Sighthound Sanctuary & Animal Services' umbrella of policies offers lifelong protection for our dogs, and the dogs always come first. When you work with SSAS, the dog we've rescued and prepared to join you is a dog we help you ensure becomes happier day by day and stays that way throughout her/his life. Our leader is a professional, certified dog trainer and canine behavior specialist; every person with whom we place an SSAS dog receives coaching in R+ training and classical counterconditioning with her and the dog before taking home the dog, and continues to receive free training and behavior assistance thereafter, throughout the life of the dog.
Key requirements for the safety of our sighthounds:
- A private, securely fenced yard is required, with direct access from the home.
- That fencing must be at least six feet high and solid all the way around, no climb, no dig, with gates locked from the inside.
- It is our policy to avoid placing a dog in an environment where children will be present.
- There may be other safety concerns; please email us to discuss your particular situation. To ensure a response, please be sure to include your location (we only do west coast placements); to expedite and assist us in answers to your questions, please include photos of your yard & fencing as well.
SSAS policies seek to ensure lifelong protection & well-being for each dog as a top priority; therefore:
- We place dogs only in areas within a reasonable driving distance (generally within about 3 hours) of us so that the dogs and guardians always have us nearby if they need us.
- Guardians must be mature and stable; e.g., student and roommate situations may by nature be too in-flux to be approved.
- Guardians must be willing and able to follow SSAS instructions for care, safety, training, handling, and contact/affiliation throughout the natural life of the dog.
Steps to Placement: Usually, the steps are application, conversation, home visit, vet checks, any necessary follow up discussions and/or meetings; then if you are approved, execution of contract, payment of a minimum expense reimbursement, and the dog joining you. (Sometimes, more than one pre-placement visit will occur before the big move.)
Meeting the Dogs: We are not a public shelter. To avoid broken hearts of applicants, unnecessary stress on the dogs, and needless overwork for us, meetings with the dogs come only after you have been approved. If no match seems made during these meetings, your approved application may remain active with us as appropriate.
Cost and What it Includes: Each dog comes with a free training package for you (value: over $100 an hour), a 24 hour ID collar, a microchip (remains registered to us for the dog's protection), vaccinations, sterilization (value: over $300), and a Ruffwear Webmaster safety harness (value: $60) for walking. Each of our dogs also receives at least basic skills training and/or behavior modification by us in preparation for homing before adoption. For large expense rescue cases and/or those that required paid transport, the minimum** expense reimbursement is $500. Since this amount is just a fraction of what it costs us to bring these innocents to safety, and to rehabilitate, train, feed, house, and care for them until homed, if you have the means to reimburse for more of the dog’s expenses, please make an additional donation. We spend thousands of dollars on each rescued dog.
Applying: A $60 donation, to be applied to your minimum expense reimbursement if you are approved and a placement is completed with us at that time, is to be included with your application or at the latest before your home visit; it is to help fund our time to process your application and is non-refundable. If after going through the screening process with us you are not able to complete a placement at that time for some reason other than our non-approval, we may keep your application on file for a later date. If you have any questions or concerns about this policy please feel free to email us before applying. It is not our intention to convince those who have no chance of being approved to apply; therefore, we try to answer any questions via email before applications to help ascertain your qualifications. We take our responsibilities regarding dog placements seriously so are very cautious during this process; by applying with us you understand and agree that there is a fair chance you will not be approved even though you have submitted $60 and an application, answered questions, allowed home visits, etc. We realize this may seem daunting, but the fact is that we are an animal protection charity--it is our job to make the best decision for each dog, and to help you make the best decision for yourself as well.
Choosing the Right Dog: We usually have our dogs with us for a good while before placing them. This allows us to get to know each dog’s personality and needs, which increases the likelihood of a good match with an applicant.
Welcoming the Dog: Generally, it will be in the best interest of the dog and you for you to meet and spend some time with her/him one or more times before the dog makes the big move to you.
Why We Advocate for Screening & Affiliation
The rescued dog an applicant desires is a beloved part of the rescuer's family. When you apply to a rescue, you are asking a group of volunteers and donors to trust you with an animal who trusts his/her rescue family to keep him/her safe and well--an animal to whom those people have given their heart, soul, money, and a huge part of their lives. We want these dogs to enjoy that same level of devotion from their guardians. When it comes to homing, our job is to ensure our dogs land in safe, happy homes with kind, conscientious people who view their relationship with us not as a burden, but as an opportunity to learn, and to provide a wonderful life for a rescued dog. When we place one of our dogs, we are not agreeing to lose a family member; we are agreeing to add you as a member.
The Principle behind the Policies
Our job is to protect dogs. We work to achieve this via public education, training, awareness, support, honesty, and responsible placement, in order to prevent any further trauma or avoidable distress.
We are always here for you. Contact us whenever you need info, support or help related to your SSAS dog--ideally before a concern becomes a problem, but even if there is already a problem. If ever you can not properly care for or keep the dog, you return the dog to us and we ensure that s/he is properly cared for. This is part of your Sighthound Sanctuary & Animal Services contract. If you are in agreement with all of the above, you may apply here: SSAS Guardianship Application