The Craigslist Controversy

I’ll admit it. I love Craigslist. It’s great for selling furniture, finding purses and getting your next dog.

WHOA, WHAT!? Yep, I said it. It’s OK to get a dog on Craigslist. And that means it’s OK to put a dog on Craigslist. But like so many other things in life, it’s all about doing it the right way.

Our German Shorthair Pointer was 10 months old, spending most of her time in a crate and needed a new home. Her owner had just gotten divorced and recognized she had too many responsibilities to dedicate any time to this dog, but she wanted to find it a good home. So she tried Craigslist.

We had been looking for a young Pointer that could get along with our barn cats. She fit the bill, so I replied to the ad.

Libby, far left, joins the office staff.

Libby, far left, joins the office staff.

In my opinion, our dog’s previous owner did everything right. She advertised her dog but did not put up a photo. She priced her dog at $200. At that price only people serious about that pet were going to call. And, she insisted she be able to do a home visit BEFORE any transaction would take place. We welcomed showing her the farm her dog would now call home and the other Pointer she would have as a buddy.

Now before the arguments start, let me just say that I realize Craigslist is used by puppy mills, scammers and just down-right creepy people who buy, sell and give away pets for many wrong reasons. But should the success stories be ignored?

Of course we could have tried to flip the dog, or we could have been creepy and kept the dog locked up or abused. The truth is, no one really knows how another person is going to care for an animal that needs a new home. That means dogs that are adopted from rescues, horses that are sold, or barn cats that are given away are always at some risk.

But if you must rehome a pet, use Craigslist knowing that the scammers are shopping there. For that very reason DO NOT give your pet away. That will attract the category of people looking to “flip” animals — that is, buying low and selling high. Free is even better for them.

It’s a fact of life that there are people out there who want animals to sell as bait dogs, research experiments and puppy mill breeders or worse. It’s repulsive but it’s out there.

Be wary, charge a fee, insist on a vet reference AND a home visit. If it doesn’t feel right, your pet is most likely better off at one of the many rescues, shelters or breed-specific groups that have adoption programs, foster homes and the ability to screen adoption applicants.

Craigslist isn’t perfect. In a perfect world, people would never give up their family pets. But life is messy. It’s ok to use Craigslist to find a pet or even to place a pet; just do everything you can to verify that the pet’s new home is the right new home.

Muzzlebump :)

Transport Driving: What’s In It For You?

I’m relatively new to animal-rescue transport, but I can tell you I will be helping the transport teams as long as I have a driver’s license.

transport4

If you’re new to the subject, let me toss out a quick definition:  Pick up a dog or group of dogs at Point A and take them to Point B.  It’s easy.

There are groups all over the country, from your local shelter to Pilots for Paws, who coordinate getting dogs from overpopulated areas with high turnover kill shelters to under-populated areas with coordinated foster homes and more no-kill shelters or breed rescues.

The group I volunteer with is Paws on Wheels.  Every single weekend they start in Altus, Oklahoma, generally with about 10 – 20 dogs and the journey starts toward destinations in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.

Puppies!

To get there it takes a village.  Drivers usually volunteer for a leg of about 80 – 120 miles, one way.  My last transport was a two-hour drive down to Bethany, Missouri, to pick up nine little souls (six of them puppies) and deliver them to a driver in Des Moines who was headed to Hampton, Iowa.

I was down and back by lunch time.

A sweet little Pittie mix

When I tell my friends about my recent transports, or post pictures on Facebook, I often hear how that is so giving of me – so selfless.  Well, that’s one way to look at it.  But the truth is, I get plenty out of these runs.  I meet the coolest people (many have their kids with them to assist and learn the value of volunteering), some who do this every single weekend.  I usually learn something – maybe about a new type of collar or crate, special food or medication. Last transport I learned that a good audio book calms even the most nervous little Min Pin.

And you just can’t beat it for the gratification of helping those who can’t help themselves.

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I urge you to try it. You just need a dependable vehicle and the commitment to show up on time.  If you’re reading this I already know you love dogs.

Just call your local rescue or shelter. They will hook you up. If you want to check out groups who travel through central Iowa, I recommend AHeinz57 and Paws on Wheels:

AHeinz57 – www.AHeinz57.com – click on their Volunteer Application

AHeinz57 – on Facebook 

Paws on Wheels – on Facebook

Email Paws on Wheels: PawsOnWheels@yahoo.com

Muzzlebump! :-)