Sunday, July 23, 2006
Waiting patiently to be noticed.A few weeks ago, we took in a dog from a local county shelter. We were told some story about how the dog ended up there, tested the dog, and called him Wolfgang. After he had been available for adoption a week or so, we had our adoptathon. That day, someone came in saying they were from the breed rescue group for Wolfgang's breed and they wanted him. They would pay the fee, do whatever was necessary...they just wanted to take the dog so they could place him. Our manager explained that the dog wasn't at risk, was doing well and we didn't need help with placement. She said we would call if we did need help. This pissed the person off to no end, demanding the manager's supervisor's name (me) and throwing a fit.
So, I get a message explaining what happened from her point of view. I returned the call the next day, but only after three other breed rescue people had left messages. I had a nice chat with her explaining our process, how we are a little different than other shelters as we have habitats (she said this breed doesn't kennel well), the ability to restrict adoptions (she said this breed doesn't do well with kids), and dog trainers who work with the dog (she said this breed is smart and needs stimulation.) I repeated what the manager had said about not needing their help at this time, but also added that we wouldn't turn over a dog to a rescue group we had never worked with before without some vetting and paperwork. I also asked if she would give a dog over to someone who showed up with no notice demanding the dog. She seemed to understand, thanked me, and I said we would talk again after I had the needed documents. I did say, before we hung up, that I would be happy to have any interested parties that they knew come to see the dog at our facility. I said we would even put the dog on hold if someone was driving a long distance.
Then, the next day, we get a message from the breeder of the dog (yes, they traced this dog back to the breeder) and from another person saying THEY were with the breed rescue group. They both wanted the dog back. I explained everything again to them. I told them each that I was already dealing with someone from the rescue group, but that I would be happy to put the dog on hold if someone was coming from a long distance.
Then, the next day, I get a fax from someone else from this breed rescue basically telling me the first person I spoke with was a complete liar and showing email proof of her deceptive ways. Apparently this first person said that we were holding back the dog as our "trophy bride" since we don't get pure breds often.
It was at that point that I decided I was done with all this nonsense and that if anyone else called about the dog, I would be honest and tell them I was done.
That same day, two different people from the Monterey area called. They heard we had this dog from the breeder and wanted to come meet him. I said sure. The first person could come in three days and the second person could come today. I put the dog on hold, the people drove up, met the dog, fulfilled all of our requirements AND had had this breed of dog before. It was a nice match and they drove back south with Wolfgang. (We called the other person to tell them the adoption had happened.)
I can not tell you how pleased I was that this dog was in a home and I didn't have to talk to anyone else about him again. I had probably spent 3-4 hours on the phone with various people talking about the dog. It was ridiculous.
But what was more ridiculous is that no one would spend this kind of time or energy on a mutt. There is no "mutt breed rescue". No one takes the time to get to the know the dog...they just think the breed they rescue is different and unique and special. And none of them understand how what we do in the shelter is the complete opposite of what the breeders and clubs do with their dogs. We take dogs that end up unwanted in city and county shelters and give them another chance. They create dogs that take away adoptive owners from those same needy dogs sitting waiting in shelters. For every dog bred, that is one fewer dog in the shelter that gets a home.
Anyway, I'm sounding bitter and rambling, so I'd better stop. The whole thing just made me sad. So much time and effort spent rescuing one dog simply because of who his parents were when the real dogs that need rescuing are still waiting patiently to be noticed.