Pay It Forward For Pets helps improve the lives of both people and “rescued” pets through special programs. The organization manages 6 programs that directly benefit the public and offers human resources and funding to county shelters and local rescue organizations in collaboration efforts to expedite adoptions and end euthanasia.
Pay It Forward For Pets is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and depends 100% on direct public support, grants, fundraising and planned estate giving.
“We want all dogs and cats to know love and security so we are on a mission to Pay It Forward For Pets.”
Setting up your adoption for success
Written by Olivia Mandala
As dog lovers, we all get that excited feeling when we see a dog. For most of us, it doesn’t matter the breed, size, or age of the dog... we just love them and want to pet them and take them home! So going into your local animal shelter to find your new companion can make most of us overwhelmed with excitement! After all, there are so many unique dogs and cats- and you can only pick one!
Often times, we witness people feeling pressured to make a decision on their first visit to the shelter. Certainly, there are many instances where an adopter finds their dream-dog right away; however, we advise people who have decided to add a companion to their home to accept that it may be a process prior to stepping foot into a shelter. Pay It Forward for Pets believes every companion animal deserves a chance to prove how great they are, but we also realize that there is a lot of match-making involved in pet adoption. Not every pet is right for your family, just like you’re not the right family for many pets. Though, that’s not a reason to give up hope and go buy a puppy! There’s a homeless pet out there that needs you, you may just need to spend more time looking. After all, pets are a 10-15 year commitment and you don’t want to rush the process of finding your new best friend.
Here’s a hypothetical situation, but we’ve seen versions of it often…
Someone, let’s call him Steve, goes into adopt a new dog with the best intentions. Steve’s life would be great for a laid-back, middle-aged or senior dog. He has a full-time job, enjoys quiet weekends, he’s independent, he likes short, relaxing walks in the evening, and chilling on the couch at night in peace. Steve is very much aware of what he enjoys doing, and he’s looking for a dog that best fits his lifestyle. So Steve decides to take a trip to his local animal shelter. Walking into the shelter, the first dog he sees is... let’s say... a hyper 1 year old shepherd mix with beautiful blue eyes that’s not at all what Steve was looking for... but she’s just so beautiful and so unique and everyone loves her! The volunteers tell Steve that while this dog is wonderful, she needs a lot of exercise and basic obedience training and has separation anxiety and the list may go on. So excited, that goes in one ear and out the other and Steve adopts the wrong dog for him.
Now we aren’t saying this hypothetical 1 year old, blue-eyed shepherd is a bad dog. She’s just not the right dog for Steve and likewise, Steve isn’t the right human for her either. Steve needed a mature dog to go with his more sedate, relaxed lifestyle. Little did Steve know that while he was infatuated with the shepherd mix, there was a senior dog a few cages away that has been routinely passed up by potential adopters because he’s not playful enough, he only likes short, relaxing walks, and he’s a couch potato. This dog would have been perfect for Steve’s lifestyle but now Steve has this high-energy shepherd mix.
The final outcome will go one of two ways: Steve will honor his commitment to the active shepherd mix and completely change his lifestyle to make her the best dog she can be... or Steve will return the shepherd mix which is a traumatic event for the dog and something that leaves Steve heartbroken and hopeless about finding a companion. We’re writing this article because the second example is what happens more often than not.
Who’s to blame here? Certainly not the shepherd mix, though she will endure the most mental stress and confusion. The staff? They were happy a cage opened up to help another dog. The volunteers who tried their best to educate the adopter? No. Really it all comes down to Steve.
Instead of admiring the beauty of the shepherd and maybe taking her on a walk before moving on to a dog that would better fit his lifestyle, Steve got too excited. He got too caught up in the process and he lost his sense of reason. Here’s our recommendation:
Write down your ideal dog. Start off simple.
Pause here... If you answered that you wanted a puppy with a low energy level we’ll tell you right now to start over. You want an adult or senior dog.
If you’ve done the homework and have answered all these questions honestly, we believe every pet parent should be prepared to help their newly adopted dog work through any issues that may arise. There are no perfect pets just like there are no perfect people. Please understand, there will always be work involved but it is so worth it! Once we make a commitment to an orphaned pet by signing adoption papers, we take on the responsibility to try our very best to work with any problems that come along. We want everyone to be the best pet parent they can be and that starts with choosing the right dog or cat that best fits your lifestyle.
Again, don’t feel pressured to adopt on your first visit. Don’t get infatuated with a wonderful pet that you aren’t a good fit for. Don’t be a Steve... if you realize that you would do best with a senior dog, please don’t adopt a puppy. Odds are most people don’t really want to change their lifestyle. After answering the questions, you may even realize that now is not a good time to add a pet to your life, and that’s ok too! No good is done when an orphaned pet is put in a situation that sets them up for failure. Whether you adopt this week or next year, unfortunately, there will always be animals that need your help.
When the day comes that there are no pets to adopt because everyone is keeping and loving their animals... that will be a happy day for people and pets alike! Until then, know that if your future dog or cat wasn’t at the shelter this week, it’s possible they’ll be there next week or even next month. Don’t rush. Don’t be a Steve.