With Millions Of Dogs Needing Homes, Why Is It So Hard To Adopt One?


In 2015, Nathan and Rebekah decided they wanted to adopt a dog. Their criteria was simple; an adult dog that didn't have any special needs such as separation anxiety. The dog didn't even need to be good with kids seeing as they didn't have any.However, like many people trying to adopt, they were turned down. The reason being that they had no yard and "ideal candidates worked from home". All the Patins wanted was a companion for their pup, Violet but is seemed this was going to be anything but easy.

Source: Mother Nature Network

Millions of homeless animals are rescued and put into shelters each year with thousands having to be euthanized. This makes the tough adoption process all the more shocking to potential adopters. Like the Patins, people are often denied for having unfenced yards or working long hours away from home or in the case of a 70 year old woman from Milwaukee, for being "too old".However,Donna Darrell, founder of the New York City-based nonprofit organizationPound Hounds ResQ, said this this tough selection process was in the animals' best interest. She said to the Washington Post:

If it’s not the right home, you’re setting up that dog for failure.

While that view is shared by many shelters across the US, there are those, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), who are challenging it. Matthew Bershadker, president and chief executive of the ASPCA was rejected twice while looking to adopt, despite assurances of a dog-walker and a fenced yard.Bershadker said it was an eye-opening experience and "clearly overly restrictive". He then said:

We have 1.5 million animals dying in shelters in our country, and these groups are putting barriers in between homes and their animals.

Source: Pet FBI

TheASPCA is one of the major animalprotection groups now urging rescue groups and shelters to practicewhat they call “open adoptions” where the application process tends to focus more on conversations rather than criteria. Home visits or phoning landlords to make sure pets are allowed are generally not practiced within this process with more emphasis on what they often call "good matches" between humans and animals.However, this doesn't mean to say that no criteria is used. Animal control investigation records and local law enforcement cases for any history of animal abuse are checked. There is anecdotal evidence as well as published research which supports the idea that this adoption process is just as, if not more effective.It is astounding and deeply upsetting to learn that an estimated 1.5 million cats and dogs die in US animal shelters each year. With the adoption process being so difficult, it is easy to see why people are being put off this method of choosing an animal. Despite this argument, Darrell stands by her tough selection process.

Source: Bored Panda

With over 14,000 animal shelters running essentially autonomously in the US, there are many different adoption procedures besides the aforementioned ones. Utah-based Arctic Rescue requires potential adopters to take a dog for a hike which makes sense seeing as they specialize in high-energy dogs that need a lot of exercise.Diverse approaches such as this one mean that ifpeople looking forpets arerejected by one organization,othersmight wellthink they’re great and that's exactly what happened with the Patins.The couple, along with Violet, visited the Washington Animal Rescue League where they were met with three prospects. The decision fundamentally came down to Violet who seeming shy with the first two, immediately connected with the third, a Chihuahua named Whisky. The two were said to be grooming each other the whole way home and are now "attached at the hip".

Picture of Violet and Whisky. Source: Washington Post

The fact that they didn't have a yard wasn't a problem with the shelter because as Rebekah Patin said "they knew we had a good home to offer to a homeless animal".

H/t: The Washington Post

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