I feel a little uncertain writing this, since I don't have any facts, just, as the title says, vibes. So, I'm going to be very careful not to name names, and to distinguish what I know from what I suspect. I imagine you could add things together and determine what place I'm talking about, but I really don't think that's important to the point, these behaviors in any place would raise the same questions.
So, of the breeds we're considering, one of them has a rescue organization that seems truly awesome. They have lots of good info on their site, they've answered a couple questions we've had with very reasonable responses. They seem very sane, helpful and understanding. Good vibes.
Another one just doesn't rub me the right way. I'm going to enumerate observations here, and talk about them at the end.
1) They don't have any dogs in foster. They have a large facility out in the country, and all dogs are housed there.
2) You don't go to the facility, they bring the dogs they think will match to your house.
3) They attend rescue events, but don't bring adoptable dogs, just their personal pets as breed ambassadors.
4) The descriptions of dogs on their site are written in first person (this really bugs me, but it's common enough that I don't necessarily count it against a place) and are full of how terrible, sad, and abusive life was before the dog came, and how much he/she loves her new mommy now, but say little to nothing about the dog's personality, or what sort of families they would fit into.
5) Their application is very, very detailed.
6) The dogs listed as available have not significantly changed since we were looking last time - two years ago.
7) Talking with them at the event, they made the comment "Just don't lie on the application, because we do check it. If we find out, for example, that you don't actually own your house, we just won't call you back". I want to be clear here that the part that worried me about this was the 'we won't call you back'. They don't check and see if there's a misunderstanding? They checked the right house? The auditor's records are up to date? No, they just don't call back. Now, this was an offhand, unofficial comment, so I don't want to read too much into the literal phrasing, but it's one more thing in a list.
8) They have a reputation of 'nice enough people, but they don't like to give their dogs up' from someone we know who works at a county shelter.
So, best case I suppose, the lady's a bit of a control freak, but has he heart in the right place, and happens to have the means to run a large facility, so she does. She gets enough outside help to make sure all the dogs are adequately socialized while still being able to keep an eye on all of it.
Worst case, she's a textbook hoarder. Dogs go in, are warehoused for years without human interaction and almost never come out.
Ordinarily, I would roll my eyes, shake my head, and look elsewhere, but we're starting to think this may be the breed that really does fit the best. It's a big organization, covering pretty much the whole state, and some of the neighboring ones. The next-closest rescues look much more sane, but encourage people to work with rescues near where they live, and even link to this place. I know rescue is a very tight-knit community, and I don't want to step on toes.
M thinks we should go ahead and apply at the crazy place, and if we're rejected, or the dogs are unhealthy or unsocialized, to go to one of the farther away ones, tell them why we were rejected, and ask if they have the same standards. I think it would look better for us to go to one of the farther ones directly, and just be honest about not getting good vibes (the no-foster thing bothers me most), but I'm not sure how much it would matter. I think I'm also a little more afraid of getting crazy on me than he is.
M is on contract work now, so when that is up, we actually will temporarily be the perfect dog home - big fenced yard in the country, someone home all the time, no kids. Part of me thinks we should wait until then to apply, but I'm at a loss to explain why we would continue living like that instead of looking for work or having kids (which is what we plan to do).
What would you do? Just go with the second choice breed with the awesome supportive rescue?
Also, am I reading to much into these things, or does something really smell funny here?