Our thoughts were provoked by a recent Animal Sheltering headline: “Adopt, Don’t Shop! But only if you’re perfect. Otherwise, don’t even bother trying.”
Inga Fricke, Director of Sheltering Initiatives and Outreach at The Humane Society of the United States, points out that rescue/shelter adoption application requirements have become increasingly stringent. This well-intentioned practice may be leading to good (if imperfect) adopters being turned away — and instead heading to Craigslist or other irresponsible breeding situations to buy a pet, she says.
She writes, “We can scream ‘Adopt’…until the cows come home, but as long as our actions continue to say ‘Go to a breeder,’ we will never achieve what we all claim to be working towards— a good, loving home for every homeless pet.”
Over a decade ago, I brought my Brody home after seeing an ad in a local newspaper: “Puppies. Pit bull mix. $50.” Truthfully I don’t recall whether the word rescue entered my impulsive 22-year-old mind during the search process (“process” used loosely here). I wish I’d known better.
But I’ve often wondered: Would I have even been approved to adopt from a rescue?
At that time, I had just graduated from college. I lived in a tiny apartment without renter’s insurance or my landlord’s permission to get a pet. I had barely any job history. Or money. I had a new-ish boyfriend who planned to share in the dog-ownership gig. And to that now-common application question, “What is your philosophy on dog training?,” I probably would have answered: “I love watching the Dog Whisperer!”
Application status: Do not pass go, do not collect a rescue dog.
But consider this: that newspaper-ad puppy has now enjoyed more than a decade of the doggy American dream. Two square meals, a warm bed, enrichment galore, a mountain of squeaky toys, and a snack-dispensing preschooler.
It goes without saying that countless terrific, tireless rescue and shelter workers have the very best interests of dogs at heart; each and every pup deserves the best home imaginable. This means there are some fairly intense adoption applications out there. It’s a tough line to toe: Too strict, and good homes are turned away while dogs die in overpopulated shelters. Too lenient, and dogs risk being rehomed into bad circumstances. We at Sidewalk Dog have the utmost respect for the painstaking choices that local rescues make in the service of their animals and adopters.
So check out this thoughtful piece in Animal Sheltering, then tell us: Have you found adoption requirements to be too stringent, or just right? Have you seen good adopters turned away from rescues or is the article too tough on hardworking rescue groups?
Next up: Share all of your pup’s adventures with #SidewalkDog for the chance to be featured. Then head to our dog-friendly online communities for super local, pooch-centric chat with the some of the best people we know – dog people.