I should have known something was up when we arrived at the home and saw both a No Trespassing Sign and a confederate flag at the home, two things I’d recently written negative articles about and generally do not feel comfortable around. The ad poster actually attempted to give us a different dog than the one we were responding to—a giant baby horse of a dog that would have eaten my cats and trampled my kid—which should have made a few warning bells go off as well.
The dog we did take home, who is adorable, is not what she said he is. He’s the same breed, but that is where the truth sidewalk ends. He’s not housebroken, as was reported. He has no shot records or records of being de-wormed—or any records at all!—at the veterinarian where she told us we could get them from (and which she charged us for, with his rehoming fee). These things were pretty integral in my decision to adopt him and now that I know they’re false, I have extra work to do with the dog.
Yes, I know that dogs are a lot of work; I had them all through my childhood. I knew that he’d have another set of shots coming up as well as routine yearly check-ups, flea and heartworm meds to take, and plenty of other things that seem like a mountain next to the simple yearly maintenance our three cats require (cats we also adopted when potty-trained, fixed, de-wormed, etc.). Now I have to wait to get his whole “puppy package” complete before we get him into obedience training—and the vet package costs more than the training itself so it will give us a budgetary delay as well.
My advice for responding to an animal ad on Craigslist? Do your homework. Ask to see the paperwork or have the owner call the vet and talk with him or her before agreeing to adopt. Or, better yet, adopt from a reputable animal shelter, as we did with all of our cats. It’s much more expensive, sure, but they were all taken care of—even microchipped for safety!—and the peace of mind that comes with that is worth the price.