4 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
Since Molly hasn’t been fostering lately, she has been helping out in other ways whenever she can. One of the biggest ways to help out is by attending events with dogs. The rescue she volunteers for has kennels at their office space for dogs who aren’t in foster homes yet. So, Molly will sometimes volunteer to take those dogs to events to help increase their chances of adoption.
However, not every dog will benefit from an adoption event. Some dogs are too nervous or timid to attend, so the volunteers at the rescue have to really consider which dogs can go to public events.
What are Adoption Events?
Events are different for every rescue, but most events involve taking adoptable dogs somewhere so they can meet potential adopters. These are often held at pet stores, outdoor festivals, or other dog-friendly places. These events are essential for many dogs because they allow people to see how the dog behaves in different settings, and it makes it easy for people wanting to adopt to stop by and meet a bunch of dogs. Some events allow people to adopt a dog at the event while others are just for exposure so someone can adopt the dog at a later date.
What Makes a Dog Eligible for an Event?
Since a lot of dogs find their forever families at these events, it seems like every dog should get to go, but that’s not the best idea. Not every dog does well at events because there are a lot of people, dogs, and noises around, so some pups get overwhelmed. For example, dogs from abuse situations may be too nervous to go for walks, let alone a chaotic event. So, many of the dogs Molly has fostered haven’t been able to go due to shyness.
Before any event at the rescue Molly volunteers for, the people working at the office decide if the dogs without foster homes seem like they would do well in a public setting or not. If a dog is in a foster home, the foster parent can decide if they think their dog should go.
Here are a few signs that a dog will likely do well in a public setting:
- They’re friendly around all people, even kids
- They don’t act aggressively toward other dogs
- They walk well on a leash
- They don’t get startled easily
If all those statements are true for a dog, they’ll probably do well at an event. Yet, every dog is different. For example, if a dog doesn’t meet all those requirements, they might still do well at an event if they hang out further away from the crowds or wear a “nervous” bandana. It’s up to the handler to pay attention to the dog’s body language to decide if they feel comfortable while they’re in that new environment.
What Happens if a Dog Doesn’t Do Well at an Event?
If a dog doesn’t do as well at an event as volunteers thought they would, it’s not the end of the world. If a dog is showing signs of fear or aggression at an event, it’s best for the handler to take the dog out of that space. Sometimes, even just taking them for a walk away from everyone for a few minutes can be enough to help a dog feel better. Even the friendliest dogs may benefit from a break during events, and watching a dog’s body language is the best way to tell when a dog needs some time away from the chaos.
Setting a rescue dog up for success is extremely important. So, if that involves taking extra precautions at their first event, then that’s what needs to happen. Even if it means they shouldn’t attend any events at all, that’s okay too! Helping a rescue dog feel comfortable is much more important than taking them to new places. Events are a great way to give an adoptable dog exposure, but it’s not the only way to help them get adopted.
If you’re fostering a dog, only take them to events if they seem ready. Since you’ll get to know them better than anyone else, it’s up to you to decide if events are right for them. For dogs who aren’t in foster homes, volunteers at the rescue will know what’s best for them. And in either situation, pay attention to the dog’s body language at the event. Even dogs that normally do well can get overwhelmed. If you need to leave an event because a dog is acting stressed, don’t feel bad! It’ll be better for everyone in the long run, especially that pup.
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