My most recent success case involves a lovely couple with a problem Lab cross who wanted to adopt a child. After the aggressive display the dog made when a Social Worker came round, they weren’t going to get any further. Family said get rid of the dog, but to their credit they asked for our help first and after 6 months work have just adopted a gorgeous baby boy.
Another case last year involved a gorgeous Rottie who simply because of his breed was stopping any adoption process going through. I initially spoke to the case workers and explained the breed history and took them to meet a Pets As Therapy Rottie who visits hospitals and an elderly care home. They agreed to let me work with the family and we ended up with a report the Social Services Dept said was the best they had seen and made them question previous assessments by other people.
What is important in these cases is your knowledge as an owner. Neutering, basic training, parasite control, good boundaries, testing of prey drive, smell and noise reaction, all of this needs doing.
I had to intervene in a case where an agency sent a member of their staff to assess two dogs. This person is not a professional, owns two dogs herself but had styled herself as their expert which they accepted as they knew no better. Her assessment was basically sitting in their lounge doing a few simple obedience commands. The expert declared the dogs safe and it all went wrong when they took the dogs to the home of a relative with a new 4 week old baby. When there was a loud wail from the baby one dog flew to the crib and would have grabbed the baby had a human not been in the way. When I tested this, it was a prey reaction to certain pitches and I solved it and they went on to adopt two lovely children in the next four years.
Take nothing for granted, especially if your dog has never lived with kids. Children are scary, they fall over, have odd toys and make strange noises. They smell and often taste of food or milk and can be heavy handed. Just because you love your child does not mean that they will. Some dogs and cats need help to adjust.
One of my favourite cases involves my favourite breed. A wonderful couple with two GSD’s had applied to an agency to adopt. At the first visit from the agency Social Worker, the dogs has pinned him against the wall. The owners knew the dogs were “difficult” but simply hadn’t addressed the issues or realised the visitor would not simply come in and sit quietly as they had got others to do. this of course stopped any further process.
I am always impressed by people who face their responsibilities and I loved this couple as they said that if the dogs couldn’t be sorted they would wait to adopt until the dogs had passed on. They initially came for a residential 3 day stay where just the dogs were sorted out. I then did two home visits in the following three months, using my stunt baby unique process. We ended up in a park where a 3 year old boy fell off his tiny bike almost on top of the dogs who simply stepped aside and carried on.
I am immensely proud of this case, there seemed no hope, the owners worked to the letter of every instruction. I am pleased to say they adopted three children all at once with some introduction help from me and live happily ever after now.
A good assessment isn’t just about where you are all at now, it is about testing every possible problem just in case. Understanding what to look for after the adoption so that problems are checked immediately. A plan for introduction and support for the dog or cat through the change. I have two personal friends with adopted children and I am very proud to have helped them. Kids and dogs make great companions for each other, but never underestimate the stress on your pet too.
Hygiene, worming, sleeping arrangements, testing of responses, reaction to scents, keeping off furniture, jumping up and lots more need sorting out before your household changes.
If you are an individual or family who want help to assess and prepare your pet, or an agency or a Social Services Department who wants to discuss dog or cat assessments, please contact us.
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