Monday, December 3, 2012

BRAT Adoption Process

Quite often, this time of year especially, people will ask if they can adopt
a basenji to give as a gift to someone else.  Our response is they can give
 a friend or relative a gift of a basenji only if the intended recipient
completes an adoption application and goes through the normal screening
process.  BRAT doesn't sell basenjis to anyone who wants one but rather
we place basenjis in carefully selected homes.

The BRAT process is not a first-come, first-served process. It is based
on evaluating the dog, describing him fully and putting that information
into a public setting for all interested applicants to consider. After
that, the assigned coordinator goes through all inquiries to find the
family whose situation best dovetails with what the coordinator feels
best meets the needs of the basenji in question. Of course, more
intensive interviews follow the preliminary screening and a home visit is
required before any final placement decision is made.

When we have a young, healthy basenji, it shouldn't surprise anyone that
many of our applicants -- some of whom have been patiently watching the
postings for months -- would be interested in applying for that dog. They
may have been turned down in the past; not because they are unsuitable
but because out of the applicants considered, someone else's situation
was felt to be the best match.  We have almost 600 people in our
adoption application database.

Faster is not always better, especially when re-homing dogs. People who
work in rescue are certainly aware that those who want dogs can easily
visit a pet store, hand over their credit card, and go home with a puppy
in a matter of minutes. Part of the reason we are so aware of this is
that we see many of those puppies later in rescue. BRAT has an excellent
track record for placing basenjis in "forever homes." One of
the most important reasons for the high success rate is the thoroughness
of the screening and matching process. Because it is thorough, it takes
time. How long a potential adopter can expect to wait while being
screened and approved for a particular basenji varies. The whole process
might only take a week or two, but more
typically an applicant waits a month or more (sometimes several months)
for the right dog to come along.

**If you are interested in a dog, e-mail the basenji's coordinator,
expressing your interest.**

It is helpful if you can include a brief description of your home
situation and perhaps explain why you feel this particular dog might be a
good match for you. After that, wait for the coordinator to reply
(remember that it might take a few days and that all BRAT staff are
volunteers). In all likelihood, the coordinator will have further
questions for you. Think about these questions carefully. You may even
wish to discuss them with your family. As we mentioned before, BRAT
coordinators are not trying to be snoopy or give you a hard time. They
just want a positive outcome for you and the basenjis. Be cooperative and
answer the questions as honestly as you can.

This is also a good opportunity for you to ask questions. For example, if
the coordinator mentions that the basenji has a particular health problem
or behavioral challenge, you may want to request a more detailed

If for some reason it will be a few days until you can answer, at least
let the coordinator know right away whether you're still interested.

One last point I would like to make: BRAT does not require that people
stay at home 24 hours a day in order to adopt a basenji. BRAT does not do
financial evaluations of families. There are some absolutes in the BRAT
process, but there is also great emphasis on looking at each dog and
family on its own merits.

If you have any questions about the placement process, please write to
the BRAT volunteer screener assigned to your state:

**Our screeners have been instructed to contact all applicants in their
states.  If you don't reply to their emails, they will assume you
are no longer interested and ask to have you removed from the list
without further notice.**

Liz Newton
BRAT President/Regional Coordinator

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