The Great Rescue Debate

Emily Yoffe over at Slate.com posted a piece last week about animal rescue groups.  She told a story that I have heard before.. someone wants to “do the right thing” and adopt from a rescue, but is so turned off by the process that she turns to a breeder.

I have been on both sides of this issue.

Before we found Gibbs, I saw an online profile for a standard poodle.  My family had a standard when I was child and we would love another one.  The profile said that she would be at an adoption fair at a pet store that weekend, so we drove out to meet her.  The volunteers said that she was at a different event that day at a different store.  We went to the other store.  She was not there, either.  We asked how we might meet her.  We were told, rather dismissively, to fill out an application.  We would be contacted if we qualified.

I am good with the application.  You would be hard pressed to find a better pet adoption application than mine and I have a reference list longer than my arm.  I am not good with the attitude or the (probably inadvertent) false advertising.

Wright-Way, the rescue where I found Gibbs, also had an extensive online application.  It was required before I met him, but mostly because he had to be transported from downstate.  They weren’t going to put him through a six or seven hour car drive unless they were pretty sure they had a match.  And you know what?  It had a question that I hadn’t considered before.  They asked how many pets I had and how many are allowed in each household in my town?  I had to look up the rules on Glenview’s website.

Once we were onsite, we were asked to watch a video before we met him.  It had the standard sermons, but also included some thoughts on crate training that I found very useful.  The process made me feel like they were serious without making me feel like a criminal.  I would be happy to adopt from them again.

However.  I am also a rescue volunteer.  We rescue parrots, which are definitely different from dogs and cats, but for what it is worth: I have worked the intake of parrots and I know plenty of horror stories of the “will make you cry” variety.  I will skip them and tell you just one thing: about that “Ellen Degeneres clause”?  The one that says if the adopter must rehome the pet, it must be returned to the rescue?  We have seen animals that we adopted out later posted on Craigslist – for a profit.  Not cool.  Our directors, Rich and Karen Weiner, wrote a complete response to the article that I couldn’t find in Yoffe’s comments – there are tons already – but is posted on Facebook.

Adopting through a rescue is not an instant-gratification purchase.  Please do your homework.  Consider what type of pet will be happy in your home.  Allow some time for the process.   And if the first rescue you contact isn’t working with you (again, this happened to me and my totally impeccable pet adoption credentials), try another one.  Or ask a veterinarian.  Or try an open access shelter.

Thank you for listening.  Now here is a picture of Gibbs:

3 thoughts on “The Great Rescue Debate

  1. Fluffycat says:

    Same thing happens at my shelter where someone decides to rehome via Craig’s List. Usually someone savvy will catch this and contact the person. It’s pretty dastardly.

  2. DMA says:

    Is there legal recourse? That is, can you reclaim the pet?

    • Anne says:

      The rescue on Craigslist? No, because the Refuge did not have that particular clause in the adoption contract at the time. It is there now. Most of the language in the adoption contracts that people object to – like the ones that allow for a rescue to reclaim an adopted pet if conditions change – are for the sole purpose of setting up legal recourse. I understand why it scares people off, but I am satisfied that it isn’t an issue for me.

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