Vol 8 No 3

Summer 2006


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Features in this Issue:

Woofstock

GRCA NRC Interview

Summertime Safety

GRRI Quilters

Adoption Interviewers

Summer Shopping

Thank You

Remembering With Fondness

Letters to GRRI


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ADOPTION INTERVIEWERS


“I want a dog that doesn’t sniff visitors.”

“The dog can’t chew toys or eat or dig up flowers.”

“My children will react if dogs lick them. I need a dog that does not lick or drool.”

“The Golden cannot lift his leg to urinate since we have thousands of evergreen trees of all sizes.”

Yes, our adoption interviewers really have heard it all! These are just some of the memorable conversations our volunteers have had in the course of speaking with hundreds of potential applicants. Although GRRI’s written application is thorough, the telephone interview is our first opportunity to get a good sense for what’s special about each household and understand the unique qualities that might make for a great home for one of our dogs.

If some of our applicants don’t quite have the right idea about what they’re looking for (as those quotes might suggest!), other applicants seem to appear right when we need them most. Ruth Osman, who coordinates our adoption interviewer team, remembers a few such occasions:

"One of my first interviews was with a very young-at-heart senior citizen named Priscilla Lynch.  I’ll never forget her saying ‘this old gal would love to have another old gal to spend her life with.’ Around that same time we just happened to have saved the sweetest dog from a kill shelter in South Jersey named Benjamin (look for his pictures and story on the Success Stories section of GRRI’s website at www.grrinj.org/success ).  Benjamin looked like he was about 10, more or less, and I thought who in the world is going to adopt a dog we don’t even know the age of? Priscilla got her old man instead of an old gal, but they were a match made in heaven.

Then there was Meg. Meg was already in her second foster home. She was unsocialized and had some behavioral issues, making her truly a difficult dog to place. I interviewed the Brockhardt family, and my first question was ’why do you want to adopt a dog from GRRI?’  Their answer was ‘we want a dog that no one else wants, a difficult dog, one that needs a lot of time and a lot of work.’ I spent some time exploring with them further to be sure they knew what they were saying! – but they did, and now Meg is doing so well with the Brockhardts. Best of all, I get to see her at reunions!"

Shayne Murray, GRRI President, has a similar memory:

 “The most memorable adoption interview I ever did was 4 years ago. We had a pair of seniors in rescue that needed to be placed together (Rusty and Lacey). Seniors are hard enough to place, but a pair of seniors is a real challenge to place together. I began what I thought would be a routine adoption interview, but found myself wowed with the answers for each question I asked; it was clear to me that this applicant was as good as they come! Near the end of the interview, ‘Marie’ commented that she had spotted Rusty and Lacey on our website and they were interested in giving them a home. We concluded the interview and when I hung up I almost cried because I was so happy for this senior pair! Indeed, everything progressed well with our home visit and final approval, and Rusty and Lacey moved to their forever home. The Falcones could have adopted any Golden, but they reached out to help seniors and special needs dogs. The love the Falcones have for the senior Goldens still touches me to this day!”

Many volunteers find that being adoption interviewers allows them to devote time to GRRI in manageable time periods. Typically, the telephone interview takes between 30-60 minutes to conduct, and then another 30 minutes to document. Thus, volunteers can take on interview assignments when they find they have just a little time to spare for us. Several interviewers cited the pride they feel when “their” adopters complete an adoption with us, knowing that their initial work made the difference in bringing together a dog in need with a terrific home.

Our adoption interviewers use an outline to guide them through the process, ensuring that the areas of particular interest to us are covered during the conversation. Aside from trying to determine if the applicant is well suited to life with a Golden, the phone interview is also a good time to establish any unique considerations the applicant might have that may make them especially suitable for particular circumstances. Because the process is well defined, our hope is that both successful and unsuccessful applicants feel that we asked the right questions for the right reasons, and understand our foremost priority of finding the right match between our dogs’ needs and the applicant’s unique situation.

And we know that somewhere there is a great home waiting to be found for each of our dogs. Ruth Osman puts it best:

 “I look at our applications every day and one of these days the right one will be there for our harder-to-adopt dogs. A perfect one from heaven would be great for Harry Potter; I’m going to interview someone who will say they want a wonderful senior and it doesn’t matter if he can’t hear as long as he can love and be loved. I just know it’s going to happen!”

Indeed, we know we’ll find the right home for Harry Potter and each of the other special dogs whose future we’re entrusted with. The vital first step is to learn as much as we can about our adopters, and the telephone interview makes that all possible. We’re always happy to welcome new volunteers who would like to do even just a few interviews! And to those who have helped with this important task already, you have our thanks.