Meet a Student: Lauren Sanders
Looking to adopt a rescue pet of your own, or just want to know more about how dogs and cats come to find new homes? Recent graduate Lauren Sanders, J.D. ’13, founder of Saving Grace Animal Rescue of Maryland, explains the ins and outs of animal adoption.
Q: How do I adopt a pet from your animal rescue?
A: First, you apply on our website. I look over [the application], check the references and then contact you. If we have approved you, we will then set up a time to do a meet-and-greet with you, all of the members of your family (animals especially) and the potential dog/cat to see if it is a match. If it is, then you sign an adoption contract and pay the adoption fee ($250 for a dog, $150 for a cat).
Q: Do you have any tips for prospective adoptive families?
A: The biggest thing is to take inventory of your life. Know what you can or cannot handle. If you work late hours, a puppy is not for you. If you are concerned about your things being chewed, a puppy is not for you. Ideally, someone who wants a young dog but doesn't want those issues should go for a 2- or 3-year-old dog. I also recommend committing to training. Even if you have a “perfect” dog, going to training helps the bond between dog and the owner.
Be realistic about your expectations. If you are open about breed, you will find a dog/cat quickly. If you want a specific breed, check out breed-specific rescues (Lab rescue, Golden Retriever rescue) and keep your eyes open. Websites like www.adoptapet.com let you put in the breeds you like best, and they pull up matches for you. It’s a great way to narrow your search.
Last, be patient. [Dogs] often take a few days to adjust to their new living situation. A dog might be potty trained but might not know how to tell you [it needs to go outside] in the new home. It will take an adjustment, but if you are patient, you will be blessed with a wonderful friend.
Q: What are the benefits of serving as a foster family?
A: One of the benefits of a foster home is that the foster family really gets to know the animal. They know what makes them happy, what they are good at, what their quirks are, etc. When we know more about the animal, I [can] put that on their profile. I am very honest with potential adopters about the quirks our animals have.
We just recently had a cat that could not live with other animals; she was just too stressed. On her own, she was a dream. When people would inquire about her, I had to be blunt about her needs, because the worst-case scenario is [that] she is returned or given to a shelter elsewhere (although the adoption contract says they must come back to me). Someone who is an empty nester has just adopted her, and they’re perfect for each other.
Sometimes our animals don’t get adopted right away, but my job is to make sure that [every] pet is placed in an ideal situation for them.