Thursday, 22 September 2011

Four Paws Animal Rescue: A Very Bad Experience

A sad and perplexing tale this week.

On Sunday (18th September) we went to a dog show and purposefully went to the stalls for dogs homes as we had decided for some time that we would try for a dog to be rehomed.

After gathering information from the Dogs Trust we went over to the Four Paws Animal Rescue stall. Being "novices" at housing a rescue dog we were intent on gathering literature. On getting talking to one of the volunteers, she called over to a young lady who brought two dogs over.

Our youngest immediately fell in love with one of them called Cooper and asked if we could "get it now." Both we and the people on the stall said 'no - that's not how it works' that there would have to be forms filled-in and a home check etc.

So we told them that we were very keen on Cooper and would be going home to fill in the form that very day. It was then that the young lady in charge of the dogs, having seen how keen we were, said 'fill out the form with your number and as soon as I get it I'll give you a call.' She said that she was in charge of the two puppies and would be handling the case.

So whilst we knew it wouldn't be a shoe-in, we knew we would be in with a fair chance, especially when we told them that we would not leave the dog unattended at any time during the day. We had been promised an immediate phone call and so felt assured of fair treatment and the high possibility of homing Cooper.

We went home full of joy. The little one looked online and got pictures of Cooper and the older siblings were duly informed. There was a buzz of excitement.

Monday afternoon and she paced the floor ready for the promised call... nothing. Then I phoned and was told there were a lot of enquiries for the puppies (Cooper and his brother) and to be patient.

OK, I thought, they promised to phone and then there will be the home check etc. - no problem. Perhaps we would be contacted later in the week (I asked this whilst on the phone and was told - yes, within a few days) and then the various people would get home visits etc...

The next day (Tuesday) we received a standardised email stating that Cooper had already been rehomed. A kind of 'thanks but no thanks' impersonal round robin.

Now I understand how the world works and you have to be patient, but try telling that to a young one who had been promised at least a decent possibility of being in with a chance, was promised a personal call immediately on our details going in, and a home check.

We received none of these, and I had to say as the "grown up" comforting a crying child who had hoped for the best, to be ignored after we were promised at least a fighting chance and a personal contact from the young lady immediately in charge of the two puppies, we felt very let down by Four Paws Animal Rescue.

Forum post announcing Cooper's arrival Sept 19th
I felt that the decision had been made on the hoof, with no apparent fairness. When I phoned to ascertain what had gone on I was told the puppies had been available "for weeks" and so there were many people involved, yet the forum on their site announced them as available from the 18th September - the morning of which we saw them! (see screen shots).

I do not expect anyone to get preferential treatment, just a fair crack of the whip. And as people with all the right conditions (enclosed garden, someone always home, able to walk the dog daily, living near a beach and large parks etc. etc.) you would think we would at least get the courtesy of a call or a visit.

I am not suggesting something dodgy went on, that a friend of a friend turned up later that Sunday the 18th, or phone up on the Monday when the images were put online on their forum (the 19th) nor even that the person on their contact line lied when she said Cooper had been with them for fostering "for many weeks" when it says on their forum that Cooper had been with them for fostering since Sunday the 18th of September (the day we saw him).

But what I am saying is that to promise to phone, and plan a home call etc. etc. and then announce on the Tuesday that the dog has already been homed smacks of favouritism and/or of ignoring "normal" customers.

There was something not right in the way this was handled, with friendliness and promises of a call and "personal handling" of the case on the Sunday, to ignorance, non-contact and then a standardised email saying the dog had already been homed 48 hours later on the Tuesday.

It has left us with a very bad experience of Four Paws Animal Rescue.

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