Adopting a dog through Craigslist

by Steph Mahrle

Just the other day my good friend Otis (excellent dog walker in Jersey City) adopted a REALLY bad ass German Shepherd. Her name is Kira. We all went for a lovely walk together. Tears were shed by her rehoming owner as well as by Otis. Hugs were given. Kira is now living the good life with my pretty amazing friend Otis. My dog Bollywood had a chance to hang out with Kira yesterday and they really enjoyed hanging out. Included in this post are pictures of their silly socialization experience.

Kira and Bollywood are both dogs which were available for adoption by their actual owners via Craigslist. In both circumstances, I contacted the owners directly and had candid conversations of what the dog's behavior, breed lineage, and temperament were exactly. Currently in our society animal rescue organizations are doing this exact job. I just cut out the "middle man" so to speak.

Why did I choose to not work with an actual animal rescue? The simple answer is: bad customer service. Here is the more detailed answer. My friend Otis has been a Jersey City dog walker and trainer of dogs for a total of sixteen years. He lives alone, in a lower apartment which has a spacious fully gated backyard. He is a dog walker for a living so he walks at least five miles a day, and then hosts a small doggie daycare in his home. From a rescue's perspective he should be an excellent candidate for adopting a large breed dog, that is great with dogs, but maybe not the best with kids.  

Otis contacted over five local animal rescue organizations, filled out their five-to-six page adoption applications, and in the period of a full month he NEVER heard back. The only organization which responded to him was the Brooklyn Animal Care and Control. They stayed in touch with him long enough to let him know the German Shepherd he was interested in was rescued by a breed specific rescue, and then that rescue never followed up with Otis. It is entirely possible each of these rescue organizations is overwhelmed with applications. It is also possible that day to day activities like caring for animals has interrupted their ability to field phone calls, emails, and review completed applications...but bottom line is, if they want to adopt out animals they need to communicate with their customers.

As a result of getting no actual response from the dog rescue organizations, we felt obligated to at least TRY to help someone else out via Craigslist. In both situations, Bollywood, and Kira would have ended up in a shelter. Bollywood quickly grew to a massive dog that had serious disobedience and the owner was both attending college and working full time. He understood a life in a crate was not fair to Bolly. Kira's owner was moving back to Algeria and Kira has some bad leash reactivity which would have almost certainly landed her on the euthanization list. In the capable hands of both myself and Otis, the dogs are exceptionally behaved, feed well, exercised daily, and offered plenty of socialization. 

The point of this post is that while we all need to be aware of scams and puppy mill listings on Craigslist, there are absolutely genuine souls out there requiring adoption assistance for their dogs. Craigslist is a viable resource if you are looking to adopt a dog. It is important to be street smart. Verify the person rehoming the dog is not looking to charge an outrageous amount for the dog, identify if there are any veterinary records, and to ask if there are any known health or temperament issues. If I were not working in my industry and I wasn't aware of red flags to avoid, I would most certainly contact a professional for assistance with my Craigslist search.

I honestly do not believe people looking to re-home their dog's through Craigslist are bad people. I think that stigma is unfair. No matter the person's reason behind re-homing their dog, they are people who need help. If you are someone who can offer assistance, why not do so?

I leave you with a quote from the Dalai Lama:

"The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy."

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