It’s something we hear all the time, usually after someone’s been rejected.
“You should be HAPPY I want to adopt! I could go to any pet store!”
“You’re just going to kill it anyway, why do you care where it goes?”
Rescue workers dedicate their lives to finding abused, neglected and lost animals good homes. But we’re not always congratulated for it. Somewhere along the line, the idea was started that rescuing an animal was a right, not a great privilege.
We’re yelled at for asking too many questions. We’re yelled at for doing home checks. We’re yelled at for saying no. We’re yelled at for trying to find solutions. Honestly, when it comes down to it, we can be pretty abused ourselves.
Now, I won’t ever say there aren’t problems in the rescue world.
There are plenty of “hoarders”, rescuers who become too attached to animals or make up ridiculous ideals for an animal that no home can ever fill, so the animal is fated to sit and wait behind bars or in a foster home until his or her time is up.
There are rescuers that let personal bias cloud their judgement. Republican? DENIED. Old? DENIED. Gay? DOUBLE DENIED. I’ll be honest, these rescuer’s are few and far between, but they do exist.
Oh the other hand, there’s a problem on the other side. A big problem.
Anyone thinking that any rescuer wants to put an animal to sleep is insane. Every rescuer’s wants every dog and cat in a good home. Hell, some of them even pay out of pocked for a surgery or a trainer that the shelter wouldn’t cover, just to give that animal another chance.
But we’re adopting to people. And lets face it. People have problems.
Don’t believe me?
Well lets go ahead and talk about a rescuer I know who adopted out a puppy to a perfect home. It was great, he said. The adopter had another dog who had gotten along with the new adoptable one, she worked from home, she was financially stable and she never even missed one of her dogs vaccines! On top of that, she was intelligent and friendly.
“Now there will be an adjustment period. Don’t let the two dogs out in the yard loose together for a bit. Let them get used to each other,” he said.
“Of course!” The women responded with a great big smile.
Less then 60 minutes later the women was back to return the puppy she’d adopted, she’d let the two dogs out in the yard as soon as she got home, and her dog, understandably upset with this newcomer in HIS yard, attacked. The puppy needed stitches, and was, of course, scarred by the experience.
Another shelter I know adopted a dog out to a lovely women…who then gave it away to an elderly women with dementia. The shelter was eventually told the dog had ran away, only it turned out that the puppy had been sold by a family member for $30.00.
These are not isolated incidents. Things like this? They happen every day.
In fact, I’ve heard potential adopters discuss not being allowed to own dogs in their home, and how they just needed a male to continue breeding and selling their puppies. And a friend of mine, while walking a shelter dog, was accosted by a group of people who were wondering aloud how much they could earn betting on the dog if they set him up in a fight.
Dog upon rescue dog are returned to the shelters they came from as puppies, now as untrained, wild, and scared adults, simply because their great owner just didn’t have the time to train them, or worse, trained them with violence.
No one outside of rescue can truly understand why they have to be so strict until they’ve had to put what was a perfectly good animal down due to an owners bad choices.
Like I said, there are problems on both sides, and in your search you’ll probably have a bad experience with at least one rescue or rescue worker. We’re sorry, but we hope you don’t take it out on all the homeless pets on the planet. Remember, at the end of the day, all we really have to go on is a half hour interview and a gut feeling. Sometimes we’re wrong, and that sucks.
Someone will adopt to you. Someone will give you a chance. I always suggest, when adopting a dog, to participate in an obedience class with him or her. Yes yes, I know. You can train your dog to sit! But it’s not even about that. It’s about bonding. So, having a trainer you’d like to work with before you’ve even adopted can help show that you’re serious.
Many people are wary of adopting to homes that have had declawed cats in the past. Basically, we all want declawing outlawed. On the other hand, guess what? We have declawed cats for adoption! Honestly, we’d rather adopt an already declawed cat out to you then have you buy a new cat just to have he or she declawed too.
Do you have young children? Yes! We will worry! 85% of dog bite victims are children under 12. More then half of them are bitten by the family dog. Bring your kids with you. Make sure that you’ll be there to tell them that no, pulling on Fido’s tail isn’t funny, safe, or fair. Many larger shelters have policies against adopting to homes with young children, and there isn’t anything an adoption consular or a kennel worker can do about that. But many smaller, home based or foster based rescues do not have the same policies and work on a case by case basis.
Are you trying to breed your dog or cat? Well I’m sorry, I can’t help you. No real rescue adopts out non-sterilized animals. And why the heck are you reading this in the first place? You’re part of the problem!
So, at the end of the day, don’t take anything personal. All we want is to find good homes for the animals in our care. Most of us don’t care what you look like, what religion you follow, or what you do for a living. If you’re a good home and you’re willing to make it work, you’re a good applicant.
Just remember that we’re all working towards the same thing, remember that adopting an animal is a privilege not a right, and when we ask how old your kids are, or ask to schedule a home check – just cut us some slack.
See that dog up there? That’s Ellie! A Boxer/Pit Bull mix puppy currently available for adoption at the Providence Animal Rescuer League. Want to meet Ellie? Head over here.
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