What should I do when I first arrive?
Make sure you stop at the Registration and Welcome Table to sign the visitor attendance sheet, obtain a copy of the list of dogs available to meet, and get a name tag. The list will include information about which dogs can be placed with young children, other dogs, cats, etc. It will also tell you whether a fenced yard is required or not for each dog.
Can I go up to any of the dogs to meet them?
Yes, although in some cases we will ask that children under 10 not interact with the dog. This is generally because we have no history on the dog’s prior interaction with children, not because the dog has any behavior or temperament problems. For very shy or timid dogs, we may limit the number of people around them at any one time in order to keep them from being overwhelmed.
Can I bring the whole family with me?
Yes, please do! Friends and other interested folks are welcome to attend as well. Just remember that your canine family member cannot attend at this time (see next question). Also please remember that young children must be supervised at all times.
Can I bring my own dog(s) along?
We do ask that you leave canine family members at home in order to assure their safety and well-being. We do not have space at our facility for non-program dogs to wait while their owners meet the available DVGRR dogs, and for safety, we of course do not want dogs to be left in cars.
What happens in bad weather?
We hold our Monthly Open House events in The Thomas and Marian Ludwig Adoption & Activity Center, so we hold this event regardless of the weather. (In the case of extreme snow or ice making roads and travel unsafe, we may cancel. In that case we will advise via our website, Facebook page, and/or main phone number (717-484-4799) that the event has been canceled.)
Can I find out more about the dogs besides what is in the handout or on the website?
Yes, each dog’s individual record will be available for review at our Information Table. The record typically includes information about the dog’s background (as much as is known), personality and behavior, overall health and medical history, activity level, etc. We generally have very little background on the dogs that come to us from an animal shelter or another rescue.
You can also talk with our Kennel Manager or Adoption Manager for more information about any of the dogs. If we have a large number of dogs and people in attendance, we may, unfortunately, not be able to have as extended a discussion as we might like since we try to be equally available to all of our visitors.
Can I try walking the dog myself or interact with him or her off leash?
Many times it can be very helpful for prospective adopters to make sure they can handle a dog on leash (some DVGRR dogs are very strong!) or to see how active the dog is when off leash in a fenced area. If you have a serious interest in one of the dogs and meet the preliminary requirements for that dog (see next question), we can try to arrange for you and your family to spend some additional time with the dog in one of our exercise areas. Please talk to the dog’s handler or one of our kennel staff about arranging this.
What should I do if I meet a dog I may be interested in adopting?
First, please be sure you meet all of the preliminary qualifications pertinent to that dog (e.g., if you have young children and the dog is recommended to be placed with older children only, we won’t be able to consider you for that particular dog, etc.). If you do meet all of the preliminary qualifications, sign up for that dog on his or her sign-up sheet. Each dog will have an individual sign-up sheet attached to a clipboard at the information table.
Is there a time limit for signing up?
We ask that you include your name by 12:00 for any dog for which you want to be considered.
Must I have an approved application on file in order to sign up for a dog?
No, you can sign up for a dog if your application is still in process; however, the only adoptions that are finalized that day are for people who already have approved applications on file and meet other criteria.
Can I sign up for more than one dog?
Yes, although we recommend that you only put your name down for those dogs you are seriously interested in. If you want to note which dog is your first choice, we will try to take that into consideration when making our matching decisions.
Are the sign-up sheets based on “first come, first served?”
Definitely not. The order in which the prospective adopters’ names are listed has no bearing on the matching decision. Those decisions are based on which family or individual adopter best meets the needs of each dog.
How will I know if I have been matched with a dog I have signed up for?
Our Adoption Team will review the sign-up sheets and identify any prospective matches. This involves reviewing the application information on file, discussing any pertinent interaction observed between dogs and prospective adopters, and looking at the specific needs of each dog. Our Adoption Manager (or their designee) may want to talk with you in order to clarify information or discuss some aspect of the dog’s care and behavior.
We may be able to let you know your status that day — it will depend on how many applicants have signed up, the dog’s characteristics (for example, some dogs may have health or training needs that warrant more extensive discussion), and/or whether there are other family members who also need to meet the potential adoptee.
We do ask for your patience and understanding as our team reviews all the potential matches. We want to ensure that all factors are taken into consideration, and when some of the dogs have a significant number of interested adopters (which often happens with the younger, more active DVGRR dogs), the process will naturally take longer in order to most effectively and fairly determine the best match for the dog.
If we are not able to let you know the same day, we will advise you within the next few days if you have been matched with one of the dogs.
But doesn’t that mean I may have to drive an hour or two to come back?
Yes it does, and while we realize that doing so can be difficult logistically, we also know that rushing the process, or “cutting corners,” almost always ends up backfiring for the dog AND the adopter. This is, after all, a lifetime commitment you are making, one that will have a huge impact on your life, your current dog’s life, and the rescued dog’s life. In our experience, those adopters who thoroughly understand and appreciate the importance of making the right decision do not hesitate to make a return trip to Golden Gateway.
What if I have another dog(s) at home?
Before an adoption is finalized, we must have an opportunity to introduce the rescue dog to any other dogs currently in the household. In such cases, we will make a tentative matching decision, then schedule a time for you to bring your dog or dogs back to Golden Gateway for a “dog match.” At the “dog match,” we’ll carefully have the dogs meet and interact together in a supervised setting.
What if I’m unsure about which dog(s) to sign up for?
You are no doubt eager to adopt one of our DVGRR dogs, but we strongly discourage you from signing up for “anyone” just to be sure you are matched with a dog… any dog. Sometimes people come to Monthly Open House events and just don’t “connect” with any of the dogs available that day. That’s perfectly okay and not unusual. While you will be disappointed of course, it is far better to wait for the right match to come along. Remember, you are making a lifetime commitment to the dog; it shouldn’t be a casual decision.
Do you sell any dog supplies at Golden Gateway? Is any food available?
Yes, “Pap’s Place,” our on-site retail store, will be open, as will “BLT’s,” which serves snacks and drinks. All proceeds from the store and snack bar directly benefit our rescued DVGRR dogs, so we encourage you to shop for any toys, leashes, or dog-related items you may need while visiting Golden Gateway.
Can I take pictures?
No. We are required to protect the identities of our adopters and children that may be in attendance as well as the dogs in our program. For that reason, we may not allow anyone who attends the Monthly Open House to take photos. Photography is only allowed by DVGRR staff.
What happens if I’m not matched with a dog at the Monthly Open House?
We’d LOVE to match every qualified applicant with a dog at each of our monthly events, but the reality is that there are typically more applicants than dogs. Thus, some people will leave disappointed — and we know how strong an emotion that can be.
Remember that in some cases we have only made a tentative match for the dog, dependent on the dog being compatible with other dogs in the adopter’s family. If the “dog match” does not work out, we will likely contact another person on that dog’s list… which could be you! In addition, we do schedule individual appointments with adopters in between the Monthly Open House events if there is a dog that appears to be a good prospective match for that family.
Continue to watch our website, advise our Adoption Manager of any dogs you may be interested in, and plan to come back for the next Monthly Open House. Thank you for your support and your willingness to provide a forever home for a displaced DVGRR dog!