The Adoption Process

The Adoption Process

CSRA accepts applications for adoption from families living in central, west, and south Texas. Read the Adoption Guidelines and review the Adoption Application to decide whether adopting a cocker is right for you. Complete and submit the on-line Adoption Application If you prefer submitting a paper copy, click here for an Adobe PDF version.

Once we receive your application, we will complete a phone or email interview and the reference checks. A home visit will be scheduled with an CSRA volunteer. Then you will get to meet an cocker who needs a loving home.

Continue reading for a more in-depth discussion of the adoption process.

Why consider adopting a rescued cocker spaniel?

Adorable, adoptable cocker spaniels are in need of rescue and a fresh start all over the country. They sit in shelters, are advertised "free to a good home," and forage by the side of the road. We can tell you from experience, that in most cases it was NOT the dog's fault that they ended up in need of rescue. These dogs are waiting for a second chance with a wonderful family who will love and understand them.

What is the process to adopt?

The first step is read to read our Adoption Guidelines to find out what we expect from our adoptive families and decide whether adopting an cocker is right for you. Then look over the Adoption Application, fill it out and submit it. The fastest way to accomplish this is by submitting our on-line application. Although we are pleased to answer questions about the breed and the process, we cannot proceed until we have your application in hand.

Next, we conduct a phone or email interview with you, and make reference and vet checks. We then schedule a home visit with an CSRA volunteer.

The application, interview, vet checks, and home visit are part of the approval process. Once you are approved and you and the right dog find each other, we can schedule a sleepover so you can spend time with the dog in your home to be sure that your family and the cocker are good fits for each other.

Why do I need a home visit?

CSRA wants to see where and how an cocker will fit into your life. Where will he sleep? Where will she eat? What kind a yard will she play in? How will the members of your household, including humans and other pets, interact with the dog. Home visits are a mandatory part of the process to help ensure a lasting placement.

How long does the process take?

Sometimes, an adoption can take place in days, from filing out the application, to the interview and reference checks, to the home visit and finally to the placement of a dog. More typically, adoptions take one or two weeks and longer to get through the approval process. The adoption process may take a little longer.

Why the delay?

CSRA needs to take the time to get to know the dog AND you to help us find that “match made in heaven”.

This process may seem a bit lengthy but bear in mind we seek forever homes for our rescued dogs. Our volunteers work carefully on behalf of each dog. CSRA has placed well over 1,000 cockers since we started by using the same care with each placement. We are available to troubleshoot after the placement, and always take our dogs back into Rescue if the placement doesn't work out. Hopefully, with care beforehand, few placements fail.

Can I get a puppy?

Although CSRA occasionally takes in dogs under 12 months old, we generally work with dogs that are around a year old and, more typically, with dogs who are between 2 and 4 years old. It is CSRA’s policy not to recommend breeders and is steadfastly opposed to the proliferation of puppy mills. We strongly urge you not to purchase a puppy from a mill or a pet store.

My dogs sleep in the barn

If that is where your rescue cocker would sleep, we would have to say that adopting a dog from us is not for you. Cocker spaniels are people dogs. They love their families, and they thrive on interaction with them. CSRA requires adopting families to provide inside accommodations for their dogs, and will not adopt a dog to anyone who intends to keep them outside.

Can I get a specific dog?

Perhaps. We routinely receive several applications for specific dogs appearing on our Web site and there’s every chance that you are not the first to see the “perfect pooch.” There may already be a waiting list. But even if you are the first to ask about a specific cocker, we reserve the right to ensure that this is the right dog for you. We have been fostering this dog and finding out everything we can about him. We know more about him than you do and we want to make sure that his next family is his forever one. We receive wonderful dogs all the time. If the first dog you spot has already been spoken for, another one will come along and steal your heart when you’re not looking.

Why should I consider a senior?

CSRA often takes in senior citizens into our program. These dogs have been loyal and loving pets that, for one reason or another, find themselves homeless at 8 or 9 years old or even more. These senior citizens are usually wonderful dogs, grateful to those who give them the love and affection. They are usually less active and are an ideal match for those adopters with a quieter life style.

I have several other pets

If you have a number of other dogs, cats or other pets, it may affect your ability to adopt. All dogs need human interaction, and cocker spaniels need it more than most. They thrive on the love and attention they get from their families, and they are adversely affected when they are deprived of such attention. CSRA strives to place its dogs in situations where they will be assured of ongoing tender loving care, and where they will not have to compete for human affection. If you already have a number of dogs, you may not be in the best position to provide a home to a rescue cocker.

Do I have to have a fence?

That depends on your particular circumstances, and on the characteristics of each dog. Some rescue groups believe that a fenced yard is mandatory for keeping an cocker spaniel safe. A fenced yard is a huge convenience when owning a dog but is no guarantee of safety. In the history of CSRA many cockers have been hit by cars after gates have been left open or the dogs have climbed over or dug under the fence. Cockers left too long alone in a fenced yard quickly become bored and get into trouble. They also frequently become problem barkers and an annoyance to your neighbors. A fence becomes more important when there are children in the home who will forget to keep doors closed allowing an cocker to escape.

We are often asked if electronic fencing works for cocker spaniels. Our answer is yes and no. Some adoptive homes have had success with it. We know that to work, the equipment, including the collar batteries, must be kept in proper working order or it is useless. The dog must be properly trained on the boundaries. Keep in mind that the dog receives a shock for crossing the boundary coming home as well as leaving so once he leaves he may be hesitant to come back! Also it doesn't keep other dogs, predators, or people from coming into your yard and causing harm to your dog. Whether electronic fencing works for your cocker depends on your dog’s temperament. For some dogs a shock is no big deal if the stimulus (rabbit, cat) is great enough!

In summary – the most important point to remember about a fenced yard and electronic fences is that you should not use them to leave your dog out unattended for any length of time. In our opinion, boundary training cannot be done with a rescued  cocker. CSRA's adoption agreement does not provide for it. We have re-homed more than 1,000 cockers, and during that time we have seen too many of our dogs lost, injured, or killed when folks insisted they had just taken the dogs off leash for a short run and thought it was safe. We just don't engage in the debate of boundary training with a rescue cocker.

Some adult applicants live in neighborhoods where a fence is not possible. Many of these folks have successfully owned cockers before and kept them safe. These are some of the best adoptive homes possible as they spend lots of time walking their dogs several times daily! We understand their situation as long as they have a history of safe dog ownership and intend to keep their dog on leash.

Is there a fee to adopt?

We ask adopters to pay an adoption fee at the time they begin the sleepover. The average cost to “rescue” an cocker was over $400 in 2011. This includes the initial veterinary visit with vaccination, heartworm test, spay, neutering, microchip implantation, and treatment for any medical condition. In addition, many dogs require boarding while we search for a foster home or the right adoptive home and some require “boot camp” for behavioral issues. Every dog goes to his new home with a new collar, leash, and ID tag. Because of this, we require an adoption fee of $200 to $300. CSRA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and donations are tax deductible for most.

Can I adopt from another cocker rescue group?

It is CSRA’s first choice is to place our cockers within our coverage area so we can provide adequate follow up. If you live in an area that CSRA does not cover, we can accept your application but will forward it to the cocker rescue group for your area. On occasion, one group may have more cockers in their program than they can place, or a group may have a special-needs cocker that requires a unique home. In such cases, we will work with other groups to facilitate placement.