Saturday, January 7, 2017

Matchmakers: Volunteers Who Put Their Hearts Into Mending the Hearts of Others

Written by a Col. Potter Volunteer, Originally posted January 15, 2010

Keely is a happy, happy girl in her Forever Home, and a perfect Match to fill the home with love!

"It is very impressive to see the amount of care that is taken with every dog.  There is no doubt that the process is dedicated to the best interests of the Cairns and, for the first time in their lives, they have a volunteer advocate from Col. Potter looking out for them."

How can you mend a broken heart?  Well… You can find somebody to love… Or find someone to love you - And that is where the expert, caring and experienced members of the Col. Potter Matchmakers’ group shine!

There’s no telling from where the next Cairn entering the sanctuary of Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network will come.  The puppy mill dogs are noted for the difficulty of their circumstances, and the often perilous and clandestine route they have to negotiate to freedom with the help of a Col. Potter volunteer.  However, Cairns also come from animal shelters, homes with stressed financial and emotional situations, homes where the Cairn was left outside with little socialization or health care, and homes where a loving owner may have died or become incapacitated.  Cairns have arrived after being severely injured to be put back together in Col. Potter’s care, and Cairns have been stowaways in a Rescued momma Cairn’s womb, only to pop out into safety when the coast was clear.

Those situations are a given in all types of animal Rescue, but what is done to properly place the dogs after they’ve arrived, makes all the difference when it comes to assuring that the right Cairn is matched with the right Forever home.  A Cairn’s life truly takes on great importance and is handled with tender loving care when it becomes a Col. Potter Foster.  In addition, the potential adoptive homes are thoroughly screened.  They are also treated with the utmost respect and given the fairest consideration possible, though flexibility is occasionally required of them as there can be overlapping interests in adopting the same Cairn.

As they come into CP’s care, the Rescued Cairns are welcomed online and soon take their place on the CP website.  Then, to a certain extent, they recede into the “safe houses” of the Foster families.  It’s wonderful to get updates, videos, photos and reports on any health issues the Rescues might have, but if things are going well, the Foster Cairns start adjusting to freedom in their Foster Homes without a lot of widespread attention.  However, they are all being closely watched by the Matchmakers.

The Matchmaker group is already well stocked with waiting homes that have expressed interest in adopting a rescued Cairn and who have been approved to adopt.  But even with approval, every home isn’t appropriate for every Cairn.  The applicants have many different living situations.  The presence of children must be considered, as well as pets that are already in the home.  Additionally, the distance between Foster Home and adoptive home, the amount of time that can be dedicated to the Cairn by the adoptive family, and the ages of both the Cairn and potential adopter, must be taken into consideration.

It is very impressive to see the amount of care that is taken with every dog.  There is no doubt that the process is dedicated to the best interests of the Cairns and, for the first time in their lives, they have a volunteer advocate from Col. Potter looking out for them.

The Matchmaker group is focused on every stage of the process for multiple Cairns, simultaneously.  Every day, applicants are being notified they have been approved to adopt after home visits have been completed.  However, there is still no Cairn involved.  The applicant may have a certain Cairn in mind, when they are approved, but they are often basing this interest merely on a picture and a cute write-up.  Matchmakers send questionnaires to these homes to determine what qualities they would like in a Cairn and also to ascertain more detail of the home situation and the owner’s perspectives, which will allow the choice of Foster Cairn to be refined.

Matchmakers then begin comparing notes as several homes, may be interested in a single Cairn or more than one home might be appropriate for a particular Cairn’s characteristics.  While the Foster Cairns are napping, playing, and in many cases, setting aside accumulated fears, the Matchmaking Team is laying the groundwork for their Forever adoption.  Each stage of the process has been formalized over time and the structure is adhered to very closely to make sure no steps are missed.

As the applicant’s desires are defined, including the preferred choice of Cairn, the Foster Home, who has the best current knowledge of the Cairn, is brought into the discussion.  When an applicant and Foster Cairn are coming together in all of the critical aspects needed for a Match, the approval of the Director of Placement Services is requested in order for the adoptive home and the current Foster Home to communicate directly.  This conversation is a critical step, and if both agree on the future care of the Cairn and options regarding transportation, then the Director of Placement Services will do a final evaluation and approve or disapprove the adoption.

If the adoption is approved, additional information will be sent to the adoptive family regarding the safety of their new Cairn and reinforcing the need to be aware of the nature and spirit of the Cairn Terrier.  Special emphasis is placed on being not just watchful, but closely connected to the new family member whenever there’s even a slight possibility that the Cairn could get itself into trouble.

The process of Matchmaking is a labor of love without a doubt, but it also takes plenty of skilled and dedicated labor involving data base maintenance and record keeping which makes it possible for the Matchmaking Team to be so effective, methodical, and organized, so there are many wonderful volunteers always working behind the scenes.  

Today, many tails are wagging and many homes are smiling because of the work done by the CP Matchmaking Team.  Many thanks go out to this important team within CPCRN that connects “Cairns Without Homes to Homes Without Cairns”.  


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