Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Animal Rescue People Aren't People-Persons

It has come to my attention that people who work for animal rescue organizations are, in many cases, a little, uh, odd.

They're not people-persons (or is it people-people?). I suppose if you are passionate about animals and spend your day with them, it's probably a little harder to relate to people. Nevertheless, as a neophyte pet-adopter, I was a little alarmed after my first interaction with one. My second has be slighly baffled and bewildered.

However, thanks to the wisdom of my good friend, Ms. P, who has some great experience in rescuing dogs, I'm learning that it's not something to take personally, she has dealt with the same thing.

My first experience was with a lady who I contacted through petfinder.com. She had two female puppies for rescue, and one male. I asked her about the female and she said the one in the picture was already being adopted but I could have the other one. I sent in my adoption application, clearly stating that though I'd listed a vet, I have never had a pet and thus had never visited the vet. Instead, I would be using this vet for my future animal care.

The next day, I get an email saying that she has, in fact, given my puppy away to another person who decided she wanted both a boy and a girl. I suppose it's nice to send a brother and sister off together but it did irk me a little that one of those was supposed to be my puppy. Then she offered me the male that she had left. I politely declined. For obvious reasons, I am a little hesitant to get a male puppy, particularly this soon. I have, however, been wanting a little girl for a long time. I told her that while I appreciated the offer, I was going to pass on the male puppy because after losing Sausage, I wasn't ready for a male.

Well, rather than just say, "ok," she sent me back a rather snippy email. She was annoyed that she'd called the vet and the vet's office had 'never heard of me.' Well, when I state on the application that I've never been to the vet, you'd think she could have figured that out without the phone call. Then, to top it off, she scolded me for not wanting a male and told me that it shouldn't matter the sex of the dog, they all need homes.

I respect that. Except I have good reasons for not wanting a male dog at present. I thought about writing her an angry response but realized it would do no good. Clearly, she was someone who couldn't relate to humans and their reasoning as much as she could feel compassion for animals. It's not her fault, I suppose.

My next experience was a little more bizarre. There's a Dachshund Rescue of Ohio who are featured quite heavily on petfinder.com. I found a little dog who seemed perfect, she was a one-year old, housebroken, no kids, sweet personality. I applied for her.

I got an acknowledgement of my application and they told me how sweet the dog was. I figured "oh, ok! She still needs a home, yay!"

Well, the thing with the Dachshund Rescue of Ohio is that they don't have a shelter. All of their dogs are in 'foster' homes. So I can't just go visit and pick one out.

I finally got a call about the dog four days after I sent in my application. The lady was...odd. First of all, not a great conversationalist. Second of all, not good with people. The first thing she asked was if I had another dog. Since I had quite clearly indicated on my application that I did not, in fact, have another dog, I was a little surprised. When I restated that I didn't, I was told bluntly that the dog I had applied for couldn't be mine. She was not 'only dog' material. I accepted this. I was surprised that this information wasn't on the petfinder.com profile, but so be it.

Well, just telling me that was not good enough for this lady. She proceeded to take ten minutes to lecture me on dachshunds and how they like to have other dachshunds around. The dog I had applied for, for example, already had a best-friend-in-the-whole-wide-world and that it would be heartbreaking to seperate them. However, the best-friend-in-the-whole-wide-world was NOT up for adoption.

Do you see why I was confused?

After this, she offered me an older girl who was an only dog but, I was then told "she shouldn't be an only dog and I really should have another dog first." Then she told me about a puppy she had but she didn't say I was a good candidate and, when I asked, she changed the subject.

I was very polite during the whole thing. I finally told her that she'd been very helpful and that she had helped me decide that a puppy was the best option.

Then I got ANOTHER lecture on puppies and how I should NEVER buy a puppy from anyone because there are so many puppy mills out there and that's why there are so many dachshunds that end up being rescued.

But, here's the thing. I was offering to give a good home to a dachshund dog that, supposedly, needed one. I'd be a good owner, I think. I have a large yard (albeit with yappy dogs next door) but it's fenced in and ready for a dog. I'm also planning on spoiling it rotten, though being a good petowner and trying to train it responsibly.

Yet I was told that, for all intents and purposes, was not going to be able to rescue one of their dogs. I know I could go to the shelter and rescue a mutt but I really, really want a dachshund. I can't help it. I think most people feel an affinity for a certain type of dog and, for me, it's dachshunds. They're the only dog that make me stop and want to squeal when I see one.

So, yes, while I think the concept of puppy mills is atrocious and should be outlawed, my feeling is that all dogs need a good home. I'm going to give a puppy a good home. I'm not going to a puppy mill but even if I accidentally did because I didn't know any better, would it be better to give one of those dogs a secure place to live? Wouldn't I, in essence, be rescuing one of those?

I'm not going to a puppy mill. The puppy I found, I found from another adoption site. I'm just saying that regardless of where puppies come from, they need homes. It's like saying to a young child, "we can't adopt you because you come from a really, really crappy place." You don't do that. It shouldn't matter. I know by consenting to getting a puppy from a puppy mill, you're supporting them but if those dogs aren't rescued, what happens to them? They exist. They don't just go away.

It just befuddles me that I couldn't rescue a dog even though I really, really wanted to do so. What befuddles me more is that both times, I was told off by the rescue people when, in actuality, I was trying to do a good thing.

It probably wouldn't have been so bad the second time except I felt like I was being scolded and made to feel like a school girl who had done something naughty.

Nevertheless, I learned something from my experience. I'm hoping my puppy, whom I'm planning on naming Sookie Stackhouse Monkeypants (only I'd use my real last name because, surprisingly enough, my last name isn't actually Monkeypants. I know...you're shocked), will find me to be a nice pet owner.

As long as she doesn't mind being called Sookie.

Happy Wednesday.


ptarone said...

Good for you for not taking it personally. Im curious if she just wanted you to give her money so that she could keep the boy and the girl together and not have to pay for it. Oh well. At least you know that the dog you get is going to have the best life imaginable!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry you had such a bad experience with rescue groups. Many of us start out as people-people, but turn cynical along the way after seeing the deplorable way some humans treat animals. Our rescue group pulls almost exclusively from shelters in our area, so I would encourage you to think about trying another rescue or checking frequently with your local shelter - purebreds show up there with alarming frequency. Good luck and I'm sure that when you find Sookie you will have a wonderful relationship!

Captain Monkeypants said...

Thank you both for your comments- I'm sure not all rescue people are quite so, um, people-y but I was just citing my experiences. I promise to try to be the best pet parent I can be...I do applaud animal shelters and the personnel involved, it's just hard, as an outsider, to figure out how to prove that I'm a good candidate and won't be a bad pet owner!