Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dog Adoptions From Local Animal Shelters

Let me preface this piece with the disclaimer that I think all those animal shelters out there are doing a wonderful job.  They care for and look for homes for numerous unwanted(by some) animals out there in this hard, hard world.

That said, I'd like to rant a bit about their, sometimes, unrealistic rules and regulations for a adopting a dog.

My husband and I recently adopted a Lab mix from a local shelter.  The shelter had some rules.  He was 3 months old and luckily I was only working part time so I was able to be home with him for a good portion of the day.  He's now 11 months old, housebroken and I just dismantled his crate yesterday because he's being such a good boy when left alone. 

The reason behind this rant  began when my son, who is in his thirties and is a responsible adult with a full time job and  owns his own home, started thinking about adopting a dog from a New England animal shelter.  He'd like a young but not too young, medium to large, male dog.  He works full time so the dog would be home alone for 8 1/2 to 9 hours a day.  But apparently animal adoption facilities do not think this is a good idea.  He has been told by several that he's not home enough to adopt a dog.  That a dog should be alone no more than six hours a day.

What planet do these shelter people live on?!!  According to their rules, only the independently wealthy, the unemployed, or stay at home Moms can adopt one of their dogs. 

I know these rules were made up with the best intentions, but they are unrealistic and unreasonable.  I don't know too many people who can afford to leave their job to adopt a dog and if they did, both dog and human would probably end up living on the street.  A fenced in yard can be cost prohibitive for some people and the lack of that feature should not be a deterrent to adopting a dog.  No wonder there are so many dogs in shelters.

I would like to be able to get this message to all the shelters out there.  Yes, there is good reason for some rules about the adoption of animals but there are dogs in shelters who are missing out on good homes because of some of your arbitrary rules.

Yes. a dog should not be left alone for exceedingly long periods of time.  But I've had dogs that were alone for 8 to 9 hours a day, who did just fine in my home and were loving and social animals.

Yes, a fenced in yard is wonderful, but my dogs have gotten their exercise through walks and interactive play without a fence. 

Shelters need to reassess their rules and let hard working loving people adopt some of their dogs.


  1. I too, have been thinking about a rescue when the time comes. My three dogs are my babies, but I don't have a fenced in yard. Will that prevent me from adopting? I understand the reasons for the rules but to every rule there are exceptions. It sounds as if your son would be just the kind of person the shelters want for the dogs they save. Why else would he continue to try to adopt? So many of these dogs need .. no not need, but deserve a loving home and to know what love is. Each case should be looked at individually. I hope your son doesn't give up on adoption and is allowed to make the world of difference to one dog!


  2. I agree that animal shelters are very worthy places for a community to have. Thanks for reminding us all.

  3. I agree totally. I wanted a puppy a few years ago and went to the local shelter. Picked out my puppy and was denied because I was renting at the time but the owners agreed to the dog and it was in writing. Needless to say I left with harsh feeling about shelter. I now have four dogs and 5 cats and we own our home. There poor pup would have had a great home but all of my animals were strays that I found or was given to me so I cut out the shelter!

  4. I somewhat agree with you on this. "Somewhat" because I have known some people who have adopted a younger dog, less than 6 months old and would leave them crated for 10-12 hours pretty much 5 days a week . . . and then complain about their dog. Or leave them alone in the backyard from 7 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. I'd take pity on the poor dog and bring it over to play with Seamus. Now I'm sure you son is a responsible person, but there are too many out there who are not. It's unfortunate that rules like that have to be made because of the people who adopt an animal and then don't take proper care of it.

  5. Oh, I totally agree!

    My friend got a dog from the Humane Society, you would have thought she was applying for a high security job. She even had to bring one of her other dogs so they could inspect it to see if it was OK for her to "adopt" with the $250 fee!

    Stopping by from the Bloggers Guild thread


  6. I agree with you wholeheartedly! Both of my dogs were adopted from shelters in two different cities. One had such rules. If you wanted to adopt you filled out an application and waited several days while they did an investigation on your background. I wasn't applying for a loan, just wanting to give this beautiful puppy a good home. Fortunately for them and my pet, they "bent" the rules and let me take Hannibal home. He has been with me for 7 years now and Andy, my other adopted pet, is now 13.

  7. That is bad and sad that that happens. Dogs need good homes and your son sounds like he could give a dog a great home.

  8. I grew up with dogs and cats, but due to allergies, I haven't had a dog since childhood. If your son is finding it difficult to adopt a dog because of his long work days, perhaps he could consider a ferret. They sleep a good part of the day and adapt to their owner's schedules quite well. My adult son has found his ferret to be an ideal pet for him.

  9. I know, it can often seem like shelters have difficult rules, but, they have to do what they have to do. Dogs really shouldn't be left alone all day, which is why people who can't bring the dogs to work with them or have someone be home with them part of the day use pet care places or pet hotels. Pet sitters basically.

    Some dogs really do need a fenced in yard though, they got so much energy walks alone might not be enough...

    That being said, I do think sometimes they need to re-consider certain things. Like for example before we bought our newfie Cleo, we tried to adopt a dog from a shelter. We wanted a big dog and I had had newfies prior to Cleo so I am very familiar with giant dogs. Well, technically anything bigger than a chihuahua they wouldn't let us adopt because we have kids. They weren't toddlers either but rules are rules, and we bought Cleo. Who is 130 pounds, a big friendly ball of fluff and is absolutely fantastic with kids.....

  10. I can feel your frustration in this situation. it's hard because you know your son and his good intentions, but the shelter can't know that. They have probably seen dogs come back or worse due to folks good intentions but poor planning or preparation. it does seem a bit extreme, but I have seen these same policies with rescue groups: fenced yard, not leaving the dog alone, etc. Might this shelter feel differently if a doggie daycare was used during long work days? I hope you feel a bit better with some time, and do suggest that your son look around at other shelters or rescues and have a plan for both the early transition to his home, and for long days away.

  11. I wasn't aware that so many shelters have these sorts of rules. I think a lot of it depends on the dog breed (or mix of breeds). Some require more time, attention, and space than others. Some need less. When there are so many animals who are put to sleep due to over-crowding at the shelter, I'm amazed that the shelter would turn away responsible, loving, willing owners.

  12. You are so right. It really is sad that dogs are losing out on loving homes because of those guidelines. It really is unrealistic,I know so many people who have dogs, or cats and work full time,gone for more than eight hours a day (with travel time added in) and they manage to have wonderful pets who have very happy lives.

  13. Yes, I totally agree. I used to have to leave my little dog home alone when I worked and all he did was sleep until my return. He was such a good boy and we had lots of togetherness time, even though I worked. He was devoted to me and would rather have had to be home alone that not have me at all.

  14. I imagine the current rules for adoption came about due to people adopting pets and not taking their responsibilities seriously. Shelters are trying to make good matches and be as sure as possible that animals are placed in forever homes, but it seems they've gone too far in the other direction from the days when anyone could walk in off the street and adopt a dog or cat.

    With most shelters over capacity, the rules need to be re-visited so that pets languishing in shelters can find good homes. Very few people can take time off of work because they adopted a new dog or cat.

  15. I agree. Some of the rules they have is over the top!

  16. If you have a nice, fenced in yard and a place where the dog can go to get out of the heat, I don't see a problem. Many of these places act like dogs are humans. We should take care of our animals....but they are not children.
    A lot of it has to do with so many of the animals being abused, etc. They want to be sure the dogs will be well cared for and not end up back at the shelter door...or worse.

  17. I know that dogs take a lot of time. I just realized the other day that I have had a dog in my life for almost 30 years. I think that the shelter should take things on a case by case basis. If someone is able to come home for lunch, they should be given different rules.

    Blu just loves that I work at home now. He is no longer an orphan and can pester me anytime he pleases. :)

    I heard this morning that San Francisco outlawed the sale of puppies in pet stores, but will allow the pet stores to offer shelter dogs for adoption. This is to stop puppy mills.

    May your shelter dogs find forever homes.
    Julie and Blu

  18. I agree that such a restriction is prohibitive from adopting a dog. Just because the dog owner is working, doesn't mean he can't give love and attention to a dog when he's home. A loving home enviornment is far better than a shelter any day! Dogs do adapt to your work schedule. I've adopted dogs from shelters when I was working full time and they did great! Now I'm home full time and my dog does what he did when I was working during the day - He Sleeps!
    The only other alternative is to hire a dog walker, which can be expensive.