Oct 7, 2008

A Rescue Group Rant

My quest for a second dog that I adore as much as Edison (if this is even possible) continues. This past weekend I found a miniature pinscher in need of a home that fit pretty much all of the criteria I have set for our next dog. She's a little girl, still young (at five years old), spayed and up to date on shots and she came from a family that surrendered her due to the other dogs in their house picking on her. This means that she wasn't living on the streets indefinitely and picking up god only knows what, that her age is accurate and that she is on the more submissive side, which would be ideal as Edison is quite alpha. And at only 15 lbs she's still small enough to be able to play with Edison and not hurt him when they rough house. Perfect, right? Well, not so much.

I filled out the application online for the rescue group that has this dog (a national group who shall remain nameless). I understand my need to prove my home ownership, and their need to contact my vet to prove that I can and do take my pets' health seriously, and that a home visit will enable them to see firsthand where we live and how we live. They can meet the family members who live here, both human and animal, and these folks can sleep soundly in the knowledge that my house is clean and not full of dirty pet dishes and piles of feces, nor that I'm running a puppy mill out of my basement or even a dog fighting ring out in my barn. I understand all this. I can even, somewhat, understand their wanting to pay a second visit to my home after the new dog is settled in to see how things are going with everyone and to see how we are all adapting to one another. But it was their adoption agreement, available online afterwards, that had rendered me speechless. I can't quite cotton to the idea that their adoption contract gives them the right to drop in whenever they wish to see how things are going at any time during this dog's entire lifetime and that if they feel I'm not being a very good pet parent, they can take the dog back right then and there, a concept that is far too vague, broad and open-ended for my comfort. I will also be required to notify them of any changes in the residents of my home and if I change addresses. According to this agreement, they have the absolute right to be kept informed of these things and should I neglect to tell them my son has grown up and has moved out, or we have sold our home and purchased a new one, once they have tracked me down at the new address, again, they can confiscate my dog if they choose. Perhaps they would feel more secure if I installed closed circuit video cameras in every room of my house so they can watch the goings-on here 24 hours a day. Maybe even add audio and a PA system that connects them to me, so if they feel I'm slacking off in any way, they can push a button at their headquarters and tell me over a loudspeaker here in my home to cut the shit or they'll be coming to take my dog within the hour. Do I have to furnish a friend list and get approval on everyone on it before they're allowed to visit us and the dog? What about potential workmen here? Plumbers, electricians? Must they be approved in advance of entering my home?

Honestly, things have gotten completely and utterly out of hand in the animal rescue and adoption industry. There is concern for the well-being of a soon-to-be-adopted pet and there is caution in approving a family and then there is insanity and in all honesty, nazism. It seems that just about everyone is taking "being careful" to the extreme to the point of driving away honest, animal-loving people from giving a homeless animal the safe, loving and nurturing home they deserve. I understand wanting to be sure a pet isn't going to be abused in their new home or returned to a shelter because it hasn't worked out. I get this, and I wouldn't want to have an animal that has lived such a hard life endure any more upset or upheaval in their lives, but there is a line of decency and a lot of these people have long ago crossed it in the guise of making sure a pet has a happy life for the remainder of their time here on earth.

Whatever happened to the local pound where you could make a donation and bring home a loving dog and have a new best friend in your life without all the bullshit? Without the volunteers there doing their utmost to make you feel like you aren't worthy of the dogs they have so perhaps you should look elsewhere? How did things get so out of hand?

I desperately want a second dog (or more) but there is absolutely no way I'm going to sign away my rights of privacy and freedom (for possibly the next two decades or so) to live my life as I see fit without having to report my every move to strangers in the name of adopting a dog I have chosen and paid for, the money of which (and this agency is not cheap) goes directly to aid their other dogs that never get adopted out (probably due to the outrageously stringent adoption rules). After I have proven in my initial interviews and meetings (and jumped through their ridiculous hoops) that I am a fit pet owner and will be able to more than adequately care for my new dog, my responsibility to these people should end there. I shouldn't be subjected to random visits and phone calls a decade or more from now that force me to continue to prove that I am a capable pet owner or else. Give me a break.

It's the animals who deserve so much better than that which they currently have and they are being robbed of their chances at a long and wonderful life with a family who adores them when all of these controlling morons alienate those who are looking to adopt.


mairin said...

I know just what you mean. I ran into a lot of that when I was looking to get a Chihuahua before I got Miss Nuggles. It drove me insane and Joe was thoroughly disgusted at the questions, requirements and the cost. Some were so excessive that he said just find a good breeder and we will get you a puppy (as I really wanted a young Chi). So back to the research, asking tons of questions. This time it was me doing the quizzing before I would even consider a puppy from a breeder I had to feel satisfied I was getting a quality breeder. The funny thing.. after getting Nuggles along came Mr Enrique handsome as you please.. given to me for free at that.. with no strings attached.. she just wanted him to have a happy home where he will be taken good care of.. ironic isn't it?

Victoria said...

That's always the way it is: you desperately want something and it either never comes your way or comes with loads of stipulations and then when you no longer need or want whatever it is, there are a million of them around (or in your case, one free special baby). I'm very frustrated with finding another baby, between the rescue groups' bullshit and Edison's non-interest in every other dog out there, but when it's meant to happen it will and I can't rush things though I'm going to keep looking. I haven't seen any chis locally on craigslist in ages, but we keep checking the shelters' websites for anything small and interesting. I wrote to my breeder a month ago about that baby with the mild heart problem she offered me, but she hasn't responded which I hope has nothing to do with her hubby's health, but think it might, so I haven't left her any more messages because I don't want to stress her anymore than she already is. I must have PATIENCE!!!!

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