Frequently Asked Questions
Is a dog available for adoption?
We are working applications all the time. We don't know if a dog is available, as there may be applicants, but they have not met the dog. Once a dog is adopted they are removed from the site immediately.
If you are interested in a dog, please apply.
What does Foster Home Needed mean and is a dog in need of a foster home available for adoption?
Foster home needed means that we are looking for a volunteer to foster this dog.
If you are interested in fostering, please see our Fostering tab.
Any dog that is in need of a foster home is also available for outright adoption.
We do not have a Foster to Adopt program.
Can we meet the dog before applying or going through the adoption process?
We require that everyone complete an application and be approved prior to meeting a dog. This is for you benefit and ours. We have an approval process. You do not want to meet a dog, get emotionally involved and then find out that you are not approved.
Part of what our approval process allows us to do is determine what type of dog is best suited for your family. Before you meet a dog we (and you!) think is a good match for your family, you will have a chance to speak to the person who knows that dog best, in most cases the foster. Our desire is for you to know everything we know about that dog before you decide to adopt. Many rescue dogs come with baggage – our job is to find families who are prepared and willing to deal with that baggage. This may include using a trainer for basic obedience or behavior modification at any time during the dog’s life with you. Although we cannot guarantee the temperament of any dog – you will be given as much information as possible about their personalities, behaviors, and needs. Our experience helps to ensure the dog you adopt will become a happy member of your family.
How can my dog meet the Fluffy Dog to see if they will be a good match?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions that we get. Yes, your dog can meet the Fluffy Dog, but there is no reason to invest everyone's time in this, if you are not going to be approved. This is why we ask that you apply and be approved prior to the dogs meeting.
Keep in mind, dogs are not like humans in their social structure. If you bring your dog to the foster home to meet the Fluffy Dog, there will be other dogs there. Your dog will be stressed from the trip and being in a new environment. When two dogs meet they should meet on neutral ground. They do not actually meet face to face. This is a very aggressive meeting for a dog. They should be walked toward each other on opposite sides of the street, pass and one walk to the other ones side of the street while they continue walking. This ensures a meeting from the side or the back and they continue walking.
The most important thing is if YOU like the dog. Out of over 2,000 adoptions we have only had one situation where the dogs did not get along. This was in the first 24 hours, which is not enough time to evaluate their behaviors. It is going to take time for the dogs to determine where in the pack they will be. There may be some scuffles. In the end, the dogs may be best of friends or may ignore each other. Either way, you are not going to know this in one meeting and it is not something you can change. It is where they decide each other will be in the pack hierarchy.
If you are going to bring your dog to meet the Fluffy Dog at the foster's home. Please bring two crates. There is not enough room in a vehicle for two dogs that have just met to be uncrated for their and your safety. Please know that almost all our Fluffy Dogs have come to foster homes with other dogs and gotten along with them just fine. If not, it will be indicated on the website. Also, the best match is a male and female, then two males and then two females. Keep in mind there are thousand of female/female pairs that are doing just fine.
Do you hold adoption events?
I am happy to say that our dogs get adopted without us having to hold adoption events. If we are having any, they will be listed on the Adoptable Dogs page.
These events are very stressful on the dogs and it is difficult to get a good idea of their true personalities in this setting.
It is much better for you to apply and meet them in their foster homes.
Are the dogs vaccinated, and spayed/neutered?
On the How to Adopt page we have a link to our Adoption Letter. In that letter we disclose all of the vetting and care the dog has received.
Is this dog hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, this is not a question we can answer. Every person is sensitive to different things. It has been said that a purebred Poodle will not affect someone who is allergic to dogs. This is because Poodles have hair and not fur. Keep in mind it is the dander one is allergic to, and not the fur. I have known people who are sensitive to Poodles. Also, as the dander builds up in your home, a person who was not sensitive may become sensitive.
There are breeds, other than Poodles that have a similar haircoat to a Poodle. You can find them listed online. Keep in mind, dogs that are mixes, such as Labradoodles and Goldendoodles, are mixes of Poodles with hair and other breeds, like Labs and Golden Retrievers, that have fur and are known to cause symptoms for people who are allergic. Sometimes Wirehaired Terriers are listed as hypoallergenic. They are referring to a Wired Fox Terrier, which is not the same as the dogs we have listed as Wirehaired Terriers. Someone with allergies will, most likely, be sensitive to our Wirehaired Terriers.
As the listings state, we have no idea what breed our dogs are. If a dog is a purebred Poodle, one will be able to tell that. They will really look like a Poodle and nothing else.
If you have questions, it is best to consult your doctor, as we don't have any way to know what your sensitivities are.
What can I expect from the home visit?
After you apply, you will be contacted from one of our volunteers to set up a home visit.
They will set a day and time for your visit.
All family members must attend the home visit.
The home visit is a time for you to ask questions about the process, dog care, to prepare you for what to expect with the adoption of a Fluffy Dog and for us to find out more about your needs.
They will also tour your home and yard for appropriateness and safety for our dogs.
If I apply, do I have to adopt?
If you meet the dog and it's not the right dog for you, you do not have to adopt that dog or any other. You are welcome to take your time looking for another dog. We take in approximately 15-20 new dogs each month.
If you meet the dog and are not sure if this is the right dog for you, we will hold the dog for 24 hours for you. If we do not receive other applications, you are welcome to take as much time as you want to decide.
Please note: We do expect that when you apply, you are ready to take a dog home in seven days. If you are not ready, please do not apply. Wait until you are ready. We always have wonderful dogs and you will not miss out on that special one.
Will you waive the policy regarding adopting to families with children under the age of six?
This policy was created in our first nine months of rescuing. During that time we had five dogs returned. All from families with children under the age of six. Some the child was afraid, some the dog was afraid, but in all it was not a good situation. This and current outside surrender requests has taught us that six is an age when children MAY BEGIN to understand and respect the pets in the home. It is not that the children are not kind, it is that they don't understand the difference between a living pet and a stuffed animal. Our insurance company has granted us coverage based on our current policies, so we do not accept waivers. We have this policy in place because it's the right thing to do.
Because of our emphasis on safety, we are very careful about the dogs we will place into families with children. We do not rule out every family with children but again, common sense prevails. If you have children age 6 and up at home, we are careful about placing a young active dog that needs training with you or one whose history with that age group is unknown.
Our goal is to make the rescue experience work for both the family and the dog – but the dog must always be our primary concern. Rescue dogs most often have histories that are unknown to us, which is a primary consideration. Dogs need to be taught how to behave in all situations – including with children. And, children need to be taught how to behave with dogs. If you do not have the time to train and supervise your dog 100% of the time with your kids, we will not be able to place a dog with you.
Do I need to have a fence?
Of course the ideal home for every active dog is one in which they get to romp and play in a safe area. For most of our dogs this means a fenced-in yard. We have had many adopters who have had very good success with electric fencing when it is installed professionally and used properly. At no time will we ever approve of keeping any dog outside without supervision regardless of the style of fencing.
If you do not have a fence this does not mean you are ruled out as a potential adopter. If you are an active walker, we may find a middle aged dog that would do well with regular and lengthy leashed walks. If you are someone who is only moderately active, a senior dog may find your lifestyle accommodating. We use common sense when matching available dogs to available approved applicants.
If you are agreeable to fencing in your yard, you MAY be conditionally approved pending completion of your fencing. This does not mean we would hold any dog for you. You would simply be reconsidered for a dog who is available at the time your fencing is complete. We will not however, under any circumstances, approve the use of outdoor pens, tie outs, or runners as means a means of containment for any of our dogs. If you have indicated you plan to use one of these, we cannot consider your application further. If, however, you are considering some sort of fencing – we would be happy to reconsider you when it is in place, or to consider you for an older less active dog once your pen, runner, or tie out has been removed.
I have never owned a dog as an adult -- is this a problem?
The goal with every adoption is to match each dog to a family who is able to meet that dog’s needs. Rescue dogs often require experienced owners. If you have never owned a dog as an adult you are not ruled out as an adopter but your application will be compared to others with more experience. We choose applicants who appear to be best equipped to provide a rescue dog with a permanent home. Rescue dogs are dogs for whom life may not have been consistent and loving. There can be a great deal more involved with the care and training of a “second-hand” dog, including basic obedience and/or behavior modification with a skilled trainer. If you have no dog experience, you may be considered for an older dog who has very little training needs as opposed to a puppy or young dog who will benefit from an experienced handler. Families with experience will be selected first.
Why does my adopted dog have to remain on a leash?
No matter how well trained, NO dog can be considered 100% reliable off-leash – especially a rescue dog whose background is unknown. Many of FDR's dogs have come to our rescue as strays, and we know how easily this happens without a leash or fenced yard. As a result, we require that all dogs adopted from FDR be on a leash at all times except in a securely fenced area. You do not want to find out the hard way that your adopted dog is terrified of some unexpected loud noise or suddenly remembers how much fun it is to chase a passing critter. When applicants adopt from FDR, their signature on our contract indicates that they will abide by our leashing policy, and that they understand if they do not, FDR has the right to reclaim the dog. We are absolutely passionate about safety. No exceptions.
There are alternative ways to give your dog some freedom, while still keeping him/her safe. Attach a 50’ long line to your dog and he/she can still go swimming in that lake or pond while you hold the other end to keep them from getting into trouble or swimming out of sight. You can try a leash that attaches around your waist for “hands free” strolling or jogging with your dog.
Do you adopt out of WI & IL?
We do only adopt in WI & IL. Sometimes we are able to work things in MN.
We do this for a few reasons.
We do home visits for all our adopters. This is done through volunteers and we do not have volunteers in the other states. We want the home visitors to be people that are trained by us, so photos and friends in rescue are not acceptable.
While under our care, our dogs are kept in private homes and loved by foster families. These foster families like to keep in touch with the adopters. Out of respect for the work they do, we keep our dogs close to home. Often times I find them Fluffysitting for past fosters.
If an adopter is not able to keep a dog for any reason at any time, they must be returned to us. A person is much more likely to return the dog to us if they are close to us. The further away, the more chance our dogs have of ending up in a bad situation again.
Is the breed listed the actual breed or breeds of the dog?
In most cases the answer is no. Most of our dogs come without any information on their breed.
Because of the amount of unsupervised breeding in the south, these dogs could be a combination of ten or more breeds
and one litter can have up to three fathers. We are not breed experts and do our best guess in selecting breeds to associate with our dogs. Please take some time and research the breeds we have listed. You might be able to see how we determined the breeds that we have.
Do you cat test?
While we don't know the breed of our dogs, most of them are terriers. Terriers were bred to chase and kill small animals.
Yes, they are cute, but might not be best for you if you have a cat. Also, putting a cat in front of them will not tell you how they are with cats.
The relationship depends on your cat in their home environment.
Does your cat run? If so, they will be a lot of fun to chase.
Does your cat have claws? If not, they have no way of defending themselves.
What is your personality? Are you patient and will you allow months for things to settle in your home? If your cat is chased, will you be upset?If you are concerned about the cat and dog relationship, I would not suggest adopting a terrier.
We are able to indicate if a dog may be good with cats if the foster home they reside in has a cat and they have provided us with information on their interactions. This information will be posted on their petfinder listing.
What is heartworm disease and how will it affect my dog?
Heartworm Disease is a deadly disease spread by just one mosquito bite. Please go to our Resources page and under Required Reading for Every Adopter you will see the link to the American Heartworm Association. We require adopters keep their rescue dog on heartworm prevention year round (12 months) for the first year, and then seasonally or as your vet recommends thereafter. Southern states have a higher incidence of heartworm infection due in part to a warmer climate and longer mosquito season, and too many “owners” not using regular heartworm prevention. All dogs brought into our program are tested for heartworm infection and treated if needed. Dogs CAN test negative when recently infected. The use of heartworm medication year round for the first year, and then seasonally or as your vet sees fit thereafter, will kill any microfilaria (baby heartworms) and ensure that your dog does not develop a heartworm infection.
Are the dogs healthy?
Every dog receives a vet exam prior to leaving it's originating state. Each dog is spayed or neutered, brought current on all vaccines, given a heartworm test (if a year of age or older), and provided with treatment for any obvious medical issues. Please understand that the medical history of most of our dogs in unknown. Our role is to get the dogs out of kill shelters and into adequate home situations, brought up to date on vaccinations and help them to become healthy enough for adoption. It is the responsibility of the adopter to complete that rehabilitation process – this is what rescue is!!! All adopters will be given the health information we have on each dog. Most of our dogs did not have the luxury of a dutiful loving owner monitoring their health. We cannot guarantee the health or temperament of any dog. You are contractually required to take your new dog to the vet within 14 days of adoption. If your dog presents with a medical condition for which you are unprepared or unwilling to handle, we will take the dog back into rescue and refund your adoption fee. It is important to understand the risks involved in adopting a rescue dog – most have not had access to regular vet care in the past.
If you have never owned a dog – we strongly urge you to research the costs involved in providing vet care. A routine “well pet” vet visit with vaccinations and preventatives can cost $250 or more. Additional medical tests and treatments can easily double and triple that cost – so BE PREPARED for the financial responsibility of adopting a rescue dog. When you adopt a rescue dog you are assuming the responsibility of continuing the rehabilitation of that dog - in both body and spirit. That is what it means to RESCUE.
I am not able to keep my dog. Will you take it?
Because of the demands on us from our southern kill shelters, we are not able to take owner surrenders. Our WI & IL Humane Societies are very well run and I would suggest you surrender your dog to them if you are not able to care for it properly. This pertains to dogs that are not adopted from Fluffy Dog Rescue. All Fluffy Dogs must come back to Fluffy Dog Rescue per our contract.