Since we organized our non-profit adoption group ten years ago, we have gone through some growing pains and have made some greyt changes over that period to help us operate better and work better on behalf of the greyhounds placed in our care.
We feel that we have been extremely successful in placing most greyhounds into good and forever homes. We are proud to report that we have consistently maintained a low return rate. That is because we screen adoption applications carefully, conduct home visits, talk to prospective adopters at length, provide lots of reading materials and other information to help an adopter learn more about the greyhound breed, profile and foster all of our hounds and make sure that the being placed fits into the adoptive home. The point is to find the dog its “forever” home.
All adopters must sign an Adoption Contract. The dictionary defines the word contract as: an agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for a valuable benefit known as consideration. Since the law of contracts is at the heart of most business dealings, it is one of the three or four most significant areas of legal concern and can involve variations on circumstances and complexities. The existence of a contract requires finding the following factual elements: a) an offer; b) an acceptance of that offer which results in a meeting of the minds; c) a promise to perform; d) a valuable consideration (which can be a promise or payment in some form); e) a time or event when performance must be made (meet commitments); f) terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling promises; and g) performance.
We offer a lot to adopters. Our half of the adoption contract is to provide the adopter with a dog that will fit their application as well as the following:
- Spaying or Neutering
- All up-to-date immunizations
- All available veterinarian records
- Worming and flea/tick treatment
- Heartworm Test
- Track Records/Pedigree
- Greyhound collar and lead
- Greyhound muzzle
- FFGR, Inc. identification tag
- Fast Friends adopter’s guide
- Food to last through a period of transition
- Lots of surprises (like toys, treats, etc.)
AND we provide support for the adopter. We do not take the adoption fee and disappear. We feel that what we offer is an excellent package. The profiling we do is so precise, that we can find a dog for adopters with some specific requirements (cat safe and child safe). We try to make sure that every dog that is placed in a home is the right dog for that home.
We spend so much time trying to work with adopters to find the perfect dog for them, that sometimes we don’t think seriously enough about the other half of the contract! What should an adopter commit to the dog and our group in return for trusting them with a dog! What is their obligation which is outlined in the other half of the adoption contract? What does the adopter have to do to make the contract valid and work for both parties?
Here are the requirements we ask of adopters when they adopt. These are the elements of the contract that they are required to fulfill:
- Adopter will provide all necessary care and kind treatment for the dog throughout its life.
- Adopter will always use a leash and not allow the greyhound to run free.
- Adopter will not abuse or neglect the greyhound; FFGR, Inc. can investigate any reports.
- Adopter will return the greyhound only to FFGR, Inc. (fee not returnable).
- Adopter will train the dog to live in the home (i.e., alone training, behavioral training).
- Adopter will not use the dog for business, medical or experimental purposes.
- Adopter will complete house training started by FFGR, Inc. in foster care.
- Adopter will keep all other animals in the house up to date with vaccinations.
- Adopter will monitor and keep safe all small animals coming in contact with the greyhound and provide proper training.
- Adopter will inform FFGR, Inc. if the greyhound is lost or injured.
While the elements of the adoption contract are excellent and we feel attainable by all adopters, we often have no way of knowing for sure if the other half of the adoption contract is being fulfilled. Since we cannot go into every home and monitor what is happening, we can only encourage people to keep in touch with us and let us know how the dog is doing. We have no other way of proving that the dog is getting the proper food, medical care, and if people are even complying with the laws in their communities regarding animals.
We have been pondering how to make sure that the other half of the contract is being fulfilled. Over the years we have tightened up our adoption requirements and are more careful about where we place dogs. In fact, we have heard that we can sometimes be difficult to work with. But we actually take that as a compliment because we are proud of our low return rate that has resulted from the way we work.
By signing the adoption contract, the adopter will know what is expected when they adopt a greyhound. Adopters will receive a copy of the adoption contract to read before the adoption. This will give them the chance to “opt out” of the adoption if they feel that they cannot meat the requirements set forth in the adoption contract. Those signing the contract will be held accountable, legally, financially and morally.
The mission of our organization is to find forever homes for greyhounds retiring from the tracks when they are done racing. Our organization is not set up to be operated like a business that competes with other businesses. We will not “compete” with another adoption organization to place a dog. We take our jobs very seriously. We mean it when we say that “it’s about the dogs.” We hope those coming to us to adopt a greyhound understand why it’s so important that we do what is in the best interest of the dog first.