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I have been advocating pet adoption for the better part of the last decade. It began on a personal agenda, following the adoption of my own sickly shelter pup who has surpassed my expectations daily, but grew to a far more outreaching mission of spreading the message.
But two recent events have made me forgive people who cannot adopt, or even sadder, when adoptions don’t work out.
Case 1: Lonely human seeking canine companion
I had looked for my dog for about three months. It just so happened she was at a shelter my family started volunteering at and she was everything I wanted. But it doesn’t happen that way for everyone.
I know someone who had been looking for a dog forever. And when I mean forever, I mean several months if not years. They’d select a dog, and want to meet it before putting an application on it. Time after time, somehow the dog would just slip by. In one case, the dog was adopted a half hour before he went to visit it. Another case, a dog was adopted within 48 hours of being brought to the shelter. He was definitely looking for something popular and specific, but he went to shelters far and wide seeking out the perfect companions with time after time of them getting away.
If it seems like nature was trying to tell him he shouldn’t have a dog, it was doing a good job. Dejected and upset, he clung to the idea of walking the dog down the row of chain link cages on its way to freedom and a new home.
After what seemed like forever, someone he knew just happened to have a litter of pups. I always say that I hate people who buy animals, but I think eventually you have to forgive someone in this case. They put all the effort in but nothing ever came from it. Eventually you have to see that not everyone in the world can adopt. And truth be told, I was angry that he couldn’t have waited longer for another shelter dog, but I knew how lonely I would be if I didn’t have my dog, and so over time you have to accept that this is the way it is.
Case 2: Failed friends
If I had given Logan 24 hours to make herself a perfect housedog, I would have failed her and she would have failed the test. I don’t think it’s fair to make such a harsh (and rushed) decision. But this is another case where I have learned to forgive.
One of our ‘resident’ dogs at the shelter met a wonderful, patient woman on a Thursday night. The dog had been there for so long, you had wondered if she would ever get adopted. But there she was, the potential adopter, ready and willing to take her home the next day.
But things don’t always go as planned. Once at home, the dog was confused about its settings. It wasn’t openly friendly, as many dogs take time to be adjusted, and suffered from being rain-shy. The latter was emphasized by a giant rain storm that terrified the dog.
It just wasn’t going to work out.
Sometimes you can make honest decisions like that quickly. Sometimes you have to. It’s better for the dog not to get attached to you or your home if you don’t think you can adequately meet its adaptation time. Logan took months to move in, Caramel took hours. Every dog is different.
So when I saw this dog returned at the shelter next week I was saddened but relieved. It’s a hard decision sometimes. Every now and then I could spit in the so-called owner’s face, but I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t work out for everyone and it’s better to be realistic.