FAQs

If your question is not addressed here, you will be doing us a great service by asking!




Frequently Asked Questions

As our rescue has been blessed to gain more and more exposure through the internet, we receive hundreds of emails a week, usually with all of the same general questions. At last, to save ourselves and potential adopters time, we have decided to make a Frequently Asked Questions page. It will be updated regularly, so if your question is not addressed here, you will be doing us a great service by asking!


Is -insert pet name- available?

This is a tricky question because we have gotten it in regards to animals listed as “adoptable,” animals listed as “adopted,” and animals that we have never heard of and have no idea where they could have been found. If the animal is listed as adoptable on our website, he or she is indeed available. However, by asking this question, many people miss their opportunity to even apply for the pet; we no longer respond to that question, so while you await the answer, someone who followed the correct steps and applied will be reviewed, approved, and offered an opportunity to visit him/her. The common concern with this is people do not want to “waste their time” applying for a pet only to not adopt him/her—unfortunately, that is simply a risk of this process that one must be willing to take. Especially in the case of puppies, so many applications are received that it is inevitable that rejections will be the majority…however, most of these people even say in their application that “as long as he/she gets a good home, I am happy” and we feel everyone should share this sentiment about animals in a rescue or shelter. Anyone who sends in an application for a pet will be notified of his/her application status as soon as possible, but someone who asks the question above will not.

What is your phone number?

We do not communicate by phone with potential adopters until the application process has begun. This rescue has no staff–not one person has ever received a single paycheck; in other words, you are only working with volunteers who have day jobs, families, personal lives, and animals to take care of every single day. Email is a wonderful invention because it allows us to communicate with people at any odd hour we might have available…typically, that is at night after we have exhausted ourselves with other duties. Post adoption, we welcome phone inquiries, but please be aware that responses by phone will be extremely lagging in comparison to email (again, due to lack of spare time).

What does your adoption fee include?

The adoption fee is, as our adoption contract states, a donation to the ongoing efforts of this sanctuary and does not claim to be anything more than that.

Why is your adoption fee so high? This is ridiculous; I’d rather give my money to a breeder!

Unfortunately, we receive emails with similar (but usually much harsher and inappropriate) wording as this regularly. We appreciate the brutal honesty, because it is easy to see that these people never wanted to rescue an animal to begin with…they just assumed that rescues and shelters would have gorgeous, often purebred and even trained animals for “cheaper.”

The assumption that rescue is a business, or that we make a profit from suffering, could not be further from the truth.

If a Rescue Group takes in a healthy pet that costs a minimal amount to make ready for adoption, the “profit” from that animal is applied to the vetting costs of the many others who are not as fortunate. When a dog comes into Rescue, funds must be spent on neutering/spaying, vaccinations, (Rabies, DHLPP, Bordatella), etc. Vetting expenses on a healthy animal can run as high as $175 and more with the larger breeds. The truth is, the majority of found/stray rescues DO require additional vetting. Worming is always a necessity. Rescuers work with traumatized animals, pay to set broken bones, to treat illnesses and injuries—providing treatment the original owners either didn’t choose to or could not afford. Rescuers may do whatever is necessary, and it can often take several months to return an animal to good health. It is not unusual for the costs of this care to run from $450-$1000 per dog. We do this without benefit of financial backing or resources, choosing to spend money in saving lives, rather than on ourselves. I do not know of any Rescue group that makes a profit, or comes anywhere close to breaking even.

We foster these animals in our homes, making them part of the family while providing care and training. The animals will be screened for behavioral and health issues, those issues addressed, and every attempt is made to make the best possible match with adopting families. Rescuers spend hours on the computer each day seeking the perfect homes, help for a dog, or transport from shelter to Rescue or Rescue to forever home. Setting up transports for these animals may take weeks to arrange, and require 100s of emails. Phone bills are frequently outrageous, as we call shelters and vets that lack email capabilities, interview prospective adopters and check their references.

If you have a problem with the cost to adopt from us, please go to your local shelter. Sometimes people have said they intend to do this spitefully, as though we will be angry at the “lost business,” just like the (more popular) breeder comment. On the contrary—the pets at the shelter likely need your help much more than our pets do and have a lower adoption fee because the facility is funded by the government. We are also not against certified, respectable breeders; there are many out there who treat their breeding dogs like pets, keep them in clean and shaded kennels (if not in their homes), breed them only the appropriate number of times each year, and even go out of their way to make some attempt of assuring that the puppies go to excellent homes (I have seen breeders who have applications similar to our own). The choice is yours—all we ask is that you make your choice an educated one.

Can I have a discount?

No

I would like to adopt insert pet’s name and -insert pet’s name…will you cut me a deal since I am taking two animals?

No. We are not against people adopting two pets at once from us (and sometimes they wish to do this because the animals are related in some way), but the only reason we would ever not allow it is already proven by this question—the inability to afford the cost of two new family members. These are living creatures. We do not cut deals, have clearances, have Two for the Price of One Tuesday Specials, or anything of the sort.

I have sent in my application. How long will it take you to get back to me? I need to know because I applied with other rescues as well!

We have been told by several “veterans” of adopting through rescues that we are the fastest responders they have ever worked with. If a completed application is received, it is usually acknowledged within 48 hours, though not necessarily approved. Depending on the number of emails received overall as well as applications for the pet in question, it can take up to a week to receive a letter of approval or rejection.

Remember that we only have one volunteer that maintains the email account on a regular basis and said individual also has a full time job, personal life, and other duties in the rescue to keep up with. If you do not hear back within the aforementioned time frames, it is likely that 1) you did not fill out the application completely, 2) your application was not received, 3) your email address does not accept emails from us (you should check your junk folder and put “info@freetownsanctuary.com” on your contacts list), or 4) it is an unusually hectic time and we need further prompting in order to get back to you. #4 has never yet happened, but we are willing to prepare for the worst. If you think any of those possibilities apply to you after a business week has passed, please feel free to write again and express your concerns.

This part of the adoption process usually helps us weed out people who were “impulse shopping” for a new pet. Many of our fastest approvals have not gone through because the applicant wrote back saying they had already found another pet the same day they had applied with us. Don’t misunderstand…we want you to rescue pets from shelters or other rescues just as much as our own, because all animals in need are equal in our eyes. However, if your dedication to this pet in particular is so lacking that you cannot even wait a week for him/her, you obviously should not be chosen over someone who has posted this pet’s photo on their refrigerator, refreshed their email constantly for a response, etc.

Was your letter of approval for -insert pet name- exclusively sent to me?

Though we don’t receive this question a lot, this assumption is made about 90% of the time on the applicant’s part, so we felt it must be addressed here. No, the letter of approval can be sent to any number of people for a particular adoptee. We have received angry emails and calls about how unfair this is, how it got their hopes up, etc. We are not in this line of work to cause more suffering, I assure you, but disappointment does happen. Perhaps other organizations work under different conditions, but we feel that there are often more than one excellent potential home for an animal and there is no need to choose only one if this means that the animal goes to his/her new home faster and space is made available for those in need sooner. If approved, you will be written and given the opportunity to make an appointment to meet your potential new family member. Appointments are cancelled, families visit and do not bond with the pet, etc. The first ones to follow through with the visit and appear to be a good match will take the pet home. The only time this is not the case is if we feel so strongly about one potential adopter that we hold off all other applicants until the first choice has had an opportunity to meet the pet, choosing to run the risk of “wasted time” that we usually avoid simply because it is worth it.

Why was I rejected?

One of the final questions in our adoption application is “Do you understand that we can reject your application for any reason?” and, thus far, no one has ever checked off “no.” So it could be any number of reasons or no reason at all other than there was another family that we felt was ideal for the animal. We will only give the answer of “you were not found to be the ideal home for the pet” and nothing more. Not because we don’t want you to improve or understand, but because we have had people attempt to scam us and/or other rescues in the past by receiving a reason for rejection from us/another rescue group, and making the necessary alterations to future applications in order to lie their way to adopting a pet. Yes, this is easily uncovered by the subsequent checks on adopters, but it adds unnecessary time spent on applicants who turn out to be scammers when the first step is meant to weed out most of these people. Our resources are limited, so reference checks, home visits, etc., are ideally only used to choose between top choice homes, not excellent homes and experienced liars. If you know in your heart that you are an honest, good potential home for a pet and were not chosen, just know that we likely agree and meant the rejection as no slight against you. There are often too many good homes after one particular pet, a problem we are always happy to see for the animal’s sake, but leaves a lot of unfortunate heartbreak.

Can I return my new pet if it is not working out?

Yes—we require that you return the animal to us rather than giving him/her to a family member, dropping him/her off at a shelter, etc. It does not have to be for what we would consider a good reason because, usually, it isn’t. Any time we have gotten a pet back it is because the adopter was not genuine in their application or fully understanding of the animal’s history and/or preferences.

One example is our adoption to a woman who wanted a particular dog despite the fact that his history was clearly stated—he had been traumatized by cruel children in a previous home and was aggressive toward them as a result. She was a bachelorette living in her own home with a fenced yard and vehemently assured that would not be relevant to her lifestyle; she never saw kids, had none of her own, etc. He was returned a week later because he growled at and ran away from her nieces and nephews.

Another, more common instance (and the reason we require that people bring their pets with them) is that “he/she doesn’t get along with my pet(s).” Your pet could develop behaviors you have never seen before, as could the pet from our rescue—but, just as you would not dump one of your children for fighting with the other, you should work toward a solution that might be a long way off. This isn’t something we spring on people—most choose “I would not give up my pet for any reason” when asked in the application and do not actually live up to that. Most issues (food aggression, possessiveness, jealousy, dominance) can be resolved with at home or professional training and, if an adopter was as dedicated to the adopted pet as they originally claimed, that is precisely what they would do before returning the pet.

Again, we take pets back for any reason and there is no animosity on our part if it comes to this. We would much rather someone return the pet to us than continue letting the animal develop poor behavior. We just hope that most families that we choose to adopt a pet to will have the experience and dedication to deal with any unexpected situation.

Can I get a refund or a different pet in exchange for my returned pet?

Our refund policy is covered in our contract.

No, you cannot get a different pet from us in exchange for your returned pet. It is likely (but not absolutely certain) that the reason you are returning your pet in the first place is one that indicates to us that you would not be the ideal home for any of our rescues. If you are returning the pet for an unpreventable or irresolvable reason and would like to apply for another of our pets now or in the future, we are open to that 100%. You will, however, have to send in another application, sign another contract, and pay another full adoption fee. We will not be biased for or against you in the decision of who the new pet will go to.

One example is our adoption to a woman who wanted a particular dog despite the fact that his history was clearly stated—he had been traumatized by cruel children in a previous home and was aggressive toward them as a result. She was a bachelorette living in her own home with a fenced yard and vehemently assured that would not be relevant to her lifestyle; she never saw kids, had none of her own, etc. He was returned a week later because he growled at and ran away from her nieces and nephews.

Another, more common instance (and the reason we require that people bring their pets with them) is that “he/she doesn’t get along with my pet(s).” Your pet could develop behaviors you have never seen before, as could the pet from our rescue—but, just as you would not dump one of your children for fighting with the other, you should work toward a solution that might be a long way off. This isn’t something we spring on people—most choose “I would not give up my pet for any reason” when asked in the application and do not actually live up to that. Most issues (food aggression, possessiveness, jealousy, dominance) can be resolved with at home or professional training and, if an adopter was as dedicated to the adopted pet as they originally claimed, that is precisely what they would do before returning the pet.

Again, we take pets back for any reason and there is no animosity on our part if it comes to this. We would much rather someone return the pet to us than continue letting the animal develop poor behavior. We just hope that most families that we choose to adopt a pet to will have the experience and dedication to deal with any unexpected situation.

Is there anything I can do to help?

Yes!

Collect tax-deductible donations at your school, your children’s school, your work, your church. Old blankets/towels/linens, paper towels, dog treats, chew bones, cat litter, straw, hay

Bathe or groom a dog or cat

If you are interested in helping, fill out our volunteer application here and send it in. There are two categories:

On-Site:

We can make arrangements for you to visit the farm to do farm labor: Kennel cleaning, dog bathing, garbage collection, painting, fence building and/or repair.

For the saintly and almost non-existent category of volunteers, ALL of these animals need to be cleaned up after.

Off-Site:

Opportunities to help us off-site are only limited by one’s own creativity, not by the ideas listed here or on our application. Our Facebook, Petfinder, and AdoptaPet pages need to be shared with as many people all over the country as possible. Fundraisers must be conceptualized and organized. Adoption days at various businesses in the greater Nashville area must be arranged, organized, and worked (the more hands to hold leashes and/or hand out flyers, the better.) We also need help checking references (AKA making phone calls to veterinarians and character references) and doing home visits (which would be limited to an area convenient for you). You might be out of state, but willing to do pet transportation: people often are willing to bring an animal part of the way from a kill shelter to another volunteer, to us, or directly to the new home. The distance you travel will be designated by you (usually at least an hour to be of significant assistance). Also, last but not least, foster homes are always needed.