FAQs About Our Adoption Process, Volunteering, and More
Adoption Process - General FAQs
Wonderful Airedale Terriers are in need of rescue and a fresh start all over the country. They sit in shelters, are advertised "free to a good home" and forage by the side of the road. The reasons they were unwanted are many. We can tell you from experience, it was NOT the dog's fault. These dogs are waiting for a second chance with a wonderful family who will love them and understand them.
The first step is to read the Placement Contract to find out what we expect from our adoptive families and decide whether adopting an Airedale is right for you. Then look over the Adoption Application, fill it out and submit it. The fastest way to accomplish this is through our Web site at www.soar-airedale-rescue.com. Although we are pleased to answer questions about the breed and the process, we cannot proceed until we have your application in hand. Next, we conduct a telephone interview with you, and make reference and vet checks. We then schedule a home visit with an SOAR volunteer.
The application, telephone interview, vet checks, and home visit are part of the approval process. Once you are approved and you and the right dog find each other, a placement contract will need to be signed.
SOAR wants to see where and how an Airedale will fit into your life. Where will he sleep? Where will she eat? What kind of yard will she play in? How will the members of your household, including humans and other pets, interact with the dog? Home visits are a mandatory part of the process to help ensure a lasting placement.
Sometimes, an adoption can take place in days, from filling out the application to the telephone interview and reference checks, to the home visit and finally to the placement of a dog. More typically, adoptions take one or two weeks and longer to get through the approval process. The adoption process may take a little longer.
SOAR needs to take the time to get to know the dog AND you to help us find that “match made in heaven”. This process may seem a bit lengthy but bear in mind we seek forever homes for our rescued dogs. Our volunteers work carefully on behalf of each dog. SOAR has many collective years of experience and use the same care with each placement. We are available to troubleshoot after the placement, and always take our dogs back into rescue if the placement doesn't work out. Hopefully, with care beforehand, few placements fail.
Although SOAR occasionally takes in dogs under 12 months old, we generally work with dogs that are around a year old and, more typically, with dogs who are between 2 and 4 years old.
It is SOAR’s policy not to recommend breeders. We suggest that you visit the Airedale Terrier Club of America Web site at www.airedale.org and follow the “Choosing a Breeder” link to find a list of approved and reputable breeders. SOAR is steadfastly opposed to the proliferation of puppy mills and strongly urges you not to purchase a puppy from a mill or a pet store.
If that is where your rescue Airedale would sleep, we would have to say that adopting a dog from us is not for you. Airedales are people dogs. They love their families, and they thrive on interaction with them. SOAR requires adopting families to provide inside accommodations for their dogs, and will not adopt a dog to anyone who intends to tie them out or make them sleep outside.
Perhaps. We routinely receive several applications for specific dogs appearing on our Web site and there’s every chance that you are not the first to see the “perfect pooch.” There may already be a waiting list. But even if you are the first to ask about a specific Airedale, we reserve the right to ensure that this is the right dog for you. We have been fostering this dog and finding out everything we can about him. We know more about him than you do and we want to make sure that his next family is his forever one. We receive wonderful dogs all the time. If the first dog you spot has already been spoken for, another one will come along and steal your heart when you’re not looking.
SOAR sometimes takes in senior citizens. These dogs have been loyal and loving pets that, for one reason or another, find themselves homeless at 8 or 9 years old or even more. These senior citizens are usually wonderful dogs, grateful to those who give them the love and affection. They are usually less active for those adopters with a quieter lifestyle.
If you have a number of other dogs, cats, or other pets, it may affect your ability to adopt. All dogs need human interaction, and Airedales need it more than most. They thrive on the love and attention they get from their families, and they are adversely affected when they are deprived of such attention. SOAR strives to place its dogs in situations where they will be assured of ongoing tender loving care, and where they will not have to compete for human affection. If you already have a number of dogs, you may not be in the best position to provide a home to a rescue Airedale.
That depends on your particular circumstances, and on the characteristics of each dog. Some rescue groups believe that a fenced yard is mandatory for keeping an Airedale safe. A fenced yard is a huge convenience when owning a dog but is no guarantee of safety. We know of several Airedales that have been hit by cars after gates have been left open or the dogs have climbed over or dug under the fence. Airedales left too long alone in a fenced yard quickly become bored and get into trouble. They also frequently become problem barkers and an annoyance to your neighbors. A fence becomes more important when there are children in the home who will forget to keep doors closed.
We are often asked if electronic fencing works for Airedales. Our answer is yes and no. Some adoptive homes have had success with it. We know that to work, the equipment, including the collar batteries, must be kept in proper working order or it is useless. The dog must be properly trained on the boundaries. Keep in mind that the dog receives a shock for crossing the boundary coming home as well as leaving so once he leaves he may be hesitant to come back! Also, it doesn't keep other dogs from coming into your yard and enticing your dog to run loose. Whether electronic fencing works for your Airedale depends on your dog’s temperament. For some dogs, a shock is no big deal if the stimulus (like a rabbit or cat) is great enough!
In summary – the most important point to remember about a fenced yard and electronic fences is that you should not use them to leave your dog out unattended for any length of time. In our opinion, boundary training cannot be done with a rescue Airedale. SOAR's adoption agreement does not provide for it. We have seen too many dogs hit by cars when folks insisted they had just taken the dogs off leash for a short run and thought it was safe. We just don't engage in the debate of boundary training with a rescue Airedale.
Some applicants live in neighborhoods where a fence is not possible. Many of these folks have successfully owned Airedales before and kept them safe. These are some of the best adoptive homes possible as they spend lots of time walking their dogs several times daily! We understand their situation as long as they have a history of safe dog ownership and intend to keep their dog on leash.
SOAR does not have a set fee to adopt one of our rescue Airedales. We ask adopters for a donation at the time they sign the Placement Contract. The average cost to “rescue” an Airedale can run between $400 and $500. This includes the initial veterinary visit with vaccination, heartworm test, spay, neutering, and treatment for any medical condition. In addition, many dogs require boarding while we search for a foster home or the right adoptive home and some require “boot camp” for behavioral issues. Every dog goes to his new home with a new collar, leash, and ID tag. Because of this, we suggest that you consider an adoption donation of $300 to $400.
If you live in a state that SOAR does not cover, we can accept your application but will forward it to the rescue volunteer/organization for your state. We need to work with your rescue volunteer/organization to process your application and coordinate a possible adoption. If you live in a SOAR state and want to adopt a dog outside our region, remember it is SOAR’s first choice is to place our Airedales within our regional area so we can provide adequate follow-up. On occasion, one region may have more Airedales in their program than they can place, or a region may have a special-needs Airedale that requires a unique home. In such cases, we will work with other groups.
After the Adoption - General FAQs
To help you start off on the right foot – or paw, so to speak – we have put together some thoughts to help with the transition and make your life together more enjoyable. Please remember that we want to see this placement succeed. We are always here if you have any problems at all – just give us a call! We have many resources and lots of experience to draw on.
Many of these items are common sense items, but we like to remind our new adopters about them just in case.
- Never leave your Airedale outside unattended. Airedales have been stolen (used as bait for dog fighting), poisoned, and shot in supposedly “safe” neighborhoods. Every day dogs are stolen from fenced yards and kennels.
- Never “tie out” your Airedale where you can’t see him. This can result in hanging or choking to death.
- Use a leash! Even obedient Airedales can dash across a street after another dog, cat, rabbit, squirrel or child.
- Put away trash, chemicals and dirty laundry. Airedales often eat things such as corn cobs, worn pantyhose, underwear, food wrappers, and other indigestible items. These can either perforate the bowel or cause an obstruction and can kill your Airedale.
- Keep proper, legible ID tags on your Airedale at all times. One should be the SOAR tag the dog came with. The other should include your home phone number and address. We suggest using “Airedale” rather than the dog’s name. If someone knew your dog’s name, it would be much easier for them to keep your dog should they find your dog – or even worse – steal your dog.
- Leave your Airedale at home on warm days. If you must run errands with your Airedale in the car, take a spare key along. Lock the car with the motor and air conditioner running (only if the car is outdoors!). It can take only a matter of 5 or 10 minutes for a dog to overheat in a closed car on a warm day – even with the windows down.
- Choose the proper collar. Never leave a choke chain on your Airedale while unattended. He may catch the ring on an object and strangle. You can leave the choke chain attached to the leash at the door and simply slip it on in addition to your Airedale’s nylon or leather collar. This eliminates the need to change collars!
The best gift you can give your Airedale every day is to feed him quality dog food. The small extra cost is reflected in better health, fewer allergies, less itching and skin problems, smaller stools, and a shiny coat. Quality food starts with real food ingredients (lamb, chicken, turkey, rice and barley) and does NOT contain artificial color, flavors, sugar or salt to enhance flavor. Your dog will absorb more nutrients and therefore require less food. Better quality dog foods are found at pet supply stores, not the grocery store! These include Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, Nutro, ProPlan, and Nature’s Recipe. Dogs with skin and allergy problems will benefit from lamb and rice food, which is naturally preserved.
Airedales are high-energy dogs who very much enjoy the company of their family. Including physical exercise in your dog’s daily routine will help him release some of his pent-up energy, especially if he is crated or confined for some part of the day while you are gone. It also helps avoid some behavior problems and keep him fit and trim. Plan to take him to obedience class – even if you have been to one before. This will not only reinforce what he may have learned before, but it will give the two of you some quality time together and help him bond with you. Set aside some time with your Airedale every day for some one on one with you. Walks are a great way to exercise your Airedale – and not a bad thing for us humans either.
Our policies regarding heartworm preventative result from our experience in treating dozens of infected Airedales, some of whom died of complications. We recommend that preventative be given all year long! If the history of the Airedale is unknown, they must be re-tested six months after the initial test, and kept on preventative all year long. “Plus” preventatives include protection from common intestinal parasites as well. This is a horrible disease that infects thousands of dogs each year.
We know that many of our adopters are very excited when their new furry family member comes home with them. They may have other pets at home to introduce the Airedale to or may simply want to show the Airedale off to family and friends. We advise you to take it slowly. Introductions to other pets are best done outdoors in a “neutral” setting before bringing them inside. If this is not possible, use a baby gate indoors to let them see and sniff one another before getting together. With family and friends, it may be best to wait a few days to let your new Airedale get settled in and used to you first. It has been our experience that it takes about two weeks for the dog to start feeling comfortable in a new home.
Airedales are a “high- maintenance” dog when it comes to grooming. Like most dogs, they should be brushed daily. This removes dead hair, improves their coat and gives them another opportunity to get your undivided attention. Airedales also need haircuts at least four times a year to keep them from looking shaggy and getting matted.
Airedales can be headstrong, take-charge dogs. They will “test the waters” with you every chance they get. They will jump up on people, counter surf, forage through your trash and get on the furniture if you let them. We know you can’t help but love their furry little faces and want to hug them every chance you get. However, they respond very well if you take the role of “leader” in your household and set some rules and boundaries for them.
We sincerely hope your Airedale will remain a loved member of your family for the rest of his life. If circumstances change, and you are unable to provide the quality of life we have agreed upon, PLEASE contact any member of the rescue team. Contact information can be found at www.soar-airedale-rescue.com. We will take them back!
Surrender - General FAQs
Yes. Our mission is to find forever homes for dogs such as yours.
The dog will be given a thorough health check, receive any necessary immunizations, and will be spayed or neutered if that has not already been done. Then we usually place the dog in a foster home so we can learn more about them and see what sort of home will be right for this individual dog.
Occasionally, if a dog needs some obedience training, they will be placed in a training program. If the dog has serious health problems that can be reasonably fixed with our funding available, SOAR will pay for the necessary treatment. If the dog has not been groomed, we will get them groomed. Once all of this is done, SOAR will place the dog on a trial basis in an adoptive home. If the placement is a good one (and most of our placements work out great), the new owner will permanently adopt the dog after a few weeks.
SOAR screens prospective adoptive families VERY carefully. An application for adoption must first be submitted to us. After checking references, we conduct an extensive telephone interview with them about the type of situation the dog will be in, who the family members are, what their home and yard is like, what other pets the family has, and what their expectations are of their new dog. If all of this looks good, we schedule a home visit. We always take along one of our own Airedales on the home visit to see how the family interacts with the dog. We work hard to match dogs with appropriate households and we do extensive follow-up. If a placement is not working out for any reason, we take the dog back and find another home.
It means that you are surrendering the dog to SOAR and giving up any ownership rights you have in the dog. Once you have signed the form, you do not have any right to try and take the Airedale back. So think carefully about what you are signing.
Generally, no. We have learned through experience that it is easier on the dog and the new family if there is no contact between the previous owners and the adoptive owners. However, you are encouraged to write notes about anything you want the new owners to know and we will pass these notes on. The new owner can learn from your experiences with the dog.
No. SOAR is a nonprofit organization that does not have the funds to pay for dogs. Our funds are needed instead for the extensive health checks, spaying, transportation, and other support services for the Airedales we rescue. On occasion, we pay several thousand dollars for surgery to correct a health problem such as hip dysplasia. On average, we invest around $400 on each dog that we rescue.
No. Because our resources are limited, SOAR can only accept purebred Airedales. However, we have a page on our Web site to showcase mixed breeds. As a service to you, we can put a description on this page free of charge to help you get the word out that you need to place your dog.
Airedales - General FAQs
Airedales are very devoted companions, but they fully expect to be an equal partner in your life. They seem to have a sense of humor about themselves and you, so you had better develop the ability to see humor in all situations. Like when they steal your keys just as you are about to leave for work and run around the back yard with them daring you to try and catch them. Airedales do not respond well to being excluded from family life. You cannot expect an Airedale to be happy and well adjusted if he/she is confined to the backyard or to a single room in the house.
The very qualities that make Airedales "the only breed" for some of us, make them the most undesirable to others. They are very smart and often extremely stubborn. Possessing a real thought process as well as a sense of humor; Airedales are even capable of pulling practical jokes. Few people appreciate being the objects of gleeful deception, especially by their dog, but that appreciation is one of the basic necessities of owning an Airedale.
While Airedales are very smart, they are not always obedient! They can almost always find something much more important to do than come when called.
Airedales do not respond well to heavy-handed training methods. Training efforts are most successful if they are based on praise rather than punishment. Your Airedale wants to work with you not for you. Your training methods will have to take this attitude into account. Some breeds will joyfully do the same task repeatedly, not Airedales! Drills and repetitive exercises are met with less than an enthusiastic response.
An Airedale likes to show off and demonstrate how smart they are - once! Their attitude is, "I did it and I did it perfectly! If you were not paying attention, then that is your problem!" However, there are Airedales that excel in fly ball, obedience, agility, hunting, search and rescue, police and therapy work. You, as the owner, just have to learn what motivates your dog.
Many people are drawn to an Airedale because of their appearance. Well groomed, Airedales are truly stunning. Other people are attracted to Airedales because they "don't shed." Actually, they don't shed much, provided they get proper grooming.
Proper Grooming: Daily to weekly their coats need to be brushed or they get very matted. You should also check ears and teeth at least weekly. Every 6 - 10 weeks your dog will need to be clipped or hand stripped. Most pet Airedales are clipped. Depending on where you live this will cost about $50 to $70 per dog. Hand stripping is usually only done for show dogs, since it is a lot of work and takes several weeks to complete. The old coat is slowly pulled out and as the new coat grows back it is usually darker.
Not all grooming shops do a great job with Airedales. A badly groomed Airedale is not a pretty sight. You may want to learn how to do it yourself. Not only will you save money, but also you'll be spending some wonderful quality time with your dog. We have a pamphlet to assist you in learning how to groom your own dog.
Some people have heard that because Airedales shed very little that they are good for people with dog-related allergies. While this can be true for some people, there are others who are quite allergic the dander of some
If you or someone in your family is allergic to dogs and you are considering an Airedale for this reason, please let us know.
Airedales are terriers and like all terriers, it is natural for them to chase small animals such as squirrels. It is never a given that Airedales will get along with cats. Extreme care must be taken when introducing an Airedale into a home with small animals such as cats or ferrets. They should always be supervised in these situations. Be sure to tell us about all the other animals in your dog's environment, those that live with you as well as those that visit.
- Beards:Many (non-Airedale) people object to an Airedale's drippy beard after a drink of water.
- Digging:Airedales are terriers and so are very often avid diggers. They dig not so much outward, as down, so that they can have a comfortable "nest." They love gardens. They especially love lying in the middle of them smelling and eating the flowers. This is just one more reason to give them their own fenced-in area.
- Paper products:Airedales seem to take special delight in the redistribution of toilet paper and tissues. You learn very quickly not to leave these items out. There is nothing like discovering that your Airedale has just redecorated your living room with remains of a full box of tissues, ten minutes before your guests arrive for dinner.
- Trashcans:It may be a trashcan to you, but to an Airedale, it is a toy box. You can avoid these fun cleanups by keeping the lids closed or putting the cans out of reach.
- Stealing:Airedales are master pickpockets and collectors of human memorabilia. They teach you very quickly to pick things up and put them away. Oh and they will never look more innocent or become more deaf as when you are frantically searching for an item you need immediately.
- Chewing:Airedales can be great chewers. Furniture, clothes, shoes, walls - it's all the same to them. One person left their new Airedale in the laundry room when they went to work. Upon their return, they found the dog stretched comfortably on the sofa, very happy to see them. How did he get out of the laundry room? Very simple, he just chewed a hole in the wall to the kitchen.
- Energy:There are some exceptions, but Airedales tend to be non-stop motion machines. Most breeds calm down a great deal as they get older. Airedales, while they do show the effects of age, tend to stay very energetic their entire lives. We've known 13-year-old dogs who have leapt off the top of the stairs to chase intruders, like squirrels, out of their yards.
Foster - General FAQs
Good foster homes make an incredible difference in rescue. They provide a warm, safe and loving environment – many times for the first time in a rescue Airedale’s life. They show a rescue Airedale that people can be kind and food and water are plentiful. A foster family teaches a rescue Airedale the ropes of living as a household family member. They evaluate a rescue Airedale as to how they get along with other dogs, cats, kids, and everyday living. They work with other SOAR volunteers to find the best home possible for a rescue Airedale and send them on their way to their new life.
Without foster families to do all of this for our rescue Airedales, our success rate at placing them in forever homes would not be as high. Sure, fostering involves a time commitment and a piece of our heart goes with each rescue Airedale placed, but it is one of the most important and rewarding parts of rescue you can do. The phone calls and e-mails from the adoptive home sharing new first experiences and photos of happy faces make it all worthwhile.
You have taken the first step by saying you are interested! Let’s go from here.
All of our foster homes go through the same screening process as a prospective adopter. They fill out an application, have references checked and receive a home visit. If you are already an SOAR adopter who has gone through this process, you need not do it again. However, if something has changed in your situation since your application, you should make us aware of it.
You also need to consider the pets currently living in your home. They should be able to accept an unfamiliar dog coming into their living space.
After becoming an approved home, you will need to sign a SOAR Volunteer Agreement.
First of all, you should be Airedale experienced. In other words, you have owned an Airedale. Knowing and living with the breed helps you to understand some of their personality traits and prepares you for what to expect. You also need to understand safety issues involved with rescue Airedales. They are oftentimes adult dogs in unfamiliar surroundings, frightened and liable to bolt and run away at every opportunity. You will need to make every effort to keep the dog safe!
SOAR has literature for you to read concerning how to introduce your foster to other dogs or animals in your household. This should help make introductions with your family dogs go smoother and help ease territorial issues.
Your foster should have a new collar and leash as well as a SOAR tag provided by your state coordinator. The collar and tags should be kept on the dog at all times.
Some of our rescue Airedales come into rescue groomed, spayed/neutered and up to date on shots. However, this is not the norm. The rescue Airedale usually needs to have a wellness vet check and shots in addition to being bathed and groomed. They may also need to be spayed/neutered and have medical issues taken care of. All of this can be done before your foster comes to you unless you would prefer to help SOAR and handle some of this yourself (you are not expected to pay for it).
Your new foster may come with some behavior issues. We try as much as possible to learn what we can about the Airedale from previous owners, but many times getting information is just not possible. Some Airedales may need to be housebroken. Even if they are housebroken, they may have mistakes in the house until they get used to your routine. Talk to your state coordinator about what you can handle with your foster. We try the best we can to work within your boundaries.
SOAR pays all of the bills related to our rescue Airedales. This would include vet expenses, medications, and grooming in addition to things like a crate or baby gates, obedience classes and dog food. Most of our foster homes will donate food and some of the other expenses. If you do, let us know and we can give you a receipt for your taxes as we are a 501(c)(3) organization.
If you need to take your foster to the vet, contact SOAR’s treasurer and they will get a credit card number to the vet. Please ask your vet for a discount for rescue if possible. SOAR has reimbursement forms for any out of pocket expenses. Your state coordinator can help you if you are not sure what is covered. Checks are issued promptly.
While the dog is in foster care, it’s important for the foster home to observe and evaluate the Airedale. Does he have any house manners? Does he get along well with other dogs, cats, etc.? Will this dog require serious obedience training or does he respond to basic commands? Does he walk well on a leash? Are car rides enjoyable or a nightmare? Does he dig, try to escape, bark excessively, etc.? Foster homes should be willing to set limits for the dog. See how he reacts to being crated or gated when alone. Is he responsive to commands? Is he happy? Does he cringe when verbally corrected? Any and all observations assist us in determining who the best prospect might be to adopt your foster.
Give your foster as many different experiences as you can. Take them for a walk in town. Have a friend come over to visit. It is important to know how the foster behaves in different situations. Finding out that the foster reacts strongly to men with beards, is terrified of vacuum cleaners, or anxious around small children will also help SOAR find the perfect home.
Remember that you are preparing your foster for life with another family. You never know what that life will be like, so teach your foster things like how to stay off the furniture and to wait patiently for meals. Find out how your foster lets you know they need to go outside. And most important, give them lots of love and understanding.
If your foster is showing signs of aggression or any other behavior problem, contact your state coordinator. They need to know there is an issue. If you feel you can handle it and help the foster improve, we will be happy to work with you. If you need help, your state coordinator knows of trainers and behaviorists who can help. If you feel you cannot handle the behavior issue on your own even with the help of professionals, your state coordinator can step in to take the Airedale and place them with a trainer for a while or with another more experienced foster home.
Time in foster care is time well spent for many dogs. A good rule of thumb is no less than one week in foster care. Usually, we prefer two weeks. You may be tempted to move a dog more quickly, but remember the placement you select will likely be your foster’s home for the rest of his life. Hasty, convenient placements often backfire and the dog gets bounced again, or the home keeps the dog and is miserable with his behavior. We don’t promise your foster can be placed in two weeks. It takes as long as it takes to find the right match for each dog.
It has been our experience that the two-week mark is often the end of the “adjustment” period and the foster’s behavior may change. They are starting to feel comfortable in your home with your routine and begin to act more like their usual self. This is why we recommend at least two weeks in foster care.
Most definitely! Your state coordinator will be receiving and screening applications for adoption. When they have approved applicants who might be a good fit, they will share the application and home visit information with you. You are encouraged to talk with the prospective adopter yourself and even meet with them to see how they interact with your foster. You can be as involved as you would like to be in the placement of your foster.
One important thing to remember is that neither the foster family nor the state coordinator should be placing the Airedale independently. Each should be communicating with the other throughout the process. If you do decide to meet with a potential adopter, do not promise them your foster dog. Talk over your visit with the state coordinator afterwards and go from there. There are lots of paperwork and procedures involved that the state coordinator needs to handle before an adoption can become final.
You will be the keeper of your foster’s vet records and occasionally some additional paperwork. Keep this all together so that you can pass on appropriate papers to the new adopter. You will also be asked to fill out a Foster Home Report for the new family so that they can know as much as possible about your foster to make his transition easier.
Yes you can. As much as we hate to lose a good foster home, we realize that sometimes you will bond with a particular foster. Just let your state coordinator know of this so they can take care of the paperwork and procedures to make the placement permanent.
We hope this never happens, but in reality, it sometimes does. If so, you will be the first person contacted to see if you are in a position to take your foster back while we look for a new home.
Contact your state coordinator and let them know of your interest in becoming a foster home. The state coordinators are listed on our Web site at www.soar-airedale-rescue.com. If you have not adopted from SOAR before, go to our Web site and fill out an application to get the process started. Indicate you are willing to foster.
Home Visits - General FAQs
Prior to placing a rescue Airedale with a new family, SOAR needs to personally see the homes and yards and visit with the families. There is no better way to help SOAR determine if an applicant should be approved than to see where and how our rescue Airedales will live. Home visits are also a great way to see how a family interacts with an Airedale. Coordinators and foster homes rely on this input to help them make good decisions when matching our rescue Airedales with forever homes.
We’re glad you are interested in doing home visits! Let’s get into what you need to know.
You need to be willing to take your Airedale and visit with a family you most likely don’t know. Talking with strangers can make some people a little nervous; just remember you have Airedales in common. Your Airedale usually provides a focal point for conversation.
Once the home visit starts, you are there on SOAR’s behalf to ask questions and make observations, not to make a decision about this applicant. The state coordinator should have explained this to the applicant ahead of time. Observations include such things as how the applicant answers questions and how the applicant and their family react to your Airedale. Let us know what you observe concerning the applicant’s home and yard as it relates to a possible rescue Airedale living there. Your observations could end up being more useful than simple answers to questions.
Sure you can. It could be very helpful to see how a home visit is done by someone used to doing one. Your state coordinator can arrange for you to accompany an experienced volunteer on a home visit before trying one on your own.
SOAR has a Home Visit Checklist with some general questions to ask and some general observations to make. Your state coordinator may also have some specific questions or observations they would like from you based on the application. You may come up with your own questions as the visit progresses.
Back to the Home Visit Checklist. Review this checklist prior to doing the home visit. You will find that most of the questions and observations come from common sense and concern about finding the best possible homes for our rescue Airedales. Try not to “read” questions and “record” answers. It would be best if you made a few notes to remind you of points you want to cover and then cover them in a conversational manner. Take notes only if the answers are specific and may be forgotten later – such as names of other pets in the home, a phone number, etc.
Most applicants are more than happy to show you their home and point out how their new dog will be a part of the family. They will want you to see the new dog bed, where the dog will eat, the dog yard and other things. As you walk around with applicant, make mental notes of safety-related items such as the condition of the applicant’s fence or small items laying around that an Airedale could get into. Check out the other animals in the family to see if they looked well-cared for and loved. Lastly, ask yourself this question: “Would I let this family adopt MY Airedale?”
Absolutely. Having your Airedale with you will provide a great deal of insight as to how the applicant will interact with a rescue Airedale if they adopt one. Watch how they react to your Airedale. Do they pet your dog or talk to him? Or do they just ignore him? Do they allow your Airedale to explore their home or are they concerned. Are there certain rooms or areas the dog cannot enter? All of these reactions are priceless when trying to evaluate an applicant and cannot be determined through conversations or questions.
What if my Airedale has bad manners?
Even if your dog is not the best-behaved dog, bring him anyway. It is important to have an applicant see an Airedale - faults and all. If you know that your Airedale might immediately get into trouble if let loose in the applicant’s home, keep him on a leash with you. He can still interact with the applicant and their family.
If you know you have an Airedale that is other-dog aggressive, food aggressive, or people aggressive, you might need to think carefully before bringing your dog with you. Only do so if you have good control over the dog and you know the applicant does not have other dogs, cats, small kids, etc. to cause a problem. For food-aggressive dogs, do not allow the applicant to give him treats while you are there. We don’t want to put anyone in the position of getting hurt.
Most dogs will mark when coming into a strange house – especially male dogs. While we don’t want to see it happen, our dogs are sometimes quicker than we are. If it does happen to you, apologize and offer to clean it up. At the same time watch and make note of how the applicant reacts to this situation. You can carry a small spray bottle with enzymatic cleaner just in case. It is almost guaranteed that any Airedale this family adopts will mark in their home until they feel “at home” and get used to the new routine.
You will be the one to schedule the home visit when it is convenient for you and the applicant. Keep in mind that it should be scheduled when the applicant’s family is available. SOAR needs to know how the whole family feels about bringing a rescue Airedale into the family and how they react to your Airedale.
Yes. Remember that you need to see both the yard and the house and make mental notes of safety issues. You don’t want to take an applicant’s word for things like the condition of their fence or access to a swimming pool. Be sure to walk the yard and fence to note possible escape routes. You may want to take a digital camera so other coordinators and foster homes can get an idea of what the yard and house look like. Some families may even want a photo of your dog with their family!
There are actually two parts to this answer. When you arrive at the home, before you even leave your car, make a mental note of what you see and how you feel. We had one volunteer doing a home visit who found a yard full of Pit Bulls at the residence she was supposed to visit. In a case like this, you don’t need to continue any further. Just go home and contact the state coordinator about what you saw.
If you have entered the applicant’s home and started the home visit, you can complete the home visit and just note what you didn’t like on the Home Visit Checklist. We value your input and want to know what you saw and how you felt about the visit. If you see something you don’t like, you may want to ask some questions to see if there is an explanation for what you are seeing. Handle the situation as best you can and in whatever manner makes you feel most comfortable.
No, you should not tell the applicant whether or not they are approved. The results of the home visit are only one part of the approval process. The state coordinator has checked references and done a telephone interview with the applicant. The state coordinator will put all of these things together to come up with a final decision on the approval of an applicant.
Instead, tell the applicant at the start of the home visit that this is only one step in the approval process and let them know the state coordinator will get back with them once you complete the home visit. SOAR does have some “veteran” home visit volunteers who may be able to tell an applicant if they are approved. These volunteers have been doing home visits for a while and will have discussed this applicant with the state coordinator prior to the home visit. Even then, it is usually best to let the state coordinator handle notifying the applicant.
You can use the Home Visit Checklist to your report on the results of the home visit you just completed. Some people like to just write a report of the home visit based on the Home Visit Checklist. Either way is acceptable. Write down as much as you can as soon as you can about the home visit while your memory is fresh. Be sure to include your observations. This report should be sent to the state coordinator. It can be faxed or mailed as determined ahead of time between the two of you.
Contact your state coordinator and let them know of your interest in doing home visits. The state coordinators are listed on our Web site at www.soar-airedale-rescue.com. www.soar-airedale-rescue.com.
Transports - General FAQs
SOAR covers 3 states which make for quite a bit of territory. We work together when it comes to finding our rescue Airedales good homes. Sometimes the best home is found in a state other than where the Airedale is being fostered. Sometimes the Airedale needs surgery, training, or special foster care to get ready for their new home. Any of these reasons result in the need to move our Airedales to other states within our area.
Transporting is a great way to give a small amount of your time without the long-term commitment needed to foster. It is also a great way to combine assisting SOAR with activities you might not otherwise have done. Take a friend with you and catch up on the latest news while helping SOAR do a transport. Do some shopping in a long-distance town after dropping off your Airedale. Regardless of whatever else you might do along the way, you can be sure SOAR and the Airedale appreciate your support!
You have taken the first step by indicating your desire to help! Let’s go from here.
Of course, you need to have a vehicle in order to help with a transport. Usually, it is best to transport an Airedale while it is in a crate; therefore, the best vehicles are station wagons, SUVs or vans. However, many of our transports are also done in cars and without crates. Without a crate, you need to take a few extra precautions to keep the Airedale safe such as double leashing the dog to a seat belt in the back seat of the car.
Usually, the Airedale will not be transported with a crate. Most of our volunteers who choose to transport with a crate already have one and use their own. For those who do not have crates, we encourage you to put a blanket on the seat and tie the leash to a fastened seat belt. If for some reason, the Airedale will be coming with a crate that needs to be passed on, we will let you know ahead of time to ensure you can accommodate the crate.
The Airedale should come with a leash and collar set and a SOAR tag. If you are transporting an Airedale directly from a shelter or surrender situation, you may be required to bring a leash, collar and tag with you. Contact your state coordinator to get a supply of these. If you need to buy a leash and collar set, SOAR uses the Martingale-type collars. Save the receipt and we will reimburse you for it. Another thing to remember about the collar – if you are the person to put the collar on the dog, make sure that it is adjusted properly so the Airedale cannot back out of
it and get loose. Many times the Airedale will also come with a care package. This might include some food, treats, toys, a blanket, bowls, etc. You can put the dog’s blanket in the crate or on the seat, give them a toy or two and some treats to help ease the stress of the transport.
If you are picking up an Airedale from a shelter or surrender situation, you will be responsible for getting the required paperwork. Shelters should have some release paperwork for you when you pick up the Airedale. If you are meeting someone to handle a surrender, print out a copy of SOAR’s Rescue Release (available on the Web) in advance. Have the person surrendering the dog fill it out as completely as possible and sign it. Be sure to ask for any vet papers and get the name, address and phone of the vet who had been taking care of the Airedale
If you are picking up an Airedale from a foster situation and transporting him to his new home, make sure you have all of the vet records and a SOAR Foster Home Report. If the Placement Contract and donation has not been taken care of in advance, you may also have that paperwork to pass on as well.
As you hand off the dog to the next person on a transport, make sure the person has all of the paperwork. If the last person is a new adopter and you need to handle the Placement Contract and donation, wait while the new family finishes filling out and signing the Placement Contract and gives you a check. In this case, there should be an addressed, stamped envelope with two copies of the Placement Contract. Leave one with the new adopter and put the other in the envelope along with the check and drop it in the mail yourself. Please do not leave the envelope with the new adopter to handle. As much as possible, the coordinators will try to handle the Placement Contract and donation ahead of time so that you don’t have to.
For the most part, the Airedale will ride just fine. You must remember, however, that this is a stressful time for the Airedale. He is meeting many new people along the way and he may not be used to riding for long distances. If we know the Airedale is nervous, we may have a vet prescribe something to relax him for the trip. A crate is a good choice for those Airedales who may be a little anxious. In our experience, most Airedales will do just fine in a crate or on a blanket on the seat.
At each stop, let the Airedale out for a potty break. Try to give them only small amounts of water or food along the way to help keep them from getting sick.
Please plan on leaving your pets at home. Again, remember this is a stressful time for an Airedale. The confines of a vehicle are no place to find out that your dog and the Airedale do not get along.
Many people who help us transport want to know a little about the Airedale they are transporting. Large Airedales may be tough to pick up if necessary to get them into a vehicle. Older dogs may not be physically able to get into a vehicle. Nervous dogs may need a crate and medication. As much as possible, we will pass this information on to you.
Other people want to know about the Airedale’s history “just because”. The transporter is a very important part of this Airedale’s new life and we will be happy to tell you whatever we know.
There are some transports where you are the only person doing the driving. In these cases, you may be given the phone numbers of the people on either end to coordinate times and locations.
Longer-distance transports may be coordinated in advance by our transportation coordinator or the state coordinator. They will arrange times, obtain phone numbers, determine meeting locations, and publish everything in advance to everyone concerned.
This is your call. We appreciate your help and will be happy with whatever driving you can do.
Again, this is up to you. You may be called on several times in a short period if there are transports coming through your area. We expect that you will help only when you can and let us know when you cannot.
When a transport is arranged, our we will make sure that everyone has each other’s cell phone numbers, if available. Hopefully, you should be able to reach the next person on their cell phone. You can also reach the transportation coordinator, state coordinator or a designated person who will be available during the time of the transport in case someone does not have a cell phone.
SOAR also gives volunteers window stickers to make it easy to recognize the next volunteer in a transport chain.
SOAR is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and as such, we rely on the generosity of our supporters. We hope as much as possible that you can donate the expenses of a transport. If you would like, we can give you a letter to acknowledge your participation of a transport so that you have documentation come tax time.
If you feel you need to be reimbursed in order to transport, we do understand. We try as much as possible to use volunteers who are able to donate both their time and expenses.
Contact your state coordinator or the transportation coordinator and let them know of your interest in becoming a transport volunteer. The contact information is listed on our Web site at www.soar-airedale-rescue.com.www.soar-airedale-rescue.com.
Promoting - General FAQs
SOAR rescues many Airedales every year. This makes it very important to always be on the lookout for new adoptive homes for our dogs. Our Web site is a great tool, but it only catches the eye of those surfing the Web. We need to tell our story in as many ways as possible so that we don’t miss out on a good home.
In addition to looking for new adoptive homes, SOAR is always looking for new volunteers. The more volunteers we have, the lighter the workload is for everyone. Finding new volunteers is just as important as finding new adoptive homes.
All it usually takes to get started is a desire to help. Many of our volunteers keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities in their area to spread the word. SOAR also hears about opportunities and will pass on information through our coordinators, our discussion group or our Web site.
Once you identify an event and are willing to participate, SOAR will support you. You don’t have to worry about publicity – we will get the word out about your event. We can supply you with some literature, flyers, etc. depending on the nature of the event. Just let us know. We will make sure that everyone who wants to help promote rescue will have everything they need.
Absolutely...as long as having dogs at that particular event is allowed! The purpose of most of the events is to let the public see our favorite breed and learn about what we do. Chances are yours won’t be the only Airedale there. Other SOAR supporters usually stop by with their Airedales.
Yes, there is. SOAR has copies of a publication that describe who we are and what we do. We also have “Wanted” posters for people to distribute and business card templates. You can put your name and contact information on them or include the contact information of the state coordinator for your area and print them as you need them. Once we know you will be participating at an event, we will make sure you have a supply of literature.
Many of our volunteers will make up a poster board of their own to display at events in their area. We encourage this and will help you with photos and ideas as it is difficult to mail a poster.
Yes there is. SOAR has a great PowerPoint program set to music that you can run on a laptop at promotional events. You need to have PowerPoint installed on your laptop in order to run it. Let us know if you would like to do this and we can get you a CD.
There are a number of events SOAR volunteers attend on a regular basis. These are described below. However, we are always looking for new ways to promote SOAR. Keep an open mind and let us know about any ideas you may have.
Parades are a lot of fun and usually draw out many Airedales, supporters, and volunteers. There are usually opportunities before and after the parade to hand out literature and speak to the public about our work. Because of the large numbers of people that come to these events, SOAR may get a number of leads for new adopters and volunteers.
Posting at veterinarian offices and groomers
This is an easy way to help promote SOAR. All of us need to visit our veterinarian every so often. Some of us have a favorite groomer for our Airedale. Why not take some “Wanted” posters to pin up on the bulletin board while you are there. Add your phone number to the poster as a local contact.
Photos with Santa
There are several pet supply stores that invite rescue groups to come in during the Christmas season and do “Pet Photos with Santa.” Some of these stores will supply the film and photographer – all we need to supply is the “Santa” and the manpower. The participating group usually gets a portion of the proceeds. We are sometimes able to hand out literature and perhaps sell some things to raise additional money. This is a fun way to get together with a few other Airedale friends, meet the public and promote SOAR.
Borders Books has a great way to make some money for rescue by wrapping gifts during the Christmas season. Our participating volunteers can hand out literature and talk to the public about Airedale rescue while providing a service for the store. This is another way to spend an afternoon with other SOAR volunteers.
Booths or tables at pet stores/events
These types of activities are a little more relaxed, yet still give volunteers the chance to tell the public about SOAR and Airedale rescue. They usually involve setting up a table, displaying posters and literature and talking with the public. Make sure to bring your Airedale and a chair.
Pet days at the ball park
One of our volunteers found out that a local baseball park held a “Pet Day.” Patrons attending were allowed to bring their pets with them. Take advantage of this opportunity to promote SOAR! Equip your Airedale with saddlebags filled with literature.
Walking your Airedale
There is no better way to attract attention than to walk your Airedale down a busy street. Airedales are so full of personality that they naturally invite people to stop and ask questions about the breed. If you know you will be taking a walk with your Airedale through town or talking a walk at a vacation spot somewhere, take some SOAR business cards with you.
Contact your state coordinator or the chairman of the Volunteer or Publicity Committees. The contact information for these people is listed on our Web site at www.soar-airedale-rescue.com. Let us know how you can help!