I love dogs. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been crazy about dogs and they seem to be crazy about me too. My husband calls me the Pied Piper of Dogs! When I found out how many were dying in shelters for lack of adoptive homes, I had to do something to help them. I got involved in dog rescue in the fall of 2001. I fostered for another rescue for several years, was on the Board of Directors for awhile, and then decided to form my own rescue, so Happy Dog Rescue was born. The name is in honor of my sweet lab, Jessie, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge in April 2005. She was the happiest, sweetest dog that ever lived and I continue to rescue in her honor.
We choose to remain a small rescue so we can provide more personalized service to our adopters. We only rehome about 20 dogs per year.
How many dogs have we fostered over the years? I stopped counting at around 300, but the current estimate is probably somewhere around 400.
What is our adoption return rate? Our overall average is less than one return per year. I don’t really keep statistical tracking, but I do know that years go by without a return, so I’m comfortable saying it averages less than one dog per year coming back to us.
Why is the adoption rate so successful? Because we are choosy about our matches. This is not a first come/first served kind of rescue. We’re not into high volume adoption rates we can brag about. That’s just not our style. If you take the time to honestly fill out our rather lengthy application (and live within our adoption area), we will screen you to adopt A dog from us. As far as THAT particular dog goes (the one you applied for), if we feel like what you’ve told us about yourself is a good fit for what we feel that dog wants out of life, then we’ll arrange a get-together and see how it goes. BUT the final decision is entirely up to the dog. You read that right. If the screening process goes great and we want to adopt to you, but the dog rejects you, then we do not do the adoption. Why? Because in the few instances over the years where we went against our gut feeling or the dog’s reaction, the dog was returned to us and typically rather quickly. So in order to cut down on that kind of situation, we let the dog have the final decision. Have we perfected the process yet? Nope. Hence the fact that we do still have returns. But we continue to strive for the best possible matches for our dogs. In some cases that has meant that the 7th family to apply turned out to be the best fit for the dog. We wait for each dog to let us know when they are happy with the match.
How do we know what the dog wants? Well one of the things we’ve learned to do over the years is read canine body language. That’s mostly how dogs communicate, through body language. We got our start in that from a trainer who recommended we read this book: On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas. We read it. We loved it. We now recommend it to all adopters.
Happy Dog Rescue Adoption Area:
Check your distance to zip code 18330.
If you live within an hour of 18330 in PA, we drive to you. If you do not, you drive to us after the adoption screening process is complete.
We do not adopt to NYC or Philadelphia..