The other day, somebody submitted a post to our Facebook fan page about the bad experience they had in providing a foster home for a NYC rescue organization. Apparently, this foster pet parent put up with two years of false starts in having their canine charge placed in a permanent home, not to mention a startling lack of communication from the rescue organization in question, only to have the dog taken away by the organization under the guise of a visit to the vet.
Now, I can't speak on the accuracy of this person's story--I realize that there are always at least two sides to every story--but I can't say that I would be surprised if it were 100% true. Unfortunately, over the years, I've come to learn (in part from personal experience) that there can be wide variations in the way rescue groups operate. While there are many, many reputable organizations out there doing great work on behalf of homeless pets, there are also more than a few groups that, either through incompetence or over-reaching, end up turning off prospective adopters or foster families.
It's important that retailers keep this in mind when they open their doors to local rescue organizations by hosting adoption events. Partnering with a poorly run rescue organization can be just as damaging to a pet store's reputaion as partnering with a bad product vendor. In both cases, a customer's experience with the third party will be perceived as a direct reflection on your business.
So do your homework before hosting adoption events. Look into the operations of prospective partners in these types of charitable endeavors to ensure that both the pets and prospective adopters are treated in a manner that would reflect well on your store. It's just far too easy for a good deed to turn into a bad partnership.