I am a small dog rescue owner, having owned 3 rescues in the past. Having recently lost my lead dog, and with one senior dog remaining, I began researching adopting another rescue. Several other organizations did not have favorable reviews &consistently negative comments. AFH had generally high ratings. They had a small rescue pup of 7 months of age that I was interested in. I am an above average dog owner, I have been an assistant obedience instructor for over 6 yrs at a local Maryland training club so I have practical knowledge of dogs, their behavior, and certainly training. Since my retirement, I have become a part time pet sitter/walker as well. So my life very much revolves around interacting with dogs. I can say 100% that my interaction with AFH was top notch from start to finish. I emailed the foster first to meet the dog. I was able to bring my current dog to meet the puppy at the foster's residence and was able to observe their interaction and ask questions. I submitted my application online (scanned) and received a response in 6 hrs. I was contacted for a phone interview in a timely fashion. I then had a home inspection at a mutually agreeable time. At every step I was told clearly what/when to expect the next step to occur. Each meeting was on time and as promised. For such a complex application process, this moved along like a well organized unit. Everyone was helpful, courteous, and they all seemed to care about what they were doing...saving pets and making sure they went to good homes. When a rescue goes to such lengths to vet it's potential adopters, it means they care about who they are adopting out to, not just statistics and numbers to "impress" sponsors etc. They want to make sure it works out for the life of the dog. One unique quality of this rescue is they DO NOT spay/neuter a puppy at 3 months of age like some other rescues. I have done some research and I personally believe super early spay/neuters have potential health issues(urinary incontinence in females, possible joint issues). Ideal is 5-6 months to spay a female before her first heat, and around 6 months for a male is best. I completely understand the need to eliminate unwanted litters thus the need to insure sterility of dogs going to new homes, but AFH accomplishes this without compromising the health of the dog in later life. They make you sign a contract that your young puppy has to be spayed'neutered by 6 months of age and they have to have proof or else they come after you. If your dog is more than 6 months of age when adopted, they will be fixed prior to leaving AFH. This is a win win, the dog is not sterilize at too young an age, no unwanted pet litters, and the organization can make sure owners do what they are supposed to do. Super arrangement. Highly recommend this rescue organization.
We first got involved with AFH through a friend who was a foster. We adopted our first dog from them in 2009, and she is the most perfect dog in the universe! A few years ago I became a volunteer and periodic foster. Rather, a foster failure, I adopted my last foster! I conduct home visits for them and am alway very impressed with the amount of work the primary 4 people do. There’s lots of moving parts! But they have a good system and manage to get it all done. It’s a labor of love for them, I wish everyone realized that we’re all volunteers doing the best we can to save dogs and put them in appropriate, good homes.
I first learned of AFH when I adopted our wonderful Rottie, Heidi, from AFH. I went to several foster homes as well as to the adoption events to look at dogs before Heidi picked us. I was impressed with the devotion and love each foster family had for their wards. The process is very streamlined without missing crucial steps (application, interview, home checks etc) and soon Heidi was ours.
I then became a volunteer for AFH, and I frequent the adoption events to get my puppy snuggling time fix! The leaders of AFH are always there and they are tireless in their dedication. I also see some of the same foster parents there week after week with their new wards, again, tireless devotion and love for each pup. The events and fundraisers are very well run and enjoyable as well.
I love this organization and just wish that I could do more but working full time, I do what I can. I get my first foster in May, all the way from Thailand! I just hope he does not adopt me :-)
Review from Guidestar
Before I volunteered here I adopted my first furry friend from this organization. Currently I am fostering another one. I found the adoption process is simple and well verified. AFH makes sure the adopted one gets the right place and care. They rescue quite a lot of abandon dogs and cats. AFH does pretty good job of finding fosters/forever home for new dogs and cats.
I am impressed by the work of this self organized and independent volunteers contribution.
I am not one to usually leave reviews but this organization is extremely unprofessional. The lack of communication after you have been through half of the adoption process is incredible. My daughter and I did the interview signed the application and have been waiting for a home visit. We were told AFH doesnt adopt certain breeds to renters which is fine and understandable- (Bethany) was amazing helping me find a few other dogs that I could adopt. I found one we loved and sent 6 messages inquiring about the dog just to be told that someone will get back to me. I never heard from the dogs foster or AFH.
I looked at Homeward Trails- found a puppy Thursday, filled out my application, got a call from the organization and foster, met by puppy Saturday and brought him home. I feel like adopting a dog should be an easy and fun process all the way around and AFH didnt make that experience happen.
I hope the dogs under their care find loving homes, because from the looks of it there are many people (including myself) that were ready and willing to be those homes. I am not bashing the organization just a little disappointed and hurt that no one could take the time to aide in this process.
It sounds corny but I really don't know if I rescued my fur baby or she rescued me. I adopted Tater from A Forever Home almost 10 years ago and have been recommending them ever since. please don't hesitate to adopt from them or give them donations.
I have adopted 2 dogs from AFH in the span of 11 years and volunteered with them as well. They do everything they can to make sure a dog is a good fit for a home. They provide exceptional medical care for their fosters, even when a dog needs multiple surgeries or procedures. For being run solely by volunteers, they can get overwhelmed with work but they do a great job of rescuing dogs and placing them in good homes.
We have adopted two rescue dogs from AFH, one at a time over several years. They were always up front about any issues each had, and each was a blessing to us. We look forward, as our last has passed, to adopting another (or a pair) of companions to love.
They are a volunteer organization, yet they reach out (recently Texas and Florida) to help out other rescues in need. Our first rescue came from Garret County, MD, in fact. Adoption events can be hectic and crowded, and patience is recommended. You’re not going to a store that wants to unload merchandise, but to filks who want to put a pet in the right home the first time.
Review from Guidestar
So our family went back to the local Petco in Chantilly, VA Nov. 12 2017 to check out the rescues as we have on several occasions. We finally found a puppy we absolutely adored. We went and filled the application, and did the interview on the spot. Discussions went well, and we were told we would be contacted by Wednesday to schedule a home visit. To our surprise we get an email less than 24 hours later say we have been DENIED due to not meeting their guidelines. Funny thing is we've been dog owners for over 10 years, both dogs since they were puppies. One just passed this year due to health reasons...RIP :(
We are tenured dog owners, and to get a response like that was a COMPLETE shock. I've written the Board of Directors asking for a response on how they came to this conclusion, other than using a cookie cutter template they sent us. Its been a 4-5 business days with no response. I've tried calling their phone # which if you call states this voicemail is unattended. I left them a review on their Facebook page, which they FLAGGED and had deleted with the reason saying "it was not a personal experience" Oh you better believe this was a real experience, we were there!! we have a copy of the paperwork you gave us.
I'd really like to see some transparency with this organization, they seem to be hiding from the general public. I couldn't find them on Yelp, only google to write a review. The only other place I left a review (on their Facebook page) was deleted to hide the truth. I've also tried messaging them on Facebook, guess what? They BLOCKED ME!
Obviously I'm not interested in dealing with this shady organization to obtain a pet, but because I believe in transparency, here are some screenshots...
Maybe AFH will chime in, or will they try to have this review deleted as well? I wish I can give them zero stars...from what I perceive this a shady organization.
This company will not help other rescues in need. They will only go out of their way to do what is best for them. If you don't believe me, ask them what organizations they have helped in the past that needed assistance. There answer: "We are a small foundation that works off supplies, monetary and other donations from the general public." Yet, if you look at their history they will go out of their way to puppy mills to take dogs in need, but have even denied helping other organizations who have reached out to them. There are plenty of other great rescues in this area. Go support them instead. This company is tragically run.
Honestly, I have no idea what this person is talking about. AFH works with other organizations on a regular basis. We partner with many other rescues and businesses to do all we can to benefit the community in impacted areas. Do we help with puppy mills, you bet! We've worked with authorities to shut down a number of puppy mills and disreputable breeders. Do we work with disadvantaged rescues in areas where they frequently have no option but to euthanize dogs? Yes. We partner with a large number of rescues who have significant intake volumes and near zero chance of placement. Do we help out in natural disasters? Yes. We made five trips to the Gulf Coast following Katrina. We purchased and had installed a new heating system for a New England shelter whose system was destroyed by the storm. We just returned from another Gulf trip to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and we're planning a trip to help with relief following Hurricane Irma. In short, we help many orgs!
Recently, my husband and I decided that it is time for our family to get a dog, so we began looking for a puppy that could grow old with our children. I spent weeks searching rescues and researching breeds. I found 6 puppies at A Forever Home that I was interested in, and all 6 were going to be at an adoption event on Sunday 8/6. I took my 7-year-old twins to the event and told them that we’d know if we found a puppy we couldn’t live without. Well, we fell in love with a puppy named Faye, filled out an adoption application and had our on-the-spot interview. I was told that the next step was a home visit which was a formality to ensure that we’re not “running a puppy mill or having dog fights in the backyard.” Faye was given a collar with our name on it. My children were told that we could rename Faye and that they should start thinking of what her new name would be. Confident that the home visit would go well, we were told that we’d attend a briefing on 8/13 where we’d sign the contract, pay the adoption fee, and take Faye home.
Filled with excitement, we were at the adoption event for 2 hours after we knew that Faye was “our puppy.” We held her and took pictures with her. Although my husband had taken an early cross-country flight that morning, he came to meet Faye so he could share our excitement during the week while we waited for her. When Faye was loaded into a car at the end of the event, we were taken to her so that we could say bye. She whimpered when we left. We spent the rest of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday getting ready for Faye and our home visit. We chose a new name for her. By Wednesday evening 8/9, we had not yet been contacted about our home visit. I sent an email to A Forever Home to let them know and provided my contact info. No response. On Friday morning 8/10, I noticed that someone was uploading photos to the Facebook page, so I sent a message saying that I hadn’t heard anything. That person (Maribel) gave me her email so I could message my info to her directly and said she’d look into it. Two hours later, I received a generic email from the Board of Directors denying my adoption application. I replied to that email and sent another to Maribel requesting clarification for what I could only see as a mistake. My husband left a message on the rescue’s voicemail as well. No response. Friday evening, I noticed someone on Facebook again so I messaged, concerned that I hadn’t received any responses. I was told to direct all inquiries to the info@ address, so I sent another email at 6:30pm. No response. I left a pleading message on the rescue’s voicemail Saturday afternoon, hoping that somehow we might still be able to get Faye on Sunday 8/13. I sent one final email on Tuesday 8/15. Again…no response.
It’s now Wednesday 8/16, and we are extremely hurt. Even more so, we are confused. We are confused by the denial with no explanation. We are confused by the denial with no home visit and no further communication. We are confused as to why we (especially my children) were given so much hope and were allowed to bond with a puppy and told to name her, only to be crushed.
I had initially been so impressed with A Forever Home. The website and Facebook page are great—filled with photos and information. The adoption event was organized and well run. But somewhere after the event, the level of professionalism previously exhibited was lost. We are left with a crate, food and toys for a puppy that we didn’t bring home. We are left with unanswered questions while at the same time trying to find answers to give our children. While I typically would not write a negative review, our experience has been nothing short of heartbreaking. I can only hope to spare another family the same experience.
libbymeurer - thanks for your review, even though it's not the kind we like to receive! We apologize that you didn't have a positive experience with AFH. There are several things that played into your experience: - The week you applied, several of our key members were away (not a justification - just an explanation) - The interviewers (and everyone else at the adoption event) are volunteers and don't always relay the correct information or set appropriate expectations. Clearly, we need to work on this. - When applications are denied, we don't typically reveal the reason. We recognize that this often causes confusion for the prospective adopters. It is a policy that many other rescues also employ. Again, we apologize we didn't live up to your expectations. We will strive to improve our adopter interactions.
This rescue is HORRIBLE at communicating if you're trying to return a pet adopted from them, which is stipulated as a requirement in the contract you sign. My family and I adopted a lovely dog almost a month ago, but came to the difficult decision over two weeks ago that it was not meant to be and we should return him.
It has now been 16 days since my initial email, requesting initiation of the return process and during this entire time, I have only received one email in response - this came 9 days after my initial email. In 16 days I have sent approximately 10 emails, left 4 voicemails, pinged their FB page via messenger, and left a review on their FB page and Google. A friend of mine successfully made contact with them via FB on my behalf given my inability to do so, but while they would tell her a limited amount of info about MY process (just that they started the process), they continue to ignore messages from me. So, they'll talk to other people about my process, but not me. I am being deliberately and purposefully ignored, I can only assume is because I'm trying to return a dog.
It is of course not the desired outcome when running a rescue, that an animal comes back. However, not all adoptions are perfect matches and are in the best interest of both parties (family and dog) in the end. AFH is disrespecting me and my family by deliberately prolonging this process and making it hard on us, as well as the dog we adopted.
I've reached the point where I am at a loss for words. So, if you're looking for a rescue that REALLY cares for the dogs, this one is not the one. If they really cared, they'd do all they can in the best interest of the dogs - even those being returned.
I would give this company a ZERO if it was allowed! We should have looked at the reviews because they are HORRIBLE! We told them we were from an apartment and that we wanted the Shepard mix and our lease only says no GERMAN shepards. They said doesnt matter THEY wont let us have him and its THEIR right to refuse us. I asked tp see where that was written and was told it was a "verbal" policy. ALL because they said there was a CHANCE the apartment complex could say no and refused to call to ask if the complex would allow it.
We apologize that you were dissatisfied with your interaction with our organization. It is true that we do limit adoptions of various breeds to those who rent, and yes, we limit based on our policies, not those of a particular apartment complex. This policy was developed after many, many renting adopters moved and were forced to return their pet because their new rental provider did not allow a particular breed. While we recognize that our policy causes hardship for some people, we genuinely feel that it is in the best interest of the dogs. We hope that you were successful in finding a new furry companion. A Forever Home Rescue Foundation
We had a horrible experience with them.
They misrepresented the breed of the dog we got, which is not a big deal until we realized that they bring physically abused dogs from Puerto-Rico hence with a slue of difficult behavior problems and aggression. When you have a problem, they offer no help and makes you feel that you are the problem, even with an aggressive dog that we totally believe that he was medicated with sedatives when we saw him.
The safety of the families including children is not on their radar at all.
It's a business, if they truly cared about the animals they would have been available to help the families or take the animal back if it is not the right fit and match it with someone more equipped to handle an abused aggressive dog with no small children in the house.
Research and read the reviews carefully, for us it was too late.
We regret that you had a bad experience with our organization. We strive to ensure that all dogs we adopt out are placed into appropriate homes where they will be able to stay forever ... their "forever home." To accomplish this, we ensure that we divulge as much information as we have about each dog prior to its adoption. In your case, you should have been informed that your dog was from Puerto Rico so that you could have taken that under advisement as you made your decision to adopt or not. We'd also like to stress that, while some dogs from Puerto Rico are abused, the same can be said of everywhere. Being from Puerto Rico does not "doom a dog to failure" With regard to the misrepresentation of a dog's breed, we do the best we can. In the greatest majority of cases, we rely on the assessment of the surrendering entity (shelter, rescue, owner) for breed identity. This is for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is common that the dogs will come with treatment sheets that become part of their "permanent record." These sheets will have a breed identification on them, and if we use something else then first, we're guessing, and second, it causes confusion. As for the dog being "medicated with sedatives" when you saw him ... that was most assuredly not the case. We don't believe in misrepresenting our dogs like that. It does no one any good! And for returning a dog, we always accept returns of dogs adopted through our organization. In fact, that is a condition of adoption and explicitly called out in your contract that you must return the dog to us (see the text of our contract here: http://www.aforeverhome.org/forms/sample-adoption-contract/). There is a process that you must go through when returning your dog. This process ensures that we are able to place the dog into an appropriate foster home when one is available. Returns may not happen immediately because we do not have a facility where dogs are housed, but rather rely on foster care providers. While this doesn't change the fact that you were (and probably still are) dissatisfied with the rescue, hopefully, it helps understand why things happened as they did.
Do your homework before selecting this organization. It would be nice to finally get through and talk with the person in charge. I find it interesting they they don't list any of that information on the website only to say a group of experienced rescuers. Certainly do not have any experience with the process of fixing errors of pets placed in the wrong home environment. Even if they pride themselves on making a good forever home match. They don't even take safety of children into consideration when every attempt has been made to consider the pet and the children by the family. Do your homework... even if you think nothing will go wrong in the process. It's these situations that really brings to light the true nature and intent of an organization. This has a process that needs to be fixed and not at the expense of children or families that have gone beyond trying to make it work...not when harm has been done. It's a difficult decision to have to make and a strong organization would be supportive and there to help make it easier for the families and the pets....not prolong and be difficult.
We regret that you had a bad experience working with AFH. We really do try to make things work out, but it can be difficult. We do not publish phone numbers for our volunteers. Most of our volunteers work full-time jobs, have families, and other obligations in addition to the rescue. All contact with the rescue is initiated through our firstname.lastname@example.org email address. When it comes to returning a dog, we always accept returns of dogs adopted through our organization. In fact, that is a condition of adoption and explicitly called out in your contract that you must return the dog to us (see the text of our contract here: http://www.aforeverhome.org/forms/sample-adoption-contract/). There is a process that you must go through when returning your dog. This process ensures that we are able to place the dog into an appropriate foster home when one is available. Returns may not happen immediately because we do not have a facility where dogs are housed, but rather rely on foster care providers. Just as you are concerned for the safety of your family, we are concerned for the safety of ours (our fosters and volunteers). We have to find an appropriate foster before we can bring a dog back into the organization. For a dog with behavioral issues, that may take a while. The rescue is here to help, but please remember that when you adopted the dog, you assumed responsibility for the dog. We will do what we can, when we can, but sometimes that isn't enough to meet your needs. All the best, A Forever Home Rescue Foundation
It is my opinion that this so call non profit is helping only themself to realize their dream to " boss" somebody. The leaders are people who probably feel less important that they wish to be so they show they "authority " to potential adopters in full splendor. They even want to comand potential adopters what they may and may not to do in their own home. Please believe me after many years working and now volunteering at vet clinics and shelters I now how important it is to explain people what to do and not to do with and for adopted animals. I support free training for adopters and their dog , brochures, hot lines, mentors, children and pet classes and all possible ways how to teach public to take good care of adopted animals. But I do not support arogancy, invasion of privacy. And extreme like house check. There is to many animals waiting for adoption and sadly too many animals to be put down every months, every year. So I would like to beg people who can donate things, food money to choose a non kill shelter that really work hard, really strive to place animals to good home without playing around like this non profit does.
We regret that you did not like your interaction with our rescue. We strive to make everyone's experience pleasurable, but sometimes that's just not possible. As for your feeling that a pre-adoption home visit is overly intrusive, we will simply have to disagree. It is our policy that we must conduct a thorough home inspection visit prior to approving anyone for adoption. If an adopter finds that too invasive, there are many organizations who do not have such a policy and you are welcome to adopt from any one of them. Regards, A Forever Home Rescue Foundation
I have lived in Fairfax County Community of VA for 20 years. A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation is a well-respected rescue group. I found out about them when I first moved there, after losing my beloved dog, and really want to help them while I dealt with the loss of my pet. I donated money, items of need and always stopped by their adoption events to see the animals and wish them encouragement. When I was ready to adopt again, I went to their website immediately and found the love of my life. I adopted Chloe 10 years ago, and I still have her. Maribel, one of the leaders, was very thoughtful, helped me answer so many questions, did a thorough tour of our home, and really made sure we were personally ready to take on this responsibility. I never felt pressured by the group. I also want to acknowledge them for their dedication to these animals once they leave AFH. If an owner changes his mind or if the animal turns up at a shelter, AFH is notified and they will pick up the dog. That's true dedication. Also, each of the animals before it is adopted, it spayed/neutered and up-to-date on all vaccinations. They also take the time to train the animals before they are adopted out. That's true dedication. I always recommend AFH to people looking for animals and will always support them.
I'd give no stars if I could. What a joke of an organization. Read their comments and news letter, putting blame on people. This organization is known for telling lies about breeds that are available and not helping out when something goes wrong. That is exactly why it is only an answering machine and a P.O. Box when trying to get in touch with someone. BUYER BEWARE....
I was once a volunteer with this organization. I was dropped as a volunteer because I have an unaltered pet and was accused of running a breeding operation. This is not a foster from their organization and he is not a rescue pet either it is my very own personal pet a part of my family. I understand that they can dictate what happens to the animals that they bring in as rescues but to tell volunteers what they can do with their own personal pets I think is just wrong. If I would have known that was a "rule" I would have saved myself the heartache. So to this organization I want to say thank you for your judgement. For a company that claims to do so much good you are some of the most judgemental people. I really would give no stars if I could. But here is your one star. I wish I could get my year back of volunteer service back and invest it in a organization that would appreciate it but I can't do that either. Lesson learned.
We had an incredible experience adopting our dog from A Forever Home. They we professional, well organized and took great care of the animals in foster homes. Our dog, Bentley became ill with parvovirus between the time we picked him out and were allowed to take him home. They did everything possible to get him the medical care he needed and save his life. Everyone we interacted with was just wonderful. They even went out of their way to help my parents adopt Bentley's sister. They love each other so much and are able to play together all the time. Two years later and there isn't a day that goes by that we aren't thankful for our amazing fur baby.
I am a volunteer foster of A Forever-Home Rescue. I currently have three (3) dogs that I am fostering. I love this organization because I know they truly care about animals. All dogs are given health checks and are either spay or neutered and if there is any health issues they take care of it. Food and collars and leases are also providing so that these animals can thrive in their new environment and therefore will make wonderful family additional. Don't Shop! Adopt!
Review from Guidestar
I first became aware of AFH in 2009 when my daughter was looking for a 60-70 pound female black lab mix. Despite the fact that we ended up with a 120 pound male Great Pyrenees mix, and later, his sister, I was impressed with the dedication of the volunteers and organizers with whom we interacted during the process. Six years later we are still volunteering with the group. Our activities have included helping to whelp a litter of Great Pyr pups, fostering both puppies and large breed adults and transporting dogs and puppies to their foster families, typically from much more rural areas of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Maryland. Driving through the New River Valley in late spring and fall provides some amazing vistas. Winter, not so much.
In any event, I encourage anyone looking for a companion animal to consider rescue groups like AFH. When the animals are in foster care, you have a much better assessment of the animal's personality and idiosyncrasies which, in turn, tends to support a better fit with the needs and lifestyle of the adopter(s) for a happy and safe forever home.
And if you are on the fence about an animal, fostering can be a great way to evaluate your readiness for a companion animal without a substantial commitment. And should that temporary fostering turn into something more permanent (aka, a foster failure), you will just be joining a large and happy club.
Review from Guidestar