Thursday, June 16, 2005
ExceptionsI like rules. I like structure. I like processes. And because of all that, I'm not well liked. But...I also like exceptions to rules.
Our adoption process includes ensuring the whole household and any resident dogs meet any new dog that is going to get adopted before the adoption can take place. This is challenging for some people as they live far away, have dogs that don't like car rides, have roommates that work odd hours, or have husbands that can't come in with the mom and kids. But despite these obstacles, we still have this requirement. Are we losing some clients because of it? Perhaps? But we feel confident that everyone (clients and dogs alike) will be off to a better and more successful start if everyone meets everyone.
Today, I made an exception to a golden rule at the shelter. Some clients came from San Mateo to adopt a puppy. They had been looking for a while in shelters for a puppy and couldn't find any. (This isn't surprising these days thanks to aggressive spay and neuter campaigns.) They called ahead and asked if we had some and then came from San Mateo. They arrived 15 minutes before we opened and walked into the clinic where I was sitting. I chatted with them and when it became obvious that they had two dogs, I told them of the rule. The husband was pissed off and the wife was disappointed. I kept chatting to try to learn more about them and their dogs. They just lost a dog of 14 years to cancer and their other two still at home were 11. Good dog owners? I think so.
So, I let them in and told them that although I had to insist that they brought the dogs in to meet the puppy they wanted, I would hold the puppy for them until they could made it back. If they didn't come back on time, I would let someone else adopt the puppy. They were happy with this compromise.
Holds are also a 'no-no' and only me and other managers can approve them. Too much confusion, frustration and bad feelings comes with holding animals for clients. The timing never quite works and too many good adopters leave without dog that are on hold for people who never show up. But I did it today and it felt right.
And sure enough, they came back on time, with their dogs, and went home with a cute, cuddly, little puppy.
And that sure felt good.