We have a procedure for bringing dogs into our shelter. Every dog coming into the shelter must have an up-to-date rabies vaccination and proof is required. Legally, every dog over 16 weeks of age must have a rabies vaccination. We will not evaluate a dog unless we have proof of this. Once we have this information, we can schedule an evaluation for the dog. This will usually require a separate appointment time to be made.
Every dog coming into the shelter must pass a temperament evaluation. Dogs must be comfortable with strangers handling them all over, putting leashes on and taking them off, picking them up if they are a smaller dog, and various other exercises. We will watch for any signs of food or other aggression, guarding behaviors, etc. Dogs will be evaluated with other dogs and must not behave aggressively. We do an evaluation on each dog before it enters the shelter to protect our many volunteers, our staff, and the public.
As we are evaluating the dog, the owner is asked to fill out an extensive questionnaire. This allows us to get to know the dog better, its likes and dislikes, past history, etc.
Sometimes we will find that a dog will not do well in a shelter environment. If they are very fearful, for example, they would do better going to a rescue group that can house the dog in a stable and quieter foster home arrangement. Shelters are noisy and stressful places for many dogs. Some will adjust and can tolerate this, but others cannot. Some dogs are fine being handled by many types of people, and some prefer to be handled by a smaller more consistent group of people. We will always suggest what we feel is in the best interest of the dog.
Once the dog passes the evaluation, we MAY be able to take the dog into the shelter that day. If the dog is already spayed/neutered, up to date on all vaccinations, has a negative heartworm test on file and is current on monthly heartworm preventative, we would be able to take the dog that day. If the dog is not completely up to date with vet care, and if we had room in our isolation room for a dog, we could also take the dog that day. We cannot put a dog into our dog kennel room unless it is completely vetted.
This means that if the dog is not completely vetted, and we do not have room in our isolation room at that time, the dog would go back home with its family until ECHS can make an appointment at a local vet clinic to have all the vet care taken care of. The dog’s family will then need to drop the dog off at the vet clinic for its appointment. After the appointment, ECHS will go pick up the dog and bring it back to the shelter.
Sometimes we are contacted about taking a dog, but we don’t have room at the moment. We do keep a waiting list for those wanting us to take their dogs. There is never any guarantee about how short or long the wait will be until we have space for that dog. It depends on the space at our shelter to care for the dog properly, and how many people are on the waiting list ahead of that family.