Monday, September 13, 2010

Return Policy

Another one of our adopts got returned after one week of going home.  This time - because he pulled too much on the leash. Puhleaseee!

First of all, the adopter spent time with the dog before adoption and was informed and felt for herself his strength and was advised to take him to obedience training.  Come on people, you expect the shelter to do ALL the work?  The dog is spayed, up to date on shots, microchipped all for a measily adoption fee of $75 and you expect to get a perfectly trained dog too?  Even when you knew he wasn't when you took him?

Once again I can see why this type of PEOPLE behavior leads rescuers to get too strict on adoptions.  We struggle with figuring out whether the adopter is going to be a good pet owner or not.  And we have to balance trying to figure out whether they are committed for life with making sure they bring the animal back to us if they can't care for it anymore.  If we make it too easy, we get these stupid reasons for returns.  If we make it hard, they could take the animal to a kill shelter, just let it loose, or something worse.  And if we are too strict on adoptions, less get adopted out, we run out of room and more end up at the kill shelters.

And once again, I do the anthropomorphism type thing in reverse by thinking -- if these people's kids had an undesireable behavior, would they just send them off to an orphanage?  When the world was outraged at the woman who tossed her newly adopted russian boy onto a plane back to russia, why don't people get outraged about it with family pets?  These adopters did not seem to be "bad" people....are we extreme animal advocates the exception to the rule on our belief that we've made a life long committment to the pets we've brought home?

I really don't think you can "educate" to change people's values.  I believe we can educate to change people's beliefs about pit bulls, the importance of spay/neutering, and to give alternatives to giving up a pet when a family is unaware of options/programs that can help them keep their pet.  But can we educate people on what commitment means?  That pets are not property, they are living, breathing, feeling, beings?

Maybe we need to put a whole lot more emphasis on working with kids if we ever want to change people's attitudes because I truly believe you develop your values early in life.  Hmmmm....maybe I'll have to see about doing some presentations at schools.

Yeah, because I have so much free time to do all these things!  But once again...all I can do is try and do as much as I can to help change the world for them.

On a separate note, I lost the battle of saving Jigger.  He and 2 others were put down over the weekend; one totally unexpected and to the dismay of many staff members and volunteers who adored her and despite the begging by one particular staff member who was there.  I can't even blog about it all now....I'm numb.


  1. Hi, I was reading back over your blog to find the story about Jigger and I'm so sorry about losing him. I agree with everything you have talked about and don't understand how people view an animal as a thing that can be thrown away or replaced. I do not know how you do your job and witenessing this every day. You must have a heart of gold and I commend you on your goals. I would never live through the first one that was put down. The cruelty and ignorance of people still dumbfounds me. I can not understand how any living creature that is part of a family can mean about as less than a toaster. Our animals are our lives and we are theirs. No matter how much they can all drive me crazy sometimes, I would be lost without them. Thank you for your honesty and your love. Don't let others ever take that away from you. Our prayers of paws go out to you and your shelter.

  2. Thank you so much for reading my blog and understanding! What makes it all worthwhile is that we do have a 95% save rate -- I could not handle volunteering at a kill shelter! (of course most of them don't like having volunteers either!) And while I blog my frustrations, it's more often that I'm on total highs with the wonderful people who do give great furever homes to our shelter dogs. Irene, Becca, Estee, Footsie, Edward, Jada, Saundra, Sugar....I could go on and on and on. And it's even better when they send us pictures of them in their new homes! When I get sad, I look at them and remember why I keep doing it!