to a high calorie diet. After receiving several treatments to various possible diseases and parasites, he finally started to gain a small amount of weight, but not a lot of weight. We have had every test we could think of performed on Squirt and all that the vet can think of doing now is to send him to Ohio State University pet clinic for a few weeks to see of they can find out what is wrong with him.
We paid more for treatments and tests to find out what is wrong with Squirt than we did for a used minivan and we still have no idea what is wrong with him. He is eating, he plays normally, he does not seem to be in any pain. We and the vet just don;t now what is wrong. As a last resort we contacted the adoption agency we adopted Squirt from. They have always been fairly quick to respond, so we thought that we would get a quick response to our question about the health of Squirts siblings.
After a few weeks of waiting for a response, we sent several more e-mails every day for a week and still we had no response. We called the telephone number on the web site, but no one answered the phone. After almost a month we were contacted by telephone by a woman who claimed that they received no e-mails concerning Squirt. They did say that they were closed for the holidays, so no one was monitoring the phone or the messages. So we asked the woman in person if she could find out if the other dogs in Squirts litter had been sick, and if they were what do they have. After another month, we heard nothing back.
I ended up calling them pretending to want to adopt a puppy, they called back within 15 minutes. When I told them that they were not returning my calls, they said they have been closed due ot not having any puppies to adopt out until that day. I asked if they could check with the owners of Squirts siblings about their health and they said they would. Again, I heard nothing back from them. When I called a second time asking to adopt a dog, I was called within 10-15 minutes. The other dog owners did not contact them, was the reason that we were not called back about the health of the sibling dogs.
The adoption agency would not give us specific information about the where Squirt came from, so we had to do the research our selves. It turns out that Squirt came not only from a puppy mill, but one of the worst puppy mills in the country. The owner dumps around 300 puppies a year at various pounds and adoption clinics. He has been breeding dogs that are related for decades, so Squirt is simply the victim of poor genetics. The filthy living conditions has most likely had an impact as well. There are hundreds of dogs and puppies mixed together in cramped cages filled with urine, feces, and corpses of dead puppies and dogs.
We adopted a dog from a rescue agency for a reason, which was to save a dog. The mission of the rescue is to save the lives of dogs through adoption. We were surprised and angered that the Dalmatian Rescue Agency would not put us into contact with other dog owners or at least get information for us. They advertise that they do all of these wonderful things for dogs they rescue, but they refuse to help us obtain information from other adopting families so we can find out what is wrong with our dog. We would like to be able to treat our dog, or at least find out what he has and if need be have him put down in a humane way if he is has a terminal disease.
Since we had not had any cooperation at all from the Rescue Agency, we are assuming that they knew something was wrong with these dogs and they are still adopting them out so they can earn money for their organization. It seems to me that they are not much different than the puppy mill operators. They are profiting off of the misery of animals so they can stay in business.