I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and found and interesting article. It spoke of a woman who was denied an adoption. Nothing too earth shattering, until I found out who she was. Liz Baker, the current executive director for Greatergood.org. Her resume is polished with some of the most esteemed animal organizations and welfare groups. I would pay her to adopt an animal from me just because I know it will be in good hands.
It is a travesty to see rescues turn their backs on capable and loving adopters. But, it is repeated all too often, and I grimace when I see a loving family’s only other option is to buy from a breeder, craigslist, or a pet store.
It wasn’t long ago I was contacted by a woman looking for a specific breed of dog. She was very sweet, and told me about her dog who had just passed. They spent 13 years together. She gave details of their life and sent photos. My heart swells when I see happiness like that. It is unfortunate, though, that she was denied many times from other rescues. Before applying she asked if we deny for being half a foot short of a six-foot fence. We do not, but others did.
Honestly, I was furious. This woman can’t adopt a dog because of half a foot? That is ridiculous when so many dogs are being killed every day! These amazing homes are being forced to go elsewhere to no fault of their own, but at the fault of these organizations whose mission is to solve pet homelessness.
Yes, it’s our priority to place our animals with great owners, where they will live out their lives. The question I have is, are these people really bad pet owners? Are we doing a good job of solving pet homelessness when we turn people, like this, away? I don’t think so. I don’t think this is helping anyone or any pet, in fact, I believe it is making the problem worse.
I hear people tell horror stories, about their experience with rescue groups. That is not how it should be. I had a recent adopter thank me for being the first rescue that seemed to want to find a home for the dog they were interested in. They also thanked me for making them feel like they didn’t do anything wrong, because they didn’t, they are great people!
I sat in a conference class last year, where the speaker stood in front of the room and spoke about a point that has stuck with me sense… Why is it effortless to surrender a pet? There are people willing to network the pet, there are overnight drop boxes at shelters, etc.
However, when it comes to finding homes for animals, it is quite the opposite. It’s challenging for an adopter to get past a series of investigations and interrogations.
As she spoke she asked one main question, “What would happen if the roles switched? What if surrendering your pet was challenging, and resources were available instead, and adopting was simpler?”
Obviously that brought up concerns, but it is definitely worth considering.
She proposed simple ideas such as longer adoption hours and shorter surrendering hours.
Let me put it this way… It would make me, the Founder and President of an animal rescue, nervous to adopt, with the common adoption processes in place. Many people feel the same way. So they go where it’s easy, safe… and unfortunately that ends up being breeders, craigslist and pet stores. The very places we advocate to close, we send floods of people, supporters. Where they give their money and keep them running.
Again, I am only talking about the ridiculous denials such as the examples listed above. We do still deny people for various reasons that would make them an unfit owner, but I see far too many perfectly good pet owners not be able to adopt a pet, and that is just not okay and not a step in the right direction.