Adopting a rescue pet

By on August 24, 2009

Woman frustrated by process, organization wants good matches
by Martha Quetsch
County—Kathy Easter thought she would be doing the right thing if she adopted a rescue pet for her children, who desperately wanted a puppy. But she found the adoption application process overwhelming.

“I didn’t think it would be that difficult. I just wanted to get a dog for my kids,” said Easter, of Elgin.

Easter recently tried to adopt a border collie mix puppy from Help for Lost and Endangered Pets (H.E.L.P.) of St. Charles. She found the puppy, which was the kind she wanted, on the H.E.L.P. website. It was part of a litter that a “foster parent” in Elburn was taking care of for H.E.L.P., after the organization rescued the puppies’ mother.

Easter was shocked at how stringent the application process was, she said. First, she had to fill out what she called a lengthy application. Then, every member of her household, including her children and her parents, who live with her, had to go to the foster parent’s house in Elburn to meet her and the puppies. Her children fell in love with one of the animals, but the foster parent in a subsequent phone call to Easter said she did not think the family was a good match for the puppy, because the grandfather did not seem interested, Easter said.

Easter said she persuaded the foster parent to let her family adopt the puppy, but the foster parent later changed her mind and let another family adopt the pet.

“My children were very upset; they cried,” Easter said.

A frustrated Easter ended up purchasing a puppy of another breed after seeing a local sign along the road that advertised puppies for $100. The animal is not exactly the type Easter wanted, but she said at least her children now have a dog.

Marcia Teckenbrock, president of the H.E.L.P board of directors, said it is unfortunate when applicants do not receive the rescue pet they want but that she trusts the foster parents to make the right decision.

“They (the foster parents) are the ones who are familiar with the animal’s personality, and what type of environment they would be most comfortable in,” Teckenbrock said.

Teckenbrock said families who are turned down for one pet can still seek another one from H.E.L.P.

“We just want to make the right match,” Teckenbrock said.

Pets that the all-volunteer H.E.L.P. organization places among its 40 area foster homes range from those whose owners no longer can afford to keep their animals, to others that are abandoned. Because of the trauma many of these animals have experienced, H.E.L.P. wants to make sure that their next home is a permanent one and that the animal is not displaced again.

“If it is not a good match, it is bad for everyone,” Teckenbrock said.

Teckenbrock said the requirements H.E.L.P. foster parents place on adoptive families, whether having a fenced yard or a quiet household or room for the pet to run, depend on the individual animal’s unique needs.

“Each situation is different,” she said.