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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Pitfalls Of Adopting A Rescue Pet

Emily Yoffe's Cavalier King Charles, Lily (Courtesy of Emily Yoffe)

Emily Yoffe's Cavalier King Charles, Lily (Courtesy of Emily Yoffe)

If you’ve adopted a pet lately, perhaps you’re like many Americans who feel the right way to do that is to get an animal from a shelter or pet rescue group. But Slate contributor Emily Yoffe says “[t]he grilling you get for wanting to take in a homeless animal makes being strip-searched by the TSA seem like a holiday.”

Yoffe, who writes the popular “Dear Prudence” advice column for Slate.com, mentioned her frustrating experience with pet adoption in one of her weekly online chats. A longtime pet lover and owner, she wanted to adopt a second rescue dog and found the lengthy application forms and rigorous screening process frustrating.

“There are incredibly intrusive questions,” Yoffe told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “‘Do you plan to have children in the next 10 years?’ Now, the rescuers will say, well, some dogs don’t do well with children, but normally one doesn’t ask strangers about their reproductive choices over the next decade.”

“The woman who ran the rescue at the last minute said, ‘You know, I can’t give you this dog… Because you have an Irish accent.. [and] the dog has never heard anything but American accents.’ ”
– Emily Yoffe, Slate columnist

Yoffe said that each application form could be 40 to 60 questions, and after filling out several, she ended up going to a breeder and purchasing Lily, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Yoffe received dozens of letters from readers who had similarly frustrating experiences with pet adoption. She heard from a would-be pet owner who was rejected because she was over 60 years old, even though she had a daughter who promised to take care of the cat if anything happened to her.

Yoffe also heard from someone whose kitchen floor was too slippery, and one who couldn’t adopt a greyhound unless she already had an adopted greyhound. One of her favorite emails was from a woman who was rejected by a setter rescue group.

“The woman who ran the rescue at the last minute said, ‘You know, I can’t give you this dog.’ ” Yoffe said. “Why? ‘Because you are from Ireland, you have an Irish accent, your fiance is South African, he has a South African accent, the dog has never heard anything but American accents and this is going to be very confusing.’ This is craziness!”

Yoffe says pet rescue groups are looking for the absolute perfect homes for the animals they care for, and in the screening process are preventing dogs and cats from going to good homes. But rescue groups counter that they are looking for homes that will be the best fit for the animal. Barbara Osgood, a volunteer with Lab Rescue of the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac, in Virginia, says that her group does not “try to ‘screen out people.’”

“We work to find the right match between dog and family,” she said. “There is not a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy in rescue. Not everyone is open to the minor accommodations needed by a blind dog, can devote the necessary time to care for a puppy, or is equipped to nurse a sick dog back to health.”

Moira Gingery, vice president of Best Dawg Rescue in Bethesda, Md., added that some of the examples Yoffe mentions are “out there.” She says that people often take it personally when their application isn’t chosen. “In most cases, it’s likely one application just seems to be a “whole lot better” than any other application.”


Response from Barbara Osgood, Volunteer for Lab Rescue of the LRCP (Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac) in Virginia

In her article “No Pet For You” (Slate.com, Jan. 26, 2012), Emily Yoffe missed the point of the applicant screening procedures used by pet rescue organizations. These procedures exist to ensure the safety of both the pets and their new families, as well as to reduce the chance that the animals will be returned because of an inappropriate match.

Based on a handful of unrepresentative anecdotes, the article also unfairly maligns the thousands of rescue volunteers all over the country who spend countless hours trying to find the right homes for millions of abused, neglected, and abandoned pets every year.

Let me begin by saying that I have been a volunteer for the past 16 years with Lab Rescue of the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac. We rescue Labrador Retrievers from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, Southeast Pennsylvania and Northeast North Carolina. Our Labs come from many different shelters in these states, as well as from families who, for many different reasons, are forced to give up their dogs. They may be elderly owners who can no longer care for them, military families who are shipped overseas to areas they cannot take dogs, or sadly, families who have lost their homes due to foreclosure and can’t take their beloved pets with them. When these dogs come to us we have a commitment to nurse them back to health if necessary and find an appropriate home for them. Last year we rescued and placed 902 dogs.

Our mantra is that the dogs are our clients, and we will find the best homes for them. Some of our dogs have led terrible lives. Some have been crated for their entire lives, only allowed out of the crate to take care of elimination (and sometimes not even then). Others have been chained outside without shelter and often with limited food and water.

We have rescued dogs that have been left in abandoned houses, tied to trees in the woods, dropped in the median strip of a major highway. There is no doubt that those of us who participate in rescue take a very dim view of people who treat animals so badly. But the other side of the coin is that we meet so many others involved in rescue as well as adopters who are wonderful, caring people. We could not survive in this endeavor if we were not optimistic about human nature.

We rescue dogs. That means that we do not rescue perfect dogs. We rescue puppies, old dogs, dogs ill with heartworm or cancer, blind dogs, deaf dogs, dogs with only three legs. We rescue dogs that have lived in a loving home all their lives, but we also rescue dogs that have been beaten, starved, and abandoned. Each of these dogs has different needs. There is not a “one size fits all” philosophy in rescue. Not everyone is open to the minor accommodations needed by a blind dog, can devote the necessary time to care for a puppy, or is equipped to nurse a sick dog back to heath. That’s why we have adoption applications and why we interview our applicants.

A central focus of Ms. Yoffe’s article is her criticism of rescue adoption applications, including ours. Unfortunately, she never contacted us to find out how we use the application and why we ask certain questions. The adoption application is just one input into the evaluation of a potential adopter. There are no “drop dead” questions, and no “required responses.” Applicants are also interviewed by an adoption coordinator and references are checked. After many years of experience, we have determined that all of this information is important if we are to place the dog in an appropriate environment. Not every dog can go to every environment, and we use the information we obtain to find the right match.

Ms. Yoffe specifically cited our question about the number of steps to the front door. There is a very good reason for this question. We rescue senior Labs and those with orthopedic concerns. If they can’t climb a lot of stairs we would avoid a home with many front steps. On the other hand, the question is not, as Ms. Yoffe represents, a “deal breaker”. A subsequent conversation with the adoption coordinator might reveal that the applicant would be a great adopter for such a dog and, despite the front steps, lives in a one-story home where there is another suitable entry.

The adoption process is complex, and all the information we collect helps us to develop a picture of the adoptive family and the dog that would be best for them. There is a very good reason why we are interested in whether applicants intend to have children We want to make a match that is right not only now but during all of the years that the family will share their life with the dog.

We don’t try to “screen out people”. In fact, we reject only a small percentage of applicants (less than 1%). We work to find the right match between dog and family, so that everyone will be happy with the result. We know, for example, that it is important for a dog to be socialized with young children in order it to be comfortable with them. For everyone’s safety, we do not place dogs without a child history in families with children under 10. Our applicants with young children often have to wait a little longer for the right dog, but once they have taken their new family member home, they are glad they waited.

The article tries to link rescue groups to hoarders with a statement from Dr. Randall Lockwood of the ASPCA. But Dr. Lockwood’s statement actually refers to “purported rescuers.” Actually, there have been a number of occasions when we and other rescue groups have rescued Labs from hoarding conditions and found adoptive homes for them. No reputable rescue organization would countenance hoarding conditions or hoarding behavior on the part of its volunteers.

Volunteers devote countless hours to rescue groups, with their only return the joy of seeing a pet go to a good home. The idea that we would keep this from happening is patently absurd. The more dogs we place in good homes, the more we are able to take in from the shelters. But we will never rescue a dog from a bad environment and place it in another bad or inappropriate environment.

Senior dogs are my passion, and I have experienced the joy of seeing many of my foster dogs going on to their “forever homes.” I often hear from my “alumni.” They are in wonderful, loving homes where they have a warm bed, plenty of food to eat, and people who care about them. It doesn’t get any better than that—for a rescuer or a dog!


Statement from Moira Gingery, Vice President of Best Dawg Rescue Group in Bethesda, Md.

Ms. Yoffe seems to have assumed some intermediary position between unnamed rescue groups and unnamed disgruntled applicants. All I can do is give you information based on my experience in rescue, which spans several organizations and about 15 years. First off, if a rescue organization doesn’t have high standards, what is it doing? Each group presumably places its dogs responsibly in accordance to a policy, process and knowledge of each dog, although there are variances among rescue organizations. Even shelters don’t adopt to everyone who applies for a shelter dog. And I doubt an applicant has been told that he/she is unworthy of adopting a pet. A “care for aging animals” question is not critical, as the answer is obvious. It’s only one question on applications filled with questions that have more relevance. I am sure some applications ask for personal references. We don’t. Personal references are usually friends, so why ask for that? I suspect all rescue applications ask for vet information to know how a prior pet owner/applicant cares or cared for pets. Home inspections? Maybe some rescue organizations peek into every room. We do home VISITS in a pending adopter’s home to help prepare the person/family for adoption. If they have never had a dog, and/or have pets and kids, it’s absolutely essential. However, I’ve done home visits with experienced adopters who appreciated current training tips and a brush-up on information they forgot or didn’t know anything about. I have never inspected a home, just walked into the area where the dog will spend most of his/her time, talked about how to initially contain the dog for safety and housebreaking, inspected a fence for holes, etc. (which owners don’t always see), and asked what questions the pending adopters may have. Each rescue organization’s process is typically identified on the group’s website and application form. If someone doesn’t like the process, don’t proceed! People become angry and often take it personally when their application isn’t chosen. I believe most rescue groups do not explain, just like an employer doesn’t explain to job applicant s why they were not selected. In most cases, it’s likely one application just seems to be a “whole lot better” than any other application. It could be that the person is home more or has a fenced back yard for a dog with a lot of energy to burn. Each of our temperament-tested dog has a “personality.” Some may need work with trainers or a quiet home. Rescue volunteers who work closely with their dogs should be respected for their knowledge of each dog’s needs, which aren’t often obvious at adoption shows or shelters. Having said the above, I’m sure there are a few “odd” people in the rescue world. That’s true in every facet of life! So slippery floors and accents are “out there” examples. I hope this explains some of the rationale behind what we and other rescue organizations do to ensure, to the best of our/their ability, a home that meets each dog’s needs.
Moira Gingery
VP
Best Dawg Rescue

Guest:

  • Emily Yoffe, advice columnist at ‘Dear Prudence’ for Slate

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Doglover

    My family was interrogated and then rejected by Save a Dog in Sudbury because we did not yet have a fenced-in yard.  We were told that electric fences are cruel and don’t keep out predators.  We were made to feel like we were horrible people for wanting to take a homeless dog and train it to use an invisible fence.  Meanwhile, friends of ours purchased large Wheaten Terrier and keep it chained to a tree in their yard.   We ended up adopting a lab/dachshund mix from a shelter in Sterling, MA (the shelter was delighted to find a family to adopt the dog) and we’ve been very happy with our pooch!

    • Areynolds2770

      As an adoption advocate, I’m so glad the first place didn’t totally turn you off from adopting! Thanks for sticking with it! :)

    • Sara

      It’s true that an invisible fence can be dangerous– IF the dog is not well supervised, due to other animals being able to get in. But that particular shelter has a reputation for being a little more out there than most, including their “holistic protocol”: http://www.saveadog.org/holistic.asp

      • Heather

        We had a similar experience when we found a dog through Petfinder online and went to meet it at the shelter in Santa Cruz, CA.  It was a cute small mixed breed and all over my two kids, ages 11 and 14.  We had lost our long-time family dog (also a rescue) the previous year and felt ready.  I filled out a long application and discussed the answers in detail with our “case worker” and things seemed great as we discussed dog care (my mother bred Great Danes when I was growing up).  Finally, she sighed and said that because I had two kids, “a mother would not have the time necessary to devote to a dog.”   I was about to really blow up and realized we were in crazy town literally then just calmly thanked her and we left.  I kept thinking it had to be something else but in the end, this was her personal bias and I do think she was being truthful.  Luckily, we continued our search and went out of county to Salinas and got a wonderful shepherd mix dog who is an important member of our family.  

      • marie

        I’ve adopted two dogs from Save a Dog, an organization that cares deeply about saving dogs and finding the best home for each dog. I found their application process completely reasonable, and was impressed that they had put together a series of questions and requirements that would make a good match between my family and our new dog. They do a great service to the dogs they save and the people who adopt them.

    • Guest

      I have heard that place is a nightmare. A friend of ours found their application process pretty psycho and gave up, and went to an MSPCA shelter. 

      I’m sorry about your experience. 

    • Takze

      We had a similar experience with Save a Dog.  We sat through a two-hour lecture on holistic practices and were almost not allowed to take our dog home because we had brought a retractable leash.  They absolutely do make you feel like a horrible person for wanting to adopt a dog.  It was easier to take our baby home from the hospital than it was to take our puppy home from the rescue.  We will definitely adopt our next dog when the time comes, but not from Save a Dog.

    • http://www.facebook.com/forthesakeofanimal Tracey Forthesake Ofanimals Be

      POINT MADE “We were made to feel like we were horrible people for wanting to take a homeless dog and train it to use an invisible fence. Meanwhile, friends of ours purchased large Wheaten Terrier and keep it chained to a tree in their yard.”

      I AGREE there are extremists in this venue and IMO both are WRONG. Those that are nothing more then rescue flippers that might as well be called a pet store, puppymill or breeder since they do little to protect an animal they place other then collect the adoption fees. Then there are those like mentioned in the story who are too damn rigid or plain ignorant and/or racist to disquailify someone due to their accent. Poor excuse. I am all for what is in the animals best interest and there are too many doing rescue that don’t belong in it but because no one regulates who can be involved and who can’t the animals suffer again from yet another source that was invented to help animals.

      • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

        I think this sums up the problem beautifully. 

  • Anonymous

    Do they ask, if you are driving your family while on vacation, is it appropriate to put the dog on the roof of the car?

    • Cine41

      no but they don’t ask if you’ve had dog kabobs either.

      • Marvinprinzmetal

         Are they capable of distinguishing between things one did as a child and things one did as an adult?

  • Happy adopter

    We got a dog from a breed-specific group that keeps its dogs in foster homes.  That means that they know what the dogs are like in a home setting.  After filling out the 8-page form, we had a house visit from a case worker AND her dog.   After they left, I felt like the next step would be to buy plane tickets to Korea or Guatemala.  

    On the other hand, the individual dog they suggested fit me perfectly.  I’m a low-energy person, and I needed a low-energy dog. I also did not want to have to house-train the dog.

  • J Frog

    Accents and animals?  Well at least Meryl Streep will have no problem adopting dogs from all over the world. 

    • Mccleangrand

      Yes, that story about the dog who wouldn’t be able to understand accents is really hilarious….such a STUPID thing for a rescue group to say as a reason NOT to let someone adopt a pet!

  • Marnaterry

    I would like to have the name of the shelters whose adoption forms are “40 to 60 pages”.  Just one name.

    • Carrie S

      That was a typo. In the audio the article’s author says 40 to 60 questions.

      • Emily

        Yes, that was a typo, and we have now corrected it. Thanks!
        –Emily, Here & Now staff

  • Bjlarson6

    I have adopted many, many pets over the years, and agree the process seems to have become more onerous recently.  I also think, and I hate to say this, but I do think that some rescue organizations are actually saving animals that are, in fact, too sick or too aggressive to have a descent life.  Some that would be better off being euthanized…. 

    • Mccleangrand

      Yes, a cat that was hanging around outside my house and that I was feeding, turned out to be too sick to survive…He had feline aids and leukimea and the woman at Second Chance thought I should adopt it.

  • Tina Blair

    I agree that the examples cited are ridiculous (??? examples of “little people” with big rule-books and power??) and some questions  a bit over the top, but, the general premise of “screening” is a good idea…who wants a pet to go to a “bad”/inappropriate person/home and end up back at the shelter, or worse??  However, I got a wonderful dog because of the wait I had to go through.  It took 3 days for approval, and I went to get the dog I had chosen.  My wonderful/smart/loving/great/adorable Jack Russell (we’ve been together 81/2 years) was surrendered the previous night, and I would never have seen her.   Oh, the first dog, a poodle, went to my friend.

  • Anonymous

    I understand that Ms. Yoffe was personally insulted, as many people are insulted by the sanctimonious busybodies who run some rescue groups. But stomping her feet and going to a breeder is a juvenile response. Having done adoption work as a volunteer for the biggest rescue group in Philadelphia, I can attest that there are plenty of groups dying to place dogs. For god’s sake, start with the Humane Society, the ASPCA, the municipal shelter, or any one of thousands of groups that post on Petfinder. Our group, the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, has a 3-page application that takes about 5 minutes to fill out. Much as we’d like to follow our pets to their new homes and monitor them incessantly, we can’t. So we trust people, most of whom are more than trustworthy. It works out pretty well. We’re not crazy.

    If you insist on a dog of a particular pedigree and age, well, good luck to you. You can spend your money on breeders and your spare time at dog shows. But you’re not helping dogs. You’re acquiring an accessory.

    • Rosamond

      I wish I could “like” this more than once.  Yes, competition is often fierce and standards are resultingly high for purebred dogs, puppies, and especially purebred puppies at a rescue fee which is generally a small fraction of what you will pay at a breeder.   And yes, even for adult and/or mixed breed dogs, there are some rescues that go a bit too far in their screening, or who have the wrong people working the adoption desk.  I have had a bad adoption experience, and I know others who have as well.  BUT.  But.  Most humane societies and other rescues I’ve encountered are eager to find suitable homes for their dogs.  I think it’s a cop out to say the rescues make it too hard, so you’re going to buy.  If you actually care about the issue, don’t demand a purebred, or find a better rescue.

      Several months ago, after our last elderly rescue dog had passed away, we were looking to adopt two young dogs.  I filled out several of these forms, all of which asked pretty reasonable questions.  We found a likely match through Petfinder, and after filling out the short form, providing a vet reference, and exchanging a few emails with the rescue, we went out to meet the litter of mixed breed pups, spent an hour playing with them and talking to the rescue volunteer, chose two of the puppies, and were able to take them home that same day, with no home visit, grueling interrogation, or other such torture.  We are not the “perfect” home–we let the rescues know that we have two young kids (often considered to be a negative), we live in the city with only a small fenced yard, and both adults have full time jobs outside the home–but these things did not prevent us from adopting or from giving our beloved pups a great home.  Seriously, it is not that hard to rescue a dog.      

      • Alex Strain

        There is no such thing as a perfect home for all dogs. There is, however, the right home for the right dog(s). And many do not require fences and many don’t reject due to kids. It’s how the parents have taught the kids to treat animals and how the kids treat animals. If I do a home visit and see the parents have no control over their kids and would allow their kids to do anything they want to a dog then yeah, they’re being rejected. But I have adopted to many people with kids because the kids were great as were the parents.

    • Home4dogsNJ

      I have had over 100 foster dogs get adopted in the last year. If someone is looking at a dog that does not fit their needs or lifestyle, I explain to them why it is not a good match and will try to help them find a dog that will match if I know someone else has one. Our application is very simple and asks only a few question. When I do a home visit, It is just to make sure I do not see any glaring issues and to help make suggestions. The only person I have turned down was someone who wanted to have a Pit mix with no fence. They were planning on tying him up outside while they were at work. I explained to them that having the dog tied up does not keep other dogs out of their yard and this could lead to trouble. They seemed to understand, and said they would get back to me once they get a fence installed.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/D5VTJA4VOW7Y4U2TFOF64LSCQI M*rk

      Much as we’d like to follow our pets to their new homes and monitor them incessantly, we can’t.

      This sentence seems like the basis for “private” adoption agencies/groups.  With an attitude of wanting to follow and monitor, it’s no wonder the well meaning groups end up with 15 page applications and home visitation(I’m going to let a stranger into my home to check my worthiness?  Nope!).  This helicopter parent mentality towards placing animals is an obstacle to adopting an animal.

      For the record, I have used the SPCA shelters and it’s a very simple procedure to adopt.  Unfortunately the people working there often don’t know have much information about the animals.  I really like the idea of using a private group since foster parents know much about the animal, but the application process is really off putting.  Honestly, I can’t get past the notion of someone coming into my house to check me out.

      • Karatina

        Why not?  There are many untrustworthy people out there who would not provide a good home environment.  It’s just reality.  Child adoptions require a home evaluation (for obvious reasons).  I think it’s totally valid to do the same for animal rescue.  If you have nothing to hide, then I don’t understand why it should bother you.  On the contrary…I think you would be happy that the rescue cares SO much about the dog and wants to make sure the home it’s going to is good.

        • Alex Strain

          We’ve even had people lie about where they live. We have had people lie about fencing and very important – we had people lie that the dogs would be living inside. We have had people lie about the number of animals. And also people who deluded themselves into thinking that they have control over their home. I have had many people be great on paper, great references, great phone call and then had the home check person say, no do not send them a dog because of x,y, z. And no petty reasons either. Like the applicant had no control over her dogs, one dog attacked and bit the home check person and the applicant was like eh, whatever. 

          • Jason Fraser

            “… we had people lie that the dogs would be living inside.” This is one of the problems with animal rescue organizations today. Dogs aren’t children, they are supposed to live outside and if you, or any of these other dog freaks who operate these organizations knew anything about dogs, you would know they should live outdoors. Dehumidified air (i.e., central heat and air) can cause respiratory problems in dogs and dogs that live outdoors where they can breathe the fresh air and get adequate exercise are much healthier and better adjusted.

          • pommom1016

            People like you are the reason we screen so heavily. If there weren’t people like you, good pet parents wouldn’t have to be put through a long adoption process! 

          • Mouse

            Um…  Someone who has their dog outdoors is abusive to dogs, and unfit to have one?  I am the mother to a very beautiful pointer cross, a rescue baby.  While she sleeps and comes inside to rest during the day, she spends the majority of her time out of doors.  In summer she even prefers to sleep outside.  She would go CRAZY if she was just an indoors pet.   I don’t even think she would be particularly healthy.  My dog is my baby, but she is also an animal, and has very different needs and wants from a human child.  She wants to be outside, even on the coldest or most inclement days.  She doesn’t want to be coddled inside, going insane with boredom.  My baby doesn’t want to sit inside watching finding nemo.  She expresses herself outside, running, rolling in the grass, sniffing and interacting with her environment. 
            And for the record, every veterinarian who has ever met her has commented on how well-behaved and healthy she is.

        • Jason Fraser

          “Child adoptions require a home evaluation … I think it’s totally valid to do the same for animal resuce.”

          This is just about the most asinine comment I’ve ever read anywhere. In case you haven’t noticed, PETS AREN’T CHILDREN! In fact, dogs are no different than any other animal — pigs are a heck of a lot more intelligent than dogs — so are we going to start having a “home evaluation” of every farmer who buys a pig, goat or chicken?! These animal rescue organizations are operated by dog freaks — most of whom would be hard put to differentiate between a dog’s nose and its behind — and know absolutely NOTHING about what makes a “good home” for a pet. If they did, they would know that dogs are much healthier and better adjusted when they live outside, where dogs belong, instead of cooped up in a small apartment or house, breathing dehumidified air (which can cause respiratory problems in dogs).

        • Mike

           Your right, they do it for child adoptions, and you will notice that a lot of people are leaving the country to adopt children because they don’t want to be subjected to the emotional abuse.

      • http://www.facebook.com/forthesakeofanimal Tracey Forthesake Ofanimals Be

        Then avoid the hassle by adopting directly from shelter SIMPLE because they most definately need homes too and not enough rescues for them all. Otherwise if knowing more about the animal is more important then your concerns of intrusion to privacy use a rescue SIMPLE. Rescues are a business with mission statements and policy just like any other business. 

        If I were selling you my house, car, boat etc I wouldn’t require a home visit BUT if I invested myself into a living creature because I have a passion to make life better for them then the alternatives or life it already had that ended them in a killing shelter damn straight you will jump through my hoops or I’ll just wait for the next canidate who gets it and respects it. This process is all about prevention and improvement. It’s not about preventing you from acquiring an animal. Stop taking things so personal since it really is less about you and more about them.

        FYI … to the columnist Emily Yoffe who wrote the piece. Best of luck with Lily your purchased, purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Sure hoped you researched the health problems associated with the breed and also the breeder to avoid some of the health issues of this breed due to bad breeding. Get it RESEARCHED. Fact finding mission just like a rescue application and home visit. You needed to emphasize in your pathetic little hissy fit rant of a story that this is only ONE crazy person you met while trying to adopt and not sabotage needy animals everywhere just to express your experience. Damn straight this angers me because it could have a negative effect for homeless and looking pets.

        • http://www.facebook.com/wise.ron Ronnie Wise

          One paragraph, 8 sentences, reference to I, me, my used 8 times. Makes you wonder about what is really important here, the animal or the ego of the rescuer. After the untimely death of our wonderfull dog of 11 years, we have started looking for another. Have only dealt with a couple of these so called rescue groups. Just drove 120 miles each way to visit with a dog we found on petfinders. Wanted a puppy but this 7 year old reminded us of our lost pet so we wanted to visit him. In a very short time we knew we wanted this dog. We were told the shelter does not do direct adoptions that we would have to go through a resuce group for the adoption. Ok we filled out the application, we were then told that someone else inquired about the dog before us and our application would not be considered until they had a chance to meet . This was yesterday Feb 1 we asked when the other people were coming, Feb. 11 was the reply. I can’t believe this. You have a couple in front of you who want to give this dog a well deserved good home and you are going to put them off for 11 days so some else, who may or may not even show up can visit. Meanwhile the 75 pound dog is stuck in this shelter in a small indoor outdoor space with barely enough room to escape his own urine and feces. Who’s needs are being served here. We live in a rural area with 2.5 acres, the entire rear of our property is enclosed with an invisible fence. This seems to be the problem they don’t like invisible fences. It has served us well for the past 11 years, our previous pet never once left our yard. He was the same breed and size as the dog we want to adopt. When he wasn’t in the house, he was able to run and play freely in our back yard, much much better than being confined to a small fenced in area. Yes we a considering going to a local breeder, just so we don’t have to deal with these narrow minded, narcissistic people. Again, who’s needs are being served here. 

          • pommom1016

             I am sorry you had that experience. I foster for a rescue, and our process is not first come, first serve. We review applications and call for vet references. We decide from there who might be good fit. We schedule home visits at that point. We visit with all potential adopters, and then we make a decision.

            Also, I know it is frustrating to wait that long, but many people who run rescues do it in their free time. Both of the ladies who run the rescue I work with have 40 hour a week jobs, families, pets, and foster dog themselves, so they balance a full plate. Please try to keep that in mind.

          • Pan

            Maybe you do, but Dawg Rescue does not. I went with my family to three adoption events to meet with one dog, and filled out the application form. I have my own home, a large fenced yard, and my husband and I teach alternating days someone is always home. The organization did not even do us the courtesy of a home visit before they rejected us because the dog is a ” work in progress.” If that is so, why bring the animal to an adoption event? Why not tell handlers to tell people there is no serious intention to allow animals to be adopted? I will no longer be donating money to such groups. My time and money is going to real animal shelters that want to place animals.

          • Mike

             I am currently going through the exact same thing with a rescue… drove 6 hours one day to meet this dog, fell in love set up a day to come back (rescue requires 2 visits with the dog) and was told 2 days later that someone else had emailed before me and scheduled to meet the dog (after I visited with him) the day I was supposed to pick him up… As a person who has worked in a shelter (no-kill) I am greatly disappointed. I have been turned down so many times that I am about to do the unthinkable and go to a breeder. I lost my husky after 15 years of love and friendship and never once thought that it would be this hard to find another dog to share my life with.

            The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results

          • DMV

            First of  all, rescues are here to protect the lives of the animals.  These animals have already been abused and neglected.  You Ronnie Wise for some reason feel that you deserve the dog instead of the person that has already shown interest in the dog.  Just because you drove 120 miles means nothing to a foster like myself.  This does not make you the best possible owner for any dog.  Dogs can not be given away just because you tell people – I had a dog and I was such a great owner.  The interest of the dog comes first,  not your ego or your hurt feelings that the dog would not be released to you just because you were there!

        • ccsummer

          While I appreciate your passion for homeless pets, I don’t think referring to another’s comment as a “pathetic little hissy fit” is civil, as comments here are required to be. 

        • Eisa

          I just walked out from volunteering at a “pet adoption”  festival – why? —  because they were pet Nazi’s. I was told on the application to look for “red flags” — Like  if they have six dogs or if the cat is going to be an outdoor cat. I asked what about indoor/outdoor? She told me adamantly NO indoor only. Ha! I have had cats longer than some of the rescue folk have been alive — all but one lived past 14 yrs. even the diabetic one — who I never put on insulin – All were allowed outdoor privileges — thus I who was going to assist with pet adoptions would be considered “unfit” – ironic when you consider that some of my friends always wanted to be reincarnated as a one of my cats.

          what I have recently learned is that “fostering” pets is a great tax shelter, especially for animal hoarders.  Further did anyone read Ms. Yoffe’s article because everyone here is responding to an article about the article.

          • DMV

             Eisa, I am a CPA, that is not true.  There is no such thing as a  “great tax haven for fostering”.  

          • Eugene Varnavsky

            My family had cats and dogs in the past, all lived long and happy lives. We were trying to adopt a cat at adoption day in nearby pet store. We were refused because – yep – in the application we answered that the cat will be let outdoors.
            That was a little shock, because neighbor cats are often chilling at our backyard and we never thought that some think that it’s a crime to let cats outside.
            We always thought that if cat wants to go outside – he does. Very simple. And about dangers there – life is dangerous for both humans and pets, but it’s not a reason to sit at home 100% of time.

      • anonymous

        What you’re missing is that the adoption is not about *you*, it’s about *the dog*. It’s not about your privacy and ego, it’s about the dog’s life & well-being. Honestly, I have no problem with home inspections being a “drop dead” question. If someone feels that offended by it, then they either have something to hide, or they obviously don’t care about the dog they are seeking to adopt.

      • DMV

         I am a foster, and I see the problem of not checking out the potential adopter.  If you do not want anyone to check out your home to see if it is a safe place for these rescued dogs, you do not deserve to have any pets.  What are you hiding?  So many dogs that are adopted from the shelters, Humane Society, SPCA, and other facilities that do not check where the dogs are going have a high return rate. Also, many shelters find the same dogs that just left maybe days, months, or years come back as a stray.  There are so many abused animals that end up at the shelter that yes we do work hard to get them adopted to the right person or family.  Sometimes, these easy adoption get them out of the door to anyone has caused the dogs come back even worst then they left -sometimes found dead.   So Yes, I have said NO, and NO, and big FAT NO.  But then, I find the person or family that brings tears to my eyes when I finally can say YES.  I do try to find that perfect home for my fosters they deserve it.  And yes, they did find the perfect home.  The home that they were born to have.  So far, since November 2012, I have helped to find great homes for so many dogs.

        • Not Impressed

           To me this post reads as it was written by someone whom suffers from a “god” complex.

          • Guest

            Seriously – what a god complex. What makes YOU so qualified to judge?

    • Hopeful

      Getting a dog from a reputable breeder is not a sin. Giving a dog a good home is what really matters in the end, not how it was acquired. The adoption process doesn’t work for everyone. Judgmental people need to recognize that. We adopted and ended up with a pregnant dog. We could have returned her or taken her to another shelter, but we didn’t. Now after 7 exhausting weeks (physically and emotionally) we need to find owners for 8 puppies. Are you interested? Lolaperes@gmail.com. Hope to hear from you.

    • Tiffani Hallan

      The majority of rescue dogs are from puppy mills and backyard breeders, NOT from show breeders. In my opinion, rescues only serve to help continue the influx of back yard breeders/puppy mills. (And this is from me having personal experience in a rescue.) THAT said I was rejected by 3 different rescues at different times in my life. I am a groomer (never a bad hair day :)), now a stay at home mom. My dogs participate twice weekly in training classes/activities. I feed organic foods. They have the life. Yet the first time I was too young, then it was my kids were too young (must be over age 6) and most recently, the age bracket has been raised again and since my kids were both under 10 (9 and 7) we were denied a lovely little poodle! He would’ve never had a bad hair day again, all the love he could get, mental stimulation through positive training, etc. But nope. I’m all done with rescues. It’s either a show breeder (who does health testing and offers life-long support) or the shelter for me (although the shelter near me has just as many requirements and invasive questions as rescues…) Now don’t get me wrong, I see both sides of the coin, since I was active in rescue work years ago. THey still need to be a little more open minded, I think. Oh well. JMHO of course.

  • Evelyn Kimber

    The tragic impact of this radio program will likely be to send people directly to breeders to save themselves the headache that your guest described.  Animal shelters (different from private rescuers) were not even tried or suggested by your guest.

    I have adopted many animals over the years from the MSPCA and Animal Rescue League shelters in Boston,  and the process has been smooth and hassle-free.  If you have a problem with private rescue groups, then visit animal shelters. 

     

    • Anonymous

      A good breeder (one that requires spay/neuter of pets, takes dogs back for their whole lives, and places carefully) can be a responsible choice, and they do help prevent unwanted animals.  People do want purebred puppies, and it’s a lot better to get it from a good responsible breeder than a puppy mill or backyard person doing it for the money. 

      Not making a distinction between the two hurts efforts to make all dogs loved and wanted.  The backyard person who doesn’t require s/n and doesn’t take dogs back makes work for rescue.  And face it, some people do prefer one specific breed – and some want a puppy.  There is room for both.

      But – and this is a big but –  a responsible breeder has a relatively similar process to a rescue – application, references, interview, and a contract.  If someone is selling you a dog like you buying a pair of shoes, that’s a big red flag.

  • Mccleangrand

    Just heard the report about adopting a rescue animal and it reminded me of the hassles I went through several years ago with the Second Chance Rescue Group in North Canton, Ohio….I was at Petsmart and saw a potential rescue dog I wanted to rescue, so I filled out an application on the spot ….I mentioned to the director of the group, whose name is Linda, that a  stray cat had been coming around my home and I had been feeding it, and suggested that maybe the group would want to check out the cat….Well, several days later I was told by Linda that I could NOT adopt the dog I wanted because I didn’t take in the cat that I had told them about….I told Linda that I already had 2 cats and wanted a dog….She replied that she had 8 cats and that I could NOT have the dog…..This was just STUPID!    I complained to the manager of Petsmart (since the store allows the group to bring aninmals there for POTENTIAL adoption); and that manager said that she has had complaints about this Linda woman who is the director of the SECOND CHANCE group….The manager of the store said that Linda will not let people who have never had a dog before adopt one, etc….etc…..I have also spoken with several other adoption groups who have either worked with Linda or know of her and they ALL say that she is VERY DIFFICULT to work with and hassles a LOT of people about whether or not they can adopt an animal….In my opinion, this woman is doing NO GOOD with her attitude and prevention of GOOD potential owners from owning and loving a dog or cat…(I now call that group  the “FAT CHANCE” group).   Some people just SHOULD NOT be in the animal rescue business!!!    I found a wonderful Cocker Spaniel on purebredsofohio. com….No hassle there at all and they are GOOD PEOPLE……I LOVE my dog and my cats…..Wish I could adopt more, but I know what my budget will allow………(L.H. P.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nina-Schipperke/100002776368647 Nina Schipperke

      So this is REALLY  just a salespitch for an online dog broker  hawking mill dogs in Ohio..

      This trick is as old as the hills…

      Please everybody, flag this breeder.

  • John

    For cat owners who think the animal should be able to choose whether or not they go outside the house things are even more restrictive here in MA.  The ASPCA shelters make you sign a form promising to NEVER allow your adopted animal outside.  Now they have pushed through legislation making it almost impossible to set up a shelter independent of the ASPCA and their many rules.  Pretty soon we’ll have ASPCA social services to coming around to make sure be get them all in at night.  That’s why we stick with stray these days. 

  • ggsnewton

    About 18 months ago, we wanted to adopt  a dog, and spent hours filling out online applications, some of which were with groups that we never heard back from (maybe they found it off-putting that we would not share our annual salary).   We ended adopting a dog from the MSCPA/Nevins Farm in Methuen.  She had been brought there after having been found as a stray in Springfield, and sadly had been adopted and brought back to Nevins a month later.   When we went to see her, we expected that we would be facing an interview where the staff at Nevins would decide if we were “good enough” to adopt her, and were happily surprised that we were able to bring her home that day.  So I would definitely echo the comment about working with the MSCPA to find a dog.

    • Songbrook

      See now, my application doesn’t ask HOW much you make.  It asks, “Are you aware that the annual cost of the caring for a sheltie can be around $1000 a year?”  All I care about is if you know what you can be getting into.  

      • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

        I think that is perfectly reasonable. 

  • Anonymous

    And, I was a foster parent banished from our Humane Society because, even though I was a new foster parent [and well complemented for my work] and spent hundreds of dollars to create a wonderful environment, they weren’t willing to go slightly out of their way to help me.

  • Magus

    I read this article when it first came out and was struck by how self indulgent it was. The authors disdain for the questionnaires of well meaning placement groups leads her to overlook other resources such as public humane societies which are generally thrilled to place any pet as they tend to be overcrowded and underfunded. It’s a very shallow look at adopting a pet and I can only hope that it doesn’t spur people to overlook the numerous pets who need homes and turn to puppy farms and inhumane pet stores.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JCDRRMFCXP3D2DU5BMIMVIOVZU edwards

    If an healthy person is refused just because they are over 60 they should call a lawyer and sue. They are victims of discrimination.

  • Amosb52

    I tried to adopt a German Shepard and mistakenly answered ‘Yes’ to will I be using my dog for protection. I was thinking of the “what if..” break in situation. They must have thought I wanted a junkyard dog. 

    • Anonymous

      no… they just want you to take the bullet for your dog if someone breaks in.

      • Areynolds2770

        Wrong. Most shelters will not adopt out a dog if the family is going to use it as protection and there is a very good reason for this: liability. It is extremely difficult to train a dog to differentiate between someone who is just visiting the family and someone who is an intruder. Should their “guard dog” bite and hurt someone who isn’t an intruder, who do you think will get in trouble? The shelter the dog came from, that’s who. The shelter will then have to suffer the stigma that they adopt out dangerous animals and weren’t careful enough in their matching process. And then the poor dog will most likely be euthanized. Animal shelters don’t expect families to take bullets for their animals, but they will go above and beyond to find the safest and happiest home they can for the animals in their care.

        • Amosb52

          That is understandable. My problem is I never thought of training my dog to be a guard dog. I think the question should have mentioned training. In my mind, a benefit of being lucky enough to live with a dog is they often protect their loved ones from harm. That is where my mind jumped to when I read the question about protection. “Yes” I hope my companion would protect me if the need arose, just like I would do anything to protect them.

        • WhatThe

          That is complete BS – I have never heard of such a coury case.  Dog owners are held responsible.

  • Mdouglas40324

    You are going to get bombarded w angry dog rescuers and I’m one of them. Your guest sounds arrogant and spoiled. Tell her to come down south and talk to the people who pull dogs out of the kill shelters here, and talk to the people who dump the dogs in the first place. There’s a third alternative to getting a dog: directly from the dog pound! There you can witness first hand the terrible situation we have w companion animal overpopulation.

    • Anonymous

       Even local animal control (ACS) can make it difficult to adopt animals.  Your local ACS is under the control of its director.  I mention above a local branch in a major city that would NOT adopt you a dog if you had children.  Until a shake-up, the San Antonio ACS did not even bother to put animals in cages for people to adopt and they would not work with breed rescue and they made adoption very difficult.  They still do not set aside animals to be kept alive until they are adopted.  ALL animals are under the threat of death after 72 hours.  Rescues here make it easy for people to come and see animals.  I hope they also make it easy to adopt.

  • Gerda Lobo

    So…. she states that rescue groups are being formed every day. More and more pets get adopted out, not euthanized. But then she complains rescues are being restrictive in their adoption policies, leading to warehousing of adoptable animals. Somehow the large scale data, and the anecdotes do not match up.  Could this story be about feeling personally slighted, not about the big picture?

  • Cjb121

    I lost a golden retriever age 13.  I tried to adopt a golden from our local Pals recue group, and was denied the dog because I didn’t have a fenced yard.  No consideration was taken that I had had that situation for the last 9 years of my Golden’s life.  I subsequently adopted a Golden from our local Humane Society, and we are getting along very well without a fenced yard.  Leashes are wonderful.

  • Anonymous

    HI,

    I wanted to adopt a kitten last summer and I went to the Grand Rapids, Michigan animal shelter and they gave me an application similar but more indepth than a job application to fill out. and they said there would be an interview when I was finished with the application.

    I was filling it out and heard someone else say, “lisa has been in her interview for over an hour now.”

    This application was going to take me at least 20-30 minutes to fill out and then I heard that and said to myself , forget it.

    I’m a good person, I have had other cats since I was 6-years old.  they have been inside cats except one that was a stray in the neighborhood that I took in for over 6-years before it died of cancer.I Just thought it was nuts to put someone through this much interrogation.  I was OK with the application and then an interview, but I wasn’t going to fill out 20+minutes of paperwork, wait for an interview and then spend 30-90 minutes in an interview.

    I had a similar situation with another private rescue group and just told them, hey I’ll give you references and fill out a basic application but, i’m not spending days and hours on this.

    a friend at work then told me about another rescue that had a few kittens that were going to be put down in a week, because they already had over 60 cats and kittens they were trying to find homes for.

    i loved one kitten and found a 2nd while I was looking at them.

    they have over 2000 sq. feet of home to play in,  more toys than I had when I was a kid and have all their vet records up to date.  Litter is cleaned every day,  food and watered with vet recommended schedule and foods.

    I don’t know why I wasn’t good enough for the other 2 groups , but I tell you they are crazy. 

    • BethRA

      Did they say you weren’t good enough?  I ask because from what you posted, you didn’t finish the applications.

      I’m not saying all rescue groups and agencies are perfect, or that there aren’t some real nutjobs in the field, but try to remember that their job is to find good homes for their animals first, and find a pet for us second, and that while we may be the best pet owners they’ve ever met, they don’t know that yet.

      • Anonymous

        I said that I overheard someone saying that after the 30 minute wait for the interview, that the interview took another 30-60 minutes.

        I threw the paperwork out and left, because I wasn’t going to spend 30-minutes filling out paperwork.  wait over 30-minutes for an interview that was then going to take another 30-60 minutes

        I adopted a cat from a rescue that did not have crazy requirements.

        my cats have all their shots, have been to the vet for several checkups and are on a vet suggested diet.

        I’m not a bad pet owner, I am just a busy person that doesn’t want to waste my time.

        • Mpugh222

          You also said “I don’t know why I wasn’t good enough for the other 2 groups” when in fact you don’t know whether they would have rejected you or not. You don’t have to wait to go through their application process if you don’t want to, but don’t then claim that they rejected you when you didn’t finish the process.

  • Anonymous

    Even local open-admission shelters with high kill rates sometimes balk at adopting out animals.  They would rather kill an animal than risk a poor adoption!  (I am thinking of a family with children who could not adopt a nice Beagle. )  And poor adopter is so subjective.  I saw many fosters after Katrina want to keep animals because they could provide better homes.  Why?  They had more money and a nicer yard.  Animals and people grieve and much harm is done by people keep animals that could go home.

    There DOES need to be a national conversation about why adoption rescue is so difficult.  How long does a rescue hold puppies and kittens or adult animals with nice temperaments and good manners.  These animals should fly out the door . . . 

    Thousands upon thousands die in kill shelters because there is no room in rescues.  Bless the rescues and the rescuers.  It must be hard to hand over an animal to a stranger, but this must become an easier, faster process or backyard breeders and puppy mills benefit and dogs and cats die. Because you know the horror stories is no excuse.  You also know the good stories. 

  • Eva

    I have only had rescued cats in my adult life (four cats so far) and we were fervent adopters of feral cats during my childhood in a rural town. I’ve gone through the humane society and one rescue group, and neither required masses of nitpicky paperwork. I have seen rescues who require the paperwork and avoided them despite falling madly in love with their cats. There is a passive-aggressive tone to the paperwork that is accusatory and intimidating, and makes you feel, despite a lifetime of happy pet ownership, that you are unfit to care for an animal.

    Also, I don’t understand the point — if someone has malicious intent enough to harm an animal, what is to stop someone from lying on the paperwork? I think interviews and home visits are a better option.

    I really recommend the Humane Society if you don’t want a lot of paperwork; however both cats I adopted from them both had serious health issues that were not disclosed at the time of adoption. I’m sticking with smaller agencies who will meet you and talk to you instead of give you an SAT exam. They are more reasonable and respectful of their clientele and do not start off the interaction accusing you of being a potential abuser or neglecter.

    • Anonymous

      I agree.

      an interview is fine.   I’d even be willing to do a small form, but some of the forms I have seen around my area are huge, 1+ pages with small type.

      I think a small form and then an interview is OK… I mean, you can answer anything on the form anyway, when you talk with someone you can see what they are like better than 4-pages of forms.  ( although , I think a long, interrogation is not needed either )

      • Areynolds2770

        I think you’re misunderstanding what the questions and forms are for. They’re not to weed out families the shelter doesn’t like. They are attempting to gather information about the needs and habits of the family in order to better match them with the right animal. Sometimes this takes a few pages. If one doesnt have the patience to fill out a couple pages of questions, how do you think they’d handle having a dog that rips up their carpet? Or digs up their garden?

        • Anonymous

          a couple pages is crazy.  

          talk to the person.so, you think if someone fills out 5-10 pages, they are a good dog owner, and if they fill out 10-20 pages they are going to be a great dog owner?

          why waste peoples time on paperwork?

          the basic theme of the article is that all this crazy paperwork is driving people to buy animals at the mall instead of put up with the paperwork and crazy treatment of people who want to adopt an animal.

          If one wants to limit the puppy mills, then look at how your organization makes it easier to adopt an animal.

          • Jamantis

            I’m afraid I don’t agree. If one wants to limit the puppy mills, just fill out a couple pages already. What’s the big deal? Are you that important?

          • Dale Zig

             Well said, phillip9!!!  I totally agree!!!  The people who are angry about this article are completely missing the point!!!  The point being that most people go to an animal shelter because they want to “save an animal” rather than go buy from a breeder, but then they get treated like a criminal and made to feel like they are not worthy enough to care for the animal when they get turned down for the most silliest of reasons!!!  Come on people, use a little common sense!!!  It costs alot more to buy from a breeder so when people (myself included) are complaining that they got turned down at a shelter for wanting to adopt an animal that has been labeled as in danger of being euthanized if not adopted within 72 hours….it seems that the shelters are wanting to EITHER a) keep the animal from being adopted and therefore euthanize it (which shows how compassionless they are) or b) they enjoy exerting their authority over you and love having the power to say “NO”.  There really is no other reason.  Most of these people were turned down for ridiculous reasons and is something I have heard alot about and recently experienced myself.  That tells me that the shelters are NOT so concerned about finding homes for these poor animals.  So people will go to breeders and will gladly pay more for an animal because they are treated much better and don’t have to worry about being turned down after filling out all of the paperwork.  They make it next to impossible for good people to adopt and then they want to know why they are over run with animals??? They need to have someone with half a brain to draw them a picture!!!

  • mg

    First and foremost, if you are not willing to answer the questions for an essay, then you shouldn’t own a dog. A lot of Breeders are not responsible, and use the dog as a paycheck, back yard breeders and puppy mills are the worst.  A lot of dogs who were bought end up in rescue or get euthanized, like my cousin for example, who was able to adopt a pure bred Australian Shepard while living in an apartment with 2 young children, no yard, no time for the dog, didn’t walk, train, or socialize the dog, etc.  A good rescue would not have adopted to them, but all he had to do was show up with a check to get it from the breeder.  Sadly that dog is now dead.  These are RESCUE dogs, many from abuse, yes there are some crazy people in rescue and sometimes people get denied for unfortunate reasons.  However there is a reason.  I volunteer with a rescue and you would be amazed how many people change their mind about wanting the dog when they decide to have children.  Put in the work, answer some questions, they are good to think about for your own well being, a lot of people dont think about all those questions before getting a dog and might change their mind about wanting it later because they didn’t fully think about it.  I cant stand listening to people like this woman.  It is all about her, sorry you couldn’t be bothered to answer a few questions.  Thanks for contributing to the problem and spreading your ignorance as far as it will travel.

    • Anonymous

      how many questions are on your paperwork?  How many pages?

    • Carrie S

      Did you hear her say she didnt even submit any paperwork and get rejected. She just got tired of it and gave up.

    • Latreneda

       Mg. You have a good point. The applications often ask for things that people don’t think about. I used to volunteer at a shelter and countless people would come into adopt without ever considering their apartment’s pet policy.  We’d call the apartment and the manager would say no pets or no pets over 30 pounds or no more than 2 pets when the potential adopters already had two pets..

      I talked to a lady caught a ride 3 hours away to adopt a dog. She got home and her landlord said no pets. Since she didn’t have a car to make the drive back to the shelter, she was just going to “put the dog out”

  • Lisa

    My first cat lived to be 21 years old.  My second cat lived to be 14 years old.  My Irish Setter lived 12 years.  My springer spaniels both lived to be 14 years old.   Following which, when I wanted a cat, the rescue group refused to let me have one of their cats.  (I have adopted children, and so I do not use the term as people often relinquish their “adopted” animals).   The Humane Society was thrilled with my application.   We brought a second cat into our home last Thanksgiving who had been abandoned and was starving.    I  expect to live to 70 or more….will they make it to 21? 

  • Peter Williams

    We wanted to rescue an Airedale so we contacted an Airedale rescue group.  We were granted an interview and the interviewer brought an Airedale with her.

    Never mind that our family had THREE dogs in nearly FORTY YEARS, two Airedales and a Shepherd/Collie/Husky mix. They lived to be 10, 12 and 16 respectively. 

    Never mind that all three were rescues.

    Never mind that when the rescue league person came to our house we had a six-foot family portrait on the wall THAT HAD AN AIREDALE IN IT.

    Never mind that the Airedale she brought with obeyed every single command that I gave him and sat next to me, wagging his tail and licking my hand during the interview.

    She proceeded to give us pamphlets so the we could be “educated on the particular  needs of the Airedale breed.”

    We never heard from them. When we called we were told that the interviewer had not filed any further information and they assumed we had changed our minds.  WE DID. We went to a breeder and purchased the now-most spoiled and pampered Airedale in Michigan.  Those self-righteous rescue folks “let perfect be the enemy of good” AS A RULE.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nina-Schipperke/100002776368647 Nina Schipperke

      So easy to say, so difficult to prove.

    • Tanya

      Dear Peter,

      Did you really try only once with one group and before turning to a breeder? It sounds as if, in your indignance, you wanted to punish that Airdale rescue group when all you’ve truly accomplished is you’ve punished another nameless dog in need of a home and sustained the breeders financially. Whose fault is that when you quit after only one try? This isn’t a matter of one adopter vs. one adoption agency. This is a matter of an upsetting trend of millions of deserving pets being euthanized or living their entire lives in shelters while puppy mills, purebred and backyard breeders continue to flood the market for profit.

      Several discouraged potential adopters have remarked that they had trouble with an adoption agency or two, and then just went out and bought a dog with no problem whatsoever as if it proves that breeders are much more reasonable. You’ve got to be blind if you don’t realize that OF COURSE its easier to BUY a dog than to ADOPT because they have a primary interest in selling the dogs for profit while the shelter or agency has many more factors on their mind.

      I can agree that some rescues do, indeed, “let perfect be the enemy of good” but would you really insist that they do this “as a rule”? Just how many rescuers have you talked with? You don’t have to go far to realize that your clam is a giant exaggeration. 

      Yes of course, some self-righteous people “let perfect be the enemy of good” but most thoughtful animal lovers are simply interested in a good home for every needy pet. I’m regret to say that, in the face of your giant generalization about all those “self-righteous rescue folks”, you’ve in turn represented yourself as an entitled, self-righteous Airdale owner. This is isn’t about you and the agencies. This is about millions of good pets who are being euthanized while more animals are being bred.

      Sincerely,
      Tanya

  • SouthernGirl

    I’ve had a similar experience, as have several of my friends and acquantances.  I eventually went to a farmer and bought a border collie, who is very happy, well adjusted and well taken care of.  I live on 5 acres and he gets plenty of exercise and love. I was not allowed a rescue dog because I had a job, and could not stay home with the dog all day.  I’m sorry folks, but someone has to earn the money to buy  dog food! Two different friends were turned down when trying to adopt a cat. One because they would not guarantee the cat would never be allowed outisde, and the other because they would not agree to allow random, unannounced visits to their home to check up on the cat!  Another woman I know is a veterinarian, and trains dogs to do agility shows at fairs and garden shows.  She gets all of her dogs from the Humane Society, as she has been turned down every time by the rescue groups because she “makes the dogs work”.  I have never seen happier dogs than her dogs, and I’ve got to say my dog also loves doing agility almost more than chasing my chickens!  The result of today’s program may well be to encourage people to skip the rescue groups and go directly to breeders.  I hope they would check with their local Humane Society first, though.  They are much more interested in placing pets in good homes, and are doing a great job.  I am sure there are  rescue groups who also do a great job, but my experience and that of my friends has led me to believe that the rescue groups  would rather keep the animals than place them in good homes.  This is fine with me, just don’t advertise them as available unless they are!

    • Me, Again

      Gah! Your sentiment has been echoed too many times so forgive me that my response comes after your comment– you are hardly the only one this applies to, but for every disgruntled pet seeker, please understand:

      The issue isn’t isn’t about whether you’re a good pet owner or not. Nor whether your friends are good pet owners or not.  Nor whether a specific rescue or shelter is reasonable or not. The issue is that there are tens of thousands of great, needy shelter and rescue pets out there who are being euthanized DAILY while puppy mills, pure and backyard breeders keep their businesses alive through ignorant, sometimes fickle and entitled owners who aren’t willing to do the work to get a wonderful adopted animal.

      If one rescue or shelter declines you, there are thousands of alternatives. How far are you willing to go to DO THE RIGHT THING? This is the unequivocal truth of the matter and what every prospective pet owner ought to be asking themselves. Who cares if a handful of rescues are undermining their work? When there’s a will, there’s a way. And when there isn’t a will, you get another great euthanized or lonely animal and no good excuse.

      • Dale Zig

         No, the point is the same and I totally agree!  I was told the night before that I could adopt a kitten that my 14 year old had picked out but was unable to finish the adoption.  This was at San Antonio ACS. We went in the rain to be there when the doors opened and arrived earlier than most employees cause we were so excited.  We were met by two NEW employees than the evening before and were told that the other employee had told us wrong and that we could not adopt the kitten!!!!  All the while their website begs for people to come adopt a pet at their establishment so it will not be euthanized but when responsible people show up to do just that they get looked at with a scowl and turned away like they’re trying to steal something!!!  We were extremely polite and had references and plenty of money for the fees so we ended up getting a cat from a breeder cause they don’t treat you like a criminal!!  I’ve talked to several other people who have gotten the same treatment…….if these places are truly worried about having to euthanize these animals they would let people adopt them unless they could give a REASONABLE reason not to and NOT because of something silly or because they want to show their POWER over you!!  And that is exactly why I think we got turned down!  They were rude and for some reason enjoyed telling us no.  Now the Humane Society was extremely nice to us but after this experience with ACS my husband and I decided we didn’t deserve to be treated that way!  I feel sorry for all of the animals in their care and even stated that I wanted to take them all home with me because I loved all of the kittens and it was a hard choice!  But we only chose one and there was absolutely no reason for us to be told no when we rushed down there the next morning in the rain!!!!  It’s not shame on the person who complains…….it’s shame on ACS for turning down good people from adopting when the animals will be euthanized if not adopted anyway.  They would rather the animals be euthanized than let someone adopt an animal without making them jump through hoops or even give them a reason why they can’t!

        • Tanya

          Oops, I think you may have accidentally replied to the wrong post. Our point is not at all the same.

          My point is that it doesn’t matter how awesome you are or how much Society X stinks. You still made the choice to turn to a breeder when there are alternatives. 

  • RFurman

    This interview is appalling and I am saddened that NPR would allow this type of wholly biased and misrepresented viewpoint to be aired publicly. NPR touts “unbiased” news, but this interview is an example of one bitter person’s point of view.

    The references in the story are loosely described, and the examples given are not at all representative of the majority of people’s experiences with Animal Rescue. Yes, there are groups out there that have misguided practices, but the faults of the few should not be projected onto the many! There are hundreds and hundreds of rescue groups across the country and the examples given are based on the most disgruntled people out there. Don’t forget, rescue volunteers are just people, each with their own quirks and opinions who are emotionally invested in the animals they help. Some groups have more organization and logical rules, some have less.

    This article attempts to marginalize the efforts of thousands of caring volunteers across the country to save sick, abused and unwanted pets without a shred of counter-argument about the GOOD nature of rescue and the success stories of happy pet owners. This type of news serves only to discourage people from rescue and towards breeders, many of whom abuse and neglect animals, which by the way is a CRIME in the United States.

    As a long time listener of NPR and specifically WBUR, I am truly outraged that this was allowed to air and if NPR does not apologize for this interview and run a counter-story I will stop listening and get my news from a more reliable source. Shame on you, NPR.

    • Anonymous

      Breeders can be a responsible source of pets.  I HATE this anti-breeder bias. 

      Thing is, a good reputable breeder is not much easier to get a dog from than a rescue.  If you really want a purebred puppy, you should pick a responsible breeder – and that means someone that requires spay/neuter of pets, that makes you fill out an application, that does an interview before they approve you, that takes dogs back at any point in their lives, that does health testing, and that is not a business.

      Buying a purebred puppy from someone who makes it really easy is not a good idea. 

      Odds are they don’t take dogs back. They usually don’t do the health testing required to be reasonably sure your pet is healthy.   If they don’t require spay neuter of pets, they are likely contributing to unplanned and unwanted litters.  Especially with a breeder, you want someone who cares about where their dogs are going and is not a business. 

      There is a difference, and making sure people who want to buy a pup, don’t go to disreputable sources, is important in the overall effort to make sure all dogs are loved and wanted.

      • Tanya

        Yes, of course there are reputable breeders, but breeding is inherently counter-productive to the problem of overpopulation. There’s no anti-breeder bias in that. 

        It appears that breeders care more about either promulgating a breed and/or turning a profit than about dogs or animals in general. I find that discriminatory, shallow, and intrinsically counterproductive to the larger problem. Thus I find breeding to be  rather off-putting without prejudice and for logical and moral reasons.From where I stand, if I care about dogs or animals in general, I will choose to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

        Lets be clear that every breeder, even the most reputable, is certainly still a business, or else they’d give away those dogs or only charge enough to not lose money on first care and vaccinations.

        I really feel your final paragraph is spot-on and important. There are both disreputable breeders and rescues. I’m an advocate for adopting from reasonable, responsible shelters. They do exist and I believe they’re worth seeking out in favor of purchasing from a breeder for logical, moral reasons.

        • vadoglover

          Tanya, being a reputable breeder is not a business. Most reputable breeders already lose money – they charge less than the costs of maintaining dogs, stud fees, health testing, prenatal and postnatal care. I dont’ know a reputable breeder who breaks even, much less makes a profit.

          Breeding is not inherently counter-productive to the problem of overpopulation – in fact, people who get dogs from good, reputable breeders are less likely to have oops litters, are less likely to relinquish, and are more likely to act responsibly if they can’t keep their pet.

          Reputable breeding is part – probably a major part – of making sure every puppy is wanted and has a lifetime home.

  • Glory620

    Unfortunately, my experience is almost exactly as Ms. Yoffe describes.  Several months after my twelve year old border collie died (I spent many thousands of dollars and made many trips to Boston to get her care), I went to a couple border collie rescue sites to fill out applications.  The applications required a reference from my vet and three other personal references (that is more than any college or job application that I have ever filled out). They wanted to know about my financial circumstances. In addition, there would be a home inspection where the recue group expected to meet every person and animal on the property (I wasn’t sure how I was going to line up the fox that lives in the lower field) and to make sure we had proper fencing (we had 30 acres, well off a dirt road in Vermont).

    Then I started in on the essay questions – there were ten of them. By the time I was on the 6th question, I was offended. What qualifications did these people have to pass judgement on me? The next day I went to a breeder, who also happened to be a vet, and got a beautiful border collie puppy. She is now a year and three months old and sleeping peacefully at my feet (the sleeping is a rarity, she is, after all, a border collie and most of the time she wants to go).

    The tragic impact is not from the show, as one of the comments below suggested. The real tragic impact is from self-righteous groups that stand in judgement of people trying to help.

    Oh, and a little secret, the human society near us is just as righteous.

    • Carrie S

      You say pass judgement as if making sure you qualify as a good home is judgement. So often people get animals for the wrong reasons, don’t spay or neuter or simply give up on them. They are easily discarded. Rescues want to find the right home not just a home. Some animals have extra needs for their new home. That’s not to say all rescue pets are damaged. Occasionally potential adopters come in with an idea of who they want and need to understand it may not be a good fit. Like a large breed dog in an apartment or an active dog with inactive people.

      Rescues ask to meet everyone in the household to make sure they all want the pet or to see if there might be an issue with a particular person to a particular animal. They want the animals to meet to see if they get along.

  • Anonymous

    I work as a volunteer and serve as a board member for a humane society
    in the Kansas City area. For the record, local  humane societies are not
    affiliated the Humane Society of the United States. They are all totally independent and unaffiliated. 

    One of the concerns I’ve expressed to the board is what can be perceived
    as our overly-burdensome adoption process.  Ours isn’t made up of the
    kinds of questions listed by Barbara Osgood, but it is thorough enough that we’re reasonably certain that there will be a good fit between pet and owner. Unfortunately, if I were subjected to it myself, I would have behaved like Yoffee and walked away.I, too, have been a volunteer for some 20 years. We live in the country and have two dogs and six cats, all “adopted.” Actually, they were all dumped and we took them in, or we rescued them from terrible situations. Where I take issue with Osgood is her contention that the animal is the client.  That’s only part of the equation. The people adopting are also clients–at least they are to our humane society. It’s hard enough getting people to adopt without it becoming an onerous process.I’ll concede that Yoffee probably picked the worst of the worst airhead volunteers to profile–we have some of those ourselves.  But it also speaks to the need for the rescue groups to be more thoughtful, diligent, and less dictatorial in their processes–and to be extremely careful about the volunteers who represent the rescue group.

  • Rmwagner1985

    I am sorry that Ms. Yoffe had such difficulty adopting a rescue dog.  Certainly her intentions were admirable, and I’m sorry that her experience left her with such a poor opinion of rescue organizations.  I am more sorry, though, that she did not do her homework before publishing her article and instead let fly her personal frustrations on a public website, thus doing damage to animal rescue on the whole.  If she had looked further she would have found many adoptive families who are very happy with their rescue experiences, and animals that fit very well into their new homes.  I believe that journalists have a responsibility to research their subject before writing about it, but Ms. Yoffe apparently does not agree.  As a result, her readers will likely think twice before rescuing a pet.  I hope they will pick up Ms. Yoffe’s slack and find out for themselves what adopting an animal is like.  I think they will be pleasantly suprised.

  • Pat

        On the subject of rescue dogs, my family (somewhat against my my desires) adopted a dog who was on “death row” in Virginia and had been brought up to Mass by a private group. They did have a meeting with us and we signed a contract requiring us to return Cowboy (he came with the name) to them if we ever decided we couldn’t keep him. What was key for me was that there was no requirement that we spend $800 to fence our back yard which almost all the other groups asked. 

        Cowboy is a mutt but there is a good possibility that part of his genetic makeup comes from America’s oldest registered breed – the American Staffordshire Terrier and for that reason and his size (they said he might have some Great Dane also), Cowboy was not generating a lot of interest from potential adopters. As I said I had reservations about getting another dog for a variety of reasons, mostly financial, as well as who would be on the other end of his leash most of the time. Despite my daughter’s assurances I find myself in that position often. However, it turns out that Cowboy is a sweetheart and I am so glad he is part of our family. We have had him two year without any problems. We have spent more than we really can afford on him; food, vet bills, flea / tick / heart worm meds, etc., but he is worth it.

        Unfortunately now we are encountering a very big problem which I had never anticipated. We recently received a survey from Arbella Mutual, who has insured our home since 1992. We have never made a claim against them although there were several times we could have. The survey asks if we own a dog. It also states “If any of the following dog breeds, or a mixed breed that includes one of the following is present, the dog exposure is unacceptable: Akita, Alaskan Malamute, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bullmastiff, Chow, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, Eskimo Spitz, German Shepard, Giant Schnauzer, Great Dane, Husky, Pit Bull, Portuguese Fila, Presa Canario, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard and wolf hybrid.” I am willing to bet that 75% of all mutts are partially made up of something on this list. I called my agent of twenty years and he informed me that if Cowboy in any way resembled any of these dogs we would be dropped.

        Cowboy has and is attending obedience training. He never leaves the house unless he is leashed. He is never left tied to anything in the yard. Everyone in our family has had friends over. Most of the time they simply walk in, many times with people Cowboy has never seen. All he ever does is wag his tail, see if they have any food they will give him and try to get them to scratch his butt. I have had friends go in my house when no one was home and surprise Cowboy. He has always been happy to see them. He is not bothered by strangers who come to the door. We have three cats (again not my idea) who routinely stalk and attack Cowboy, often drawing blood from his poor snout. He has never made an aggressive move toward any of them. He is now almost three years old and I imagine relatively unadoptable. In any case my daughter would never forgive me if we gave up the dog and really it is not an option to me. We are experiencing some financial difficulties and do not need the problems I am sure will come if we try to change our homeowner’s insurance. If they would let me I’d sign a waiver stating that I would not hold them liable if Cowboy ever did bite someone because I know he never would. Maybe one of the cats, but not him. We used to have a Golden Retriever mix who would bite. We made sure she was never put in a position where that might happen.

        We do not know what to do. I recently listened to a segment on WBUR, actually several, with an author who had written an autobiography of Rin Tin Tin. Quite  the remarkable dog. How ironic it is to know that Arbella would not allow him (or her) to live with us. Perhaps absurd would be a better word.

    • Hebequinton

      Just tell the truth. You don’t know what mix Cowboy is, and without extensive blood/dna testing you cannot.  In fact, that list is pretty stupid, because of poor breeding and their numbers Goldens are high on the list of risky dogs to own,

    • Jamantis

      It is absurd. This trend of breed discrimination among insurance agencies (and others, like landlords) is upsetting.  Would Arbella make an acception if they knew they’d lose a customer of 20 years over a prejudicial policy? Best of luck to you.

    • Rescue Mom

       Have your vet identify the suspected breed(s) in Cowboy, making sure none of the breeds your vet selects are on the list if the vet feels comfortable doing so.  The insurance company is unlikely to challenge the documented opinion of a licensed veterinarian.

    • dog lover

       Check with some pit bull groups online. They often have the names of insurance companies that do not have the breed blacklists. Also, find another INDEPENDENT  agent – they should actually be doing the research for you if they want to keep you as a customer. There are companies who DO NOT have these lists.

  • KG

    I considered adoption from one dog rescue until I read their application and contract online and found that it stated, in effect, that by signing the agreement the adopter was acknowledging that they did not own the dog, and that the adoption group could at any time during the life of the dog repossess it, if they felt that the dog was not being cared for up to their standards (and no definition provided for what those standards were). In other words, you would be “leasing” your pet, but of course they didn’t call it that.  They called it “adoption.”  I decided that rescue would not be getting a call from me.

    • Jamantis

      So then you checked out a different rescue, right?

    • Rescue Mom

       So you went instead to a REPUTABLE breeder, who sold you a dog on contract, right?  And that contract stipulated that you were buying co-ownership rights with the breeder, right?  And maybe there was a significant penalty in the contract should you, the buyer, dispose of the dog, right?

      If someone, whether breeder or rescue, really cares about an animal, there will be clauses in the contract to protect the animal.  It’s called a safety net.

      Before you condemn this practice, consider for a moment if you found yourself in a position where you could no longer provide for your beloved companion, whether it be due to a move, a serious health issue, providing live-in care for a relative with cancer, or what have you.  What would you want the rescue to do to ensure your beloved companion would be adopted to an approved home where it would receive adequate care?

      And if a few years down the road, the adopter of your beloved companion had an unexpected life change and had to give up the dog…  That safety net sounds pretty good right about now…

  • Areynolds2770

    This person disparaging animal shelters and rescues is conveniently ignoring some of the best parts of adopting from a rescue or shelter rather than a breeder. First and probably more important to a lot of people, is that its CHEAPER! A puppy from a shelter is typically half the cost of the same puppy from a breeder and it is already sterilized, its as up to date as possible on its shots, it is microchipped in case it gets lost, and in the case of the shelter I worked at, it also comes with one month free pet insurance and one free vets visit! You will NEVER get all that from a breeder. Secondly, you’re saving a life, if not two lives! By adopting, you’re not only saving the life of the animal you take home, you’re opening a space for another animal to come in and find their forever home! Third, many shelters will take back the animal if the adopter finds themselves unable to care for them anymore. Will a breeder do that? Probably not.

    There are definitely some occurrences where the animals shelter system gets too involved and too aggressive in the adoption process. And no one can tell you that you’d be a bad pet owner, because they don’t know you. If you’ve ever had a horrible experience, I’m so sorry. The VAST majority of people that come into shelters just want to help an animals and give it love. And it sucks that they’re treated like criminals. Please just keep in mind that not all shelters and rescues are the same. But I feel like this article is going to scare away so many people who are more likely to have a great experience adopting an animal than a bad one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nina-Schipperke/100002776368647 Nina Schipperke

    Bet a bag of chewies that the AKC  PR machine is  lurking somewhere in the backstory here.

    Don’t get exactly  what I want when I want it?
     
    Nah Nah,I’m  goin’ to a  nice breeder…easy peasey..

    Maybe anyone who wants to whine about rescues should try workin’ in rescue for awhile.
    That will change your tune bigtime…That’s  if you REALLY  love and want the best for animals.

    And gee, if you run across a rescue group that IS actually foolish, and  no doubt there are some… there are about 9  million other dogs &cats to choose from..
    And guess what, a whole lot of them came from breeders….

  • Catmndu

    Hmm, yes some groups are intrusive, but I don’t see any problem asking someone that doesn’t have kids if they plan to in the future.  For instance, just had a dog returned to our foster system after 4 years because he was nipping the toddler in the home.  The toddler who slapped, and hit the dog repeatedly while I was there to pick the dog up.  I would rather place a dog in a home that I know is good with children.  No rescuer wants to get the call a dog they placed harmed a child. 

    That’s just fine she went to a breeder, but try getting a breeder to take a dog back into their home or help in any way should the owner need a rehome situation.  Our group always takes a dog back regardless of the reason.  Using the excuse “I went to a breeder because it was too hard adopting from a rescue group” is a cop out.  There’s a reason it’s easy to buy a dog from a breeder – they want money in their pocket.  Rescue wants to find the best fit for the dog and the person.   There is no point in rescuing a dog if you are going to give it to “just anyone” and let it boomerang back into the system again. 

    If it weren’t for ill informed buyers that take a disposable view on pet ownership, there wouldn’t be a need for rescue in the first place.   I have had owners surrender dogs to rescue that spent hundreds of dollars on their dogs, only to dump the dog in a shelter.  That to me is ridiculous.

    • Niki

      Listen Catmandu… it is arrogant to assume that ‘you’ obtain the power to foresee goodness in people. It is arrogant for rescues to assume that as well. How can you tell that the children in these homes are good with animals? Because they are polite to you and say yes maam and no ma’am???  Give me a break.  How can you tell the animal will be loved?  Because there is a BMW in the drive and a hard wood fence?  This is why floks here get  insulted and angry. ANOTHER THING… rescues get to wear the ‘do good badge’  for rescuing animals (animals that have a better chance of finding a “forever home” at the city pound) and using the non-profit term to fool people into thinking they are working for nothing.
      Oh- they make profit people!  They get free employees. They are tax exempt. And MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars are given to these organizations ANNUALY. You can call it “rescue” or you can call it business.     Just the other day I am at Petco checking out and there is always a screen that pops up asking me if I want to donate $1.00, or other larger amount, to help a homeless pet.  I have always done this in the past, but after my own terrible experience with a rescue group, I asked the casher who received this money.  She told me that the money was divided equally between all of the local shelters and rescues. Including the rescue that I dealt with- I have never donated to this again. It is important to know exactly what charities you are supporting when you donate to something as broad as “a homeless pet.”  I will only donate directly to groups I feel worthy and trustworthy in the future.  I hope other people do the same.
      I know this opinion sparks fire under certain rescue groups.  Because this opinion potentially  threatens the financial wellbeing  rescue groups.   
      There is no one size fits all here.  And not all rescue groups are bad- anymore that not all people who want to adopt a pet are bad.  But when public and government donations is brought into the mix with little or no regulation on ANYTHING… well…. I guess I can see how people seeking pets get up roared  when they are invaded and insulted by a random someone who decided to start up a little non profit rescue.  I say… lets see your background check! Lets see your home inspection. Lets see your annual income!  Are you planning on having children?  Because you ARE caring for hundreds of animals… Do you have health insurance? What happens if you het sick- how will you  open the door to let the dog outside to pee if you are sick? Is your floor slippery?  What religion are you?  Do you have a foreign accent?  You  do not need a gray animal- its the wrong color for you!
      Anyone with a brain knows this is is some serious craziness.  I think anyone who defends it is nuts too,

      • Jonathan

         ”To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual.”

        As someone that volunteers with a rescue group, it is clear you are misinformed (or just lying) about them.  As you can clearly see above, it is illegal for anyone to pull earnings out of a 501c3 and every rescue group I am aware of is a 501c3.  

        Please list links to these rescue groups that are getting “millions of millions of dollars annually”.  We are only talking about regional rescue groups, not national lobbying groups.    

        No idea why they turned you down but your inability to grasp their explanation is enough for me to think they did the correct thing. Really too much to respond to here and it won’t do any good anyway.  Rescue groups aren’t for everyone, just deal with it and go to the shelter.  If you do the work you’ll find what you are looking for. 

        • Niki

          Jonathan-   You seem to know a lot about this stuff-  quoting sections and chapters.   I do have a few questions for you… What rescue are you associated with?  Someone who knows so much about section 501(c)(3) must have some first hand experience working with them.  Which… would make sense your defensiveness….  MY next question: You have such keen intuition on why I was turned down an adoption;  Can you explain to me again why I was turned down for adopting pet?  Lets assume that I am stupid, as you insinuate;  Does that give the right to a Resuce deny a non-intelligent person the right to adopt a pet?  How smart would one have to be to love an animal?  

          • Jonathan

             I asked you several question, yet you decided to not answer them.  That just proves to the rest of us you are misinformed  or just trolling the comment section with lies.  I am not defensive, I provided facts.  Give it a shot.  The group I work with doesn’t matter, so it isn’t relevant.  Once again, provide information that supports your claim that rescue groups do it for the money and thousands of dollars in profit.  Since you can’t do that, you decide to make personal attacks.  I’m not assuming you are stupid, just ignorant and that isn’t an assumption since your comments have provided evidence to support that.  You don’t have to be smart, just informed.  I’ll be awaiting for your evidence with the next response….

          • Niki

            …Jonathan
            You say that it is illegal for anyone to pull “earnings” out of a 501(c)(3).  That statement is misleading and naive. Yes, these companies are “nonprofit” companies and cannot have “earnings” that  ”inure” to the benefit of the stockholders. But that does not mean that the officers and employees do not have “earnings.” Such a concept is patently absurd! 501(c)(3) “nonprofits” include very large companies such as Lutheran Social Services, Goodwill, large hospitals, etc.  Of course they had paid employees who receive earnings,and their senior level management receive “earnings” that are going to be very large, certainly in the hundreds of thousands annually for hospitals, etc. Your assumption that people associated or employed by these “nonprofits” are practically PAUPERS is totally misguided.  Although salaries are regulated, the way to get around the “nonprofit” issue is to simply pay out generous salaries and benefits  and then there are no “profits,” only expenses.  But it is the same thing in the end… The “owner”  may not make big money as the “owner,” but the “owner” makes big money as  ”president and employee.”  There is no substantive difference. Not at all..

            Do you for one minute believe that the Humane Society in various states or the humane society of the US do not have millions in contributions ? People who love animals routinely leave their entire inheritance to the humane society.  My grandmother did this…it is a fact. Or people routinely set up independent trusts for their pets. The fact that theses entities are 501(c)(3) companies, which is just a designation under the tax code, does not mean they are not pulling in large amounts of money and providing significant earnings, benefits, and perks to their management.

            It seems to me YOU are the typical “IGNORANT” person who hides behind the veil that they are poor, innocent 501(c)(3) “nonprofit” owners, and therefore have no money, and beg for people to give money. When in fact they may not be making any technical PROFIT, because they are a “nonprofit.” But instead they are receiving significant profit simply disguised as salary and benefits. If a small business owner pays himself $50,000 a year, and the makes $50,000 a year “profit,” that is the same as small business owner paying himself $100,000 a year, and saying “woe is me” and that he made “no profit.”

            I believe that is exactly what happened to me. I think the pet shop owner acts like she is hurting for money, takes donation, begs for money, and then pays herself a generous salary and benefits while claiming she is a “poor nonprofit.” This is misleading and improper. And then she has the gall to act like God and decide, based on her own set of morals and values – however misguided they may be – who does and does not get to adopt a pet. And you, Jonathan, according to your JUDGMENTAL perspective, and by not relying on reason and facts to argue about a matter, point your finger at me after reading only a few paragraphs and come to the conclusion that I am  ”just ignorant and that isn’t an assumption.” My situation is not unique and this problem is obviously widespread. It seems to me that YOU are the one trolling the comment section and looking for a fight. 

            My thoughts? You are a simple-minded person, who cannot see things beyond two dimensions. 

            I am looking forward to hearing a REASONABLE response from you. 

        • Parsa

          You better have an understanding of the law rather than copying and pasting the codes from the internet. Idiots copy and paste. 
          A 6 year-old child can tell that the piece of code you PASTED has nothing to do with the discussion. What “… an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth … ” has to do with the fact that they can put millions of dollars in their pockets? (and in the meantime you scrape the poops off in the shelter and are proud of yourself).

           Reading your sporadic sentences, I can tell you do not have a sound mind that can focus on the matter of discussion. Go learn the law first. 

          • Jonathan

            Since you love cut & paste I’ll do it for you again.  Like I asked Nikki ‘Please list links to these rescue groups that are getting “millions of millions of dollars annually”‘ and running it like a business (i.e. Profiting). 

            I’m well aware of the law, thanks for the tip though.  I’m also aware that links to evidence helps your argument… hint hint.

          • Parsa

             You are an idiot and do not understand reasoning. It is a waste of time talking to idiots.

        • Jason

          Jonathan,
          There are several fallacies in your comment:

          1. The piece of code you mentioned states some general criteria to make an entity tax-exempt. To make it simple for you, I bring an example:
          Let us say, for instance, “in order to be a college professor, a person must have a Ph.D. degree.” Okay, does this mean that any person who is enrolled as a  professor is an good professor? Obviously not. A person can have a Ph.D. and be hired as a professor, but just because a person is hired as a professor does not mean the person is doing what he/she is SUPPOSED to do. But still he/she satisfies the Ph.D. requirement. Do you understand it? The same thing applies to the 501(c)(3) section entities.

          2. Just because you are working as a volunteer with “a rescue group” does not mean that you know everything about ALL rescue groups in the world. You cannot generalize your limited experience to all the cases.

          3. If something is illegal, it does not mean people will stop doing it. Right? You should be very naive to think that way.

          Will be happy to discuss this in more details if you want.

          Jason.

          • Jonathan

            Point #1 is just a poor comparison.  It works if the person lied about having a PHD because that is fraudulent, just like using a 501c3 as a revenue source is.  Let’s not confuse violating federal tax law with not being good at your job.

            Point #2 is a bad assumption on your part.  It really has nothing to do with the discussion or what I responded to.  If you have information to support Nikki’s claims feel free to add them.  You can also reply to the people here that run their own groups, they are much more informed on this than I.

            #3. I concur and never said otherwise.  When I was looking around the IRS page there is a giant list of 501c3s that lost their status.  However, when I mention a topic I don’t focus on the ones that lost their status, or will lose their status, or should lose their status.  Those are irrelevant.

          • Niki

            Jonathan-  Funny how 24 hours ago you were condescending towards me and urging me to “respond with facts” to your message.  Well, I did respond.  But you have now seemed to have lost your voice….
            Since yesterday, I have noticed that you have moved on to others folks around these pages badgering them too.  I noticed that you are asking Jason to “quote facts” for you. Seriously?  I also noticed you seem to understand this 501(C)(3) a tad bit more since yesterday since I explained it to you.  Now you are quoting my words… words that you were fighting me on yesterday? SEriously?! I don’t know whether to laugh or go to sleep.  I am bored of you. 

  • Sandisinger

    The title of the above article alone is terribly misleading. There are “pitfalls” to everything in life and adding a pet to your family is no exception. There are also “good” and “bad” sides to every person, profession and trade. I have owned dogs my entire life and have the Director of a bloodhound rescue for the past 13 years. The idea that any rescue or shelter would warehouse or stockpile animals is ludicrous. Those individuals who do are called hoarders. The longer we keep an animal, the less animals we can bring into our rescue. We care for and get to know the dogs in our rescue intimately, both good and bad sides. Our goal is the place them in a home that is best suited for THEM. After an adoption is made, if we hear updates or get pictures from the new home, that is a beautiful thing. If we don’t hear from them for 10 years & the dog they adopted has died of a ripe old age & the family is ready for a new pet, that is also a very beautiful thing. We do NOT want the dogs to have to come back to our rescue (but will take them back if needed) as it is more trauma for the dog to have to endure. In order to adopt one of our dogs, you must fill out an application. It is 2 pages long and asks questions we feel are necessary to properly place an animal. As I stated above, we know the dog. We do not know you or our family. If we are to make professional decisions for the benefit of everyone involved, there is infomormation that we must obtain. If you plan on having 7 children in rapid succession but want to adopt a chihuahua, your reproductive choices are extremely pertinent as the 2 choices you are trying to make are not necessarily compatible. We are not judging or saying you should make different choices. However, as an animal professional, I am going to attempt to educate you on your choices and offer more compatible animal choices. Yes, some people complain about having to answer our questions. One person said it would be easier to adopt a child than a dog. That person has obviously never tried to adopt a child! Those people are welcome to go elsewhere. We also have general “requirements” for adoptive homes. A above-ground fence is one such requirement. That is not to say, however, that all of our adoptive homes have above-ground fences. We have placed adult bloodhounds to live in condos in downtown Chicago. The difference is that their homes meet other certain qualifications or are willing to make certain adjustments so that their homes are suitable for this breed. The pet overpopulation pandemic is reaching horrific numbers. There are thousands of people across this country doing the best they can to stem the flow. We are not all perfect and, yes, some of us do get over-zealous, just as some dogs cannot be rehabilitated and should be humanely euthanized for safety or health reasons. Instead of slamming something that the author obviously knows very little about, wouldn’t it have been much more productive to gather facts rather than opinions? Domestic pets need all the help they can get and uninformed opinions do way more damage than imagined. 

    • Dmajor

      Paragraphs.
      It’s unpleasant to read so much unstructured thought without paragraphs.

      Here are a bunch of extra line returns that you could use in the future and even give out to your friends.

      Share and enjoy.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Yolanda.E.Lyons Yolanda Lyons

        Is that all that you got out of Sandisinger’s wonderful post?  

        I am sorry that you felt the need to respond like that.

        I am happy to give you back your extra line returns so you can save them for someone else.

        Thank you.

        • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

          I agree with Dmajor, Sandisinger’s post was indeed lovely but almost impossible to read. It took me three times as long to get through and required two reads to fully understand. Proper formatting is just common sense. 

  • Patti

    Kudos to Robin Young for ending her interview with Emily Yoffe by encouraging people to adopt a homeless pet. Ms. Yoffe grew frustrated with questions on an adoption application so punished the rescue groups by refusing to complete the application process and by purchasing a purebred puppy from a breeder. She was offended by a question about who would take care of the dog if she is no longer able. I am president of a rescue group in Central Florida (www.buddiesforlife.petfinder.com). Few people realize just how many dogs and cats are dumped because their person dies or goes into a nursing home. They have made no provision for their pet in a will or otherwise. Every question on our adoption application is there for a reason. We want the dog or puppy that we are placing to have a long, happy life and the adopter to be happy with their new addition. Most breeders don’t ask such questions because they are in this business for one reason – money. As long as people like Ms. Yoffe pay thousands of dollars for a purebred puppy from a breeder, perfectly happy and healthy animals will die in shelters.

    • Anonymous

      Patti, I don’t think this is an either or thing.  If Robin had made the point that people who want to get a purebred puppy should wait, go to a responsible breeder, and expect much the same process as a rescue, dogs would be better served.

      Some people want dogs of specific breeds.  Some breeds are almost impossible to find as pups in rescue.  The problem is not the good breeder who requires that pets be spayed, takes dogs back for their whole life, screens carefully, and supports their puppy people. 

      If people really want to get a purebred pup, they need to go to a good breeder.  People do not accept that they can only get a mix – but by not making a distinction between breeders, puppy mills and backyard breeders benefit.

      If you’re going to a good breeder, you should expect much the same process as getting a pup from a rescue, plus you are probably going to have to wait for the pup to be born.  It should not be an easy option. 

  • Cavallo

    SHAME ON YOU NPR!! As a long time listener of NPR, UNLESS YOUR STATION runs a counter-story I will stop listening and get my news from a more reliable source.

    • Guest

       Just because you don’t like what you hear? Maybe watch Fox News, they’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear, whether or not it’s the truth.

  • Carolyn

    Emily Yoffe, Slate columnist, IS MOST LIKELY PUT UP TO THIS NPR PROGRAM BY BREEDERS. I AM CAT LOVER, AND ALL THE RESCUE GROUPS I HAVE EVER DEALT WITH WERE MORE THAN REASONABLE. UNLESS NPR DOES A COUNTER STORY ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF ANIMAL RESCUE GROUPS- I WILL STOP LISTENING TO NPR

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nina-Schipperke/100002776368647 Nina Schipperke

      Bet a bag of chewies that the AKC  PR machine is  lurking somewhere in the backstory here.

  • Jane

    Indeed, I agree with the people commenting who are upset with this radio piece.  If people continue to want a specific BREED and get a dog from a particular breed rescue organization, you may get a more difficult questionnaire.  You are also continue to encourage the practice of BREEDING dogs, which is terrible and causes genetic weakening of this most amazing species, canines.  What I did not even hear mentioned is that in all our county  and private shelters are millions of WONDERFUL MUTTS waiting for homes, and I have never encountered an unreasonable question or a questionnnaire more than 2 pages long from any of the local shelters, public and private, that I have adopted from.  Yes, they screen, but perfectly reasonably.  I say to the author, go to your county shelter and adopt a loving, intelligent, wonderful mutt.  ADOPT MORE MUTTS!!!!  Thank you.  Jane

    • http://www.facebook.com/Yolanda.E.Lyons Yolanda Lyons

      A reputable breeder will only breed to improve that particular kind of dog.  Backyard breeders are the ones who have two or three dogs that they just breed because they want to sell the puppies.  A reputable breeder will spay or neuter puppies that are being sold as pets, unless the person buying the puppy is another reputable breeder.  Backyard breeders most likely will not spay or neuter their puppies before they are sold.  Unfortunately, there are many purebred animals who end up in shelters and rescues, too – the saddest excuse I have ever heard was the woman who took her Basset hound to the shelter because she had remodeled her living room and the dog didn’t fit in with the decor any more.  

      • Anonymous

        Agreed.  And a reputable breeder actually has similar requirements (application form, references, often a home visit) as a rescue. 

        They also take dogs back for their whole lives.

        It is a responsible choice for people who want a dog of a particular breed.   If all purebred dogs came from reputable breeders, we wouldn’t have purebred dogs in rescue at all.

    • Songbrook

      You, my dear, are sorely misinformed.  My rescue application is the exact same as the application I use to screen buyers for the pet puppies in my litters.  

      Responsible breeders screen their puppy buyers as well as rescues do.  They take back their puppies if the new home doesn’t work out, or even much later if the new owner becomes ill, or can’t take care of their dog, just like rescues do.

      Responsible breeders offer lifetime support for the buyers of their puppies, just like rescues do.  

      What do you get from a responsible breeder that you DON’T get from a rescue?  A dog bred with a long history of ancestors who were tested for health issues common to their breed, and whose breeder can tell you about the temperaments and virtues of those ancestors.  You get a puppy or dog with a known, well documented history.  And you get the benefit of that breeders years, often decades, of knowledge.

      Rescue dogs and shelter dogs make just as good pets, but breeders who work or show their dogs and make their dogs their lives are no less worthy of consideration when a person wants a pet.  

      If your area is inundated with overbearing, self-important rescue gestapos, then seek a responsible breeder.  The responsible breeder will STILL ask you questions, but they will take time to explain WHY.  Now if the breeder DOESN’T ask questions, keep looking.

  • Carolyn

    P.S. NPR: I WILL HAVE MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS STOP THEIR ANNUALLY FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THIS BROADCAST AGAINST CAT AND DOG RESCUE GROUPS ACROSS THIS NATION.

    • Also me

      I AM SURE THERE IS NO CHANCE YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND NEIGHBORS REALIZE YOUR OPINIONS ON THIS MATTER ARE SLIGHTLY BLIGHTED BY YOUR … ENTHUSIASM. 

  • Anonymous

    For every crazy dog rescue group there is are equally crazy people who want to adopt an animal. I avoid any group that would let me have a dog sight unseen even if there is gruelling paperwork to complete. I go to my local MSPCA (or used to before they closed). They may not have what i’m looking for right now but it usually shows up in one of the MSPCAs in the state eventually. I have 3 dogs adopted from there and one of my daughters horses came from Nevin’s Farm. We were strangers to the folks at Nevin’s. They were super cautious at first and tried to talk us out of the horse we had chosen. After figuring out that we were for real we brought our boy home. The dogs are getting long in the tooth now and eventually the horse will too. When they are gone I’ll probably go back to the MSPCA fo a new member of the family. 

  • Anonymous

    This broadcast was not “against cat and dog rescue groups”. It was in recognition of a bizarre twisting of purpose by many animal rescue organizations around the country, a twisting that I too have experienced.

    I suspect that the driving concern of  the woman denying an adopter because the dog wouldn’t understand an Irish accent is the same concern of those who push to remove jungle-gyms from children’s playgrounds: They seen the elimination of all risk, a foolish goal.

    I fostered, then adopted, a Lab-mix from a local private shelter.  About a year later I contacted the same shelter about fostering another dog, as I had space for two, and felt my dog should have a companion. And BTW, I love dogs. 

    The new dog and mine met on a leashed walk, and at some point during that meeting my dog barked at the other.  I pointed out that three other (transient) dogs had shared the house with my dog, and that after 24 hours of getting used to each other, all was chummy, and I had pictures to prove it. No matter, that’s the last I heard from that shelter.

    I subsequently drove 100 miles to a particular high-kill county shelter, came home with a 14 year-old snow dog, and a couple of days later I knew everything was cool when the old guy sounded the alarm, and the young guy ran outside and they stood shoulder to shoulder to defend the back yard….against a squirrel I think.

  • Falevine

     After our beloved cat died two years ago, I was finally ready to adopt another. I wetn to the local pet store and there she was. A beautiful tabby with a white collar. I fell in love with her.  I called my husband and my son who had the same reaction. We all wanted her to come home with us. We filled out the 20 questions and our vet was contacted  adoption to give his approval as well. On adoption day, the organization that runs the pulled a switcheroo. We received a similar looking tabby but not the one we initially fell in love with. Though we have grown to love our cat, we always wondered why this happened, what happened to the other cat, and why, for the life of me, did they put us through all the questions, including contacting out vet!

  • Eastohanimals

    I run a small mixed breed rescue and I know some purebreed rescues can be “difficult”.  However, this report was a black eye on rescuers and rescue transporters that do a great job.  You and this women definitely did not have all (actually almost none) of your facts straight on about 95% of the rescues on petfinder and adopt a pet.  I have 13 dogs at my house that are all well taken care of,  fed good food and are all spayed, wormed, have all their shots and get heartworm year round and are flea/tick treated 8 months out of the year.  I put $5000 of my own money in placing, feeding, and vetting these dogs.  There are no sick days when you are doing this.  With all this, people ask me stupid questions like why do you charge and they are the same people who wouldn’t put a dollar in our donation jar.  Other people treat us like Walmart and take a dog, don’t train the dog (even though it is in the contract), don’t pay proper attention, don’t do anything to dog proof their house when they are bringing in a new dog and then want us to refund their money after they have had the dog for about 4 or 5 months.  We live on the edge financially all the time.  This happens a lot with pups.  We charge $200, but we spay/neuter all our dogs, they have all shots and we treat them for worms and test and treat for giardia.  Right now I have a dog with no hip joints, another dog that is blind and I still take care of all these dogs plus work 2 jobs.  After all this, we got absolutely no voice, but we took the bashing from this women.  Our application is 2 pages, our contract is 3 pages (part of which is explanation of vetting and background on the dog), we require a vet check and a home visit.  Why a home visit?  Because I need to know these people are who they say they are, I need to make sure, the adopted animal is okay with the kids or other animals in the home and it is usually better for me to take the dog to the home and not just hand the dog over at some random location.  Why don’t you give he small rescues that handle mixedbreeds, in particular, to talk about what we do.  If you are going to give this person a voice, why don’t you give us one because you have no idea at all what is going on out there.  Absolutely, no idea at all

    Cindy Jones
    Eastern OH Animal Rescue and Transporters

  • brobinson

    I believe Ms. Yoffee is painting an unfair picture of rescuing from a shelter/pet rescue organization. The questions may be invasive to some, but the questions are asked for good reason. These shelters are the only advocates these animals have! It is the  job of a shelter to make sure they are going to loving homes that are a good fit for both pet and their prospective adopters.  The goal is these shelters are not only to rescue these wonderful animals,  but get them into loving homes and make sure they do not end up back in the shelter. The only way to accomplish that is to have frank discussions about how a future pet will fit into someones life. In my opinion Ms. Yoffee is being narrow minded and a bit childish. I hope that people are able to see past Ms. Yoffee’s narrow scope and choose adoption. These shelters are struggling and this negative attention is not helping their noble cause

  • http://twitter.com/DebWNJ Deborah Woodell

    Every animal I’ve ever had has been a rescue pet from a shelter. There are some non-shelter operations (poodle rescues, greyhound rescues) that may be a bit overbearing in asking questions about the potential adopting individual or family, and if you don’t like that type of prying, there are always more rescue options (another private agency, another shelter). She shouldn’t give up so easily….there are many, many, many good shelter options. 

  • Tokiwaza

    I thoroughly agree with Phillygirl, it was all about HER and HER feelings, that`s why rescue groups and shelters have so many questions and have to work so hard at screening the new adopter because NOBODY but that rescue person is speaking for the DOG!!!  This is the ONE chance that dog has of getting into a gentle and loving home, but hey, dogs can`t speak, so the rescuer, who has taken on someone else`s responsibility which they have dumped, MUST speak for this dog and do her utmost due diligence to ensure the dog will now be happy and safe.  After all, a lot of these poor dogs have already been abused, neglected and treated badly.
    Just because the rescue person didn`t have a crystal ball to know you are a trustworthy animal lover, she would rather take your scorn through the media than regret her decision and have to scrape up the dog`s dead body two weeks later. It`s called REALITY, cause it`s 2012.

  • advocateforpets

    When a family of four adopted their dog from a rescue shelter recently, I was appalled, shocked, disgusted, and saddened that they were even allowed.  I don’t know how they were selected and what the application process was like but I know from the moment they decided they wanted a dog, they adopted one in a week.  

    Yes I am about to judge them by how they live their lives even though it’s not my business, but I don’t care.  First of all, of the 15 times I’ve been to their home the last year, I’ve seen trash strewn all over the floor, counters, and such.  The beautiful hardwood floors that were recently replaced before the purchase of their home are scratched up and filthy and rarely swept/mopped.   These aren’t just clutter, it’s filthy.  Toys are all over the place, food on walls, kitchen cabinets all wide open, etc.  They have two young children, together weighing less than the dog.  They also have a cat.  The children’s personalities are similar to that of Elmira of Tiny Toons.

    Having two young children is difficult enough.  Do they expect the dog to babysit the kids? They can’t pick up after themselves, how do they expect to pick up after the dog?

    I’m expecting the novelty of having a new pet to wear off pretty soon and sadly, the dog will have to go back to the shelter, traumatized.  Either that, or they’ll keep the dog and won’t properly care for them.  Within an hour of the dog arriving at their home, I heard he hurt himself and had to be taken to the vet. Sad, really sad.

    I’m all about shelters making sure they are going to loving homes but not sure how a bunch of questionaires could help if they don’t see how the families really live.

  • Patty

    Dogs that are in rescue have usually already been in a bad situation and have been dumped by someone they have loved and trusted. They do not need to go through that ordeal again. The people who do rescue spend their own time and tons of their own money saving these animals and trying to find the best possible permanent homes for them. Until you have walked in a rescuers shoes, give them a little slack.  It is a thankless job other than from the grateful animals. The people who want you to take their pets don’t even bother to say thank you most of the time. Try volunteering for a rescue for a few months and see if your opnion changes.

  • Marion Olson

    I’m afraid this whole subject of animal rescue is way too emotional for most people to deal with it rationally.  There are a huge number of unbelievably dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to bring animals north from the kill shelters, and there are even more people who love animals enough to foster them, love them, and then give them up to the ultimate “forever” home.   

    My complaint is with those “shelters” advertising on Petfinders that provide a photo of an animal who isn’t even located within a day’s drive of the zip code you specified in your search.   The forms are to be filled out, fees must be paid, and supposedly the animal will be picked up and delivered to you like the proverbial mail-order bride.   That’s not how I would choose to adopt a new family member.  

  • Mikegrimm1

    Personal experience:   I worked with the National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network last month to find a Brit for my parents.   Several emails with the local Arizona contact and we later met at an annual adoption event where hundreds of dogs from various rescue groups were presented.   The NBRAN director was just awesome.  She was fostering a 7 year old half-breed Brit with a club-foot and he is now in the care of my parents.   A perfect match and we were fortunate to have been selected.   Adopting a pure-breed would have been more difficult and rescue groups hold us, potential dog-parents, to a much higher standard than your local shelter group.     Overall, a wonderful experience!!   All I can say is that if someone is looking for a quick-fix, for a guarantee, then hit your local shelter and pick up a pound puppy.  Mutt’s deserve love too.   If you are just looking for a cheap pure-bred then move on.   Rescue networks probably are not a good fit for you.   Just sayin’.  

  • Joy

    A truly wonderful place to find a dog is your local
    pound—all rescue groups agree on this. Most pounds have many, many willing
    dogs, and very few adopters—resulting in euthanasia ( killing) dogs for space
    in kennels.  As more dogs come in
    daily, more must be killed to make space for the new dogs coming in. There is
    no ‘governmental help’ or ‘state money’ to help. Sadly, many, many, many dogs
    are brought to the local pound that would be killed immediately without the
    financial and rehabilitative help of rescue groups. Many rescue dogs have been
    maimed or abused by the very folks that drop them off,  ( due to drug issues, violent family
    issues, etc) and many are brought to the pound by police, fire dept, family
    services, etc after finding them in deplorable conditions. Please adopt from
    your local pound. The dogs you find there are on a very tight time-line—24-84
    hours, usually. If you have quibbles with rescue groups—please don’t adopt from
    a rescue . Go to your nearest pound and save a life. Even a girl like Ms.
    Yoffee couldn’t disagree…

    • Mc clean

      I have adopted several cats from my local pound here in Northern Ohio…However, the last cat I adopted was only 5 weeks old (they said it had been abandoned by its Mother) and was very SKIINNY and FULL OF FLEAS……They hadn’t taken very good care of him at the pound…He is now 2 and a half years old and a FINE CAT, healthy,,,,, NO FLEAS and not skinny….He is just the right weight and a sweet kitty…..

    • Katy

      The rescue group took away the best dog I ever had.  They said it was because I wouldn’t agree to take him to the dog park every day, though their own professional trainer told me not to take him to the dog park EVER.  They told me the dog was “unadoptable,” they said he couldn’t be around children, they said he needed a very active home, then proceeded to put him up for adoption on their web site, removed the “no children” sign, and said he needed moderate exercise.  They changed the dog’s name four times.  I applied six times, and the answer was always no.  I gave up after they informed me four months later that he’d been adopted, went to the pound, and adopted a dog that reminded me of the one I’d had.  But I will miss that dog forever, and I will never foster a dog again.

  • Tanya Turner

    I would answer as many questions, fill out as many applications, visit as many shelters or rescues, sit through as many interviews or home visits, furnish as many references, or make as many home or lifestyle changes necessary to adopt the right animal for me if it meant I could avoid being a part of the problem.

    At the very core of the matter, good animals are dying and living alone while new animals are being consciously bred. We kill euthanize 20,000 animals a day and how many millions more sleep alone in a cage at night? Any REAL ANIMAL LOVER would just put in the work to do the right thing. I don’t care if that’s inflammatory– its the truth!

    Not that it should or needs to be so hard as it is sometimes. I agree, it doesn’t. But is it really too much to ask that you spend an hour, a day, a week or longer to save an animals life, refuse to sustain a detrimental industry, and find that perfect match? There are thousands of shelters and resources. There are millions of pets.

    So here is the offensive truth: the only real excuse for buying a pet of ANY kind is laziness or selfishness. Just do what it takes to adopt. Its honestly not THAT hard and it is the ONLY way to be a part of the solution.

    • Also, me.

      Another offensive truth: Self-righteous, asinine, hyper-judgmental people are making prospective dog-savers feel *very* unwelcome — because they like dogs more than they like people. They need a new hobby and a good therapist. 

      Face facts: For every dog you save, there may be another out there that was euthanized because their potential owner was driven to a breeder, by you, because they were treated like crap. 

      • Me, again (again)

        I apologize! The goal was to get people to stop blaming other people, no matter how insane, for their own decisions. I’ve clearly failed and only upset you. I’m sorry.Your additional truth is totally accurate. I already understand this point and agree! But my goal is to encourage people to be accountable for their OWN actions. I feel that so many people are excusing their unethical behavior with blame. Its as if I’m hearing: ”It was so crazy when I went to the store on Black Friday. Those frenzied, shopping maniacs were all over the place and I couldn’t even find the end of a checkout line! Asinine, I only wanted a book– I’m an avid book-reader and a very conscientious consumer! I have a gigantic library. So I instead I broke into some lady’s apartment who had just the book I wanted, and now I can finally read in peace. Problem solved!”
        Its a silly illustration, but I hope it clarifies my real point: it doesn’t matter if the reason you stole a book was because the store was a madhouse. You still made the conscious decision to steal the book instead of looking for a better alternative. If you choose not to be a part of the solution, for whatever reason, however justified it feels, you’re still part of the problem.

        Its not about “us” and “them”. Its about the action.I want to remind, hopefully more postitively this time, that when there’s a will there’s a way. Go on another day. Find the right rescue or shelter for you. Put the work in and the reward will be great and there won’t be any lingering guilt or desire to justify actions by pointing fingers. People put more effort into buying a car or a house but we’re talking about a living thing and family member here– doesn’t it deserve as much consideration?

  • Cha

    Take a trip to the South.  Go to a pound.  Pay the $100. Bring dog home.

    • Hellbaby71

      In Houston, they usually go for ten dollars.

  • Cotton

    I volunteer/foster for a local rescue group and totally appreciate the hoops that have to be jumped through for potential adopters. It isn’t fair to anyone when the wrong dog goes to the wrong family and gets returned. Doing it right the first time is not a crime.

  • Kerrie

    Shame on Ms. Yoffe -over 5 million dogs and cats are killed each year in the U.S. alone. Think about that number, do some math, divide it by 365 days in a year. I am astounded to read that NPR would air such a one-sided  program, so shame on them too. I am a volunteer and foster for dogs with a local rescue group and my only regret is that I did not do this sooner and that I can not do more. All of my animal friends have come from various rescues across the country, some have been difficult because of neglect and mistreatment by man  (no fault of their own) and each one of them to this day, everyday, brings a smile or a wonderful memory. What a GIFT I have been given. I hope more people will volunteer and open their homes and hearts to the MILLIONS of dogs and cats and other animals  languishing and most awaiting death in local pounds and shelters around the country. We need to change our attitudes and work at making all shelters NO KILL shelters-  to allow all of these beautiful animals time- time to find that special family who will love them forever so that they too will receive such a gift.
    And to the person who wrote disparaging words about Save A Dog- they have saved thousands of dogs How many have you saved?

  • catsandroses

    I do some volunteer work for a rescue group west of Boston.. Our group has been responsible for saving the lives of some 4000 dogs.  A small number are returned  to us for a variety of reasons and this is one of the explanations for the lengthy procedure and application process that a prospective adopters must go through.  We DON’T want to have a dog returned.  It is so traumatic for the dog in the first place to end up in a strange location, a strange facility with strange humans and some of these dogs have been long time residents of loving wonderful homes.  Some people think they want a dog without realizing the time, emotional and financial commitment that this family member requires.  There are many reasons people want dogs and there are many reasons that we don’t think they are a good fit.. again, we want our dogs to have their “forever home” and not be sent back to us in 4-5 months because they “chased the cat, didn’t get along with the other dog, were too rambunctious, needed more supervision, etc.”.  I do take issue with the comment about the “American accent”.. that’s a new one.  However, another shelter here did take many dogs from Puerto Rico and it took a while to find why the dogs did not respond well… their owners spoke English and the dogs understood only Spanish.  I think Ms. Yoffe has done a terrible disservice to the thousands of dogs out there dying (and in some cases literally) waiting for a new home with food, a warm bed and love for them.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TZ65SJMS7IBTUSRYTZEUIAXNLY azreial

     I was a huge supporter of shelter pets but I have to agree with the story that the application has become a bit much.
    I was turned down by multiple adoption groups because I had a child under age 5, one denied for a child under age 10!, a couple because I planned on having another child sometime in a future. It didn’t matter that I was looking for a per because my 21 year old cat had just died, with vet records, clearly showing I’m not the type to get rid of an animal because I’ve tired of it or had a baby.
    One shelter wanted to have an interview with my landlord about what type of person I am and how I care for my pets. My landlord didn’t even live in the area and didn’t know me beyond initial meeting and the fact that I pay my rent on time.
     We ended up with getting a dog from a breeder. The second dog a year later we got from someone who couldn’t keep him. Eight years, a few kids, and some big life style changes and they’re still well loved, cared for and important part of the family.
    It makes me sad that dogs and cats are sitting in foster homes or shelters because the application process has grown to such levels

    • Rlavendar

      Your last sentence about the aplication, really touched a response.  Hope 7 months ago is still o.k to feel good with dog.

  • TC

    I would like to lend some support to Ms. Yoffe’s observations and state that I, too, have been turned off of the adoption and rescue process due to a number of bad experiences.  Last June, my 11 year old Golden Retriever died and I was heartbroken.  I had had Byron (that was his name) since he was a 13 week old puppy and I loved him dearly.  I took him everywhere with me and I made sure to go home at lunch every day to take him out for a mid-day break and then we’d play for 45 minutes after work.  On weekends we went to the local dog park and he’d chase a ball for hours.  I truly believe I gave him a great life and that he was very happy with me.
    After his passing, I contacted the Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue organization and filled out their application and paid the minimal application processing fee.  To my astonishment, I was rejected by the organization simply because I do not have a fenced-in yard.  No other reason was given. 
    I then went to a local animal shelter and adopted what seemed to be a sweet, 5 year old yellow lab.  The dog appeared to be well-adjusted and well-behaved until he came into the presence of older to middle-aged women.  Unfortunately I didn’t find this out until my Mom came to visit at the end of the first week and the dog turned on my Mom, biting her on the forearm and she required several stitches.  Once I learned of this behavior, I brought the dog back to the shelter and informed them of the dog’s agression towards older women.  Not only did the shelter not return my money ($350), but they also did not update the dog’s description on their adoption listings to mention this new information.  Most likely the shelter planned on adopting out the dog again and raking in another $350, turning the dog into a cash cow.
    So my biggest complaint with shelters is that they adopt out the pet but don’t offer any refunds if you need to return the animal for a legitimate reason.  Why would I want to put both myself and the pet through an emotional process of adoption, acclimation, and then separation, all while putting a healthy chunk of money at risk if it doesn’t work out? 
    In the end, I contacted a golden retriever breeder I found on the Web who had a 2 year old Golden that had been returned to her by the original owners because they had both lost their jobs and were facing foreclosure.  I was willing to pay more for my new companion because I got all her papers, saw her complete medical history, and even got to meet her parents.  I knew I was going to be completely happy with her while at the same time providing a home to a dog in need.
    In the future, I’m going to stick with reputable breeders and save both myself and my future pet the anxiety and financial gamble that comes with an uncertain adoption process.

  • Twice Shy

    I would strongly encourage folks to buy from a breeder who is only in it for profit.  Why should I be the only one who racked up over $70,ooo in medical bills, missed work for several months, and will always have very limited us of my right arm after being maimed by an improperly socialized dog from a puppymill selling dogs on-line?

    Rest assured, all of my current and future dogs will come from reputable rescues who work with the dog, know the dog inside and out, and can work with me to ensure that I am right for the dog, and the dog is right for me.

  • Elizabeth in RI

    I have to agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Yoffe’s experience. My family and I tried to adopt from rescue groups – and preferred mixed breed puppies (we wanted to bring a new dog into our home and thought that our current dog would adapt better to a puppy than an adult dog). We are long time pet owners (all from puppy/kitten stages) and have admittedly spoiled pets. Because we both work, we were turned down by several pet rescue groups. But the thing that I found most amusing (and a bit sad), was that one of the questions on the applications was ” Are you aware that a pet can cost more than $XXX per year?” Yes – of course I know that. That’s one of the reasons we both work – so we can afford both of children and our pets.

    Like Ms. Yoffe, we ended up purchasing 2 wonderful mixed breed puppies from several states away. They are healthy, seem happy and a joy to our family. I just would have liked to have been able to offer the same situation to a pet in less fortunate conditions than “the girls” came from. I applaud the work of these rescue groups – but a healthy dose of reality might be helpful.

  • Anonymous

    I can see both sides of the issue but I will say that some restrictions rescue groups place on potential adopters are too strict and immovable. I rescue mini dachshunds. Dachshund rescue groups won’t even talk to me because I don’t have a fenced yard. I’ve had mini dachshunds for 25 years. I’ve had fenced yards and yards that aren’t fenced. I have never lost a single dog. I’ve also had other breeds and mixed breeds, and again, never lost a single one. Not one escaped my careful watchfulness. That should count for something. I too feel that the adoption forms are rather intrusive.  I do a lot of advocating for and trying to find people to adopt dogs in animal control places, what we used to call “pounds”. So many of these are high-kill. Every time a dog or cat is destroyed it breaks my heart. Rescue groups “rescue” animals from these horrible places and place them in foster homes. The people involved with these rescue groups are saints in my book. They even have transport networks that will work as hard as they can to get adopted pets to their new homes. They really want the pets they rescue, foster, provide health care for (and some of these pets are in very bad shape, having living on the streets for who-knows-how-long) to go to good homes. I hear so many sad, sad stories about people adopting a pet and returning it when it somehow doesn’t suit. It’s fairly common when people adopt puppies to return them, or surrender them to animal control when the dog is no longer a cute little puppy. It may seem to someone reading this that I should look farther than mini doxies. Well, I know the breed from my years of experience. I know what to expect, how to train them, the illnesses and other problems they’re likely to develop. And I always bring a new dog into a home where there are already mini doxies and I know they form tight packs so I don’t anticipate the dogs I have rejecting a new rescue. And that has never happened. There are other reasons too. Rescue groups are mainly composed of angels. If one doesn’t work for you, try another.

  • Anonymous

    The process is supposed to be thorough, so enough of the moaning and groaning.  When you adopt a rescue pet, you are essentially getting a baby who will always have to rely on you to love, feed, provide shelter, veterinary care, and companionship.  He will never move out – this is a relationship for life.  Where you go, he goes.  It is imperative that he be put in a stable home situation and that takes time to

    • Elizabeth in RI

       Actually that was sort of the insane part of the process – when I had my baby, no one asked me any of thing. They just let me take him home. But to get a dog I practically had to promise my first born.

      I understand that these groups are looking for good, stable homes. But that is a judgement call, and in some cases, some of these rescues are keeping pets in temporary homes unnecessarily because they have judged perfectly good, responsible  families unacceptable

  • Dmajor

    Those responses don’t seem at all defensive. Nope.  I appreciated the piece and would certainly keep any rescue group on a very short leash when the time comes to get another doggie. Rescue groups might want to consider her piece as useful feedback, and scrutinize their own rescuers and processes before talking about anyone “stomping their feet”.

  • Petlover

    purebredrescuesofOhio is a good place to adopt a pet in Ohio

  • AlicePalace

    We adopted a terrific dog through Great Dog Rescue of New England this past fall.  We were committed to adopting an adult dog and were looking at all of our options — shelters, rescue agencies, you name it.  After a lot of looking and researching, we found a dog we were interested in through GDRNE but ultimately we were told that the dog needed to go to a home with other dogs because of her insecure/shy nature.  Frankly, we appreciated that they knew the dog and essentially saved the dog and us from a bad match.  This being our first dog, we wanted to get it right.  And they were there to help. 

    We looked again at their available dogs and found another who seemed good on paper.  I was able to talk to her “foster mom” at length about her, which helped us know if she was good for us.  Then we got to meet her at her foster home, and we knew, from all the info and from our meeting, that she was right for us.  I absolutely loved that we were getting a dog we knew something about, who we had met in a home.  Being a first-timer, the idea of adopting an adult dog with zero background information made me very uneasy. 

    The best thing about this adoption was all of the information we were able to get about our newest family member.  The worst, though, was the application and all the questions and not really knowing if we were being “judged” or simply “matched.”  

    I understand.  I know why they ask what they ask, I know why they do the home visit (which was friendly and not intrusive, BTW) … I know, and we benefitted because we got the RIGHT dog, not the FIRST dog.  But.  It did feel intrusive.  It is off-putting.  I worried with every question that if I answered “wrong” we would be rejected as unfit.  That’s a bad position to put potential adopers in if you really want them to adopt and not just give up and go buy a puppy.   If we’d been in the market for a puppy and had gotten repeatedly stonewalled, I am sure we’d have gotten frustrated and just  found a breeder who would happily facilitate our journey into dog ownership.   I’m so glad that wasn’t our situation.

    The important takeaway from the story is this:  Rescue animals do lose out on great “forever homes” because of the adoption process, and that’s a shame.  It would be wonderful if this could be improved.

  • Dianne

    Interesting how she chooses to talk about New York City being a place where rescuers are overly picky. Of course they are, and probably should be considering the fact that it’s a MAJOR METROPOLIS. Not exactly a natural environment for cats, and especially dogs. The owner has to be someone serious about providing an enriching environment and someone who’s not just gonna pass the dog along back into the system because of “unforeseen circumstances.”  In life, and especially with pets, people have a tendency to give up to easy, oh wait, like this woman did in the adoption process. I’m not so offended by the Rescue Agencies’ perseverance. 

  • http://www.wellturned.com/ Rebecca

    Ms. Yoffe could have gone to a shelter, if she really wanted to adopt a homeless animal. They do appropriate screenings, but they are not as “picky” as some of the rescue groups that are not run by professionals. She could have easily given a home to a homeless dog. Her dog is adorable, but it’s too bad she decided to support breeders when they are so many homeless pets getting put down every hour of every day in this country.

  • WinkyD

    Very sad take on shetlers attempts to ensure animals are finding forever homes and not sent off with losers…so many animals are…and then disaster.

    • Guest

       Commenters keep repeating the claim that animals are constantly returned when sent to the “wrong” homes, but offer NO statistics on how often this really occurs. Can’t prove it? Don’t say it.

      Does it really make sense for a Rescue to deny potential adopters (who are MORE THAN LIKELY amazing people), hold onto the dogs longer, and deny other dogs space in the rescue organization?? With these tactics, some Rescues are contributing to the deaths of perfectly good animals by keeping prospective adopters away.

  • dog lover

    The majority of people who are posting here, so far, vigorously defend rescues . For those of you who listened to the show, and who did not read the article, which was written, basically, in response to ANOTHER prior posting, and the flood of responses, I will attempt to put this in context.

    Ms Yoffe’s experience(s) with “rescue” was not unique. Literally HUNDREDS (maybe thousands – she broke the counter over at Slate) of people, from all over the country, thought they were alone in their humiliating experience with dog rescue. After reading ALL the comments, I have some thoughts, and suggestions.

    It seems, from my own experience, that things have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Northern California Lab rescue requires a $200 NON REFUNDABLE application fee before you can LOOK at the dogs, much less have the one you want, or even be an acceptable home. I personally know of only one person who ever got a dog from them (and that one had significant medical issues). Golden Retriever rescue was the same – I know of NO ONE who ever was able to adopt from them. Again, reading the comments from Slate, the nation’s foremost advocate of No Kill shelters, Nathan Winograd, was denied adoption, several veterinarians were, and on and on . . . Meanwhile, the shelters are being stripped of everything but essentially hard to place dogs because the “rescues” swoop in and pull out all the desirable pets, and several foster families posted that they stopped fostering, because the people who ran the rescues would never adopt the dogs out.

    This is NOT anecdotal, people, this is most definitely a trend.

    So I would urge would be adopters, and charitable donators, to look for the following. Assuming that the most desirable dogs are from puppy to say 5 years old, check and see how long most of the rescue’s animals have been with them (it typically says on Petfinder). 2 weeks, a month? Probably a good rescue.  4 months, 6 months, YEARS? . . . maybe not so good. Maybe a hoarder, or crazy, or group who want to deduct their hobby from their taxes, and solicit donations for same.

    Adopters? Don’t let anyone shame you into taking a breed, or any dog, you really don’t want. If you know you want a certain type of dog, and are comfortable with that breed, go for it. And don’t get pushed around. Some of the questionaires asked for tax returns, social security numbers, vet references from people who had no pets, multiple home inspections, etc. The rescue keeps title to the dog, and can seize it at any time? You can’t move without informing the rescue? Get real.

    And dog “rescuers?” Stop vilifying people who leave their dogs at shelters. For whatever reason they may not have anticipated, they can’t keep the dog. It is infinitely preferable to turn it in a a shelter to  leaving them outside because its no longer cute, driving it to the country and leaving it, etc. The dogs who are left at shelters, for the most part, are rehomed to loving families – and, despite the millions who are still put down – now, the majority of dogs at shelters are adopted. Good homes come in ALL types – with kids, without kids, old people, young people, with fences, without fences, houses, apartments, condos, even semi trucks and RVs.

    Donators? Think about donating to low cost spay/neuter programs, and programs who help low income homes with food and vet costs so they can keep their well loved  pets. Give to programs who educate folks about being good pet owners.

    I have had 6 pets over my adult life. 2 cats that I took in, and four dogs I got at a shelter, all of whom have had good long lives, and the latest of whom has had a GREAT, if fairly unorthodox, life. If, after my girl goes, I ever get another dog, it will also be either rehomed or from a shelter. But a “rescue”? . . .

    • http://www.facebook.com/Yolanda.E.Lyons Yolanda Lyons

      There is a great difference between a rescue and a person who is a hoarder, as you describe.  Rescues do many of the things you recommend – 1) many of them will have the animals spayed/neutered before they ever go to their forever homes; they do educate people about being good pet owners; rescues are organizations who care about the animals and want only the best for them.  I think you may be confusing individuals who rescue with actual rescue organizations, and there is a big difference between them.  Yes, rescues do pull dogs out of shelters sometimes when those dogs are close to the time that the shelters will euthanize them.  Some rescues do have dogs that have been with them for a long time, but there are many reasons for that (the dog may not be adoptable because it doesn’t do well with other cats, dogs or children; it may have special needs and people don’t want the burden of caring for it; the dog may have an extreme fear of men or women; etc.).  It does no good to demonize rescues and then tell people to go to shelters where the dogs have not been checked to see if they have food allergies and that’s why their fur is falling out or where they won’t be told that the dog had bitten several people prior to being brought to the shelter.  The key is to do the research before a person starts looking for a dog – then no one finds it necessary to complain afterwards.

      • dog lover

         Again, I urge you to read the comments from the Slate piece. If all of a “rescue’s” dogs have been in “foster” care for months and months (or years), there is a problem. Ms Yoffe brings up real issues that are discouraging potential GOOD adopters from getting a recycled pet – exactly what the people involved in dog rescue are trying to avoid (supposedly).  Pooh-poohing her (and a legion of commenters) observations is ignoring a real problem.

        Many shelters do check for temperment now – mine did. And that was 10 years ago. If the rescue that you are checking got the dog when it was, say 8 weeks old, and healthy, and its now a year, there is a problem.

        This judgemental rescue thing is now so prevalent that there is a Facebook page precisely for people who are looking for pets and don’t want the crap the dog nazis put them through – I believe its called “no judgement” or something like that.

        If you run a legitimate rescue organization, and your intention is to place dogs into good homes in a timely manner, you are doing yourself a disservice by ignoring Ms Yoffe’s criticisms.

    • dmv

      DOG LOVER-NEWS FLASH – No, most dogs that are surrendered at any shelter are PTS, most dogs found as strays are PTS, the majority of dogs in shelters are PTS – MILLIONS OF DOGS AND CATS ARE PTS IN THE USA. 

  • AB_Guest

    I agree with phillygirl. I don’t understand the goal of this story…to whine? I must admit I have have had confusing experiences with shelters (difficulty getting a response, not helping with the selection process etc) and to that degree I do understand her frustration. However,  given her access to an audience – her time would have been better served paving a path for the equally frustrated.
    This is such a waste of an opportunity to do some good.  She got it wrong, advertised her immaturity and NPR did a disservice to it’s audience and the millions of pets that will be euthanized this year.

  • Lucyethel

    I was happy to hear about this article & to hear that other people have also had a bad experience trying to adopt a rescue dog.  We were rejected by a couple groups because we don’t have a fenced yard & keep her on a very long leash even though we do not leave her unattended & walk her at least twice a day.  We went to a group called Planned Pethood in Toledo,OH & they were the most sanctimonious & obsessed people & rejected our “application” for a puppy.  We had had two prior happy dogs both of which lived to be 13 & 14!!  We couldn’t believe it.  Then we tried a couple web sites & failed again, & ended up going to a breeder for a golden retriever.  Unbelieveable “gestapo” type tactics.  We wanted to help & they wouldn’t let us.  We got the feeling that they think people wanting to adopt are horrible,evil people & they are the only angels.  If you want to see how obsessed they are just read some of the rescuer’s comments to Ms. Yoffe’s article.

  • Sarina

    Too many great pet owners relate to being discouraged and frustrated by overzealous and disjointed rescue groups. That doesn’t take away from the good these rescues do and I really hope it doesn’t stop people from making the effort to adopt animals. That said, I’m glad people are speaking out because things need to change for the sake of the masses of animals that need homes. It isn’t just getting declined for stupid “reasons” but the barriers rescues are putting up that encourage just the kind of behavior that perpetuates negative situations.

    Turning off people who want to adopt, even if they aren’t “perfect,” just sends them to pet stores that support puppy mills and unnecessary breeding. It increases the chances those animals won’t be spayed/neutered. Or, perhaps even worse, it stops a good family with a place for a pet from ever filling that void and giving a lucky animal a home.

    If an adult comes to you and is willing to pay a reasonable adoption fee to take in a homeless animal (genuinely “special needs” animals aside), please don’t stand in their way! Of course it’s best to help guide them to the right animal, but please don’t harass them with excessive questions, leave them hanging, or insult them with stupid reasons for not helping them bring home a pet. As for questions of declines because the person is over 60 or has kids or, of all things, foreign accents, I think we’re getting into issues of illegal  discrimination.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joyce-Godsey/666835311 Joyce Godsey

    WBUR has made me sad. To give more press to Ms. Yoffe’s biased article is unworthy.   I am a 20 year veteran rescuer and i will agree that some groups are a little too stringent, I can understand WHY they got that way.  People LIE on applications and during interviews, and in the end we do not want a pet returned because of it. I once had a pet returned because it didn’t match the color of the drapes!   Catering to breeders just makes the problem worse.   Giving more coverage to this is shameful and will only hurt the animals. 

    Trust me, if i nurses an abused animal back to health and spent my personal money on it for as long as i have to…i would GIVE it to a new owner if i thought it as the perfect home. But I certainly won’t give or sell it to someone who lies to me.

  • Ed

    My wife tried to get a dog from a rescue organization and it was a real eye-opening experience.  The outfits she dealt with showed a complete lack of understanding of what a dog needs to be healthy and happy.  We work at home and own a house on two acres in a nice neighborhood.  They insisted on a fenced back yard with a lawn and two children.  That’s the American dream, not a dog’s dream.  To finance that dream, both parents must work and their children spend the day at day care or school.  That is the worst thing for a dog.  A dog wants to be with his or her people all day, every day.

    It finally did work out OK for us.  We found a dog on Craigslist who had been passed around quite a bit already.  The poor dog had lived with a German shepherd at one point and is terrified of large dogs.  (She weighs 10 pounds, full grown.)  She had lived with abusive kids and is terrified of that childish laughter.  She was apparently punished for peeing or pooping now matter where she did it: indoors or out.  She was afraid to even pee or poop outdoors where other dogs had already gone.  She would smell their scents and expect to get beaten for it! 

    We walk her three times a day around the neighborhood and every other day for 1.5 hours.  We have patiently taught her to be a real dog.  She sits in my lap while we watch movies a couple of times a week, but we don’t get TV so that time that most people waste staring straight ahead we spend playing with her and her toys on the couch.  Every morning she coaxes and urges until I go sit in the sun and hold her on my lap.  It was months before she would smile.  Now she is a very happy dog.

    I sometimes feel sorry for the poor dogs that were denied to us.  They are suffering for hours a day, waiting for their family to come home while ours is with us.  But we don’t regret the dog we got.  It has been challenging, but well worth it.  I think we have the best dog anyone could have.

    The lesson: there are lots of dogs who are no longer wanted.  You don’t have to go to an adoption agency to find them.  Let those people live their fantasy lives, making money in the pet adoption business.  Just go find a good dog on Craigslist, in the newspaper, or in your local pound.  All dogs can be good dogs if you are a good owner.

  • Samuel333

    I was on the Board of our local Humane Society and eventually resigned over the dictatorial behavior of the Director. Her claim was that she was there only for the animals and public opinion be damned. Applicants had to meet her incredibly demanding standards and complete a multi-page application. So many excellent candidates did exactly what Ms. Yoffe did and took their business and annual donations with them. It took a virtual coup-de-etat to oust her. She was well intended or maybe just nuts, but she did serious damage to the organization during her reign of terror.

  • Doug

    Just to be Fair in your Reporting Please read and consider this before you go and Bash Rescues and Foster Homes, They have the best interest of the Dog in mind, and not yours, Just as it should be.
    http://m.examiner.com/dogs-in-national/those-darn-dog-rescues-with-all-of-their-rules-and-questions-what-gives

  • http://twitter.com/sosi_74 Sonya Simpkins

    This is a very fine and tricky line, but it should not stop potential pet parents from adopting a companion. Here is a rescue story from a dog mom who looked at both breeders and rescue websites. My point is to not let a lengthy adoption application to deter you from rescuing a dog. Regardless of where they come from, they all need good and loving furever homes. http://www.ilovedogs.com/2012/03/reader-rescue-stories-magnolia/

  • Doug

    While I have Both Read and Heard this story, I have to say it seems to be one sided, I have not seen or heard of any type of follow up story on what really happens inside a rescue.
       I have done Animal Rescue with different groups since Hurricane Katrina, been everything from a Handyman,Dogwalker, Rehabilitator, Poopscooper, to Adoption Counselor and Foster Home Parent, I have personally been involved with over 200 plus Adoptions.
       I would be very happy to Sit, Talk and or Show you just exactally what happens in an Animal Rescue, Trust me it isn’t all pretty.  Seeing the Broken Legs, Heartworm Treatments, and Abuse, Yet also seeing the puppy dumped in the trash like garbage or the St. Benards, and Great Danes half starved to death, Or the Ears cutoff a dog just because someone could do it.
        People want to claim Rescues are stuck up and self centered better than Thous, However Please look at it for a minute from a Rescuers stand point.
        90% of all animals in rescue have come from county pounds with death sentences, Some with a few hours or minutes left in this world, Yet Rescues step in and take these animals, Treat medicate, Spay/Neuter and then sometimes take up  to a year to make them again Adoptable to a forever home, When we do not  get it right they come back, Usually in worse shape than they were when they actually left to begin with. 
          Please if you really want to do a story on Animal Rescues and Pet Adoptions, Do a complete story and not some half baked article on person turned down by a rescue.
        I hope you take me up on my offer to show you what really goes on inside a rescue, It may not be preety but at least it will be the truth about why people get turned down .

    You can contact me anytime,I would look forward to it actually.
    Doug

  • Wanderer

    I have to admit my bias here in the beginning. I found Ms. Yoffe to be the kind of person I would avoid at all costs. I understand bringing to light the fact that a few rescue groups are doing incredible harm to to all the other good ones out there. I have encountered unreasonable rescue groups myself (usually these were breed specific groups and I was actually left speechless by the attitudes of a chihuahua rescue group in the Northeast) but her spoiled stomping off to a breeder showed her to be just as unreasonable as those she is writing about. 

    Finding a good shelter is not that hard. Everywhere we’ve lived, from New England to Washington to California we’ve found wonderful humane societies and animal care centers that do their best to adopt animals to loving homes.  I honestly don’t understand the need to have a designer dog. I’ve found mutts to be healthier and better behaved time and again.

    Groups would do well to work on their customer service and their sometimes judgemental attitudes but potential adopters would do just as well to put in a little work to find a good shelter and the animal that will fit their family.

  • Mbresq1

    Got a great companion and bird hunter when I adopted a nine-month-old Brittany from a rescue orgainzation.  When his days are done I will adopt another out of rescue without hesitation.  

  • Section4

    OK…this is obviously an emotionally charged issue on both sides.   I have adopted nothing but rescued retired greyhounds since 1985, and all of my dogs lived to be 14 or more.

    My last dog died a few weeks ago, and I am now beginning to think about adopting another retired racer.  However, the rescue group I have dealt with for years is now out of the business, so I must find another group.

    Instead of filling out adoption paperwork right away, it is my intention to go and visit with multiple rescue organizations and interview THEM first.  Then, and only then, will I decide where to submit my application.

    I’m surprised to see that this approach has not been suggested by anyone here.  Find out about your rescue organization first.  Ask them questions…how many dogs have you adopted out?  How many have been returned?  Do you have a foster program?  What are fosters expected to teach the dogs?  Are the foster homes regularly inspected?  What veterinarians does the rescue use?  How long have they been associated with the group?

    Then call the vet and get a reference from him/her about the group itself.

    Be responsible and do your homework up front!  I’ll bet it will save a whole lot of disappointment in the long run.

    -Greyhound Lover

    • FosterMom

      I understand not wanting to fill out an application and wanting to go visit the rescue or see an animal first.   The issue with this is that many rescues run out of a home.  I would never allow someone to come to my home or meet someone without a application so I could verify they are who they say they are.  It is dangerous to meet someone without verifying their identity and doing a check on them.  I foster dogs for a rescue and I interview potential adopters of my foster dogs.  I always ask what traits they are looking for in their ideal dog.  I have told suitable adopters no to a particular dog and at first they are upset because they have formed this emotional bond with the picture of this animal.   Once I go through the trait differences between the dog I have and the ideal dog they outlined, they then understand.  I then do my best to find them another dog in the rescue that fits what they are looking for.   All my adopters have been thrilled with the animals I have found them and not one complaint.

      One other thing about applications, we can weed out the people with bad references or who do not meet our guidelines.  WE don’t get paid to rescue animals this is strictly volunteer,  most of us have full time jobs and families.  Most of us spend our own money on part our fosters needs.   If I get 20 applications for one dog, this helps me weed out the adopters that best fit the dog up for adoption. Then I do phone interviews before going further.  I do not have the luxury of having unlimited time to meet with every potential adopter and spend the time I need to with my fosters.  I do not think it is acceptable for a dog to be outside 24 x 7, they do not get socialized or learn proper behavior since they can get easily forgotten outside.  What is that adage, out of sight …out of mind.   I also do not find it acceptable for a dog to be kept in a standard crate for 8-10 hours a day.   Who can go 10 hours without going potty or having enough room to stretch.   I pull these animals out of the shelter, some skin and bones, some who cringe and pee when I go to touch them because they were beat by their previous owners.  I spend hours upon hours building their self confidence and their health, I have shed many tears over these poor babies who are so broken.   After all my work and emotional investment to get them back where they are not only healthy physically but mentally, I am sure as heck am not going to let just anyone take them.  I do not ask crazy questions but if you say anything that make a red flag go up, then I will not adopt to you even if you are head of the PTA.  

      Sometimes you have a bad experience with rescues, sometimes we have a bad experience with potential adopters being crazy.   If you never fostered, try it once and let me know how easy it was to turn over your foster animal to just any ole stranger with knowing much about them. 

      • Guest

        I find it interesting that you think it’s dangerous for people to come to your home if you are running a rescue if you don’t know them, but you think nothing of the danger someone else might perceive in you both coming to their home and having all their personal information. Does that not strike you as a little bit hypocritical? You think you should have privacy and safety but people who want to adopt a dog forfeit that right? Wow. Just wow. Listen to yourself. Then listen to the people who think dog rescue groups are insane. And then try to comprehend what is being said to you and why.

  • Hellbaby71

    I fostered a dog years ago and personally met with interested families. Unfortunately, I mistakenly said on her “fact sheet” that she’d be good as  an apartment dog. So any family with a yard or house was  immediately rejected by the agency’s owners. This went on for over a year, at which point I just gave the dog away to a family with (gasp!) a house! I stopped answering calls/letters from the agency and have kept in contact with the adopted  family. The dog is very happy and well cared for. As for myself, I quit trying to adopt a dog after what my vet described as non-stop harassment (several calls per week about a dog I had over a decade ago who passed away at the age of 13). After the vet said he’d like to find me a new clinic unless it stopped, I went to the local pound and found a wonderful elderly dog whom I love very much.

  • James Lehman

    I will never deal with a “rescue group”. These people are near and dear to puppy mills and hoarding. If you actually want to save a pet go to your local animal shelter. 

    • Guest

       I definitely agree with you. Unfortunately, as one commenter mentioned above, “rescues” remove some of the more adoptable animals from the shelter, so what are often left behind are pit bulls (which are fine dogs, but are prohibited in neighborhoods and apartments across the country).

  • James Lehman

    I’m serious with this. I have never seen a rescue group that wasn’t about making money or hoarding. Heck the one my brother dealt with sold him a stolen cat. The cat had a microchip and the previous owner said the cat was stolen.
     

    • Gold1102

      If your Brothers Cat was ever Picked up by Animal Control Chip , and Was not Claimed within the  7-10 Day Holding Period.  It would become the propery of the County, Therefore if a Rescue Pulled it from the Animal Control even with a Microchip  it would become the Property of that Rescue and  Not your Brother any longer.  That is they way the Law is.
          It is Possible your brothers cat was picked up by them,  he didn’t Pay the Fine  for impoundment and boarding.  It is also possible that the Cat was Never Scanned by the Animal Control either.
          Animal Controls are new to this scanning stuff and I am also sure that it doesn’t get done everytime, even though it should be.  They are getting better about it too as time goes on.
           While I cannot say what happened in this case,  Animal Rescues  DO NOT Steal  Animals they do not have too. As there are just way to many out there.
            Also if you really believe that Rescues make Money  just ask them to see the Tax Accountng Forms that must be Filled out to be a 501C3,  Any Good one will be Happy to show them to you, Since Adoption Fees alone Do Not Pay for all the Medical Treatments, Never have and never will.
           

      • Guest

         Please learn the proper rules for capitalization. Honest to God, I couldn’t read what you wrote because I thought sentences were restarting all over the place.

  • Pipkaplan

    I was appalled by Ms. Yoffe’s response! Sure it may be a frustrating process at time, but that is a VERY small price to pay back to the rescuers who contribute countless hours and their time to tirelessly rescuing these desperate animals that some humans decide to treat no better than trash! There are to many animals in high kill shelters that die all the time (in fact more die than get out of the shelters) the animals are scared and it is a miserable existence. These rescue groups are the heroes of these animals and work so hard to try and save as many as they can!! I agree that it is childish for her to stomp her foot and go to a breeder and then to put out this article – I hope people disregard her piece and remember how very important it truly is to help these animals. Maybe she should sit through “One Nation Under Dog” and see if she feels the same :(

  • Dogtired

    Having endured this process for a few months now, i applaud the article and think the rescues have something to learn from this.  I am an animal lover, can provide a good home, lots of love and attention and not selective in breed.  I own my own home and have a ton to give.  The rescues seem to think that they know best when it comes to a “match”  Give us credit for being smart enough human beings to have researched breeds and understand our needs and what we want.  Also, like with humans, chemistry is important!  I don’t want you to “match” me, i want to pick for myself, based on my needs, my likes, and my ability to educate myself.  My biggest complaint is that you can’t even get info or additional photos on a pet unless you fill out the application!  Well, I’m not even sure I want this pet yet, and you’re making me jump through 50 questions just so that you’ll email me back?  Yes, the dog is the customer, but so is the adopter, and quite frankly i’m sick of being judged for things such as not being able to fence my 3 acre yard.  That costs roughtly $15,000.  But if I don’t spend that, the final judgement seems to be  I will not make provisions to ensure my pet’s safety…which is not only rediculous, it’s offensive. 

    This topic is tough, but i have met many many people that agree that adopting from a rescue is tremendously hard, and mired with disappointment and frustration.  Not to mention my personal experience.  I am totally against puppy mills, but if the rescues believe that potential owners aren’t “dedicated” to rescue animals when they turn to a pet store, they are mistaken.  I’m sure many pet owners turn to pet stores with a heavy heart. Regardless of whether or not the rescues choose to accept that the processes they have put in place have led to the pet store doors.

  • guest

    I understand the frustration of working with Rescues.  The biggest problem I have is that they’re unregulated, and the family shopping for a dog has no idea whether the rescue is reputable or not.  I found that out the hard way.  I found my “rescue” dog on petfinder….

    We adopted a mix breed several years ago and went through the hoops.  The dog was supposed to be sweet and loving ,etc.  The lady worked at a Vets office, believe it or not, and we agreed to meet her there since she had the dog there with her one day.  Well, we paid the money and took her home. Found out she had been horribly abused. She lived under our bed and peed all over the place and was TOTALLY terrified of women, and I spent 2 long years trying to train her to no avail. (And yes, I had owned dogs in the past and yes, I’ve been to obedience training, etc.) Nothing I tried worked.  It was a living nightmare, but I did everything you can imagine to win her over.  Once I picked her up after she had a panic outside and she wet all over me. The dog was completely unbalanced and beyond help.  Well, we found about that time that the “rescuer” had been arrested for animal neglect and abuse.  They found her trailer, full of animals and one bowl of food and no water in the middle of summer with no air conditioning.  Nice rescuer, huh? She was just getting them from shelters then selling them to whoever she could sucker.

    Why not just skip the middle man and go to a shelter, I ask.  That’s probably better IMHO.

  • zam

    I love this story (and might have posted this comment, but I still like sharing it….) I found a dog in my neighborhood and put her up for adoption through a local agency. I diligently dropped her off at a local pet store for these “adoption fairs” and wondered why no one wanted to adopt her. She was young, pretty, well trained, and so on. Turns out, the rescue group owners kept turning down interested families based on arbitrary things…for example I wrote on the data sheet that the dog would be fine in an apartment. So anyone who owned a home was rejected. I put on the data sheet that the dog liked children. So anyone who applied but did not have kids was also rejected. I’d finally gotten fed up with it, so gave the dog away to a friend and stopped answering calls from the agency. But seriously, a lot of these rescue group managers are complete histrionic loons who spend time with animals because no humans can stand to be around them. 

    • Gold1102

      You really need to just Find another Rescue to work with. I find it Hard to imagine that people were/are getting turned down for a dog. “Just because they Live in a House and Not an Apartment.” or because they”Don’t have kids and the pet likes them”.
         While Yes there are many reasons for being turned down, Not everyone deserves a pet, Just as not everyone deserves to have children.  However, Most rescues while they do get extensive as they should have the best interest of the pet in mind.
           They  saved it,Put money into it, Keep it safe and healthy and are also the one when it becomes Dumped by society, Old or Sick have to Euthinize it.
            Best case find a another rescue to work with there are many  that can and will appreciate the help.  But to actually go out and buy one from a Breeder Helps no one really except the Breeder since all it is about  money  mainly.   Anymore it is not about bettering the Breed as it used to be for show dogs, It is about making a living.
          1 in 4 Dogs in Rescue are actually Pure Breeds, and does aomebody else really care other than the owner?
         Be part of the solution and not the problem, Find another Rescue to work with and just keep changing until you find the one you can live with.
        

  • Brittneyflynn32

    I couldn’t agree more about the hassle it is to adopt. A dog . I mean question about your house insurance. Your personal reproductive choice, check your home ,your experience of training or that specific breed which I understand in a sense. But with all due respect these animals are homeless.. how many cases to do you hear about people getting an animal from a shelter returning a animal. Usually people get a a animal from a pet store or a friend of a friend and they turn them over.. Due to all the dogs being turned over to the rescues shelters I understand some of the questions that they do ask. But to denie someone for consideration to help a animal out of the. Kennel life because they live to far away to do a home visit. Well what do you ask for references for? And if a person is paying a adopion fee of 250 they have paid for a four hour trip of gas and saving the facility for houseing an feeding a homeless animal all due to a home vist that they could check references for, your living situationi or many others would be wiling to travel there to pick them up .being a lovable person and have the ability to give a rescue dog a better life then the kennel life where you and I both know they don’t nearly have enough time or grants to keep these facility going and majority of the animals sit in crates all day. Or being euthinized. Sad. Just makes you wonder if its more for the money to keep getting donations..

  • Sarahcox1987

    It’s so that they go to good homes that keep the forever. GOOD breeders do the same they, they don’t just give them to anyone. 

  • Sarahcox1987

    Also keep in mind, those dogs have already endured being dumped and neglected, they don’t want to put them through any more trauma, which is understandable and logical, if you love animals that should be very reasonable to you. And like I said before, a good and ethical breeder will do the same thing. They will not just let anyone have a dog, they want to make sure it’s a good match as well, and that it lasts forever. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/acandybar Joy Robinson

    This entire article does a disservice to dogs everywhere.  The screening process SHOULD be rigorous!  This poor companion animal has already been discarded by humans.  Maybe because of a new baby, maybe because of a move, maybe because they couldn’t afford it, maybe because they were unfit to own a pet.   Does this animal deserve to be let down again?  Why not participate in due diligence.  If you are unable to answer “60″ questions maybe owning a pet is too much for you.  Most breeders do not screen and guess what???? A lot of purebred dogs of every age end up in kill shelters every single day.  Then what happens, overworked and unpaid rescues take up the cause and save these pets and look for a suitable forever home.  This article was unfounded, ignorant and biased.  It is a dangerous exaggeration of the rescue community.

    Thank you,
    Joy Robinson
    Kill Shelter Volunteer
    Foster Mom
    Pet Owner

  • Jochebed

    Bravo to WBUR for tackling this one.  I used to work at a humane society and the stipulations and intrusions into peoples’ lives just to get a dog were ridiculous.  I will be going to a breeder for my next dog.  No thank you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/forthesakeofanimal Tracey Forthesake Ofanimals Be

      That’s fine. Sad but fine.

      Just know rescue will be available for your pet too if ever there is a need.

      If you truly did volunteer then you should get it.

      Why do you think there are these policies? You think the shelters get filled on their own by the animals checking in like it’s a motel hotel? NO because somewhere along the line some human f-ed up and the surplus has to go somewhere. You think they don’t get tired at shelters of seeing and hearing the same excuses day in and out. It would be irresponsible of them to not have requirements and just continue to perpetuate the problem.

  • Raleigh1997

    To all those who find it difficult to understand why some of us are put off by rescues here is what some fail to grasp:

    I have owned four (5) dogs thus far; my first dog lived to be 17 years old, my second and third dogs were brothers and lived to be 10 and 12 years, my fourth dog lived to be 12 years old, and my current dog is 14 years old.

    I have been taking my dogs to the same Vet practice since 1996 and they think I’m an excellent dog owner.

    All my dogs have been registered with the County in which I live, so there is even more history that may be researched as to what type of owner I may be to a rescue.

    My home is paid off, has been for twenty years now so I’m not likely to be evicted any time soon.

    I currently applied to adopt a rescue dog and am at a point of giving up and purchasing a dog from a family! 

    I think it’s sad that some of these rescues don’t use common sense and use someone’s history with pets to determine potential applicants!

    • http://www.facebook.com/forthesakeofanimal Tracey Forthesake Ofanimals Be

      HELLO … How does a stranger know this about you? All that is what gets revealed in the process of adoption via the applications. You could tell me anything. I could tell you anything. Even the home visit isn’t fool proof to the point that an animal is never at risk of a bad placement.

      If you are not satisfied with the service where you have shopped chose another store or in this situation RESCUE and don’t rule out adopting directly from the shelter. Many animals are surrendered by owners for IMO many ignorant reason but the point is you can at least get some history on those animals. Please don’t support breeding and don’t give up. If you give some details as to what you are interested in adopting maybe I could point to better stable realiable rescues. It would be helpful to know location (state) too. Size of dog, age, breed etc would also help.

  • rr

    Most rescue groups animals are fostered in private homes unlike shelters. To get upset that you have to fill out a form is just stupid. Wouldnt you want to be sure or at least know the rescue is screening those adopting looking for the best home for the animal unlike Breeders who do not take good care of the animals and are just breed to make money! Unfortunately the rescue groups are the ones who eventually get the dogs from breeders. No animal goes out from any rescue group I know of that is not spayed or neutered so no more little ones trying to find homes for and have their shots and are micro-chipped. To buy an animal is just giving one of the many already here in shelters the death sentence unless a rescue group pulls them and tries to find them a home. Being a foster is so rewarding when the right home is found. I take pride in knowing we ask questions and dont just hand over a living thing to anyone who “thinks” they want an animal. If you dont have the patience to fill out a form and answer the question we think are vital for the animals well being then I personally dont want to adopt to you…. so go buy your pure breed and keep the puppy mills in business , dont you read what kind of life puppy mill dogs have. If not you certainly do live in your wonderful world bubble!

  • guest

    When my brother and his family adopted a kitten, the adoption woman actually looked for any reason to exclude them and cried as she handed over the kitten to his family for adoption.  CCL (Crazy Cat Lady) followed up with emails, and my brother and his wife sent some photos of their daughters holding and loving the cat. A month later, they ran into the CCL at a local festival and she requested that she be allowed to visit the cat in their home. 

    I think the real issue around rejection of pet adoptions is not trying to find the “Perfect Home,” or “Perfect fit for the pet.” I believe it is the  CCL or Crazy rescue lady having an unhealthy attachment to the animal. In reality, CCL doesn’t want to adopt out her rescue animal, but she probably is already exceeding local regulations on the number of pets she is allowed to have.  Being an animal rescue person allows her to exceed that. It may be possible some of these rescue people are actually pet hoarders.

    • Karatina

      Interesting you say that.  My first foster dog was adopted that week.  I got really attached after having his live with me for a month.  I went back and forth on keeping him, but decided it was best (for a number of reasons) to find him the perfect family.  Well, we did that, but I am missing him terribly.  I just emailed the new family to see how the weekend went and have also discussed meeting up with them to go for walks/hikes.  I have one dog of my own…so not crazy dog lady status…yet.  LOL!  I think people who set-up to foster and rescue animals, do so because they are passionate, caring people. Just because we find a new home, doesn’t mean that caring stops.  I don’t think adopters should be weirded out by this at all.  Contrary, I think they would feel appreciative that the foster loved their new family member SO much.  :0)

      • Guest

        I find it intrusive and creepy. Just being honest. Not everybody wants to become BFF with total strangers just because they adopted an animal from them. And not everybody wants ANYTHING to do with that person afterward. I mean… when I go to adopt an animal, I’m looking for a new animal in my life, not a new person in my life. So when a person tries to insinuate themselves like that, it really REALLY bothers me. It’s why I will never get an animal from a rescue again. Or from a shelter since a lot of the animal rescues take the best pets out of the shelters before people can get to them. 

        • Karatina

          WOW!  So sad and tragic to hear that you will NEVER get an animal from a rescue again.    There are SO many rescues and SO many animals that need homes and your comment about the best pets are taken out of shelters by rescues us ridiculous.  With over 4 million dogs euthanized EVERY YEAR, it is so sad for see you say that.  I wouldn’t let one rescue experience stop you from saving other lives in the future.  I pray you change your mind and your heart steps in and tells you what’s right.   

        • http://www.facebook.com/forthesakeofanimal Tracey Forthesake Ofanimals Be

          “Or from a shelter since a lot of the animal rescues take the best pets out of the shelters before people can get to them.” <— Really?

          Other then the above statement I was going to say I get your point but a signed agreement between two parties is a legal and binding contract. I visit my one and only adoption once a year on his birthday. His pet parents expect it and enjoy since I lavish him and his sister they already had with gifts and treats. Otherwise I do not intrude as long as he looks healthy and happy. This is what every good rescuer should want for their rescues. Let's just say we call it an OPEN adoption just like children get sometimes where we agree to stay in contact. I see NOTHING wrong with this because situations change for people and my adoptee is welcome back in my home anytime necessary. If you lose touch with your adopters and things go wrong for the people that animal could end up in too many unsuitable places and situations. This is about protecting the animals best interest. Just like you don't want a new BFF many of us don't either. We are animal people, not people people. All we are interested in is ensuring their safety. SIMPLE.

        • AngieM1962

          I can appreciate how hard it is to foster and give up a pet to a stranger, therefore, I welcome prior rescue/fosters of my dogs as Facebook friends, so they can see how the dogs are doing. Doesn’t make us BFF, they don’t intrude or anything, but when I post positive news about my dogs, I think it helps them keep doing what they’re doing, even when it seems like an unending thankless task. I want them to know I appreciate what they do and how grateful I am for their parts in saving my dogs from certain death.

          One of my dogs, I filled out a questionnaire, met the dog, and made arrangements to pick her up the next day at an adoption event, because I needed a little time to prepare. No home visit, no real hassle. 

          It doesn’t always have to be difficult.

    • Niki

      I agree with what you are saying.  When I went to adopt a cat the CCL was looking for any reason to deny me as well.  She kept hiding the kitten that I wanted in a closed office!!!! I had to keep asking to see the kitty.  You would think I was a street walker with my pimp the way she snubbed us.  Note: we are respectable  in appearance. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/POOGTAHP2JOHBU65ALWWMZCO74 Gold1102

    If you feel you need proof of how many returns are done, I personally have Taken Back into my home EVERY single foster dog I have ever adopted after the first time.
       I personally have rescued over 220 dogs in 7 plus years, Since Hurricane Katrina actually.  During which time 28 of those were returned at LEAST one time.
      And some two or three times, One actually took 5  and 3 of those at least were of no fault of its own.
      If you would like to see MY list I can send it to you to see, I have Tracked every single foster dog we have ever rescued with Intake dates, Adoption Dates return Dates, even re-adoption dates.
      So YES it does happen more frequentley than most people would even like to think
    The Day and age of Forever dogs is rare, Most people no days do it for convience. 
    If you take the adoption applications and visit for what they are worth and believe they are legit and forever , Yet 6 months later a return, usually in worse shape than when before it left, But is somehow a rescuer persons fault.
       What do people think is truely going to happen the next time?  What if no one steps up a second time? Does the Dog deserve to die because of someone elses Stupidity or Lame Excuse?
       Rescuers have a hard job, If you think it is so easy PLEASE Do Go and find yourselves a rescue volunteer your time FOR FREE and Foster at least 1 actually do it for 6 months find out what is really happening inside. 
       Then either keep doing it because you can OR Quit your gripping because you can not, You find out it takes Effort, and Work.
      Not to mention Heart break or devistation when you find one you can not help. It is always easy to complain than to step up and actually do it.

  • KKM

    It should also be acknowledged that the reason breeders may not be discerning about who purchases their dogs is that they are in business for profit.  It is, in fact, this profit motive which is the root cause of companion animal overpopulation and the need for rescue shelters.  Purchasing an animal rather than adopting one contributes to the attitude that they are property, and thus disposable.

  • Rlavendar

    appreciate Ms Yoffes frustration.  As we have experienced that, too.  Forms and info are inmportant; 4 -6-8page forms from rescue groups in our area are useless.  We, most recently, never had a response from a Lab rescue group  Just a simple, as in dog adoption;we recieved app!! I am finding some totally dedicated rescue groups here in the NE(snarr animal rescue)
    ruff start rescueny; person”unnamed”has litle motivation to show interest or intenet on dogs.Animal shelters,adoption orgs are quite goood.

  • Togetherwerescue

    Really you get turned down by a rescue and then go to a breeder? This tells us you do not understand the motivation behind rescue. Apparently the goofy reasons for turning people down is not acceptable but then why not try another rescue or shelter? I have personally witnessed folks driving many state lines to rescue a particular breed from a shelter many states away. I find it alarming that many folks claim to ” want to help ” but only will ” do so much to help” …..animal lovers? Really when the going gets tough you bail and in your case you slander!! SHAME ON YOU!…TOO TOUGH TO RESCUE? tell that to the 4 million animals losing their lives due to space in the shelters in the US today. So SHAME ON YOU for not adopting. FOR GOING TO A BREEDER AND THEN BLAMING THE LAME RESCUE THAT DENIED YOU A DOG. While I realize that rescue is performing a dis service to the dogs in its care, YOU are slamming all rescues and condemning their dogs accordingly.  And as a Director for an animal non profit and a witness to the alarming way in which the public doesn’t understand thier responsibility in all of this, I found your article RIDICULOUS. YES there are nut jobs out there, but to CONDEMN animals for thier actions is to miss the greater point of SAVING A LIFE! EJS Director RMPR Colorado

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003000884786 Navin R Johnson

       Wow, take a chill pill dude.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MNUYLCSV46SZ4BUOWUXBV2WS64 Concord Man

    I do think that some animal rescue groups are just too picky in terms of finding the perfect person for a particular  dog.  My first thought was to go through a rescue group for a dog that I got with a partner.  I initially didn’t want the dog but agreed.  We broke up and I ended up with the dog and she was a great comfort and joy to me but also had a lot of personality issues and medical issues.  I never abandoned her and she became my family as I got older.
    Show recently passed away at 14 and I decided to go to local shelter and for $50.00 to  get another dog.  I will see how this one goes but I know I will not abandon her.  It may be challenging at times but I’m sure in the long run it will work out.

    Many pet owners or Guardians are not perfect but neither are parents and their children love them regardless just like the dogs love their masters.  Someone can look really good on paper for a rescue agency and not really be involved or love the dog whereas someone else who may not have all of the criteria may be a better match because they give love to the animal to continuously.  These are just my thoughts.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MNUYLCSV46SZ4BUOWUXBV2WS64 Concord Man

    Buying a dog from a breeder is irresoponsible especially when there are so many unwanted dogs in a shelter who will be euthanized because nobody wants them.  Buying a dog just contributes to the capitalistic pet trafficking that is not good for the animal that can be bought or sold to the highest bidder for what ever use.

  • Michele – Rescue Me Tugz

    Rescues have priorities:1. Find the best
    match for BOTH the dog and family.2. This is done in hopes the dog is in a
    forever home.3. Most rescues do not adopt out of state for many reasons
    including:A. It is easier for the adopter to dump/give away, etc. the dog if
    things don’t work out then returning the dog to the state it came from. B.
    Rescues are strapped, both financially and with volunteers. They can’t just up
    and get a dog from another state. It’s reality.4. Rescues MAIN prioritiy is
    the DOG. That IS the way it should be.5. Many of the dogs have been thru
    hell and back, shuffled from home to home, in shelters, abused, neglected, etc.
    Rescues CARE about the dog first and foremost. 6. Just imagine for a moment
    if rescues adopted all over the country? Things happen – People have babies and
    time for the dog to go, couples get divorced and time for the dog to go, the
    economy is bad, people are losing jobs, homes, people are passing away due to
    illnesses, etc. 7. Now put yourself in the rescues place…what would you
    do? Would you want your dogs all over the country with the way this world is? I
    wouldn’t. 8. Please keep in mind…YOU aren’t doing rescues a favor THEY are
    doing you a favor. Their number one priority is a FOREVER HOME.And one
    more thing….Irresponsible breeders aren’t the only ones selling dogs to just
    anyone. I know of 2 reputable breeders that have sold Danes to someone I
    wouldn’t give a roach to. Some people just never learn. This buyer has a
    revolving door of Danes and many other breeds. Just makes me sick.

    __________________Michele http://www.rescuemetugz.com

  • Helen Parklane

    I want to know who holds dog rescues accountable? I am a volunteer foster and began foster a dog in July 2012 with severe separation anxiety to the point this dog was an extreme crate escaper. This dog was continuously harming himself and on one occasion the rescue group denied medical treatment. After getting no assistance with them with regards to helping the dog I completeted an adoption application on October 6th 2012. I personally enrolled the dog in training ag my local petsmart and personally consulted with a veternarian regarding the dogs anxiety. On October 14th i received in writing an email stating I was approved to adopt the dog they just had to verify he had been microchipped prior to finalizing the adoption. On October 20th i sent an email to them asking to be removed from all future foster correspndence based on the fact their organization was unethical at best as I had no desire tl ever foster again. I received a response October 20th from them they looked forward to finalizing the adoption. Again they needed to verify microchip statis. November 3rd thearrived at my home with the police to try and remove the dog from my home. Per attorney advice we have not answered the door. These rescue groups are a joke and its about power not animals. I ave had this dog 4 mlonths and provided 100% of his care including financially. They want to make this a personal vendetta now and theare not taking the dogs well being into consideration.

  • sleepycat

    This is a very important topic.  It is a topic that I am glad to see people speaking out about.  There is a serious problem with many animal rescue organizations today.  First- it seems there are no guidelines to which any of them have to follow. THey seem to be able to arbitrarily decide why a person may not be fit to raise an animal.  Some reasons are as simple as “you do not have a fence,” others are as crazy as” you have a foreign accent” or “your kitchen floor is too slippery! ” In my own personal case, it was the fact that they did not feel that a GRAY cat was the color cat that I needed to adopt. Refused to let me adopt a gray cat! WTF??? Some of the people on this site suggest that the answer is to try to find another shelter….  Well thats just not good enough. The result of what is happening here is that less people are adopting from shelters because of the insane adoption processes.  This is partly why many are so overpopulated and it is only further hurting the animals.

  • Age

    After spending a few hours reading this stuff…. I’m going to petland and buying a pup that I want. To those making the argument that it’s “cheaper” to rescue/adopt…screw that! Money is of no consequence for my next best friend!

  • Songbrook

    In my rescue experience, which spans nearly thirty years, I’ve learned to use the application as a minimalist tool to help figure out if I have a dog that will fit the family comfortably.  Mine is about 20 short, mostly “yes or no” questions.  After that, I use phone and face to face contact to ensure that the family understands the needs of the dog they are interested in, since they usually apply with a specific dog in mind.  For example, let’s say I have a dog named Buddy.  The family that applies for him states they have children and cats.  I already know that Buddy is fine with children, but will torment cats.  But I have Buster who likes both cats and kids.  So I can tell the family to come on in and meet the dogs, and then introduce Buster to them and explain why I can’t place Buddy with them, but how I think Buster is a great fit.  Sometimes they will fall in love with the “buster” in these situations, adopt him, and a great new relationship is formed.  But sometimes I don’t HAVE a “buster”.  I don’t  have a dog that would work for them because the only ones I have are too elderly to keep up with a young child, or all of them like to play too rough with the kitty, or needs too much work on leash training to go to an older adopter safely.  I TRY to explain why I can’t adopt them a dog, and I can usually find a rescue or shelter that DOES have a suitable pet for them.  Or in some cases, if they need too many specific traits for a rescue dog to fit their family, I suggest a responsible breeder.  

    The reason so many dogs are in shelter/rescue situations is home retention failure.  People get dogs whose breed is NOT compatible with their lifestyle.  They get huskies when they’ve no way to exercise them in an escape proof environment.  They get jack russells when they live in a tiny apartment and aren’t home much.  They get pugs and really wanted a dog to hike with.  They get ANY dog when they really would be better guinea pig owners.  THAT is why screening homes is important, but some rescues aren’t explaining their process in a manner that doesn’t seem imperious and condescending.  Other rescues really ARE imperious and condescending.  That helps no dog.  I urge people in rescue to be more sensitive to the humans in their work, since the dogs in need rely on humans, and the humans looking for a dog really DO have the best intentions, even if they are misguided in their choice of individual dog.  Stop being the Gestapo and start being the counselor.  It will benefit your beloved dogs more in the end.

  • Rescue Regulation Needed

    The bottom line is there is no regulation for rescue groups they simply have the power and authority to be The Gestapo and the animals ultimately suffer.  Question for Songbrook: If you are fostering “Buster” and have for several months then I would venture to say that after 4 months of living with “Buster” you have an excellent idea of what type of home “Buster” needs.  In fact if ”Buster”  is happy and thriving in your home getting along well with your other pets and you decide you want to make Buster a part of your forever family.  What gives them the authority to remove “Buster” from your home and place him in another ”temporary” home simply because of their ego and power trip.  Where is “Buster’s” voice, what about what “Buster” wants? 

  • ParadeDemon

    I’d like to say “rescues” of dogs make such a hassle and drawn out process of purchasing a dog, it’s really a BAD system.

    I finally purchased a new puppy today at a local rescue’s adoption day at a petco, which they brought all the puppies that were rescued in the past week and had people visit and purchase the puppies if they wished. ALL the puppies were rescued from run down and bad living conditions, yet worked to find a new loving home ASAP.

    Any rescue agencies I’ve worked with that require an application, home visit, references, etc. have been the worst I’ve worked with.

    They take TONS of applicants on a single dog (One dog we were interested had 30+ applicants) and then take up to a month or more to adopt the dog to the applicant they think fits best.

    Worse is if they tell multiple applicants that they can buy the dog, and after EVERYTHING was completed, the dog goes to whoever gets there first.

    This has happened multiple times in trying to get a dog.

    This is my experience with rescue organizations that do not adopt the dogs out in a basis of the person meets the dog, wants it, learns about the adoption policy, then can take it home the same day.

  • Alex Strain

    What a horrible article. Why don’t you try volunteering and then see why we screen. Even when we screen thoroughly you still end up with bad placements. To be insulted or offended at being screened is ridiculous. Are we psychic? Do we know you personally? If you’re so awesome then why not let us see it for ourselves. How arrogant are you to think people should just know that you’d be a good caregiver and that you are appropriate for a particular dog. And to characterize volunteers in a negative way because we do home visits and check references is insane. Umm, maybe if you didn’t think they were just dogs or that hey, isn’t any life better than death you’d get it. We also want to make permanent placements. Helping us get to know you, helps us help you. I’m so disgusted. 

    Even when you are thorough, horrible people can still fool you. I know personally of several dogs being killed. Several being abused. Several being dumped and then killed at the shelter. I have horror stories galore. But screw you for being such an arrogant jerk with a huge sense of entitlement. We don’t save them just to give them to any person who wants one.

    Oh,and by the way that is how murderers and dog fighters get dogs. Dog fighting is a 500 billion dollar a year industry. Abusers, killers and dog fighters rely on those who don’t check people out. 

  • Alex Strain

    25% of dogs in rescue are pure breed. Millions of dogs are killed every year. Some estimates are 4 million all the way to 12 million. They are killed by lethal injection and then their bodies piled up and taken to the local dump or become ground up for food in cheap dog food. Some places use a heartstick where they jab it into the animal’s chest while completely awake. Some places dump as many dogs and cats as they can into a gas chamber and gas them. Some places even shoot them. 

    And there is no distinction between good breeders and bad ones on the surface. Rescues often have to help by taking the “surplus inventory” from “breeders. A real breeder cares just as much as a rescue where their dogs go. They have people fill out apps, they check references and some do home visits. They are in it for the betterment of the breed and a love of the breed. Not to make money. So you saved yourself from a home check from someone who you think should ahve been begging you to take a dog but all you did was contribute to the problem. People like you are why 4-12 million are murdered every year because people like breeders who are in it for a quick buck will continue their work as long as there is a market. 

  • CWeiner

    I came upon this interview today while searching for something to listen to while working.   I am appalled and disappointed that NPR gave Ms. Yoffe a platform to reinforce her experiences with a few rescue groups. There are admittedly hundreds of fanatics who believe that the perfect home simply doesn’t exist, especially the woman who had an issue with accents. Seriously, does anyone think that this scenario is replicated often? Robyn’s comment not to “throw the baby out with the bath water” doesn’t erase the 10 minutes that Ms. Yoffe had to skewer adoption agencies. The title alone harms homeless pets because a potential adopter will read the “pitfalls” and never consider a homeless pet again. WOW, how irresponsible. I’m truly shocked.

  • Cclear2

    I went to my local shelter because I wanted an older dog.  The little white dog was not very good looking, but I looked into his eyes and said “I’ll take him.”  Well, he cleaned up beautifully and is a charmer.  Everyone at the dog park loves him.   Later I adopted a little black dog who looked rather weird.  She cleaned up nicely too.  She was scared and shy at first, but she gradually became comfortable with people.  I find that the rescue groups usually go for young dogs, and, since I am older I wanted to be sure that I could provide a “forever home” for any dog I adopted.  I found both of these dogs through Petfinder.

  • Llnelson

    I went through a thoroughly embarrassing vetting by a local rescue group that included a 12 page questionaire, employment, personal, and vet. references and a credit check, home visit, a required “field trip” to the vets office to interview him about the “real cost” of owning a pet (I guess that I should mention that I’m 62 years old and not retarded), demands for fencing (and not your regular run-of-the-mill chain link fencing, oh no, none of that for OUR dogs), demands for obedience training etc. etc. etc.  The interview concluded, along with any interest in the dog, when I was told that the rescue group would pick the dog that I would get for me from their inventory and although I would take possession of the dog and assume full responsibility for its care, I would NEVER own the dog and that the rescue organization reserved the right to come back to my home, make unannounced inspections at any time, and take the dog back if they thought that my care was inadequate.  And by the way, the dog would cost $350.00 because rescue work is so expensive.  I ended the interview and the next day picked up a terrific dog down at the pound for $15.00.  Many of these”rescue” groups, and certainly all of the people that I dealt with are just totally out of line.  I would never recommend that anyone go through this process ever.

  • Guest

    To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual.”

    As someone that volunteers with a rescue group, it is clear you are misinformed (or just lying) about them.  As you can clearly see above, it is illegal for anyone to pull earnings out of a 501c3 and every rescue group I am aware of is a 501c3. 

    Please list links to these rescue groups that are getting “millions of millions of dollars annually”.  We are only talking about regional rescue groups, not national lobbying groups.   

    No idea why they turned you down but your inability to grasp their explanation is enough for me to think they did the correct thing. Really too much to respond to here and it won’t do any good anyway.  Rescue groups aren’t for everyone, just deal with it and go to the shelter.  If you do the work you’ll find what you are looking for. 

  • Yelissa63

    Well said, adoption should be serious, to prevent the dog from suffering. People should be open to home inspections, after all if you can really provide a safe environment and loving home then you should have nothing to hide.

  • Rigonz73

    Look, these debates are pointless. In my case I adopted a 9 year old Neapolitan Mastiff who recently succumbed to cancer. I had him for 3 years and by far the best dog Ive ever owned and from what I understand he had a horrible life as told to me by Sean casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn NY (No-Kill Shelter). So far Ive adopted 2 dogs from there one of which is blind in one eye(Boston Terrier Mix) . I own my own property and its more than adequate. Now because this dog had such an impact on me I’ve been looking to adopt another mastiff. I’ve contacted a few in Pennsylvania and let me tell you the excuses I’VE HEARD are borderline egregious . I even OFFERED to pay for travel expenses and welcomed the whole damn staff to come and conduct a home inspection in NY. Do you think I even got a response back?. A good chunk of these rescue groups in some sort of strange way seem to not want to let go of some of these animals, and as several people have stated here every home isn’t perfect and neither is every animal but yes, the right fit sounds most logical. I have the home, the means, and the passion, and love for one of these large breeds which incidentally ISNT a dog for everyone, so what’s the problem? for the life of me I cant wrap my hands around why I’m even contemplating buying a puppy. Hopefully the right person is going to cut the red tape and help me be united with a great dog. 

  • Tanyakicker

    THE WORST DOG RESCUE PLACE IS KINDER4CARE RESCUE!! The lady there is LAUREL KINDER  is an absolute TROLL and charges between $250-300 per dog. She is not KIND ..she is rude (which is just the opposite of her NAME) and 3 of my friends have on separate occasions. We are going to boycott her organization. My friends Mom (who is young and spry @70 years old was looking for a pup ..and she flat out said “How old are you!!??” in front of everyone.  My friends Mom replied  with “70″ and the lady said “I won’t adopt to you”. I am sorry but this is discrimination. 

  • sally

    I just had an opportunity to adopt two beautiful mixed breed puppies from a woman whose dog had an “oops” moment that resulted in 9 puppies.  Unfortunately, a regional rescue responded to the classified ad and swooped up all 9 before I could even pick up the puppies.  These were not pups in need of rescue.  The person who said that many rescues pick up all the desirable dogs is spot on.  Sure, I can apply to adopt one of these pups from the rescue.  Assuming I pass the application process, the cost for that will be over $500.00.  I could have brought both those pups home, vaccinated, spayed/neutered  AND fed them for 6 months for that.

  • FlamingMassLiberal

    I’ve been in the market for a cat, maybe two, now that my home is renovated and chaos all that entails is done.  I have always had cats growing up, one was in house before I was born, took in a stray (she lived to be 16.5 years old), and another from a pet store (she lived to about 17 years of age). 

    Being an animal lover, I decided to look into adoption from a shelter and maybe give a shelter cat “the chance” they need.

    That was a mistake.

    I looked at four different shelters in the area and all of them had gargantuan, intrusive  applications and some places I had to call and schedule an “appointment” to meet with the cats even through I’d be going when the place is open. Really? Fine. When I called, I got run arounds about availability of staff, the cats, this, that, and the other thing.

    Oh please.

    I’m sorry, but when they hand you an application that makes War and Peace look like a pamphlet and the questions asked make an colonoscopy seem less invasive, that’s a problem and there is absolutely no justification for it. Closing on my house involved less paperwork and hassle which is fundamentally a more important and expensive endeavor than an animal would ever be.

    I’m all for “screening” to an extent, especially with dogs, and I get staffing issues at shelters, but let’s be honest. If you are truly all for placing good animals in good, stable, loving “forever” homes, then knock the BS off. Make time for people who are interested, make the process less laborious and nosy, and actually help the animals you proclaim you love so much find a home.

    As for my cat(s), I’ll probably look at Craigs List or a pet store. My experience, albeit it limited, with shelters was not pleasant and is certainly not worth my time much less money.

    • Tanya

      Not everyone would agree that closing on a house is a fundamentally more important endeavor than the animal you add to your family for life.  It depends on how you think of animals, and how you think of money, and many other things related to the kind of person you are.

      Did you ever ask yourself why they screen, have applications, or make appointments?  You said there’s absolutely no justification for it although thousands of shelters operate in this manner. Perhaps there is something there which they have all seen and which you have not? Is that possible? And is it possible that if you saw the same thing, you would understand and be more patient?

      Please don’t buy from a pet store. You would be supporting an ugly industry that no animal lover such as yourself should support. You have a chance to do something positive– even if it took a couple days of your time, you will have this animal for many years. Could you think of doing the right thing as an investment not in the currency of money, but in the kind of world you want to see? Of course, we don’t all think alike…

      • FlamingMassLiberal

        Allow me to paraphrase myself since the original post wasn’t clear.

        I’m all in favor of screening, applications, meetings, etc. Absolutely, especially when it comes to dogs which are a bigger responsibility than a cat.

        However…when an application and related paperwork takes longer to fill out than it took JK Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien to write the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series’ respectively, that *is* a problem and there is no justification for it. None.

        There comes a point where these shelters need to stop being incredibly sanctimonious, heavy-handed, and get off their power trips.

        Two shelters refused to work with me to arrange an appointment. Now, again, I understand staffing/operational issues, but when I say, “Ok, you tell me when I can come by and I’ll adjust my schedule” and they don’t come back with any real option other than, “We’ll have to get back to you.” Again, what am I supposed to think?

        I would rather not go to a pet store or even Craigs List, but at the end of the day, as much as I love animals, I have myself to think about and my life. My time is just as valuable and I’m not going to waste it jumping through hoop after hoop needlessly trying to adopt a pet because someone/someplace has a chip on their/its shoulder.

        Shelters/Rescues
        need to learn that they are a business “selling” a “product” in a
        sense. Turn people off and they will go to the “competition” such as
        Craigs List or the dreaded pet stores.

        The process needs to be streamlined while still keeping the animals,
        shelter’s, and applicants best interests in mind.  Laborious, lengthy,
        and intrusive processes for adoption are turn-offs for people.

        • http://www.facebook.com/dhielc Daniela Hielc

          These “products” are living breathing creatures. Any rescue that thinks the animals they are trying to get homes for are “products” I’ll never trust. 
          Personally, the long list of questions they sometimes make you answer have never bother me. I never felt they were intruding. I went to an animal shelter in Irvine, all the dogs were color coded based on temperament.  They suggested certain dogs for us based on what we wrote on the form, the dogs they suggested were lovely but my grandma wanted a more huggable friendly dog then what they showed us. So what does she do, she looks around the kennels some more and decides she likes this border collie mix named Frankie that came into the shelter minutes ago. A dog they knew nothing about, but they said if you insist you can have him, if he doesn’t work out you can see if another dog woks better for you. What do you think happened with Frankie? 
          We gave him back I HATED HIM, he was just so very wrong for us, but my grandma like his “look and that he had expressive eyes”. That was her criteria for getting him and guess what everyone else but her hated him. SO we gave him back saying he was to much energy he jumped on us/mounted us because he was trying to force us to play with him he ripped up things and he was just NOT for us. So we got a little Jindo/mix (probably Carolina dog) name Carolina originally (she is now Brandi). 
          We have never looked back since. She was suggested to us based on our criteria and the additional fact my grandma wanted a more friendly dog. That was at least a year ago, she has been a part of the family since. Recently though we got a Dachshund from a friend who got him from a friend, he isn’t perfectly potty trained but so far it is working. I would have preferred going through the application AGAIN if it meant we could have gotten a dog who we knew a bit more about. Don’t get me wrong we love him, but we wanted a dog who wouldn’t pee in the house. Either way though we are keeping him 

  • Jason Fraser

    Before any of you run out to any of these dog freak rescue organizations to adopt a dog, here’s something to think about: Although only 20% of the dogs owned in the US are rescue animals, rescue dogs account for 50% of the dog attacks in the US that result in death. Accordingly, if you have children and feel you just can’t live without a dog, do NOT adopt a rescue dog!

  • National Reader

    I have no problem with some of these questions, especially with certain breeds.  We have had German Shepherd  Dogs in our family for years and rescues come with lots of issues, they can be mouthy, nippy, leash reactive, massive pullers, not good with other dogs or strangers etc. These are things you normally socialize a GSD pup to if you get them from a breeder. Having someone with GSD experience makes for a more successful match.   We adopted a mix and are glad we had prior experience with the breed.

     There are many times where these questions are good. I adopted a rotti/GSD/cattledog 8 week old born in the desert. So did an older lady there the same day. The rescue is now trying to find a new home for her dog because she says he is too big and pulling too hard now that he is 8 months old.

  • Anon

    I’m sorry that people seem to think that just because you fill out an application and go through an interview, that you are automatically entitled to a pet.  As someone who works at a shelter, that is NOT the way it works.  The point of the application is to see if you would be a good fit for that individual animal, and we are allowed to turn families down that don’t seem to suit the needs of the animal.  There may be more to the animal’s story that you know, so its frustrating when people call us all butthurt that they weren’t chosen to adopt an animal.  
    We make our adoption process a bit rigorous to ensure that the people interested are SERIOUS about adopting, that this isn’t someone who woke up that morning and decided they wanted a puppy.  If you’re not willing to fill out a few pages of Q+A, then how are we supposed to be secure in the knowledge that you’ll be willing to do your best to care for than animal?  

  • Wyn

    Let’s keep this simple.

    We want to do the right thing and adopt.  Here in the northeast, there are very few dogs to adopt.

    Yet, after endless emails, filling out forms, browsing dogs online, etc.  we still have not adopted.  It is probably easier to plan a vacation down south and tour animal shelters.

    If adopting is going to take 10 times, 20 times, 30 times or more effort over buying a dog from a breeder, what do you think people are going to do?

  • William5321

    My experience with rescue groups having small dogs in Ohio has been terrible. They are cocky, intrusive, and downright no good. Seriously! We’ve had dogs our entire lives, many decades, and now near retirement and we’re treated like criminals by these condesending rescue groups. It’s amazing really. They want to know how long you been on your job. uk 42 yrs, yes we own, and it’s paid for so are our cars and everything else. But no, that’s not enough – they want personal refs, emails, phone#’s, best time to call, it goes on and on. We applied to a few and never get a call back. Fuk em all. We’ll go to the county shelters who are easier to deal with or get another puppy from a breeder. These pitiful rescue groups can’t even let my wife and I who have been first class citizens and animal lovers forever feel good about adopting a pet. Instead we have to be beat down at every opportunity. Something isn’t right with all this. And the pets have to stay with these morons and their foster homes instead of getting a nice forever home.

  • Spike

    I am also going to give up on adopting a rescue dog.  It seems as though each time I try to get a dog, someone else gets it.  I have answered all their questions, agreed to an inspection.  Yes, I feel for the dogs, but I must think of myself.  I have got my hopes up too high, then be told someone else got the dog.  It is not worth it.  I will buy a puppy.   I love dogs, have always loved them, and will not do anything to harm them.

    • Niki

      I understand how you feel. You can’t take it personal because of these crazy folks- as insulting as it may be… go to the humane society or look in the classifieds.  I got my little kitten FREE with no hassle.  It was a relief after dealing with crazy rescues.  

  • ccsummer

    I grew up in the 50′s and 60′s with rescued pets. We even had a retired police dog. Back then, there weren’t any rescue groups. Then there were humane society shelters where I went when I was in college for my cats.My husband and I even found a stray kitty the summer we lived in San Diego and brought her back to Ann Arbor with us. So often, pets just came to me. People knew I loved animals and when they heard of an unwanted pet, they checked with me and I found it hard to say no. The most I’ve had is 4 dogs and 2 cats. I never had more than I could take the best care of. When my youngest had a paper route in the late 80′s, he fell madly in love with the 3 mini doxies on his route. We had a tiny rescued poodle mix (who ran 3 miles a day with me for years) and a rescued cat. If there were doxie rescues then, I didn’t know about them. We asked our neighbors about their doxies and got connected to a local family we knew who had a doxie pair they occasionally mated. So my son bought a doxie puppy with his paper route money and that started us on doxiemania. When our tiny poodle died, we began to search for a companion for our doxie. As it happened, our friendly neighborhood pet shop owner had just saved a doxie/jack russell mix from the streets. He took the dog in because he knew if the little guy ended up at the humane society he wouldn’t have a chance of making it out alive. Our humane society is still today, a high-kill facility. So we adopted our “Jake”. Then a friend learned of a family who had another mini doxie they didn’t want and we took him in too. Poor baby had been abused because he peed on the carpet. The minute we got him I took him to the vet who diagnosed a kidney problem and put him on an Rx diet for the rest of him long life. All my little guys lived long, happy lives and filled our lives with untold joy. Bill the Cat, well she ruled and just tolerated the dogs, occasionally teasing them, sometimes allowing her brothers to kiss her.  She lived to be 21. When we were left with just one little doxie, I began to look at rescue groups. I discovered none would consider me because at the time we didn’t have a fenced yard. Finally, in desperation, I began calling vets in the area because I know they often take in unwanted pets. Then I began calling breeders because I know dogs who are purchased are often returned. I had the most fortunate experience of finding a breeder who is crazy about her doxies. She had two females she didn’t want to breed any longer and after doing a exhaustive background search and talking to my vet, she gave me two beautiful little girls. This continues to be the happiest relationship and when I lose one, she always has another who needs us. And she is delighted to care for my dogs when I travel to visit my kids and grands. I still search doxie rescue sites and last summer found a little girl who needed a home. She grabbed my heart even though she was only 18 months old and I’ve come to appreciate the joy of older dogs. I applied to adopt her and it was a fairly daunting application but not unreasonable. She was transported to a rescue group in Michigan and the head of the group made a home visit which was anything but intrusive. Best of all, no fenced yard required. Plus the adoption fee was something I could afford. So I added this odd little girl to my pack of 3. She seems to be a tweenie but has huge feet so all I know is that she looks doxie-ish and acts like a doxie and is a little treasure. She has added life and energy to our house and my older dogs. I’m retired now and devote a large majority of my time online advocating for homeless pets of all kinds. I often sit at my computer sobbing at all the unwanted pets who will be destroyed. I still come across doxie rescues that won’t consider anyone without a fenced yard which I think is very short-sited and simply wrong. My little ones have a doggie door out to a deck I had specially secured for them., where they love to hang out in warm weather and they get lots of walks and exercise. I have never lost a dog in all these years and yes, I do know how fast doxies are. Why do I concentrated on doxies? Well, I feel like I’ve gotten to be rather an expert on the breed and know how to care for them and illnesses to watch out for. There are doggie stairs all over the house for them so there’s no jumping on and off stuff because I know they’re prone to back injuries. I’ve never had a single one with a back injury. Doxies also form a tight pack and get along with each other. And they sleep under the covers with me–although I’ve had 3 cats who did that too. I’m very grateful to legitimate rescue groups and the amazing care they take of the animals in they take in. Yes, the adoption fees are often very high, and yes, some of the adoption requirements go just too far, eliminating many wonderful people and families. And there are many not-so-legitimate rescue groups so people have to be very careful. I know it can be heartbreaking when an adoption falls through or the adopter doesn’t get the animal s/he thought s/he was adopting. There are many pitfalls to the adoption/rescue business. People need to do a thorough background search on the rescue groups they’re dealing with, just as rescue groups do thorough background searches on potential adopters. I absolutely encourage people to rescue/adopt rather than go to breeders. There are rescue groups for any breed you’re looking for, but you just may lose your heart to a precious creature you didn’t know you were looking for. There are seniors for senior programs which often don’t charge for adoption. Senior pets are often just the best! And there are such wonderful volunteer transport groups, including air transport, who will do everything they can to get your pet to you. 

  • ccsummer

    After reading more comments, I feel I have to add something. I once found a little, senior doxie with special needs that I wanted very much to rescue. However, there was a couple who lived close to the rescue organization and they got this sweet little girl. Then, just a few months later, they had the gall to post a long sad story complete with video about the happy life she had lived until one day, while running off-leash, she ran into a snake, got bit and died. This rescue group picked the wrong people and I was even more angry that they chose to run this story the couple submitted clearly showing they didn’t take the best care of this precious little girl at all. I had fallen in love with this little girl and when I heard how she died, I just sat and cried. 

  • pommom1016

    I foster for a rescue, and we do have very high standards for our potential adopters. I am sorry if you feel offended, but finding the best home for our sweet babies is more important that how you feel about our process. While we don’t ask questions that are quite as invasive as seen above, we do ask about your lifestyle. These questions include things such as how active are you or do you have a fenced yard. We call for a vet reference to assure previous pets have been cared for properly. One lady didn’t understand why we turned her down just because her cats hadn’t been to the vet in THREE YEARS!! I mean come on now! We ask if you have children or intend to have them in the near future because some of the dogs don’t do well with that. Would you rather us let you have a dog that we know will probably snap at your toddler when she inevitably tugs on the dog’s tail. Let’s say you’re responsible pet owners and you apply for a dog that isn’t good with children. We aren’t going to turn you down completely, but we will suggest another dog that would be better suited for your life. We also require a home visit, and that all dogs must be inside dogs (yes, even the big guys).

    Ultimately, our goal is to assure that both these dogs and their potential adopters are getting the best arrangement possible. We want their next homes to be furever homes. Many of them have been through so much already that they deserve to have the best we can offer them! 

  • Geraldin73

    I agree with the author. Unless you are a 60 year old widow with a fenced yard and no residential grandchildren- you’re not getting a dog! People that run rescue groups are loathe to admit, that they are in fact, people. What they are looking for is a sap just like them that will tolerate shyness, incontinence, bolting, insecurity and all around poor genetic composition and chalk it up to “mistreatment” as though the animal has somehow earned a cosmic pass on being a member of the family! No one should have to settle for an aggressive or a shy animal that is constantly anxious or looking for an opportunity to get as far away as possible. Sometimes- euthanasia is doing the poor thing a favor. Taking a pack animal, like a dog, and confining it to a fenced yard by itself all day isn’t any better than confining it to a kennel at a shelter. If you can’t take the dog anywhere, what’s the point?

  • Jack_n_beansmom

    unrepresentative, my foot! We applied to so many golden retriever rescues, trying to do the good thing. All my life, we have had Goldens, and we and they have always been happy companions. When we moved into a nice little house in the suburbs with a big yard, we wanted to get a golden again. They were so rude and their rules so ridiculous and ever-changing that it was nearly impossible to be deemed appropriate by any of these groups. We found a great dog, just our speed named Buddy and tried unsuccessfully for almost a year to earn him. We finally gave up and decided to find a good pound dog, and to our utter astonishment, there was Buddy! He had been rescued from an animal hoarding situation where the woman had 22 golden retrievers in an apartment. all I could think about for months was how we spent a year trying to be worthy of this guy, and all that time, he could have been happy but was instead being hoarded by some nutjob who couldn’t see that a dog is a dog, and is usually happier living as one, and not as an imprisoned serial killer in south China.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.brinson Sarah Brinson

    I see both sides really.  I volunteer with several animal welfare groups and am in the process of starting my own. I support the efforts of volunteers and rescue groups to keep the best interest of the animal in mind, but at the same time I do see an ongoing issue with overly intrusive questions and judgement that do turn good homes away. 

    If you are looking for forever homes for your rescued animals and as is states above… these animals are not perfect, they come from various backgrounds, then why are you turning away people who are willing to address and accommodate a non perfect animal because the individual or household is deemed imperfect? That really doesn’t make sense.

    The reality is that a “perfect” candidate for pet adoption may later down the road meet with different circumstance and still surrender the dog, and the same can be said for the imperfect candidate who may just as well have more commitment to that animal regardless of their not so perfect situation. (I have met homeless people more committed to their animals than those who own property and make an excellent living.)
    In my own experience I have been told I am not a candidate for adoption because I do not use heart worm preventative all year round, even though my decision is based on thorough research, the climate we live in and our own live style and situation. I find that,  blindly giving a RX Pesticide to my animals just because someone told me to is irresponsible and yet those are the people you adopt dogs too. 

    There needs to be a healthy balance in order to address and improve the situation for these animals all over the country.  It isn’t black and white and by turning people away we are only bringing more animals from breeders into society while the animals truly needing good homes must live out their lives in a kennel at a overcrowded shelter because someone wants to pick apart another’s ability to make solid decisions for their own household. 

    It would be more beneficial for those related to these rescues  to be less defensive and more open to what RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERS are saying to them.  Yes, by all means be honest with candidates about the responsibilities of dog ownership. Guide them in their decision but do not judge them or make that decision for them. 

  • Lolaperes

    My daughter had similar negative experiences with the pet adoption process. I felt so badly for her that I tried to talk her out of it and we would go to a breeder to find a dog. Just when she almost gave up, a dog that looked perfect for her and her boyfriend became available so she went through with the adoption. The dog was shipped to her from a shelter in Texas with the assurance that the dog was healthy and had been checked out by a vet. She received the dog and she was wonderful. And very PREGNANT. So after spending several months trying to adopt 1 dog, my beautiful daughter now has 9, yes nine, dogs. The mom, Sadie and the 8 gorgeous puppies that were born on January 23rd. It has been awesome watching my daughter take on this enormous responsibility to care for her dog and this litter of puppies. Tiring, stressful and expensive. But also an amazing experience. These puppies are terrier boxer mix and are just fabulous. Tali, my daughter has taken spectacular care of them and they are now ready to find good homes for these precious puppies. If you are interested or know someone who is looking for a new puppy please contact me at 301-651-9011. You won’t regret it.

  • what happened to the love?

    Are there any shelters advertising a simple, warm and fuzzy adoption process?  All I see is people waiving the bloody application process.  Look at any puppy on petfinder.com or adoptapet.com.  They always looks like this to me “Warning, you will not like the adoption process, and if you are lucky enough to survive you still might not get approved, so don’t fall in love with any of the adorable animals you see here”

    I love dogs.  I appreciate all of the love, effort and work of those that volunteer at rescue shelters.  I donate to rescue shelters every year.  And I still won’t rescue a dog.My perception of the process is that it would be overly invasive to me.  I’m glad she pointed this out because I am certainly not the only person who feels this way.  My friends who work with animal rescue used to hear this from me, but I gave up b/c I didn’t like hearing them either agree with me or, worse, verbally accost me.

    I’ve reviewed many “applications” in the shelters nearby (Chicagoland, so there are several), and none seem anything short of an application to work for the CIA.  The questions are not as bad as the hassle and promise it will not be pleasant.

    The problem as I see it is that the status-quo adoption process in this country has become too complicated. It is just as important to screen homes as it is to make the process simple so that more people will do it.  It’s human nature to do things the easiest way.  Getting a dog is a loving experience, it should not feel like a body cavity search.  Bring back the love, please.

  • CDarkmoon

    Something none of you are taking into consideration is how invasive and unnecessary this process is for most people. The shelters are over flowing with dogs needing homes, and many people, (myself included), are not interested in going through the inquisition to bring them home, when I can spend the same amount as the adoption fee, (200-500 dollars) and buy a puppy no questions asked, no grilling, no self righteous canine freedom fighter to deal with!

    I have owned two dogs in my life, my first dog from 5 to 16, and my own personal dog from 17 to 27. My personal dog was a pit bull I took in from the humane society, and I loved her, and stayed by her side until she drew her last breath a year ago after a fight with lymphosarcoma.

    I want to adopt a dog who needs a home, and like my previous dog, fell on hard times.

    I have started looking for a rescue to bring home, but upon finding the new world of invasive screening procedures, I am seriously considering just buying a nice puppy from someone who will treat me and my privacy with respect.

    I am sad to think of all of the dogs who will go homeless, and be euthanized due to well meaning people believing death is preferable than the chance at a good life for these animals. It is true that the dog could go to a bad home, but it is also possible it could go to a good home, and in many cases, (such as mine) the shelter workers will never know because there is no way I am allowing them to invade my home and scrutinize the way I live my life.

  • Emily Grace

    I am disabled and recently lost my caregiver so I had to give one of my dogs who is very high energy to a rescue. Surrendering my dog was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life! When choosing a rescue I looked for one with a tough adoption screening whose first priority was my dogs welfare not the feelings of potential adopters. I could have put an ad up to rehome my dog I could have sold him for pete’s sake but I went with a rescue because I want him to find a good home and through their screening he will find one, the right owner will have no problem with it. Thanks to all who volunteer their time for these sweet animals!

  • Plsny

    To these “rescue” people, I say B***S***.  You are just countering the article’s statements and people’s responses as, “WE’RE not crazy, YOU’RE the crazy ones.”  These rescue people are one tiny step above animal hoarders.  The only power they have in life is the ability to either grant or deny animals to people who want to adopt them, and they play that power game to the max.    After dealing with the nutjobs at breed rescue groups, I say “Never again.”  I will deal either with animal shelters or breeders.

    There have been dogs in my life continuously since I was an infant.  All except one (which was purchased from a breeder) were acquired from shelters.  They lived happy lives with us and got the best care possible.   So my message for all so-called “rescuers” is:  You want to help homeless dogs?  Let people adopt them.

  • James

    I have never met an animal “rescuer” who was not an animal hoarder to some degree. The thing is very little people are good enough in their eyes. It is not worth the hassle to even look into a rescue animal. I went a month trying to get a cat from this bug eyed crazy lady and find out later she had 300 living cats in her home and 150 dead cats. She ran a legit rescue organization. My brother went through all the hoops to get a cat from a rescue and came to find out it was a missing/stolen animal that was microchipped.

    • http://gottalovedogs333.blogspot.com/ Nik G

      James – and the rest of you who are sadly mistaken, your statement about animal rescuers and them being somewhat of hoarders, is ludicrous. I rescue, and I personally own 2 dogs. That’s it. No others. So before you run your mouth with ignorance, make sure that you know what you’re speaking about and referring to. And if you want to talk about “hoarders,” then try speaking to the Amish who use puppy mills for breeding. THEY are hoarders. Their animals are in horrendous conditions. Think before you speak sir.

      • Hoarder_Nik

        Nik, you seem so angry and it does not make sense unless you are a hoarder too!

        • http://gottalovedogs333.blogspot.com/ Nik G

          I won’t engage with you “Hoarder_Nik.” I can tell you’re a keyboard warrior looking for a battle. Not interested. And FYI, no, I don’t work for a rescue. But I can say my point was just validated when referring to the ignorance of you people. Have a fantastic day now.

      • Hoarder_Nik

        Nik, Do you clean poops in one of these retarded rescue groups who are tax exempt and then think you have saved the humanity? What is your IQ anyway? 40? 50? Max 60?

  • Alise

    There is another solution that is overlooked too often. Open your local newspaper and check the classifieds or get on craigslist and check the pets section. Many people, when faced with a decision to rehome an animal attempt to do so independently,. Shelters and rescues tend to be a last resort.

  • Furever Quest

    Adoption isn’t just about getting the dog you want. It’s about the dog getting the owner and environment it needs. If you work with a credible 501c3 rescue, your outcome is likely to very, very good. You will get a dog who is fully vetted, spayed/neutered and whose temperment has been tested and is understood. Yes of course you can buy whatever you want without question but these aren’t shoes you can throw in the back of your closet if you bought them too small and they don’t fit …. this is the process of matching the dog’s needs with an adopter’s desires.

  • http://gottalovedogs333.blogspot.com/ Nik G

    The people on here posting about how “rescuers are hoarders” and “go to your local classified ads like craigslist” have absolutely no clue about rescuing an animal. I do not work with a rescue nor do I own a rescue, but I do adopt. I have two dogs, no other animals. My dogs’ conditions are better than most peoples! One of my dogs is a trained service dog whom I rescued from a kill shelter. Now can someone please explain to me how that is considered “hoarding?” And to the people who are talking about craigslist, this will only encourage people to keep posting on there and these animals ending up in the hands of some sex crazed psycho wanting to abuse animals rather than love them and give them a good home. You people really should research and know what it is exactly that you are speaking about before you come onto a thread like this and start spewing things that are ludicrous and make no sense. If you want to call out the word “hoarder,” then try taking a good look at the Amish who use puppy mills. Their dogs are in horrendous conditions. Rescues don’t ask all these questions just for the heck of it. If you use your brains and have common sense, you will figure out they are doing it for the best interest of the dog. Duh. Adopt from your local “kill” shelter and save a life, rather than post this nonsense on here!

  • cricket682

    While applications may be lengthy and questions my seem intrusive, I guarantee this is a walk in the park if you consider the background of most rescue dogs. Not all but most times these dogs have been mistreated, neglected, abused, starved and forgotten. As a rescue volunteer it is our goal and our duty to ensure these poor pups do not end up in the same or even similar circumstances as we found them in the first place. Rescue groups take on the responsibility of those who so grossly dropped the ball and continue to drop the ball by breeding and not having their pets spayed or neutered. Man is the cause of pet overpopulation and the result is shelters and rescues over crowded with societies “rejects”, if you will. I often joke it is easier to adopt a child than it is to adopt a pet from a rescue. Obviously this is not true but a few extra minutes to address an application to adopt and honest answers from potential adopters help rescue volunteers place their foster pups in the right home for that particular dog. If one of my foster dogs is returned by their adopter I personally feel I failed that dog. He will return to foster care and wait until the “right” person comes along. That person may come along tomorrow but most likely they will not surface for weeks and sometimes months later. While foster care is better than where they began, it is still a step away from finding their forever home. While I have upset some people by not approving them to adopt my particular foster…I would much rather take the heat from them than to let my foster dog down by setting him up for failure in a home where he will not be compatible with the people or their lifestyle. Potential adopters do not like to hear this by… Once a dog is part of our rescue it is about the dog first and the people second.

  • BostonSteve

    I agree and disagree with both Ms. Yoffe’s point of view and Ms. Gingery’s and Ms. Osgood’s stances.

    I’ll start with my personal experience with the dog adoption process. I am a single professional male, with a city apartment, and had not previously owned a dog. We have had dogs in our household when I was growing up, but I never had one on my own.

    After years of deliberation and getting to a stage in life when I was more settled, I decided to adopt a dog. I contacted several rescue groups, and all denied, rejected or ignored my applications. I understand, from the rescue group’s point of view, that a dog would be better in a household environment, with no young children, stay-at-home adult and a large fenced-in yard. What was disappointing was the lack of response or further discussions. It seemed that once the application was submitted, it was either discarded or placed in a bottom of a pile.

    Perhaps Mr. Gingery’s and Ms. Osgood’s organizations operate differently and contact and consult the potential adopters about certain concerns if the applicant does not seem suitable to the dogs that currently require new homes. However, my experience has been that the rescue group simply disregard the undesirable applications and only provide brief responses after several follow-up attempts to contact the organization.

    It would have been disappointing but understandable if I was the only one that went through this experience. However, several of my friends have had similar rejections, even though some had homes with large yards, some did not have young children, and some had a stay-at-home adult.

    In the end, I contacted the Humane Society of a neighboring city, who reviewed my application and followed up with a meeting to go over their concerns. After our discussion and conveying my commitment to prove a good home for an adopted dog, they accepted my application and I adopted a high-energy, mixed breed lab-doberman puppy (7 months old).

    That was 2 years ago and today Miranda is a registered AKC canine partner, Canine Good Citizen, Dock Dogs competitor, frisbee dog, scheduled for TDI certification, soon-to-be rally competitor and an all-around great american dog. All from 2 days of puppy class (work schedule conflicted), self-training at home, practice, a book on 101 canine tricks, love, attention and dried beef liver treats (and frisbees).

    It seems for many of these rescue groups, only the physical conditions are evaluated and not the personal motives, determination and capabilities of the applicant. That is a shame.

    I am happy to report that I adopted a second dog from the same Humane Society, who was given up from a home with all the proper attributes (house, fenced in yard, stay at home adult, no young children). Apparently Dottie (Australian Cattle Dog mix) had strong prey and herding drives, was aggressive toward other dogs and was overall too much to handle. Within an hour of taking her home, after I properly introduced her, she was playing with Miranda and a neighbor’s dog and ended up in a three way tug-of-war with a stuffed toy. She is a sweetheart who loves to cuddle up and fall asleep in the nook between my arm and chest.

  • Gemma R.

    Ms. Yoffe is on target…while I think rescues perform a great service they are more than a bit over zealous. I filled about 40 applications over an 8 month period and was rejected because I work full time….the 2 that were willing to give me a dog offered me one with biting issues because it was a more difficult dog to place and I was also offered a 14 year old who had recently had 18 teeth removed and told ” perhaps you could become a person who takes in older dogs and makes their last days easier”. I finally went to a breeder. I’ve again begun the process of trying to adopt a second dog as a companion to my first…first application rejected or rather they suggested a dog from their group for me…come on…who doesn’t want to choose their own? So then they complain about how many dogs are in rescue… Hmmmph…ridiculous. You know what’s sad? I still see some of the same dogs I applied for years ago still in “foster”… Yeah, that’s better than a forever family.

  • catlover

    I went to the local humane society today to adopt a cat I had seen over the weekend (it was past adopting hours that day). I thought I was doing a good thing to adopt a cat from the shelter, as we all know there are so many animals in shelters that needs homes, so the idea is to have people adopt them out of course! This was also a kill shelter. The cat I was interested in had been there about three weeks, and the sign said available to adopt. The was 2 years old.

    I really do not know how to explain how stunned I was with the experience. I can only liken it to one of those police interrogations you see when they flash a bare bulb at you (not literally of course here.) The woman was amazingly rude, and treated me like I was a criminal. I just could not believe it. Later I looked on yelp and some other sites and this place (and this woman in particular) was being called out by many people who had a very similar experience, also using words like that they felt like a criminal.)

    I really just do not understand this at all. There is so much advertising and awareness being presented about how many animals are euthanized and how they all need to be spade and neutered, but then they do not seem to want to adopt the animals out (in many cases, obviously not all.) And this is a kill shelter. This cat has been there 3 weeks or more. I do not seem able to adopt her from these people. So, if no one else does (or they don’t let them) is she going to be euthanized? Again, as already stated, I do not understand this?

    I am, btw, a very normal person, had cats my whole life, and currently have a 17 year old cat that has been with me for 15 years. I have spent lots of money taking care of her, and providing for vet bills, food, etc. She is a huge priority in my life. But somehow I am not acceptable by these people to adopt a cat, in- shall I say it again- a kill shelter?

    Not only that, but the rudeness and arrogance of this person was really unbelievable. In the end, when I realized we were getting nowhere, I said ok, never mind and went to take my application back since obviously I was not going to be able to adopt the cat from her or the place. I meant nothing bad by reaching for it, just didn’t seem like she would need it anymore. She abruptly jerked her hand back and said “this belongs to us.” I ended up getting it back from her a few minutes later when she somehow gave in.

    Her attitude throughout the interview seemed to be one of looking for something she could find wrong, accusing me, questioning and making me wrong.

    The sad thing is, it seemed like a really nice and sweet cat, and I could have given it an excellent home, but now I don’t know if it will ever get adopted or if it will get euthanized. Maybe I will go back and inquire about her (the cat not the lady) with some of the volunteers (who seem a lot nicer, according to observation and to the yelp reviews) and try and see if the cat is in danger of being euthanized.

    There were also several review on yelp suggesting that people at the shelter may be selling the animals (if pure breeds or very desirable animals come in). I am wondering if something like that is going on, which might explain this woman’s behavior.

    When I told her I was not happy with my experience there, she suggested I come back and speak with her boss, which I may do. The situation was so off putting that I would prefer to drop it, but I still care about the cat’s well being and am still interested in adopting her.

    I think what some people on this bulletin board are missing about this, is that neither myself or the other frustrated adoptees are lazy, not willing to fill out paperwork, don’t care about animals, etc. It is actually quite the opposite! The frustration (for me at least and I suspect for others from reading here) is that we are interested, good pet owners/parents who are being denied the right to adopt a pet for reasons that are unclear, potentially arbitrary, or that just seem like a refusal from staff due to their own ideas or prejudices, that do not seem related to the animals well being (euthanizing the animal, or keeping it there taking up a space, which means another animal may need to be euthanized is not in the best interest of the animal!).

    I wonder if they actually need to keep animals there in order to justify funding or something. This shelter is building a very fancy and larger new facility. Maybe if they adopted out as much as is actually possible they would not be so full, and therefore could not justify the fundraising for this new fancy building.

    Or even if they adopted out as quickly as actually might be possible, if they worry they would be out of a job, if there were not many animals left in the shelter. You might think this is ridiculous, with so many animals needing homes, but if you saw the amount of negative reviews on yelp and other sits of people being denied adoptions, it makes you wonder what it going on there.

    Oh, and when she said I had to come back, and I asked if I could just hold the cat (thinking I would like to know if this cat and I get along, so I know if I should continue to persist in light of how I was being treated (like a criminal) she said no, I could not hold the cat.

    Really? Is this really about the animals? Really?

    When I was a kid in the 70s in Chicago, it seemed like animal shelters were trying to adopt out animals. What about all the movies where the family goes to the local animal shelter and adopts a dog? I was going to bring my children today to have a lovely experience adopting a pet (but they had sports and I was worried the animal might be gone if I did not go, so I went without them.) And thank goodness! What an unpleasant experience to be interrogated and denied the right to adopt a cat!

    I hope that something changes here. Again, for all the people complaining about this viewpoint, let me again say that it is not about not caring about the animals, in fact it IS about caring for the animals. People being denied the ability to adopt an animal from a shelter are being prevented from helping the animals in the shelter!

    And if I was some sort of criminal, irresponsible, cat terrorizing freak than deny me, but I am a lifelong cat owner/parent, who considers my animals to be a member of my family, treats them as such, spends any money needed on health care, food etc. I love my animals and take great care of them.

    Something is amiss, and I hope it gets resolved in the direction of more people who would like to adopt animals in need, are allowed to.

  • Guest

    I was rejected from ACCT Philly, Phillygirl. It’s untrue it’s easy to get a pet there. I wanted a dog I had met an adoption event earlier in the week. They made me bring my parents’ dog in, (who I have very little contact with but who happens to live at the other side of the house). Additionally, my parents’ dog (who is highly anxious about car rides and is a 20 lb tiny dog) was made to wait in the shelter area for an hour and a half before getting to meet the dog I wanted to adopt. Instead of walking the dogs parallel to each other, the volunteer had me walk behind her, which served to agitate my parents’ dog. My application for the dog I wanted was rejected and I was told to bring my parents’ dog back again. Unfortunately, I was hoping to train this dog to be an alert dog for a seizure disorder I have, and so waiting long amounts of time isn’t an option (I’ve already been trying to get this dog for 3 weeks). I have nothing but sympathy for people who say, “I went to a breeder. it was easier” after this experience. I was made to feel like a bad dog owner (my last rescue greyhound died 6 months ago of natural causes at age 15). He was nowhere NEAR this hard to get.

  • Guest

    I was rejected from ACCT Philly, Phillygirl. It’s untrue it’s easy to
    get a pet there. I wanted a dog I had met an adoption event in September. They made me bring my parents’ dog in, (who I have very
    little contact with but who happens to live at the other side of the
    house). Additionally, my parents’ dog (who is highly anxious about car
    rides and is a 20 lb tiny dog) was made to wait in the shelter area for
    an hour and a half before getting to meet the dog I wanted to adopt. She was shaking an already nervous when we FINALLY got to take her to the yard.

    Instead of walking the dogs parallel to each other, the volunteer had me
    walk behind her, which served to agitate my parents’ dog. My
    application for the dog I wanted was rejected and I was told to bring my
    parents’ dog back again. Unfortunately, I was hoping to train this dog
    to be an alert dog for a seizure disorder I have, and so waiting long
    amounts of time isn’t an option (I’ve already been trying to get this
    dog for 3 weeks and live several tens of miles from the shelter down 76 – the logistics of getting there is NOT fun).

    I have nothing but sympathy for people who say, “I
    went to a breeder. it was easier” after this experience. I was made to
    feel like a bad dog owner (my last rescue greyhound died 6 months ago
    of natural causes at age 15). He was nowhere NEAR this hard to get. The experience soured me on shelters.

  • Melissa Gee

    I was rejected from ACCT Philly, Phillygirl. I wanted a dog I had met an adoption event in September. They made me bring my parents’ dog in, (who I have very little contact with but who happens to live at the other side of the house). Additionally, my parents’ dog (who is highly anxious about car rides and is a 20 lb tiny dog) was made to wait in the shelter area for an hour and a half before getting to meet the dog I wanted to adopt. She was shaking and already nervous when we FINALLY got to take her to the yard. No amount of talking softly to, hugging, treats, or praise was helping this dog at this point.

    Instead of walking the dogs parallel to each other, the volunteer had me walk behind her, which served to agitate my parents’ dog because she likes to lead. She got snippy with the dog I wanted, showed her teeth, but didn’t bite him. My application was rejected and I was told to bring my parents’ dog back again later. Unfortunately, I was hoping to train this dog to be an alert dog for a seizure disorder I have, and so waiting long amounts of time isn’t an option (I’ve already been trying to get this dog for 3 weeks and live several tens of miles from the shelter down 76 – the logistics of getting there is NOT fun).

    I have nothing but sympathy for people who say, “I went to a breeder. it was easier” after this experience. I was made to feel like a bad dog ‘owner’ – though the dog wasn’t mine. Furthermore, I was encouraged to pick another dog from the shelter when the one I wanted didn’t “work”. I tried to explain that service dogs have to have a certain temperament, but the volunteer didn’t understand why I was intent on the first dog. I interviewed a second dog, but she didn’t meet the requirements of a service dog.

    I would also like to point out that in the last 15 years, I’ve had one dog. My last rescue greyhound died 6 months ago of natural causes at age 14, and my seizure frequency has increased dramatically. -Hence needing another dog. He was nowhere NEAR this hard to get from his rescue. The experience soured me on shelters VERY much.

  • Ivy

    I’ve always adopted dogs. I adopted a dog with diabetes and Cushing’s, who was blind. I adopted another dog who was diabetic and blind, with neuropathy. I had to catch their urine every day and inject insulin twice a day. And I’ve had healthy dogs. I used to volunteer at the shelter and take vacations at Best Friends to work with the dogs. I have always said that life without a dog is not worth living.

    My siberian husky died last march after a short fight with cancer. It was so painful. I didn’t have another dog to help cushion the blow. After a couple of months, I was ready to adopt again.

    Things have changed so much. You have to be perfect to adopt a dog now. There are so many steps to go through before a person even gets to meet the dog to determine if she is a good fit. There’s a phone interview with the rescue place and the foster mom, long application, vet references, home visit. But before I even get to meet the dog? As someone commented earlier, yes, I won’t adopt just any dog. I need to adopt a dog that is a good fit with us. Isn’t that the desired outcome?

    I’ve been looking for a dog since May and have dealt with many rescue groups. They don’t get back to you or they go on vacation for a month and no one else takes their caseload. And you get through the whole process only to have another person swoop in and take the dog because they’ve adopted from the rescue place before. Etc. And In my quest, I’ve gotten a feeling that rescues don’t really want to part with their dogs.

    I am home most of the time. I have a very large yard. A new dog would be living with me, my husband (who is the dog whisperer) and my 17-year old daughter who works at a pet supply store and previously worked in a kennel. But what I’ve finally found out is that I can’t adopt a dog from a rescue because of the fencing. I have a very tall privacy fence. But the back of the property has a huge field with very tall weeds, like a natural fence. We can’t put a fence there so we installed invisible fencing in case a dog gets curious. I’ve never had a dog even show interest. I’ve even had two huskies and they never tried it. I’ve used invisible fencing for 20 years. But I can’t adopt a dog because the yard has to be completely enclosed by a physical fence.

    So instead of being so judgmental toward people who end up buying dogs, please understand why. I want a dog, a dog that is a good fit both ways. But the process has kept me from getting one. I’ve always been about saving dogs. But now, I’ll have to find a different way to do that, outside of the rescue groups.

  • joe

    Many of the questions asked during the application process are vague as well. My girlfriend and I were turned down when we tried to adopt a kitten because we checked off a box saying the cat would be “indoor/outdoor.” We were denied on the basis that allowing a cat to be out doors would be irresponsible as the cat could be injured or killed by traffic or other hazards. The problem with this however was that the interviewer assumed we were experts on adoption lingo and terminology. When we gave our response we simply meant that we would take the cat on walks with a leash. It was never our intention to leave the cat unattended. When we explained this, the representative we spoke with was unreasonable. She wouldn’t listen to what we were saying, which was frankly rude. I realize most of these adoption interviewers have a difficult job and good intentions, but some of them are also judgmental individuals on power trips.

  • Elena Hayanello

    I just have to say, and I didn’t read the whole thread, that they do go way overboard. I rescued two dogs. The first one, they did a home visit. I could tell she was looking down her nose at my house. I’m not gonna lie, my house needs a lot of work, and painting, etc. But it is a large house with a large yard, perfect for a dog. Then, they didn’t like the stairs. It was a little doxie and they said doxies don’t like stairs. But, the dog wouldn’t have had to use the stairs! There are only two stairs to get into the house. Then they didn’t like the fence- said she could get out. But, I told them I had no intention of a little mini-doxie runn around loose in that yard on her own, anyway. There is no fence in the world that a dog of that size couldn’t get out of. Long story short, they finally “gave in” and we’ve had her for 6 years now. My other dog I got lucky and the lady was so desperate to get rid of her before her kids came back for the weekend, (she had adopted her from a rescue and was going to return her but they had her keep her while they advertised her on Petfinder) that she gave her to me without going through the process because the first people didn’t show up to get her. We’ve had her for 5 1/2 years. I am pretty sure there are people with perfect houses that are more apt to return a dog than someone like me who is much more relaxed about housekeeping. Yet, that keeps me from adopting another dog. I don’t want one of these snooty people coming in and judging me again. Also, the vet checks. I get what that’s about, but I go to Petco for vaccines every other year to save (aLOT) of money. So, when they call my vet to see if I get yearly vaccines, or whatever, that’s gonna be a problem. But, my dogs are healthy, vaccinated, and if they have any issues they go to the vet to get checked out. But, these people look down on Petco vets cause I guess they can’t check you out with them (even though many of them do adoptions through Petco). So, I would be homing a 3rd dog right now, but I don’t want to go through the rescue police process again. There’s gotta be a better way. (BTW, when they came to do the house check, they saw I had my other dog- who has since passed- for 15 years! And she was well taken care of. Shouldn’t that have been enough?)

  • Jim T.

    I know this article is a couple of years old as I post this, but I need to address Miora Gingery of Best Dawg Rescue above, and her response.

    First, let me share my own experiences and observations from a (rejected) adopter’s perspective, from this particular MD group. This goes back a few years but since the article does too I guess that’s fair. Where to start…

    1) Your organization’s email habits were a mess. I do understand that volunteers are common in these organizations and you don’t have the resources to provide instant responses. That’s fine & understandable. But it took nearly a month to get anywhere with your office at all and we only managed to do so with a lot of perseverance. An organization serious about finding homes for dogs shouldn’t ignore emails for a week-plus. Either you can handle the job or you can’t.

    2) Our yard wasn’t fully fenced at the time, but it’s huge and leads to a creek. Effectively we have 4 acres of wooded space available to us from our property and a path to state land. Not to mention two popular dog parks within 8 minutes. Then there’s plenty of house space to roam around in, including a dedicated 13×13 dog-only bedroom and heated 700 sq foot basement (free of any dangerous objects as we walled off the water heater and oil tank).

    3) My wife and I both work, but often we did so from our home offices and never traveled. While we can’t have someone home 24/7, we don’t travel and have more than enough time to care for a dog. Who would virtually never spend more than 5-6 hours alone, especially with our retired neighbors who we’ve had a 10-year partnership with as far as our respective dogs.

    4) Together my wife and I earned nearly $200,000 in annual income, which put us in a far better position to provide for veterinary care (and general pet costs) than the average person would.

    5) We’re experienced dog owners with a solid veterinarian reference, to include caring for an elderly lab with serious health issues until the end of her days.

    6) The volunteer (?) sent to our home was obnoxious and awkward. We expected she would check out our home to inspect for cleanliness–and it was immaculate–and to ensure suitability for a pet. We did NOT expect her to roam around opening closets and our refrigerator, and make judgmental comments about decor. (And if her filthy car is any indication of how she keeps her own home, then she’s in no position to critique anyone). She didn’t believe our income and practically called us liars, and refused to look when my wife pulled our tax returns.

    7) Apparently the fact that we’re somewhat particular about breeds is a red flag and lecture-worthy. As it happens we’re familiar with & have had good experiences with a few in particular, and so we favor those breeds.

    8) We’ve noticed that many of your pets remain unadopted for extended periods of time. I wonder how many good adopters were turned away while weirdos like the lady above essentially hoard these animals forever (under the guise of looking for the “perfect” home, of course.

    9) I notice that your Yelp! rating as of today is overwhelmingly negative. 6 of 8 reviewers gave you one star out of five, with several similar complaints. Then looking around the Internet I see even more negative feedback about your organization. While I assume that people with negative experiences are more likely to share their experiences, there are a lot of similar experiences to ours reported.

    So when I saw your written response to Ms. Yoffe’s article, it angered both my wife and I. Based on our own experience, your group is exactly the kind that give rescues a bad name and puts people off. I don’t know whether you’re intentionally misleading readers, or if you’re just that out of touch with your organization’s practices & volunteer behavior. It was clear to us that you don’t screen your volunteers nearly as well as prospective adopters.

    In reality there are few “perfect” homes out there, but many good ones. Just as a prospective owner shouldn’t expect to find a perfect dog, some of these so-called rescue groups seem to have lost some perspective while looking for for perfect owners. We’ve all heard horror stories of some groups being nothing more than tax-haven fronts for hoarding groups who collect animals.

    One comment you made stunned me:

    “I’m sure there are a few “odd” people in the rescue world.”

    I’ll tell you what, Ms. Gingry. If you can’t immediately recall lots of very odd rescue people given the length of your experience, then you’re either way too used to them or one of them yourself. I know there are many great, kind, normal people volunteering for rescue organizations that make up the majority. But it’s fair to say that your field attracts more than it’s fair share of oddballs. It’s not anecdotal. If you think otherwise then you should read more feedback about people’s experiences. I mean just look at the overwhelmingly negative feedback posted here.

    Sadly, it’s the pets who seem to suffer. Not us; it was easy for us to look elsewhere and adopt our new family member. However the poor guy we were interested in sat there for well over a year on Petfinder (listed as 8 months old and with the same photo). I sincerely hope he found the perfect home, complete with a 6-foot fence and people who don’t work, who will only feed raw diet and so on.

  • Pan

    I can only say that although I love animals and wish every one had a loving home, after experiencing Ms. Gregory’s group, I now realize why people buy pets even though they would prefer to give an animal in need a loving home. I had no objection to the long application. I attended what was billed as a pet adoption event three times with my family to spend time with one particular dog. I spoke to the handler each time and was never told there was a problem. On the application I answered all questions, including the fact that we own a house, have a large fenced yard, work alternate schedules so someone is always home, were planning to become members of the local dog park. Dawg Rescue did not even pay me the courtesy of the supposed home visit they were to provide. They simply rejected us because the dog was said to be “a work in progress.” If this is the case, why bring him three times to what is supposed to be an adoption event? Why not ask the handler to inform people of this? They did not even suggest we should consider another animal. If you look online you will find the vast majority of people have terrible experiences with such groups. I certainly plan to never offer them any support but devote my attention and money to real animal shelter where they actually want to give dogs good homes.

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