Q & A - WHY DRC DOES NOT ADOPT TO FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN

Q: "I have an honest question regarding DRC's adoption policies. I agree with a lot of them but frankly the "no kids under 10" thing IMO is really off putting to me. I've trained many dogs successfully, but under DRC's policies, I would not be allowed to adopt any of their dogs since I have a 5 year old and an 8 year old. This was one reason we felt the need to go with a breeder.

I understand why, in general, you would want to go with a family who has kids with a certain maturity level and even why some dogs are better placed without kids but I think there are exceptions and that 10 years of age is a pretty high minimum. Our dog adores our kids and the relationship between kids and dog have impacted both in a significant positive way.


Again I understand in general the reasoning but is there no bend there? I'm not trying to start a heated debate, I just want to know why the age limit was set at 10 years. It seems to discount a lot of potentially good families that could make loving homes."

A: The age of 10 was actually a compromise. Some of the directors wanted to make it 12, which is the age that many private breed-specific rescues use, especially those that place larger dogs.Originally, the age was 5. But of those dogs who were returned to the rescue by the adoptive homes, every one of them had younger children in the home, and that was the contributing factor in the dog being returned. It was also the reason the age limit was raised.

It's important to note that 90% of all doodles who are relinquished to DRC by their owners come from homes with children under 10. By the time these dogs get into foster care, many of them display nervousness around children. 

In placing a dog in a new home, the main consideration is to try to be as sure as possible that the dog will never have to go through another rehoming again. In other words, you stack the deck in the dog's favor. To do this, you try to eliminate as many of the factors that cause a dog to be rehomed as possible. Experience with placing over 3800 dogs has shown that one of those factors is younger children in the home. This includes not just issues between the kids and the dog, but also such things as "not enough time", "not enough money", allergies, and "I have to put my kids first". In an adult home, the dog's needs do not come after the kids'.

This doesn't mean that there aren't many dogs thriving in homes with children, but it does mean that the chances of a dog who has already lost one home having to go through it again are lower in an adult home.

There are many other factors that contribute to a dog's losing his home; for example, first-time dog owners (those who have not owned a dog as adults and do not have vet records in their own names) are much more likely to give up a dog than people who have owned a dog through his entire life cycle. Therefore, DRC does not adopt to first-time dog owners, either. That would also preclude many people who have turned out to be excellent dog owners, as all of us were first-time owners at some point. It is what it is. 

DRC recognizes that there are many children who are wonderful with dogs, but a nationwide rescue group has no way to evaluate that. They have to err on the side of caution. More importantly, the rules have to apply to everyone impartially and equally. You simply cannot say, "This person's kids are okay but that person's aren't". That is truly discriminatory, and can have legal repercussions as well. Many people take the rules personally, but when they are applied equally to everyone, they are impartial. When you start making exceptions, you are then making judgments for or against an individual home, and not just setting policy. 

When I adopted my Labradoodle, my grandson (who lives with me) was 6 years old. I would not have qualified to adopt from DRC if they had been in existence at that time. The thought that my home is not a fabulous place for any dog is laughable, but I would have been turned down. In fact, a large Golden Retriever rescue in my area had an age limit of 12, so I did not apply for one of their dogs. I understand that this is not personal against me, it is a general policy for the welfare of the dogs.

 

Finally, DRC receives dozens of applications for most of the dogs in the program, from homes that do qualify. A single doodle puppy listing on Petfinder typically garners more than 100 applications in the first 48 hours. There is rarely a shortage of qualified homes from which to choose, so there is never a case where a dog is denied a wonderful home due to the age limit, or any of the other adoption policies. 




Tags: adoption, age, children, policies, restrictions

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Replies to This Discussion

This is a hard decision for the DRC to have made, but in order not to show favoritism to one family over another, rules are rules.  Thanks for explaining it so well.

Karen - I wish I could have said that. It is perfect. 

I would not have been accepted either and I had very 'never to be broken rules' with my girls when they were young when it came to our dogs. I was told that I was 'too hard' on my girls when they were little - REALLY?? - as they had age appropriate chores, set the table, clear it, empty the dishwasher, learn to cook, take out the trash, feed the dog, make sure the water bowl was full, had to make their bed (age appropriate finished look). If that was too hard on my kids I am lucky! They are the most wonderful adults, with a fantastic work ethic, each have a rescued doodle and have done incredible jobs with them.

It seems to me when being out in public too many children are rude and obnoxious to their own parents - I can't imagine how they would be with a rescued doodle who might have issues being a rescued doodle. We never know what they really went through in their former homes and it would be setting up the doodle and the family to fail. 

Exactly. 

Simply, well written!

Karen,

Kudos for your excellent and well thought out reply.  Judy and I as well as our Maltese Rescue California organization totally agree with the points you made in the reply.  Many of our owner relinquished Maltese and Maltese-mix rescues were given up by their families because of interaction with kids.  I would guess that most of the time it was not the fault of the dog but, rather the fault of the parents in not teaching their children proper ways to interact with a dog. 

That would be my guess too. 

Some time back, there was a woman who posted on a doodle forum that she was on the verge of giving away her 16 month old doodle because he was "so aggressive" with her two very young children. She went on to say that the dog growled at the children when they "hugged" him and showed affection for him. 

Here is a photo of the children with the puppy on the very first day they brought him home. Instead of correcting this child and guiding her in the proper way to handle a puppy and express affection, this proud mom ran to get her camera and snapped this photo:

A picture is worth a thousand words. Notice the choke hold around the neck, the puppy's expression, and the way he is resisting being pulled. Is anyone here surprised that this dog now growls when these kids approach him? 

I really think that part of the reason that families with young children relinquish dogs so often has to do with the reason they got the dog in the first place. Those who got the dog "for the kids" are the ones who most often give them up. I always ask "if you didn't have kids, would you want a dog?" After all, people who love dogs have dogs, kids or no kids. Those who love dogs want dogs for themselves, not because the kids want one, and understand that a dog cannot really belong to the children; every dog requires at least one adult who is committed to him, assumes responsibility for him, and to whom he can look for guidance and protection. In most cases, the dog will still be with you long after the kids have gone away to school and even started families of their own. So you'd better want him for yourself, lol. 

Karen, EXCELLENT response.  

I completely agree and understand.  I had to rehome my dog through Doodle Rescue and at that time I had children under the age of 10 and 6.  When my children get older we will try again to become dog owners.  Doodle Rescue is a wonderful organization that really and completely thinks of what is best for the dog.

Karen, thank you for all you do and thank you to all the volunteers that foster and transport dogs in the program.  

:)

It has been several years since I replied to the original posting.  Judy and are now working with Maltese Rescue California and I still totally agree with the original stance of DRC regarding young children.  A large number of our relinquished dogs are given up by their families due to problems with children.  For that reason, we also do not adopt to families with small children.

Thanks for your comments, Richard. It seems almost universal among private breed specific rescues not to adopt to homes with young children, and I'm pretty sure the reasons are the same across the board. There is a very well-respected Golden Retriever rescue in my area, and even they have a minimum age requirement of 6 for children. 

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