Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pets and pet Nazis

I guess we've all heard by now about Ellen's emotional plea for the private pet adoption agency to return the little dog Iggy to her hair stylist's daughters.

Apparently when Ellen adopted the little dog she signed an agreement stipulating that if she was unable to keep the dog, she had to return it to the pet adoption agency. But when the little dog didn't get along well with her cats, Ellen gave the dog to her hairstylist and her 2 daughters. The private pet adoption agency found out about it and promptly confiscated the pet from the 2 young girls, resulting in Ellen's televised waterworks display.

At 1st glance it may seem that Ellen's melodramatic plea was overly emotional at best, and more likely bordering on histrionic. Some say she used her status and power to 'try and get what she wanted' and 'not abide by the contract she signed'. Maybe so, but is that so different from what most celebrities do? Don't companies actually pay celebrities to use their status and power to promote their products and create awareness for their causes? I don't know that Ellen was doing anything different. She used her TV show and her celebrity status to try and get the dog returned to the 2 girls who loved it.

What I don't understand is why those private pet adoption agencies have to be Nazis about it. I can tell you from 1st hand experience that its almost as hard to adopt a pet from one of these private agencies as it is to adopt a child! If the agency's aim really is to see that the pets go to good homes, why are they so militant and unreasonable? I've not found State or County animal shelters to be so unreasonable.

Spouse doesn't believe in buying dogs and cats, since there are so many in shelters awaiting adoption. So when we decided to become parents we contacted a beagle and basset hound rescue league. A woman came to interview us and "inspect" (her word) our house and yard. She asked if we both worked full-time and when we replied that we did, she asked who was going to be at home to care for the dog during the day while we were at work? Quickly seeing where this was headed, Spouse lied and said we were hiring a pet sitter to come a few hours each day.

Are these people crazy? Who in their right mind would expect someone to stay home all day just because they adopted a dog? In my mind the chief difference between adopting a dog and a child is that the dog can be left alone for a few hours. Are single people who want to adopt a pet supposed to quit their job so they can stay home with their new furry friend? Who's going to pay the bills?

In the backyard the woman told us we needed to move our firewood pile away from the shed and fence. She claimed this 15-inch beagle was capable of climbing onto the firewood pile, jumping onto the roof of the shed, and jumping over the fence! I was just about to say "Well, she'll have to sprout wings and fly first!" when Spouse placated her by agreeing to move the wood pile. We never did, and the dog never so much as climbed onto the wood pile, much less used it as a springboard to freedom.

It was only by lying about the pet sitter and moving the firewood pile that we were permitted to adopt a dog.

I can certainly understand the need for home visits prior to placing pets with potential adopters. You wouldn't want to place a dog with someone who actually lives in a car rather than a home. You wouldn't want to place a cat with someone who already has 26 cats and lives in a 1 bedroom apartment. I see the value in home visits to weed out the crazies. But some of these people working at the private pet adoption agencies take it way beyond that and become pet Nazis.

Which is preferable, to place a dog with people who actually want it but who work full-time, or not permit the adoption, even though the people are nice and passed the home visit, leaving the dog in a kennel at the agency simply because the people work full-time? It seems to me that if the agency's true aim is to find homes for the pets, they could be a little more reasonable.

The beagle and basset hound rescue league required us to sign an agreement, just like Ellen, stating if for any reason we no longer wanted the dog, we had to return it to the agency. Is this because needing to give up a pet automatically turns us into such bad judges of character that we can't be trusted to place the pet with a stable friend, relative, or hairdresser? Sometimes people have to give up pets because of allergies. Sometimes people have to give up pets because a new job requires frequent overnight travel. There are many valid reasons why a pet may no longer be practical or possible, so people who need to give up pets shouldn't be viewed as unloving, uncaring monsters.

Its crazy to me that your neighbor's dog can have 11 puppies and nobody-but-nobody oversees who the puppies are given to or how they are cared for, yet a conscientious person trying to adopt a dog given to a private pet adoption agency must go through the equivalent to a top secret government clearance. The process robs you of your dignity. There's got to be a balance.

When we decided to become parents for the 2nd time we picked out a kitten from our County animal shelter. They asked us some basic questions to determine we weren't mentally ill or otherwise incapable of caring for the kitten, and then encouraged us to take the little guy home with us that day. I suggested we go to the pet store 1st and get a litter box, food and water bowls, etc. but the County animal shelter said we should go ahead and take the kitten home. One of us could help him get settled in while the other went to the pet store.

I'm happy to say that both Jordan the dog and Pouncer the Wondercat quickly acclimated to life with us, despite the fact that we both work full-time. In the 9+ years we've had them there's never been a shortage of love, and they have never appeared to mind that we were absent for 8 hours during the day while at work. Honestly, I believe they enjoyed the uninterrupted nap time!

Drag Queen name of the day: Rosa Rhee

1 comment:

Uncle Phatato said...

That's awesome. Lying about the pet-sitter and moving a wood pile. We have three dogs, Fauna, the farter, is a rescue as well. But we visited a small country area and met her, signed a little agreement and off we went with her. The other rescue dog is a TRUE rescue -- my wife found her on the street and brought her home. But it is amazing about how nuts they can be...as for Ellen, I was in shock that she was THAT upset...