How to adopt a tortoise from a rescue

lvstorts

Active Member
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Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
472
Make the connection: how to adopt a tortoise from a rescue

The following is an opinion piece based on the knowledge and interactions I’ve had running Northwest Tortoise. I’ve been working with tortoises for 20 years and took Northwest Tortoise to the public to spread the mission of education, rescue and captive breeding three years ago. Recently, Northwest Tortoise has become a 501 (c)3 nonprofit. The opinions are my own.

I receive so many emails that start with ‘I want to adopt a tortoise. Call me.’ Or ‘I have big yard’ or ‘what do you got?’ I see posts on forums that state ‘looking for any kind of tortoise. Had them before. Call me.’ As a rescuer, and the person that determines who is approved to adopt, I can say confidently that this approach does not work.

Tips to interact with a rescue:

1. Research the rescue: do they have a webpage? Facebook? Pamphlet, flyer, etc? Look at it, be familiar with it. There is nothing worse than being contacted through my webpage from a person asking what’s available and the information is posted on the same webpage under a different heading! It shows the potential adopter has no interest in doing the work or investing the time to search a simple website. If they can’t take the time to look at a webpage how will they take care of a tortoise.

2. Follow the instructions: if the rescue has a fill-in form or instructions to start the process, follow them completely. If they ask for pictures of the enclosure, provide them. Fill out everything to the best of your ability. If you have questions or cannot fill out a section state why. Use correct written English to the best of your ability. Text-speak and emoticons are unacceptable in business communications.

3. Give the rescue time to process your application. Most rescues will acknowledge a form was submitted. Don’t pester them with status requests! Remember rescues are busy.

4. Don’t balk at the price of a rescue. If you can’t afford it, you probably can’t afford to keep the tortoise. I experience a public perception that if someone is willing to adopt an animal they should get it for next to nothing or free. I’d like to collectively ask all these people with this view to estimate the costs housing, feeding, paying vet bills, shipping or transporting the animal and how much time I’ve spent and then have them bulk at the price! I guarantee the price of the adoption is cheaper than the resources put forth.

Examples of contacts that will get you a second look:

Hi (start with a greeting),

I noticed on your webpage, FB, chat forum, so-and-so referred me, whatever method, give some context, remember the reader (rescuer) has no idea who you are, MAKE A CONNECTION you have tortoises for adoption.

I am interested in _________________. I’m interested because I currently have, had, or want to have a tortoise. If you state you had a tortoise, provide a brief explanation of why you don’t have them any longer. Remember, the rescue is trying to place the animal for life. Immediately seeing someone ‘had’ one sends up red flags: what happened to it? Regardless if it’s a good or bad story, be honest, even if someone killed their tortoise for whatever reason, they are still potential adopters. Demonstrate the ability to learn from the tragedy.

If you are a new potential owner: I am a new at tortoises but have been reading about them and think I’m ready. I really liked the section of your website with all the books listed acknowledge you read something or liked a picture on the website, FB, chat forum, whatever, make the connection, the information published is a resource provided for the potential adopter: USE IT. I am interested in _____ species.

I have submitted the form and look forward to hearing from you. Additionally, I would like your advice or to ask you a question on __________. Can we talk when it’s convenient for you?

Remember: rescues WANT to adopt their animals to responsible, forever homes. Making contact is your first impression. Do it right. Be courteous, be knowledgeable of the rescue you are contacting, know the species you are looking for ask relevant questions and if you are new to tortoise ownership show your willingness to learn and seek advice.
 

Amanda1

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Plainfield, IN
1. Research the rescue: do they have a webpage? Facebook? Pamphlet, flyer, etc? Look at it, be familiar with it. There is nothing worse than being contacted through my webpage from a person asking what’s available and the information is posted on the same webpage under a different heading! It shows the potential adopter has no interest in doing the work or investing the time to search a simple website. If they can’t take the time to look at a webpage how will they take care of a tortoise.

Thanks for posting this! I manage a website for a rescue and this is a pet peeve of mine! Another big one is "Call me if you get any [insert species here]." I'm really not interested in being a secretary. If you want a very busy volunteer with a full-time job and lots of animals to care for and family commitments to call you about an adoption, show some commitment and fill out the paperwork first. Some rescues have a waiting list for certain species that you can be put on if you fill out an adoption application first. And DO NOT ask if you can pay a higher adoption fee to skip the application process (this has happened to me), because you can't. This isn't a pet store. End of rant.
 

Tyanna

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Great advice!

I am a volunteer for MADACC (Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission) and soon will be a volunteer for a reptile rescue in Illinois called FoS (Friends of Scales). I will also be fostering tortoises, they get many. :)

I can really tell all these people want what's best for their animals, and I personally went to speak with one of the volunteers before I asked to adopt one of their tortoises. By giving them a name connected with a face and them being able to actually see how passionate and ready you are for one of their animals, the process is 100 times more easy for both you and the rescue.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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All of this seems pretty obvious. These tips apply to just about any form of human interaction. As a pet professional for nearly 30 years now, all of these complaints are just normal day to day dealings with the public. Any customer service oriented "entity" will have to deal the the full spectrum of human intelligence and personality.

Do you really think any of the dummies that skip the research, skip the website, and skip the normal formalities entirely are going to read a piece like this and suddenly develop common courtesy, intelligence and a desire to be respectful? I don't. I don't think they will read it at all. As I read through it the phrase "sour grapes" kept reoccurring to me. I intend this as constructive criticism, not an insult. Reading this piece does not make me want to deal with your organization and rescue an animal in need of a home. Reading this makes me want to go buy one from a pet store or breeder and not have to deal with complications and drama. Dealing with the public is never easy, but writing a "how to" about how not to engage in public idiocy will miss your target audience and annoy the ones who you did not write this piece for. Articles like this will not help you get animals adopted. They will make people think you are too persnickety and judgmental. It is not easy to take it in stride and be graceful when confronted by public stupidity and lack of common courtesy, but it is something that all public service professionals must learn to do and constantly strive to improve upon.

Just my take on the matter.
 

lvstorts

Active Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Messages
472
The audience I was writing for are those 'on the fence.' People that have tried to contact rescues and have not received any answers and may be wondering why. People that have the know how but for some reason or other don't think it's important to make a connection or be courteous.

No. I don't expect those that won't do the research to suddenly change. Yes, I expect to deal with "...public stupidity and lack of common courtsey..."

For the record I reply to every contact I receive. Some of those initial contacts I quoted resulted in adoptions.

I obviously missed my mark.
 

leigti

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The audience I was writing for are those 'on the fence.' People that have tried to contact rescues and have not received any answers and may be wondering why. People that have the know how but for some reason or other don't think it's important to make a connection or be courteous.

No. I don't expect those that won't do the research to suddenly change. Yes, I expect to deal with "...public stupidity and lack of common courtsey..."

For the record I reply to every contact I receive. Some of those initial contacts I quoted resulted in adoptions.

I obviously missed my mark.
I think this does provide good information for people who would like to get a tortoise from a rescue but just don't know quite how to go about it. I agree that it probably won't help the "stupid people" that don't do research, are lazy, want a hand out etc. But nothings going to help them. common courtesy and effective communication is not a given, people don't automatically learn it anymore. They can just text and email and never have to be face-to-face. but I think people with good intentions are very willing to learn but sometimes they need a push in the right direction. And just because a person's communication skills are not the best does not mean they will not take great care of an animal. And some smooth talkers should never be near an animal.
I think it is great that you do reply to everybody no matter what the first impression may be. if you were snooty, conceited, unreasonable etc. you would not do that. I worked at a animal shelter for one summer and I watched good and bad interactions, from both the staff and potential adopters. Both can be unreasonable and have completely unrealistic expectations. and when that happens the only one that loses out is the animal. It worked out the best when each party could clearly state what they required and wanted. If one or the other was flaky it fell apart. I have not checked out your website in a couple weeks, I assume you're going to put some version of this under the adoptions section :)
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
76
Thanks for posting this! I manage a website for a rescue and this is a pet peeve of mine! Another big one is "Call me if you get any [insert species here]." I'm really not interested in being a secretary. If you want a very busy volunteer with a full-time job and lots of animals to care for and family commitments to call you about an adoption, show some commitment and fill out the paperwork first. Some rescues have a waiting list for certain species that you can be put on if you fill out an adoption application first. And DO NOT ask if you can pay a higher adoption fee to skip the application process (this has happened to me), because you can't. This isn't a pet store. End of rant.
I agree, adoption is not equal to free purchase. They need a forever good home
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
76
Great advice!

I am a volunteer for MADACC (Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission) and soon will be a volunteer for a reptile rescue in Illinois called FoS (Friends of Scales). I will also be fostering tortoises, they get many. :)

I can really tell all these people want what's best for their animals, and I personally went to speak with one of the volunteers before I asked to adopt one of their tortoises. By giving them a name connected with a face and them being able to actually see how passionate and ready you are for one of their animals, the process is 100 times more easy for both you and the rescue.

Agree. I am also planning to be volunteers after graduation.
 
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Messages
76
Make the connection: how to adopt a tortoise from a rescue

The following is an opinion piece based on the knowledge and interactions I’ve had running Northwest Tortoise. I’ve been working with tortoises for 20 years and took Northwest Tortoise to the public to spread the mission of education, rescue and captive breeding three years ago. Recently, Northwest Tortoise has become a 501 (c)3 nonprofit. The opinions are my own.

I receive so many emails that start with ‘I want to adopt a tortoise. Call me.’ Or ‘I have big yard’ or ‘what do you got?’ I see posts on forums that state ‘looking for any kind of tortoise. Had them before. Call me.’ As a rescuer, and the person that determines who is approved to adopt, I can say confidently that this approach does not work.

Tips to interact with a rescue:

1. Research the rescue: do they have a webpage? Facebook? Pamphlet, flyer, etc? Look at it, be familiar with it. There is nothing worse than being contacted through my webpage from a person asking what’s available and the information is posted on the same webpage under a different heading! It shows the potential adopter has no interest in doing the work or investing the time to search a simple website. If they can’t take the time to look at a webpage how will they take care of a tortoise.

2. Follow the instructions: if the rescue has a fill-in form or instructions to start the process, follow them completely. If they ask for pictures of the enclosure, provide them. Fill out everything to the best of your ability. If you have questions or cannot fill out a section state why. Use correct written English to the best of your ability. Text-speak and emoticons are unacceptable in business communications.

3. Give the rescue time to process your application. Most rescues will acknowledge a form was submitted. Don’t pester them with status requests! Remember rescues are busy.

4. Don’t balk at the price of a rescue. If you can’t afford it, you probably can’t afford to keep the tortoise. I experience a public perception that if someone is willing to adopt an animal they should get it for next to nothing or free. I’d like to collectively ask all these people with this view to estimate the costs housing, feeding, paying vet bills, shipping or transporting the animal and how much time I’ve spent and then have them bulk at the price! I guarantee the price of the adoption is cheaper than the resources put forth.

Examples of contacts that will get you a second look:

Hi (start with a greeting),

I noticed on your webpage, FB, chat forum, so-and-so referred me, whatever method, give some context, remember the reader (rescuer) has no idea who you are, MAKE A CONNECTION you have tortoises for adoption.

I am interested in _________________. I’m interested because I currently have, had, or want to have a tortoise. If you state you had a tortoise, provide a brief explanation of why you don’t have them any longer. Remember, the rescue is trying to place the animal for life. Immediately seeing someone ‘had’ one sends up red flags: what happened to it? Regardless if it’s a good or bad story, be honest, even if someone killed their tortoise for whatever reason, they are still potential adopters. Demonstrate the ability to learn from the tragedy.

If you are a new potential owner: I am a new at tortoises but have been reading about them and think I’m ready. I really liked the section of your website with all the books listed acknowledge you read something or liked a picture on the website, FB, chat forum, whatever, make the connection, the information published is a resource provided for the potential adopter: USE IT. I am interested in _____ species.

I have submitted the form and look forward to hearing from you. Additionally, I would like your advice or to ask you a question on __________. Can we talk when it’s convenient for you?

Remember: rescues WANT to adopt their animals to responsible, forever homes. Making contact is your first impression. Do it right. Be courteous, be knowledgeable of the rescue you are contacting, know the species you are looking for ask relevant questions and if you are new to tortoise ownership show your willingness to learn and seek advice.

Very helpful and great points.
 

tortoiselady

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5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
152
Location (City and/or State)
S. CA
I love your advice and think it will help some people who are on the fence as you have mentioned. Clearly the truly stupid won't be reading any of this. I am a frustrated fellow volunteer and feel you. I see nothing wrong with reaching out to anyone who will listen. If it helps one person then it was worth it.
 

mike rowlett

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2015
Messages
64
Well I read most of what u wrote and it made me feel like I don't care. That is not the truth I love tortoises and always have I willing to learn anything I can make the life of my Tortoise better. I do have a really good place to make a good pen . I hope the people I have talked to about adoption of their tortoise don't think that I would harm this animal In any way just because I didn't Word things right I will continue to try and adopt one and also will continue to learn as much as I can thanks Mike in Texas
 

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