Saturday, 6. February 2010 4:51
“How come there are so many questions on the adoption application?”
“What’s the point of a home visit?”
“Why do I need to provide references?”
These are just a few of the questions shelters and rescue organizations get regarding a pet adoption process that some people consider annoying or even excessive.
The vast majority of potential adopters want to “do the right thing” by opening their hearts and homes to an animal in need. And they may feel that since there are so many dogs and cats waiting for forever homes, shelters and rescue groups should be happy to give them the animal they want.
But the reality isn’t quite that simple. Sometimes the animal they have their hearts set on may not, in the opinion of experienced adoption counselors, be one that will fit well into their lives. For example, they may have a cat, and the dog they want has a high prey drive that could make their cat’s life miserable. Or they want a 3-month-old puppy although they are away from home 9 to 10 hours a day.
The goal of animal welfare organizations and rescue groups is not to make people jump through arbitrary hoops. Rather, they want to make the best human/canine or human/feline match possible because they want it to be a lifelong relationship. And the way they do that is by talking to prospective adopters, having them answer specific questions about their lifestyle and provide personal and veterinary references, and in some cases visiting their home.
The system isn’t perfect, and animals still get returned…some after a couple of months and some after years. Reasons range from “the dog got too big and is jumping on our children” to “our daughter developed allergies to him,” to “she’s too much puppy for me.”
Such returns leave rescue organizations scrambling for kennel space or foster homes. And, of course, each returned animal takes a place that might have been given to another animal sitting somewhere on death row.
So…the next time you’re tempted to think that rescue groups and animal welfare organizations go overboard in their attempts to screen potential adopters, just remember that the more work that goes into the process up front, the more likely a perfect match will be made. And that perfect match will mean not only a joyful relationship for you and your new family member, but also a second chance for an animal still waiting for his or her turn.