Sunday, June 16, 2013

Adopting a dog? Expect the Spanish Inquisition!

This is Sasha. We want to hug her and
pet her and squeeze her .. but first
we have to jump through a lot of red tape.
Wow. Have you tried to adopt a pet lately? 

It's heartbreaking how many animals are stuck in shelters waiting to be adopted. But I'm quickly learning actually taking one home is no small feat.

I love animals. I rescue wild things on a regular basis. And I specifically want to adopt a shelter dog because I don't want to contribute to the proliferation of puppy mills.

I know these organizations don't know me from Adam, but it feels like you're guilty until proven innocent when it comes to justifying why you want to take an unwanted dog off their hands. I admire the volunteers for their hard work, and I don't blame them for being suspicious. But I'm not trying to acquire a firearm. I just want a dog.

Lately I've been visiting the local dog park with my daughter, her boyfriend and their Dalmatian named Zelda, and I want my own dog to walk the trails with and meet other dogs. I've always been a cat person, but I'm giving in to popular opinion in my house that we need a dog too. The one we adopt needs to be small, female and cat friendly. Sasha fits the bill, but it will be up to her foster organization to decide whether we're fit to be dog parents.

The adoption application got downright personal. Why do you want a dog? Where will it stay when you're not home? How much do you plan to spend on it a year? Will you take it to the vet within the first five days of ownership? At what age will it have its own cell phone?

If everyone who wanted a child had to fill out an application like this, I assure you there would be a lot fewer children in the world.

An hour and a half later, we emailed the completed application back to Sasha's foster mom. Now we wait. My daughter jokes that if we get turned down we can just hang out at the dog park more often -- people abandon their pets there all the time. I hope it doesn't come to that. Not because I wouldn't take one of those poor dogs in, but I'd like to know what I'm getting into. And I guess that's how the rescue organizations feel too. So even if we don't get to adopt Sasha, we'll keep trying til our dog karma is good and the right one comes along. Or wait til no one's looking ...

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