Sirius Training, Serious Fun!
Sirius Training, Serious Fun!

Pity adoptions.. really not a good idea

Now, I want dogs to be saved from kill shelters as much as the next person but I am sometimes concerned about the pressure to adopt from them as well.  I sometimes wonder how many of these dogs are adopted out of complete pity and not because the dog is a good fit for a home or the person had been looking for a while.

I also know as much as the next person that it is ridiculously difficult to look at the dogs stuck in high kill shelters as the gassing day gets near.  But I also know that I personally cannot save them all and that my first responsibility has to be to my dogs/cats/family.

It would be incredibly irresponsible of me to pull dogs for no other reason than I felt bad that they would otherwise die.  I can share them on facebook/twitter/etc, can sponsor their adoption fee, can perhaps foster one occasionally but pulling/adopting dogs without really thinking about the repercussions is, I think, more detrimental to the adopted dog in many cases.

A dog was recently adopted from a kill shelter into a home that touted experience but who may not be as skilled as he/she thought.  Within 24hrs she decided to rehome the dog because it was ‘aggressive’ toward a puppy and a cat in the home (behavior that wasn’t seen at the shelter or at the foster-home the dog was in for two days).  The dog was poorly introduced to the person’s existing pets and was given free-reign almost as soon as it arrived to interact with the resident animals.  The pooch hadn’t been taken to a vet, wasn’t given time to adjust before being very severely judged on its behavior.  The adopter really though pulling this dog from a kill shelter was noble ….but now the dog will be bounced around again when the adopter finds a new home (something she claimed to be committed to).

It is horribly sad about the number of dogs euthanized everyday in this country… but the solution isn’t inappropriate ‘adoptions’ from high-kill shelters.  There are other ways to help dogs in need than adopting them and bringing them into your home only to decide you don’t want to keep them and scrambling to find a new home.

7 Comments
  1. The road to hell is paved with good intentions as the saying goes. People think they are attempting to do something good, they don’t always think through the consequences.

    • Exactly… they want to help so they adopt the dog but don’t really think through the logistics of what it takes to bring in a new dog or simply own a dog, etc. There are SO many other ways to help those dogs than adopting them…

  2. Whilst what you say is true, and new dogs should be introduced very carefully, I do think that some dogs show different behaviours in the kennels from what they show in a home. I think some dogs take a ‘keep your head down and keep quiet’ attitude in the kennels, but when they get into a home they feel more relaxed, and different behaviour come through. These are not always good behaviours – the dog is trying it out, what can he get away with?

    • I dont’ disagree with you at all… Shayne didn’t show her fear aggression issues in the shelter at all… but started to after about 4 weeks in my home. I guess my point of the blog was the people want to adopt a dog because they feel bad for it but ultimately do more harm than good because they dont know how to integrate a dog or dont’ REALLY think about the repercussions of getting a dog or simply regret the decision. At BEST the dog is kept semi-isolated while doing crate/rotate at the home until the person (who again at best) finds a suitable home and checks out the potential adopter…. more likely to happen? the dog gets dumped at another shelter, dumps the dog in some rural field, is tied in teh backyard to avoid the problem…

  3. I could not agree with you more. My husband and I have been thinking about adopting a second cat since January. January! Neither of us can decide if it is the right time or if we should wait. One of the largest reasons I want another cat, I admit this freely, is because there are just way too many in our provincial shelters. They are literally exploding and no one in government seems to care about the massive problem. My adopting one more cat won’t change that but I will feel like I’m at least helping. But, I also don’t know if we can afford the extra expense or if we even have the time to commit to another animal. It wouldn’t be fair to adopt just because we feel guilty but…

    Decisions, decisions!

  4. I am familiar with the situation you write of and it’s just sad. This dog was rushed into a situation with other pets, not separated from the other animals at all and the person won’t crate or otherwise keep them separate. Honestly, I think it would be better if she returned the dog to the rescue, rather than keep it to rehome it if she doesn’t have a clue how to handle the situation.

    I have people ask me all the time whether I board dogs. The answer is always no BECAUSE I don’t have adequate space to separate anyone, not because I don’t think they’ll get along, but because it is stressful..both to m7 and to their animals. And these are not rescues, but client dogs, mostly happy, well adjusted pets who know me. I cannot fathom the amount of stress created in a dog that has been abandoned, abused or had repeated rehomings who didn’t know me as the nice lady with the good yummies and park walks.

  5. What a shame about that dog. It sounds as if she is going to foster it until she finds it another home…if that’s true, at least she’s owning up to her mistake. It’s true though, we can’t save them all, and we need to be careful in both choosing – and introducing – new animals for our households.

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