What One Dog Rescue Offers and What It Asks for In Return

Founder Joyce Martin offers insight into the adoption process at Austin Dog Rescue.

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I recently spoke to Austin Dog Rescue founder Joyce Martin about what it offers to adopting families and what the organization needs in return. I volunteered for ADR for many years when I lived in Texas, and it is hands-down the best nonprofit rescue I have worked with.

Martin and her all-volunteer team have saved more than 2,300 dogs from Central Texas shelters since 2006. They vetted all of these dogs (including spay and neuter when necessary) as well as completed an in-depth, well-rounded home interview for each adopter.

I asked Joyce a few questions that may help you as a potential or new adopter. Joyce’s answers will definitely help the new dog in your home!

Lucky Puppy: What can a rescue organization bring to the table that a shelter may not?

Joyce Martin: We are very big on making sure the adopter knows everything we do about the dog, specifically medical information and overall behavior. We keep the foster dogs in our approved foster dog homes long enough that we are able to obtain a pretty complete understanding of the dog’s needs and temperament.

What physical requirements do you have for potential homes, such as fencing, crating, or time outdoors?

Joyce Martin: We try to put adopters at ease by letting them know that the home visit is not a “white glove” test. We are looking for an overall safe environment inside and outside the home. We require anyone that has a yard to have a secure fence. This does not include invisible fences, which are unacceptable. Everyone must have a crate in place when the dog or puppy goes home. And as our contract outlines, our adopters are reminded they are adopting an indoor dog. I like to remind my adopters that the vast majority of our dogs were once “outside” dogs, but have now lived the good life being a part of a family, and our expectation is that they will remain that way.

What veterinary requirements does your organization have?

Joyce Martin: We make sure our adopters are well educated about the need for year-round heartworm preventative, necessary vaccinations, and a yearly veterinarian checkup. All of our dogs are spayed or neutered before they are adopted.

What are the three most important things you need from new adopters?

Joyce Martin: Three things recently adopted dogs need the most are: routine, consistency, and time to adjust. We encourage all new adopters to understand that when a dog has to leave one environment for another, it’s very stressful, even for happy outgoing dogs.

Dogs in training class by Shutterstock.
Dogs in training class by Shutterstock.

Do you require adopters to take the dog through a training course?

With some dogs, especially if this is the adopting person’s first dog or puppy, we sometimes do require they sign up with one of our approved positive reinforcement trainers prior to the dog/puppy going home. No matter how nicely behaved a dog is, there is nothing like going through a basic obedience class together to create a strong bond.

This last must-do will help your new dog settle into his new life. Take the time — your dog is worth it!

Top photo: Australian Shepherd by Shutterstock.

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Annie Phenix, CPDT-KA

Annie Phenix is a Colorado-based professional writer and dog trainer. She is the Trainer in Residence for Dogster.com and she writes a column for Dogster Magazine and other publications. She is the author of a Spring 2016 book, titled The Midnight Dog Walkers (I-5 Publishing).

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