Ratbone Rescues - Rat Terrier Rescue
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Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants



Q: Can I keep my adopted dog in the yard while I'm at work?
A: No. Rat Terriers are small, people-oriented dogs. They should never be left unatteded in a yard, pen, outside cage or on a tether. They need to be with people, and will become destructive and unhappy if they are turned into a "yard dog". If you do not intend to make your adopted dog a house dog please do not apply to adopt from us.

Q: Can I just get answers to questions about a particular dog without having to submit an application?
A: No, sorry, the application must come first. Only the foster parent can answer specific questions about a dog’s personality, but we do not ask our foster parents to spend time answering questions unless the person has demonstrated a serious adoption intent by submitting an application, which allows the Applications Team to verify that the applicant does qualify for adoption. If the dog applied for doesn’t at that time already have a number of previous applications, then the application will be accepted for processing and forwarded to the foster parent, who will be most happy to answer questions.

Q: My current pets are not spayed/neutered; can I adopt?
A: Generally not. As a rescue organization, Ratbone Rescues is extremely concerned with the appalling pet overpopulation in our country, and we believe that spaying/neutering is a basic responsibility of all conscientious pet owners. In addition to preventing more pet animal births, altering your pet provides better health, longer life, better behavior, and easier care for your pets. Click to learn more about canine neutering for males and spaying for females. If, however, your pet has a medical reason for not being spayed/neutered (verified by your vet) or the dog is a show dog that must be intact for competition purposes, this requirement may be waived.

Q: Can I adopt if I don't have a fenced yard?
A: Many Rat Terriers do just fine without a fenced yard as long as they receive adequate exercise through leashed walks and get plenty of opportunities for potty time. Some, however, are more high energy and may require being able to regularly run freely. The foster parent of each dog is the best judge of the needs of any particular dog, and will generally indicate in the dog’s bio if a fenced yard is required.

Q: What if I live in an apartment?
A: Apartment living isn’t a disqualification for adoption overall, although you will need to ensure that (1) your landlord or apartment manager permits pets and is willing to give you a letter stating that; (2) you understand the reality that dogs bark, and are positive this would not cause a problem with your neighbors; (3) you are prepared to take the dog out for leashed walks and potty time multiple times a day; and (4) you have a plan for taking the dog with you if/when you need to move.

Q: Can I meet the dog first?
A: If your application has been accepted for processing and distances permit, then you may certainly visit the dog before the adoption is finalized. That would be up to you to arrange with the foster parent after you have been put in touch with him/her.

Q: Can I adopt two dogs at the same time?
A: Generally not. There is always a significant period of transition after bringing in a new dog. Even with the most prepared, experienced adopters, it can be quite an adjustment--hard enough when it’s one new dog, but two at a time can be that much harder, for both humans and the dogs. It is only fair to give a newly adopted dog as much time and one-on-one attention as possible during this transition period. We believe that the chances of an adoption being a perfect "forever" fit are improved if the adoption is limited to one dog at a time, to truly give every effort possible to fully learn each other, bond tightly with each other, grow to trust each other, and establish a firm foundation for a new life together.

For people who are wanting two new dogs, we recommend adopting one first and letting that dog settle in securely for at least a month before adopting a second.

Q: What if I like 2 or more dogs equally? Or if I change my mind about the dog I’d like to adopt?
A: You do not need to fill out multiple applications if you are interested in more than one dog. You may enter several possible names in the field that asks which dog you’d like to adopt, or you may even put in characteristics, such as “Male or female under 20 lbs., at least 2 years old, must not be too skittish or scared of strangers, must get along with cats.” If your application for a particular dog is being processed but you decide that this dog is not a good match after all, discuss the situation with your assigned Applications Coordinator, who will help you find a different dog that is a great “fit” with your household.

Q: Do I have to be 18 to adopt?
A: Yes. Our adoption contracts are legally binding documents, and you must be at least 18 years old to execute the contract. Plus we believe that children under 18 years old, although they may be truly terrific and loving companions, are unprepared for the life-long commitment that a Ratbone Rescues adoption represents, including a reasonable expectation of the cost to responsibly maintain a dog. If you are under 18 you may apply, but your parents will be required to sign the adoption contract, and will be considered the legal owners of the dog you adopt.

Q: Can I adopt the dog as a gift for someone else?
A: No. We believe that it is crucially important for the person who will end up being the dog's owner to be integrally involved in the adoption process—to agree to a lifetime commitment to the dog, to ensure understanding of the dog's needs, to be willing to work with the dog on obedience and training issues, to fully understand the financial obligation of on-going vet care, and to agree to a home visit prior to approval to ensure the environment is safe and compatible for a rescued Rat Terrier. Those things cannot be done without the future owner's explicit agreement. Experience shows that dogs who are given to other people as gifts are likely to be returned or given away within a few months, and Ratbone Rescues isn't willing to take that risk.

Q: Can I fill out an application for my friend/relative who doesn’t have web access?
A: Yes. However, the application must be filled out in the name of the actual adopter, including his/her phone number(s), since it is the actual adopter that we will be contacting for the phone interview and home visit.

Q: What happens if someone else has already applied for the dog I want?
A: We will take 2 or 3 applications for each available dog because we know that many people drop out or decide on a different dog before processing is complete. Each applicant is considered equally, and we try to find the best possible family for the dog. If you are not chosen for the dog you applied for we will help you to find another dog that is as good a match (or better!) as the one you originally selected.

Q: I am moving in the next month or two; should I wait to adopt?
A: Absolutely. If you know that you’ll be moving or going on a vacation where you can’t take your new dog with you, please wait until you return before applying to adopt. We will not “hold” dogs for anyone not ready to take receipt immediately upon being approved.

Q: What does the adoption fee cover?
A: Your new dog will be up-to-date on vaccinations, spayed/neutered, heartworm tested, and had other significant health issues covered. He or she will have been on heartworm preventative and, depending on geography and time of year, flea preventative. Each dog is microchipped and has a collar ID tag with our toll-free number, in case he/she is ever lost (please keep this tag on your dog's collar at all times). You’ll get copies of the dog’s vet records. You will also be invited to join our e-group for Ratbone adopters, “RatboneExtra,” which is a great resource for asking questions, getting advice and support, and receiving suggestions for dealing with behavioral or health issues.

Q: I’m on limited income. Will you reduce or waive the adoption fee?
A. No. Ratbone already spends substantially more on vet care for our rescued dogs than we recoup in adoption fees. As a non-profit organization completely run by volunteers, our objective is to find the animals loving forever homes, and we set our adoption fee as low as we possibly can. We would not be able to continue our rescue operation if we were not able to count on the proper adoption fee income. Furthermore, we believe that most people for whom a $150 adoption fee is an impediment often don't have the means to properly and reliably care for the on-going needs of a dog.

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