Adoption FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption

1Why adopt an English Springer Spaniel?
There are many sound and practical reasons.
  • The dog may already be housetrained. Even adult dogs, with little experience living inside a home, are surprisingly easy to train.
  • Older dogs enjoy playing with toys and learning new games.
  • Unless they are puppies, dogs are their full size when they are adopted.
  • Rehomed dogs are eager to learn the ways of their new home.
  • With careful screening, our organization helps find the best match possible for your household.
  • ESRA makes sure each dog's shots are current, and they are spayed or neutered.
  • Rescued Springers seem to create an exceptional bond with their owners. Maybe it's because of their intelligence and love of people. Or maybe it's their adaptability and their desire to please.

    This is how some adopters have described this unique relationship:

    "They KNOW they've got a second chance and appreciate the love, safety and companionship of a home that truly wants them and appreciates them for being the individuals that they are."

    "He has come from being timid, no manners, and neglected to an exuberant, happy, obedient, and very healthy dog. His personality is the definition of playful and sweet."

    "I rescued my Springer last year and I think it is how fast she is able to connect with my feelings that makes her so great."

    "Their reaction is that of a typical Spaniel, loving with all of their heart and soul."

    "As Velcro dogs, Springers abound with love, and when they come as a rescue they just seem to show it with exuberance. At this point in my life, I cannot imagine being without at least one Springer."

  • 2What is the screening process?
    Adopting a Springer Spaniel requires that you fill out an application telling us about you and your family and noting any specific requests. This information helps us match the very best dog for you, your household, and your lifestyle. Please note that a $15 non-refundable fee will be required to process any application. It is very important that we find the right Forever Home for every rescued Springer in our program. After you have completed the application and submitted your application fee, a volunteer will contact you. We ask for a veterinarian’s reference, or one from a similar contact person who can speak to your responsibility as a pet owner. Finally, we conduct a home visit unless you are in an inaccessible area.
    3Why are all ESRA dogs spayed and neutered?
    We rescue many hundreds of unwanted Springers a year. Many were a result of puppy mills or backyard breeders who bred one "nice dog" to another, without any regard to temperament or genetic health testing. We must help end this practice if we are to be successful in our goal of ending the unnecessary euthanasia of healthy, adoptable Springers. We support only responsible breeders who are experts in the breed standard and who promote improvement of the breed. We place only pets, not breeding stock.
    4How long does the adoption process take?
    It depends on the number of available dogs in your region and the volume of rescue work at the time, as well as your accessibility. Sometimes it's only a couple of weeks, and sometimes it may take a month or more to find the right dog. Please remember that we are all volunteers and most of us have families and regular, full-time jobs. We appreciate your patience.
    5Does ESRA have the right to decline an applicant?
    It should be understood that applications for adopting a Springer through English Springer Rescue America, Inc. (ESRA) are subject to acceptance based on a review process that may require collecting information from an application, a phone interview, a vet and/or personal reference check, and a home visit. Decisions on placing dogs in adoptive homes are an art, not a science. There may be times when applications are denied for various reasons. This is left to the discretion of the ESRA representative after reviewing the information.

    For any rescued dog in ESRA's care, we reserve the right to make all decisions regarding final disposition or placement into a foster or adoptive home. There is absolutely no guarantee, made or implied, that any person or persons requesting to adopt a Springer Spaniel being fostered through ESRA, or posted on ESRA's website, will be granted an adoption.
    6How does the matchmaking work?
    Once you are approved to adopt, a volunteer will let you know. You should let the contact person listed at the bottom of each web posting know which dogs appeal to you to see if any of those might be a match. We work hard to ensure that each adoption is an ideal fit. Be careful not to get attached to any one dog on the website. There very well may be other interested adopters at the same time. Adopters are NOT chosen on a first-come-first-served basis. We are looking for the best fit for each dog.
    7Where are the dogs located?
    They are in foster homes all over each state. Our foster families are volunteers that take dogs into their homes and integrate them into their families, both human and canine. Sometimes dogs are residing with their current owners while we work to find them homes. We may even have dogs waiting patiently in boarding facilities for their new families.
    8Can a dog be transported for adoption?
    This decision is at the discretion of the coordinator and foster parents of the available dog. Long-distance adoptions are more difficult for our group due to our commitment to the dogs, our involvement in the careful matching process, and our desire to provide post-adoption support. For the most part, we are eager to see our dogs placed in a nearby, easily-accessible home. If a dog's foster parent or coordinator will consider a long-distance transport, costs (including crate) are your responsibility. Remember, too, that if the adoption doesn't work out for some reason, YOU will have the responsibility of getting the dog back to the foster home.
    9Where do our Springers come from?
    Our dogs often come from shelters where they might have been strays or have been dumped there by their owners. We then take these dogs into foster care, evaluate their personalities, and get them healthy, happy, and spayed/neutered. Some Springers are relinquished to our organization by their owners. We do our best to gather information about dogs that stay in their relinquishing owners’ care, but please remember that you don’t know a dog until you have lived with him or her! Many folks are surprised to find so many Springers, their favorite breed, needing new homes. There is actually a breed-specific rescue group for just about every breed.
    10How much does it cost?
    For dogs in ESRA's foster care program, there is an adoption fee of $450 for a spayed/neutered dog who has been examined by a veterinarian and given appropriate vaccinations and tests.

    Senior adopters (age 60 and older) pay a $75 adoption fee for dogs age 10 and older.

    ESRA does not make a profit. All money is spent on caring for the Springers that we rescue and getting them ready for adoption, which includes spaying/neutering. Sadly, heartworm is prevalent in the South. Therefore, all ESRA dogs are tested and, if found to be positive, undergo expensive treatment for this easily preventable disease. Our fosters evaluate each dog's temperament and personality, and they work with the dog on house manners, obedience training, and socialization.

    Although it is the policy of ESRA to spay and neuter all foster care dogs before placement, we do reserve the right to place an intact dog in certain situations, such as puppies. In such case, Adopting Owner agrees that the spay or neuter surgery will be done by a certain date and will give ESRA a deposit of $200, which is in addition to the adoption fee. ESRA will return the deposit to the Adopting Owner when provided with a copy of the attending veterinarian’s spay/neuter certificate or invoice within 90 days of the surgery.
    11What does Adoption Pending mean?
    This means that ESRA has already lined up an adopter for the dog. The dog’s status will change to "Adopted" when the adoption is finalized with a signed contract and the payment of the adoption fee. Sometimes this closure is delayed due to ongoing medical treatment, so a dog may be listed on the website as Adoption Pending for a month or more.
    12What can I expect when I adopt a Springer?
    Throughout this process, please be honest with us and with yourself about dog traits which you can accept. Listen closely to the foster parents! They know the dog in their care. Please do not fall in love with a cute picture. Check the description carefully. Please be realistic about your expectations for your new adoptee. Remember that the dog has just been wrenched from a secure place. A rescue dog can take up to six months to settle into a new home. There may be "words" with other resident pets. There may be occasional accidents even if a dog has been reliably housetrained. Are you patient enough to help your new dog and your family make this adjustment? We are looking for TRUE dog lovers who want a Springer for the right reasons and not just for looks. Be open-minded. You are adopting a dog and giving it a new life. Many people don't inquire about a dog that is listed because the dog’s pictures are not eye catching. Unfortunately, those people miss out on great dogs. We often post the first pictures we receive, so be sure to read the write-up as well. If you don't see the dog’s potential, you may miss out on a terrific Springer!
    13What if it doesn't work out?
    First of all, don't give up easily! There is a wealth of experience in our national network of Springer rescuers. We are available for advice, tips, and support. If your adoptee is not fitting in well, please contact either your nearest Springer rescue person or the foster home. We will always take our Springers back, but you must agree to provide the return transportation to the foster home. There will be another adopter that comes along who is right for the dog that doesn't fit with you, and there will be another Springer that will fit perfectly into your home.

    Most of all, please realize that your rescue dog needs to settle in and learn your routine. Be patient with him or her! Even a housetrained dog will have a few accidents until you learn each other's signals. Contain your excitement and do not take your new dog to the pet store or out on adventures for the first few weeks, as such stimulation can be overwhelming for the dog. Give the dog time to get used to your household first and feel secure with you and the other animals you may already have in your home. There is no need to start obedience classes right away. You can work on a few basics at home and start training after a month or so of settling in. And don't hesitate to talk to your state coordinator or the foster parent of your adoptee with any questions about your new dog.

    If the adoption truly is not a fit and the dog is returned within 30 days, the adoption fee will be refunded. We will always take an adoptee back at any point in his or her life, but we are unable to refund the fee after 30 days.

    Although we endeavor to find a Springer for every approved applicant, and all things are taken into consideration when we consider the placement of each dog, the process of rehoming dogs has no guarantees.

    Baggage by Evelyn Colbath

    ©1995 (All rights reserved.)
    No reprints of this poem without the expressed, written permission of the author.

    Now that I'm home, bathed, settled and fed,
    All nicely tucked in my warm new bed.
    I'd like to open my baggage lest I forget
    There is so much to carry — So much to regret.

    Hmm … Yes there it is, right on the top.
    Let's unpack Loneliness, Heartache and Loss;
    And there by my leash hides Fear and Shame.
    As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave —

    I still have to unpack my baggage called Pain.
    I loved them, the others, the ones who left me,
    But I wasn't good enough — for they didn't want me.
    Will you add to my baggage?

    Will you help me unpack?
    Or will you just look at my things -
    And take me right back?

    Do you have the time to help me unpack?
    To put away my baggage, to never repack?
    I pray that you do — I'm so tired you see,
    But I do come with baggage —

    Will YOU still want ME?