Our Adoption Process

Logan and the Twins

Logan and the Twins

Much to the surprise of many people, we do not use an adoption application but rely instead upon an interview process. Because we are a small rescue and keep all of our dogs in foster homes, we shy away from forms that tend to emphasis why someone should not have a dog.

The interview process allows us to learn more about our potential adopters and their individual situations, concerns, pros and cons. By knowing more details, we are able to place dogs into homes that other rescues might turn down, because we already know our dogs. We’re small so we don’t need blanket policies that require fences or disallow families with small children or won’t allow senior citizens. We’re focused on bringing together caring people with the right dog.

Whether you are considering an adult dog or a puppy, the first thing you should do is read our article on Starting Your Dog Out Right.  Here you will find not only some good tips but some thoughts to ponder before committing to the responsibilities of caring for a dog.

If you are interested in meeting one of our dogs or learning more about it, please e-mail us at thedogliberator@gmail.com and let’s get the process going! Share such information

  • as where you live,
  • your household composition,
  • your yard/fence/exercise plan,
  • pets you have and/or had,
  • your normal work schedule,
  • how much time the dog will be alone,
  • do you own a pool,
  • what you are looking for in a dog,
  • what contingency plans do you have in place should you no longer be able to care for your dog,
  • if you rent, do you have landlord approval,
  • are you prepared to bring your new dog home if you are approved after you meet one of our dogs?

Email your answers to TheDogLiberator@gmail.com, and then we’ll go from there!  The more you share the better!

Visit us on Great Nonprofits and read our reviews!

Here’s an email I just received explaining other rescues’ adoption applications:

Dear Gisele,

Thanks so much for the wonderful site and information you have. My wife and I have been looking for a dog for a few months now to join our family. To say the least it has been a discouraging process. The only places I have looked are petfinder.com and the local pound.

Well, at the local pound you just never know what kind of dog, temperament, and so on you will get. With the adoption groups on petfinder I’ve found that the process has been more of an interrogation than an application. I love what you wrote on your web site when you said: We’re focused on bringing together caring people with the right dog. Thanks for a breath of fresh air. You seem very reasonable and don’t have a laundry list of questions like, “who will brush the dog in the family and how ofter?” No kidding, that was one of the questions on an application I started to fill out as I shook my head in disbelief.  ~John
If you have any questions about our adoption fees, please read more about our adoption fees.

Free PetFirst Pet Insurance for Adopters

Effective immediately, your pet is insured!  Just call this number, and sign up!

Your recent adoption includes 30-days of pet insurance from PetFirst. You must call 855-710-7387 in order to activate the insurance, so don’t wait.   Your 30-day pet insurance covers your pets for accidents and illnesses, and reimburses 100% of vet bills incurred during this time up to $500 per incident after a $50 deductible. It is effective at midnight EST following activation and is not retroactive to the date of your adoption, so call as soon as possible to ensure your pet is protected.

PetFirst allows you to extend or upgrade your pet’s coverage with affordable monthly payments.  Call 855-710-7387 to activate your coverage or discuss plan options.

But don’t stop there, if you’ve adopted from us recently, visit our Welcome Home page for tips on starting your dog out right!

Also, before your purchase any pet insurance, you might want to visit http://www.petinsurancereview.com/dog.asp to review what’s covered and what isn’t.  You can also review deductible and coverage amounts!


The Dog Liberator, Inc.

The Ellen Debacle

Mr. Breeze was rescued in 2009, and returned to TDL twice – no fault of his own

Whether or not you have adopted from The Dog Liberator or not, you should take a moment, find your dog’s adoption contract and read this post.  Even if you purchased your dog from a breeder, this may pertain to you as well.

I know it’s an old story, dating back to October 2007, but it’s one that was plastered on every news channel for quite a while.  I think it even increased Ellen DeGeneres’ show for a while!  The story should be very simple.  She adopted a dog, Iggy, and later gave it away to her hairdresser.  The rescue, Mutts and Moms, took the dog away from the hairdresser, stating Ellen had violated their contract.  Here are a few facts:


  • DeGeneres had said her hairdresser’s daughters, ages 11 and 12, had bonded with Iggy and were heartbroken when the dog was taken away.
  • Fink said Moms and Mutts has a rule that families with children under 14 are not allowed to adopt small dogs.
Excuse me while I laugh hysterically at any rescue who has “rules”, because rules will always come back to bite you in the buttocks.  Guidelines, yes.  Rules no!
  • DeGeneres said on her show that she spent $3,000 having the dog neutered and trained to be with her cats, but Iggy did not mix well with the cats so she gave him away.

What?  The Dog wasn’t already neutered?  That just blows me away!

  • Mutts and Mom’s Contract States:  No Right to Transfer:  anyone accepting a dog agrees to “NOT give or sell ADOPTEE to another person, company, organization, medical research, pound or animal shelter,” or, “If ADOPTER fails to abide by the terms of this clause, ADOPTER will pay all costs, including any legal fees incurred, required to secure the return of ADOPTEE to RESCUE and will, in addition, be required to pay liquidated damages in the amount of $500.”
  • Ellen was wrong to take this public and use her TV show as a platform to air her grievances. 

Sunkissed having a blast with Bart and China while waiting on Transport

I even read some comments that poor Iggy was stuck in a crate since he was taken away from Ellen’s hairdresser.  More Drama Seriously?  Do you know what happens to my dogs that are given back to us?  They find themselves back at the Border Collie Boot Camp having a blast with their old friends, and yes… some of them even end up on the couch with us!

Click here to read more about the drama-filled Hollywood version of the story.

Click here to read the follow up story from  Mutts and Moms.


Who is right, and who is wrong?  And What if it was You?

When you adopt a dog from The Dog Liberator, or many shelters, pounds, rescues, or breeders, you may have agreed, by signing your contract that you can not give away, destroy, or sell the dog without written permission from the agency.  This is true with my contract.  We do this for many reasons.

Should your dog face a sudden illness or injury, and you can not afford the vet bills, this does not give you the right to put the dog down.  The Dog Liberator reserves the right to at least be given a chance to find alternatives to save the dog’s life.  We may have options in veterinary care, or we may find grants that are available, or donations that can ask for to help save your dog.

You also can not transfer your Dog Liberator dog to anyone else, because of micro chip purposes.  Should you change your email address, phone number, or move, please contact the shelter, pound, rescue, or breeder immediately.  If your dog is found, and you have moved, we will have to hunt you down!  We have done this many times in the past, and we’ve always been able to reunite our dogs with their owners.

Please do not think that just because you purchased your dog from a breeder that you can do whatever you want to with your dog.  Your contract may have a clause that clearly states the dog must be returned to them.

During all of my adoptions, I explain that should my adopters be on vacation abroad, and their dog is lost, I will be notified immediately.  The Dog Liberator will go through extremes to get your dog out of the pound, pay the fee, prevent your dog from being euthanized, find it a boarding facility, foster, or transport your dog to safety until you return.

Rescue is a two-way street

We also understand and are compassionate about the fact that people’s lives change.  Especially in today’s times, people are losing their jobs and homes.  People do get sick, people move, and things happen that are beyond our control.

Understand that our contract clearly states that we can take your dog away from you, if we feel that your dog’s needs are not being met.

Easy Rider!

Let’s use this example hypothetically:  Years ago you adopted three dogs from us, two large Lab mixes and one small Border Collie.  You have since lost your job, divorced, and lost your home.  You’ve decided to take all of your money, and buy a Harley, and you’re going to travel the country and live off the land.  That’s great, but clearly, you can’t take all three dogs with you.

In this case, we do reserve the right to reclaim your two large Labs, but that does not mean that your Border Collie can’t go with you.  If you can provide for the dog, and the dog is happy being with you, we focus on  health, love, and commitment.  I know that my Lady Di, and China would never go for this kind of lifestyle, but my Ozzie would go in a minute!

You DO NOT have the legal right to re-home one of our Rescued Dogs under any condition.

The most important thing is communication.  If you feel that you are in a bad situation, and can not take care of your dogs, please do not leave it up to someone else to make that decision for you.  Talk to your boss, your neighbors, family members, and tell them, in writing what you expect to happen to your dogs.  You could put it in your will, or set aside some money for emergency boarding if necessary.

If your dogs are found home alone and animal control seizes your dogs, there is a very slim chance they will scan them for a microchip, therefore, we will never be contacted.  The end result could be devastating.

While we are not a boarding facility, and we do not run a doggie daycare, The Dog Liberator will do everything we can to take one our adopted dogs back for any reason.  But if we can’t reach you, and we do not know about your situation, or your wishes, we will be forced to terminate your adoption, and re-home your dogs.  If your dog is re-homed by The Dog Liberator, regrettably  the adoption will not be reversed.

Please update us TheDogLiberator@gmail.com with any changes you have made since your dog’s adoption.

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What about Home Visits?

What about Home Visits?

Here’s a great article “Those darn dog rescues with all of their rules and questions – what gives?” written by Penny Eims, is a real eye-opener, and prompted me to write this post.

To be honest, if I feel the need to do a home visit, the adopter is denied.  There’s way too much information on the internet that’s available for me to conduct a home visit.   I do not approve adopters by looking at a filled out form, I approve adopters by sitting down with them, and talking with them, face to face.  No fence can prevent a dog from getting out if he really wants to, especially if it’s my border collie, Ozzie! I truly believe that if I had a home visit, I’d fail!  The adoption screener would see a very tired and overworked single mother of two, dirty dishes in the sink, stained carpeting from over 200 dogs that have trampled through my home, and a pile of unfolded clothes.  I would be denied!

Home visits slow down the adoption process, sometimes by several months.  One local rescue is behind in approving applications by four months waiting on home visits to be completed.  I can only imagine how many dogs are being euthanized in a four month period of time, waiting for their dogs to be adopted.  Here’s a great story, written by Cyndy Doty that explains why we don’t play God, and it explains it all!

My Home Visit, by Cyndy Doty

This is my home which sits on six acres in Ocala. Yes, there is a point to this story and a bit of humor!

When we were lucky enough to purchase this home, we thought with six acres why not foster a few dogs, right? We put the word out to a few organizations of our interest and waited. Let me say at this point, it was about four months before any group contacted us. Must be because there were no dogs to rescue and they all had furever homes, right again?

One glorious day an Aussie rescue called us to foster, but of course we had to have a home inspection, OK fine with us. The woman scheduled the day and we were very excited! An hour before she was supposed to visit us she canceled. NO reason was given. We thought, great maybe the dog was adopted! NOPE, a week later she called and told us she was in the “neighborhood ( I’m sure)” and could she stop by. I was on my way to carpool, but asked a friend to pick up my son, not wanting to miss this opportunity.

About an hour later, a woman came to my gate to be buzzed in. Let me stop at this point and say I use the term “woman” loosely! A creature with greasy hair, fingernails with so much dirt they could grow vegetable gardens in them, I am only guessing at this, but maybe eight or nine teeth (all towards the back) I dare not get that close, a filthy stretch tank top in HOT pink and stretch shorts which I could not tell the color under the holes and dirt. You have a vision yet? Well, she walked all around the house, checked my other dogs out, called my Cavalier King Charles “a cute little beagle”, walked out to the back three acres and said, “not so sure about that back fence!” She gathered up all our vet records and told me she would get back to me!

A few weeks passed and we had not heard a word. Seriously, I was so nervous and upset. What could we have done wrong to not get “approved”? Finally, we got a call that we were approved and could come pick up the dog she had told us about nearly two months ago! We did not know what to expect. We got directions and drove to pick up the Aussie the next day.

When we finally found this place, I told Ed this can’t possibly be the right place! After driving up a flooded dirt path we came upon a broken down trailer on cinder blocks.   I said to Ed, “oh. she didn’t tell me it was a high rise!” The closer we got, we saw the back and the side of this trailer was a flooded mud pit, ahhhh a waterfront high rise! Listen, I am not being a SNOB really, but the conditions these animals were living was horrid! I am just mention this because of the scrutiny we were under before being “approved!” Mind you this was to foster, NOT adopt!

What we were about to see was something out of a nightmare! I would guess close to twenty five dogs, wet, muddy,  feces everywhere, dirty water bowls and bugs in their food! We signed our papers all while holding our breath, picked up the poor dog and never looked back!

What we got was a tri colored Aussie, male, heartworm positive parasites and not neutered! After many hundreds of dollars of vet bills which we paid for and much love we were able to find a perfect home! Twenty six acres in North Carolina herding sheep!

Cyndy Doty

June 8, 2010



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