July was a stupid-busy month for me, which is why I haven't been around the blog-o-world much lately. I'm a bit late to the party in the talking about the No-Kill Conference that so many awesome people are talking about.
I get jazzed talking/reading about animal rescue. I have a lot to say on the subject, but tonight my eye was caught by one subject in particular. Adopting (or not) to "imperfect" homes.
Yesbiscuit has the best commentary on it, I think. You should go read her blog post. And the comments. Although, I had to stop when I got to this comment:
"But I will be damned if I will knowingly see any of our dogs go to live on a chain. No way ... And perhaps the “adopter” will just go get another dog someplace else. But the “education” that keeps being mentioned here starts with letting the public know that we don’t feel that every situation is OK."
This attitude, this zero-tolerance policy for this thing, or that thing that some (many!) pet owners practice, is a large reason why "backyard breeders"/Walmart puppies/Craigslist rescues are so popular. There are quite a few blogs/forums I've quit reading because of this attitude.
Why You Wouldn't Adopt To Me:
1) I live in an apartment.
2) My husband and I both work full time.
3) I feed my dogs Science Diet Adult dry kibble.
Somehow I manage two border collies (at least one of which of pure working cowdog breeding), two cats, usually a foster dog of some kind, and sometimes some rats. By any measure that any reasonable person could use, my pets are healthy and happy. Furthermore, the cowdog for sure, and probably the other dog and both cats, and some of the rats, would be dead if I hadn't taken them in.
My home isn't good enough to adopt YOUR animals, though.
Why You Wouldn't Adopt To My Parents:
1) They both work full time.
2) They chain their dog in the yard while they're gone.
3) They allow their cat outdoors.
When I was growing up, pets used to only be allowed indoors if they were recovering from injury, or during lightning storms. As we grew, and got more educated as pet owners (from the vet, from friends, from the media) our dogs and cats were then allowed into the kitchen, and now have the run of the house. When I was a kid, the dog was lucky to go to the vet every few years to get shots, and the cat probably not at all; now my parents take their current pets in for all kinds of things that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago (for them): teeth cleanings, cruciate ligament surgery, arthritis evaluations, treatment for skin conditions.
But my parents keep their dog chained in the yard during the day while they're at work. So their home isn't good enough. The end. Many rescuers would tear up their adoption application right then. It's ridiculous. My parents live in the country, on a long private drive away from busy roads or harassing children. All the arguments against chaining don't apply to him. Context? Matters.
Why You Wouldn't Adopt To Most Of My Friends, Co-workers, Bosses, Clients, and Acquaintances:
1) They keep their dogs chained/penned during the day; or they work full time; or they don't allow dogs indoors at all; or they feed cheap food; or they previously gave up a dog for adoption for one reason or another; or they don't have a fenced yard; or they're over 60 years old; or they have small children; or ...
When even Nathan Winograd is rejected from adopting a dog because he didn't have a frickin' doggy door, you know it's bad.
Perspective. Get some.
It cannot be stated enough: the alternative for these pets is DEATH.
If my parents can make chaining their dog during the day work, then others can, too.
If I can make having two high-energy, high-drive dogs in an apartment work, others can, too.
If my friend's dog lives a happy, loved life even though she's never allowed indoors, others can, too.
If another friend can have two small children and two large dogs in the same house, others can, too.
There are a few black and white issues in animal rescue. These are not. And I get more and more peeved when those in the rescue community treat them as such.
Condo Collies out in the wild