I “Do Not Qualify” to Adopt a Rottweiler

spincyclesmallThis week’s Spin Cycle topic is “your favorite post”. It was hard to select a favorite (I like everything I write, I’m vain like that!) but this one definitely stands head and shoulders above the rest. It has the honor of being the one post with the most views of all time!

My blog will be one year old on August 24th, and I have had a total of 9,877 views and 352 of them were of this post. My busiest day, to date, was December 31, 2008, the day after this post was published.

It’s a real mystery to me why this particular post received so much attention, and if anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears!


smaller-hannahYeah, it’s pretty shameful.
Y’all know I own a Rottweiler, Hannah, that is just like my own child. My mother-in-law had this portrait done of her. It was a  Christmas present this year for my husband. We have it hanging over our mantel.  To say we adore this animal is an understatement. She is five years old, now, and when she eventually goes into the great doggie heaven in the sky, we are both gonna be blubbering idiots.
Well, recently, we got this hair brained idea, y’all. We decided that maybe it was time to get ourselves another puppy. We’d really like to give Hannah the opportunity to teach another little Rottie gal all she knows about bein’ the Most Spectacular Dog in the Entire Universe.
I hate to admit this, but we might’ve  made a few mistakes when we got Hannah. We found her online, from one of those backyard breeders. We didn’t realize, at the time, that gettin’ a puppy from a less than conscientious breeder was allowin’ them to continue to stay in business, thereby producing less that desirable specimens of the breed. Much to our dismay, our beautiful girl has hip dysplasia, and it ain’t pretty, ya’ll.  One day we will have to have her put down. And, of course, it goes without sayin’, we can’t breed her.
So this time around, I thought we’d do the noble thing, and rescue a puppy. One that wouldn’t otherwise have a chance at havin’ such committed and adoring parents, like us two fools. I found this Rottweiler Rescue outfit online and what’d ya know, they had the cutest lil ol litter of Rottie pups! Five little girls and five little boys! They even had a video camera set up to film their antics and you could watch them everyday on You Tube.
Well, naturally I fell in love with these pups. I wanted one so bad. I mean, what’s not to love about a Rottie pup? This is Hannie when she was little.
l_7ee118439270b81a3ad3ecd3ec167b36See what I mean, y’all?
One thing I noticed, and this is important to keep in mind, is that all of these puppies had had their tails docked. Which was fine by me, I think Rotties look better with their cute little nubs.
So right away, I filled out their “Application to Adopt”. It took me almost two hours! I couldn’t believe all the stuff they were wantin’ to know! They asked about everything, and I do mean everything. What was the square footage of our house, and how many people live in it? What ages are they? How many hours do we work per week, how much do we make, who’s our vet, what’s his address and phone number and if we’ve had this vet for less than a year, what’s the name, address and phone number of out previous vet, and why did we change vets? They asked if we would ever consider a Rottweiler with a tail, and I answered No. Because I really just wanted one of the ten cute, lil puppies that had already had their tails docked.
I’m now convinced that adopting a child from China would be alot easier.
A couple weeks went by and then I got this email:
Dear Ginger,
Thank you for your application unfortunately in order to qualify, you must know your animal control laws. You state that you don’t know of any, you can familiarize yourself with animal control laws by going to their website or just calling up and asking for a copy of them.  It is very important when you own a dog that you know these laws, especially with owning a Rottweiler.
Also, you state you would never adopt a Rottweiler with it’s natural tail.  Unfortunately, this is rescue and unless their tails have been docked at under 3 days old, you have a Rottweiler with a tail.  In rescue we are about saving lives and not their looks.
Thank you and best of luck in finding a puppy.
ARRF Coordinator
Well now, excuse me all to hell, y’all, but that was just rude! Was she accusin’ me of not wantin’ to save Rottweiler lives? And the comment about their looks. That’s kinda snooty, considerin’ that they’ve already ruined the “looks” of the puppies they’re advertising all over You Tube.
So I wrote her back, and then she wrote me back, with more of her rude comments highlighted:
Dear Suzi,
I just wanted to take a minute to respond. Obviously, I can find all of my county rules and ordinances concerning animals and Rottweilers in particular. I was trying to be truthful, when answering your questionnaire. I do not have every rule memorized. But I understand that dogs require a leash, animals cannot run free except in designated parks, they must be registered, they must be up to date on their vaccinations. I would do all of these things, anyway. I already own a Rottweiler, and have had her for 5 years. I love her DEARLY and it is insulting to me, to have it implied that I would break a law, or not care properly for my dog.

***Nobody “implied” you would break a law, and if you can so easily find your ordinances, then a) why didn’t you, and b) why would you state you do not think you have any ?

As far as the tail business goes, I understand that you are not in the business of docking dogs tails. I realize that you are “saving lives”. I think it should be obvious to you that I am also interested in saving a life, by applying to adopt a dog from a shelter. I have nothing against dogs with tails, it is just my preference in Rottweilers. I also prefer to adopt a puppy. In looking at your website pictures, I see that you have a variety of dogs, some with tails, some without, some older dog and some puppies. I was trying to express my preference, and if that makes me a horrible person and not fit to own a dog, so be it.
***The question was would you adopt a dog with a natural tail and you stated “no”  If it is only your preference, then you would have stated yes, but a no implies no. We have to discount the applications where people state no because a lot of our Rottweilers have their natural tail, when you  state no to the natural tail, there is always the chance that people will get the tail amputated and mutilate our dogs, so it is a standard denial as we must always protect the health and well being of our dogs.


I am amazed that you would pronounce someone as unqualified to adopt one of your animals with no other evidence to go on. Have you really got that many folks offering to take them, and pay the adoption fees you are asking for? And are all these folks that much more qualified than my husband and I? This was my first attempt to get an animal from a shelter. I thought it was the right thing to do. What an experience, to get slapped down and rejected for not answering your questions correctly! Now I am wondering if I should just give up and not try.
*****We did not deny you with no evidence to go on, you filled out the application and in your own words, you were being truthful, that is our evidence, your truthful answers on the application.  And yes, we actually do have that many people that want to adopt our dogs and puppies and pay our adoption fee.  We actually have more applications than dogs.

By turning us down, you are shutting the door on a loving family and a great home for one of your dogs. And by doing so, you are letting down one of your dogs.
**** I am not letting down any of my dogs, as you have to fit our guidlines and qualify, so I would be letting down one of my dogs by allowing someone who does not qualify adopt.

I am attaching a picture of my rottweiler, Hannah. I want you to see that I have managed to take pretty good care of her and she is healthy, happy and loved. Thank you for what you are doing to help the breed that I love so much. I am sorry that my heart and my home do not meet your high standards.
***** These are not high standards, you should see what other rescues require for their adoptions.  These are regular standard questions to determine if your qualify for one of our dogs.  Obviously you take care of your own dog, we never said you were not qualified to love and care for your own dog, however, we do not approve applications that don’t meet our requirements.
Again, thank you and best of luck in your search for your puppy.

Well. Suzi, your whole “tone” tells me something. You migh be livin’ in North Carolina, but you’re obviously not from around here, darlin’. The part about us possibly MUTALATING one of your dogs almost made my head explode. (Is she SERIOUS, y’all? )
I guess we won’t be gettin’ another puppy anytime soon. The whole dern experience has left a sour taste in my mouth. I feel bad for poor Hannah, what with her havin’ such an unqualified, potential tail mutilatin’, requirement failin’ mother, like me. I guess loving the breed to the point of distraction, trying to be completly honest, and wanting to give a decent life to another dog counts as nothing.
So if any of y’all are thinkin’ about adopting from a rescue organization, be forewarned. Study up on all of your county ordinances, make sure you tell them that you’re willin’ to take any kind of dog they have, in any condition, and be prepared to be turned down anyways. There are homeless people livin’ under bridges down here, but a homeless dog must have the run of your house, and it better be big enough, nice enough and with enough square footage, y’all!
Oh, and also, you’ll need four real good, reliable references, who have known you for years and can vouch for your character…and a hefty $250 adoption fee.
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15 thoughts on “I “Do Not Qualify” to Adopt a Rottweiler

  1. Whoa, I thought buying Harry from a pet store was tough! They made us bring Blue in so they could make sure Blue wouldn’t try to kill him and were worried that our large beagle would trample him. If only they could see my two dogs seven years later. Harry clearly rules the roost.
    I have heard the rescue rules with these groups are very tough. It may be a good thing that it didn’t work out on those puppies.
    You’re linked!

  2. Wow! Altho I have heard stories like this about other rescue places and shelters before. Like you feel like a criminal and not up to their standards. Then people get all uppity and mad when your pet is Not from a shelter. Geeze!
    I hope you ended up getting your girl a friend.

  3. Yeah, I’ve heard some of the rescue groups are a little unreasonable. I hope you didn’t let this discourage you from finding another puppy for you and Hannah. That photo of Hannah as a puppy made me melt!

  4. Just wanted to let you know another side of Rottie Rescue. I used to work for one of those organizations and fostered two dogs through them. You should know that some of them are NOT concerned with getting them adopted. The one I worked for demanded Fosters to take their dogs to “rescue friendly vets”. It did not matter when I contacted them and told them the only one I could find had a bad reputation. I had to take them to him anyway. They consistenty turned down applicants to adopt these dogs for one reason or another. They did not pay for anything, except preapproved vet visits. When one of my fosters e was injured, I took her to the vet immediately. They disputed the vet bill because it was not preapproved. I couldn’t get it preapproved because I couldn’t get anyone to answer my phone calls or emails.

    When I left the organization, we were on the brink of having a legal battle. They couldn’t come get or have me deliver my foster, but wanted to claim ownership. The end result was for them to send out an organization wide email stating I “abuse my dogs”, “keep them locked in kennels for long periods of time”, and some other nasty comments. NONE of them had ever been to my home. I have vets, dog sitters, dog groomers, friends and family members who were all outraged by this email. If I’d had the financial means to sue them I would have.

    Note this. The dog they needed to pick up was “high prey” driven, had an obsession with shadows and lights and had attacked my dieing rottie on several occasions. They re-wrote her bio on their website to say she came from a high kill shelter (she did not; my husband found her abandoned on a vacant lot) and they said she was friendly, got along well with other dogs, and did not have a prey drive and would probably get along with cats.

    She has been gone from my house for a year. She still has not been adopted. As a matter of fact, we got monthly reports of adoptions and few dogs ever are. The reason? It’s a money making business. They rake in thousands in donations for these dogs. They have fund raisers and they have web pages and they have auctions…all to benefit these dogs. They a lot of money coming in, but pay for very little of the care of the dogs and they don’t let them get adopted unless a foster just can’t keep them anymore.

    Not all rescues are like the one I worked for. But it is a big business. It covered the southeast regions (6 to 8 states).

    Oh, one last note. The President of the organization had to put her rottie down. She wanted another one, so she went to a breeder to get one. I think if I, or many others, were in the same position, we might have adopted one of our own rescue dogs. How about you?

    • Donna, thanks you so much for taking the time to write this story. It’s despicable to learn about this. You have opened my eyes up and I’m remembering now that the “Organization” that I contacted did seem more interested in contributions and foster homes than they were in actually adopting out their dogs. I should have guessed that Suzie was most likely motivated by profit!

      And you are right. I would have certainly adopted one of my own “homeless” animals, if I had been in her shoes! Shoot, I’d probably try to adopt ALL of them!

      Again, thanks for writing this comment. You have shared some important information.

  5. WOW! I see this is an old post but I was googling adopting rottweilers and looking at the blogs and I came accross yours. It’s been about a year, have you had any further success? You might get better luck with another agency now that you know how to correctly answer the questionaire.

    That woman was incredibly rude to you, unbelievably so.

    I find it incredible that it’s this difficult to adopt a dog but it’s easy as pie to have a child and it’s even harder to have that child taken away from you even if you are abusive.

    Not only that but I have my own adoption story… my stepfather is a doctor and one day this woman comes into the dr. office and ends up being hospitalized for several days. She asks one of the nurses if she would go feed her dogs for her. Being Alabama, of course the nurse abliged. So she goes to this woman’s house and finds the house FULL of dog poop. I mean the entire house was covered in poop. There was poop on the bed, on the chairs in the living room, in the kitchen (no wonder this woman ended up in the hospital). She also had rabbits in cages in the kitchen. And she was just letting these dogs breed with eachother, all inbred and everything. There was a current litter of about 4 or 5 at the time. (dachshunds, FYI… swoon!)

    Well, my stepdad, being the great dachshund lover that he is asks the woman if he can take the puppies cuz he knows some people who want some pups. She says ok, so we end up going in and swiping a bunch of her dogs. We end up cleaning up the puppies (about 3-4 weeks old) covered in fleas!!! And they all got adopted from us. (no fees and no questionaires)… We ended up keeping the mother, another boy puppy that was a little older, and a 1 year old girl.

    WHAT GOT ME was that we called Animal Cruelty and they said that there was nothing they could do BECAUSE SHE WASN’T ABUSING HER ANIMALS. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!???!!!???!!!???

    I must end my story here because it’s much too long now. But I gotta say, it’s a crazy stupid world out there. Good luck to you, and wish me luck because I hope to adopt soon. At least now I know how to fill out the application 😉

  6. Good Luck on finding a puppie! Are you looking for a rottweiler too? It has been a year, and I’m still too upset to even try again.

    Your story was great, even if it was in a comment! I can imagine the inside of that house….YUCK! You should turn this story into a blog post of your own.

  7. oh you think thats bad? try adopting from the collie rescue, they won’t even think once or twice about you if A you don’t own a fenced in yard and B if you like don’t shit gold. I mean I love rotties and I was looking for one and often I foster dogs here and there that show up, but the collie the great dane and the rottie rescue are three of the BIGGEST scams around, most the dogs they get have all their shots done…and then they say they paid for it. And the agression from the dogs is horrible. the cocker spaniel rescue takes agressive dogs to the adoption advents at the petco in concord, and one LUNGED at my dog…and the manger who also was in charge of the rescue told me it was my dogs fault and that the cocker was fro ma rescue so it was okay, it lunged at three more dogs the same day and one child. I swear it would be easier to buy, I am looking now for a puppy but god knows what my luck will be! loved your blog!!! you type yall!!!…

  8. Since losing our Rottweiler, “Konan” (a.k.a. the wonder dog, the favorite child, wicked smart dog, etc)our family has been incomplete. My mother, who he was closest to, misses him terribly. She lives with me, and recently when she brought home a life sized stuffed Rottweiler to sleep with because she hated not having her “koney” next to her at night I knew I had to find her another dog before I came home to her walking the stuffed one around the neighnorhood. (LOL)
    I convinced her to adopt rather than get a puppy, and began what I thought would be the simple process of adopting a dog.
    I figured how hard could it be? These dog rescues are going to be psyched to have a great family like us show up to save a member of our mutually adored breed. I see that heart wrenching commercial begging for money to save abused dogs(the one with the Sara McLaughlin song, omg. I cant even watch it) every day. Easy as pie. Shoot, We’re so overqualified for this, they’ll probably ask us to adopt 2 dogs.
    And for the last 3+ months I have been going through the same thing up here in Boston with the Rottweiler Rescue Org’s (and their minimum $375 adopt fees !) After several disappointments either because our application did not meet their criteria, or the dog we were interested in was already adopted, I had thrown my hands up at the whole adoption idea, and had begrudgingly started looking for a puppy instead. I was checking craigslist every now and then, but there was never any listed on there……until last night, around 2am, right before going to bed, on a whim, I checked craigslist, and there it was! A post from someone who needed to give up their 1.5yr male. The owner is a single dad with full custody of 2 kids, full time job, rising mortgage, bills, etc and just couldn’t give the dog what he needed. I called him 1st thing this morning, and we picked up “Kaiser” this afternoon. He slobbered all over my mother the whole 100 mile ride home, and she was thrilled about it. We are so excited, and grateful to find such a great FREE dog. As soon as we got home, my mother found Konan’s Christmas collar and put it on Kaiser. I added a red bow, because I really feel like he is the best Christmas present ever!
    As you know, these dogs thrive on love, affection, and attention from their families, and I’m happy we are able to give it to Kaiser, when his former family could no longer do it. So, as far as I am concerned, we rescued him.
    Sorry, im rambling.
    My point is, please don’t give up. Any Rottweiler, especially a homeless one, would be lucky to have you as their “mommy”. Explore other options like craigslist, or just word of mouth (or….your awesome BLOG!) and i’m sure you will end up with a pal for Hannah.
    In the meantime though, Good Luck, and Happy Holidays.

    • Tara, since I have just about given up blogging, it was such a pleasure to wake up this morning and read your story in my comments box! I think connections like this are what blogging is all about and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed my blog.
      When I got the end of your comment and read “and i’m sure you will end up with a pal for Hannah.” I knew I had to leave a reply, and I hope you are reading this. Sadly, we lost Hannah four months ago, in August. We had to send her over the rainbow bridge to a better place, where she is now running free, with perfect hips and legs. You see, Hannah was the result of a “back yard breeder” and was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia before she was two years old. Being a Rottweiler means being stoically oblivious to pain, so Hannah never showed us any signs of her physical imperfections, other than a clicking noise when she walked and a mysterious reluctance to go up and down stairs. (However, the stairs were manageable for many years, as long as her mom and dad were going upstairs to eat pizza!)
      When she was in her eleventh years of being our substitute for the daughter that we could not have, her hips and legs began to falter and poor Hannie could no longer go with us on walks around the neighborhood or on trips to the beach in the truck, which she loved so much. When she began to fall on her face, just trying to get to her water bowl, we knew it was time to make that awful trip to the vet.
      And so, now her remains have been spread in the water’s edge at Wrightsville Beach, were she spent many happy hours chasing seagulls and thrashing around in the waves, in spite of what must have been constant pain in her legs and hips. Right up until she drew her last breath, her soft brown eyes were the window into a loving heart and undying loyalty towards the two people who were silly enough to attempt raising such a “ferocious breed” and naive enough to have paid good money for a “defective puppy” born to unscrupulous breeders.
      As you can probably guess, we never for one moment regretted our decision to get her, for she more than made up in heart what she may have lacked in physical perfection.
      Another dog for us? Someday. Right now we are convinced that there could never be another dog that could hold a candle to her, and the thought of getting that attached again to an animal with a life expectancy far shorter than our is daunting.
      I’m glad you have found a new big black dog to love, and I hope to hear form you again. Please give Kaiser an extra treat today and tell him it’s from Hannah. I honestly believe that he may just understand.Also? Tell your dear mother Merry Christmas. She sounds like a lovely, sensible woman.

  9. I was looking for some tips on what to do after adopting a one year old Rottweiler (to learn more about behavior, training, etc.) and I came across this blog. I am so sad to hear that you had such a negative experience in adopting. My family just adopted our second Rottie and in the process I was reminded how hard it is to adopt an animal. I spent hours filling out application after application, knowing that some groups would completely ignore me. I spent hours pursuing certain dogs that no one ever replied about. I even had the liberty of meeting two dogs that had some leash aggression and alpha behaviors whom were falsely advertised as being “good with children” which translated to what looked like a dog fight in front of my two year old son and left blood on my shoes. My adopting a second Rottweiler was the result of losing my first and best girl ever Lucy in an absolutely devastating turn of events. I’m still not over the shock of it. But the first group that I adopted from was a really wonderful rescue and I turned back to them (being a previous adopter) after so many other groups turned out to be wasting my time and they found me my newest addition, a 9-12 month old (I have no patience for the puppy stage) purebred with the funniest looking docked tail I have ever seen and a serious case of “I think I’m a lap dog” syndrome. Long story short, not all rescues are greedy, not all rescues are out to make money. I wrote a check for $250 to adopt my newest girl who we named Lola, and she had just been spayed, had a du claw removed, and updated on all of her necessary shots, etc. They even check for signs of hip issues, etc. I can’t remember the last time I left a regular vet appointment with a bill under $100, so I know they weren’t trying to make money off of me. Also, find me a puppy under $800 that comes with any of that. Not likely. Please don’t give up your search to adopt based on one group’s snotty representative. We were lucky enough to only have to drive an hour to get our dog, but I was willing to go a lot further to find the perfect addition to our family. We have been together now for 3 weeks and I can only thank my lucky stars that her previous owners weren’t good enough parents to keep her safe and sound so that I could be the one to find her. If you need the name of a good rescue, I might be in Illinois, but I bet you that my rescue could recommend someone out your way. And as for the tail issue, I can’t believe how snotty they were… my rescue makes you sign a form saying if you do adopt a dog with a tail you will not alter it (my Lucy had one and I find it strange now to have a Rottie without). If you don’t want a tailed Rottie, you don’t have to have one (although the tails are becoming more and more prevalent as country after country -starting with Germany- have stopped the practice). Sorry for the rant, but after what I have read here I feel like no one is supporting adoption and it is such a wonderful and gratifying experience. I hope you don’t give up and that you get a brother or sister for Hannah (do you know if she is an alpha?). I wish you luck and let me know if you need any more positive adoption advice.

    • Oh my gosh. I just scrolled up after skimming your last reply and saw that you lost your Hannah. It doesn’t change anything that I wrote above, it actually makes me feel even stronger about what I just wrote. You can still get Hannah a brother or sister. I remind myself that Lola is Lucy’s “little sister” even though Lucy is not here to know her (she would have hated her anyways, she was a strong alpha). I still encourage you to open your home to an adopted dog, even more so now. Having another Rottie has been a sort of Deja vous, so many of Lola’s behaviors remind me of my Lulu. It is very hard not to make comparisons, and my husband has had a particularly hard time because as a typical male, he never really allowed himself to mourn, and wasn’t forthcoming in telling me that he wasn’t ready for another dog until after the adoption papers were signed. It is becoming easier each day, however, when he reminds himself that no, she is not Lucy, she is her own dog. She is not a replacement, she is an addition. Lucy will always hold a place in our hearts. She was our first dog, our first child, our first experience as parents. Lola is another step in our lives. I hope you find time heals and I hope you are willing to open your home again. There are so many dogs in need of homes, my first afternoon on Petfinder taught me that. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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