Adoption days are always exciting. People cram together to get a look at the adorable animals looking for forever homes. Dogs wag their tails in anticipation.
Being a former foster mom for a local animal rescue group, I was able to participate in many such days. But, it wasn’t always easy. Not just the idea of letting the foster dog go for good, but seeing some of the potential adopters.
My husband and I had just finished placing our first foster dog. And after the horrific events that took place (see my “Frightening Foster” blog post), we were very nervous about fostering another pooch. Matt had his eye on several of the larger dogs. Still, I was drawn to a small, long-haired Chihuahua.
Tiggy was her name and she was the shiest dog I have ever met. She was so frightened of everything happening around her that she had to have a towel placed over her crate. “Well, she’ll never get adopted like that,” I thought. So, I took her out of the crate and clipped a leash to her collar.
I held that dog for 3 hours straight. She seemed quite content and very mellow. Several people inquired of her and even took photos with their iPhones. I thought she would definitely be snatched up by the end of the day.
Then, a large family approached. The parents barely spoke any English. I watched as they walked from crate to crate, surveying the dogs. The children caught a glimpse of Tiggy and were thrilled.
“Chihuahua! Chihuahua!” they screamed. I told them to pet Tiggy gently as she was very shy. One of the children asked if he/she could hold Tiggy. I said, “Sure,” and ensured that she was being held properly.
What I saw next horrified me. The children walked over to their parents with Tiggy. The father and mother began to poke Tiggy and started laughing. One of the younger children began to pull at Tiggy’s ears and tail.
I could not believe what I was seeing! No one had ever taught these children how to treat an animal. What kind of example were these “parents” setting? I knew that no matter what happened, I would not allow Tiggy to become a member of this abusive group.
Thankfully, the children returned Tiggy to my waiting arms. I decided then and there that she would be our next foster. And she fit in beautifully with our then 5 fur babies.
I also learned quite a bit about Tiggy’s past from her behavior at home. She was found as a stray in Clinton County, IL. And she must have experienced some type of abuse because she is terrified of loud noises and sudden movements. The simple turn of a notebook page is enough to have her scampering for cover.
Tiggy was special and needed to go to a home that understood that. My Grandmother had just lost her dog, Benji, a few years earlier. She was also diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma in 2011. Tiggy would make the perfect companion. She never barks and loves to snuggle. My mom decided to do a gift adoption. The two have been inseparable ever since.
Since I have been through many dog adoptions myself, I knew that it would require a lot of paperwork. And having seen that one family in action, I can understand why. People that are not truly serious about owning a dog will not take the time to fill out all of the necessary paperwork. Plus, many require on-the-spot reference calls before they will let you walk out the door.
In order for us to adopt Domino, we had to take photos of every room of the house that we were moving into, including the backyard. This was in lieu of a house visit since the rescue group is almost two hours away from where we live. At the time, the person we were buying the house from seemed to think that was a bit extreme. Personally, I wish that more rescue groups would be this through.
With the recent jump in animals on Craig’s List, I think we, as animal lovers, should step up the requirements to adopt a pet. You never truly know who you are adopting to. Anyone can pretend to be loving and sweet for one day. But, what goes on once the dog/cat is at its new home? Are they chained outside in the bitter cold? Do they get to snuggle under the covers of a king size bed? Hard to tell from just a paper application.
We need to have stricter policies in place to help protect the animals. Many have already endured abuse and abandonment. They do not deserve to have to go through that pain again.
And if you have nothing to hide, you will breeze through the adoption process. Several groups that we adopted from called our vet. We are always met with smiles by the receptionists and the question of “Who did you bring today?” I am never afraid that we will receive a bad report.
If you really are an animal lover that cares about the fate of these lonely dogs and cats, it will show. You will not have to try to be someone that you’re not. And in adopting from an animal shelter, you will be saving two lives (the dog/cat you adopted and the new dog/cat that can be sheltered in its’ place) instead of one. Please adopt; don’t shop!