Looking for pups in all the wrong places

As the Mister and I are preparing for the Big Move down the road, we’ve been looking for a dog-like individual to join our happy home. In our happy home, we have breed and size restrictions, plus self-imposed breed restrictions, so it’s been a little rough finding a pooch that checks all the boxes. It kind of reminds me of apartment hunting, except apartments aren’t cuddly.

We’ve turned to PetFinder (whose Foundation I support via SurveyMonkey Contribute) to look at dogs with local rescue groups. We’ve fallen in love several times, only to be disappointed (but happy, I guess), to know that the dogs have actually only just been adopted, or will be adopted within the week by other loving families searching for the exact same dog we are.

Now, the Mister and I got pretty impatient while apartment hunting. We just like to find what we want and be done with it. Blame it on the generational “instant gratification” thing, or the Midwestern ideal that things shouldn’t have to be impossibly difficult for no good reason. And now, we’re getting pretty impatient as we look for a dog to adopt.  Because, if I’m being completely honest, some of these rescue groups have pretty high standards for the area where we live — or for any area, honestly. How many boxes do you think most families who live in the NYC metro area can check on this one particular rescue’s list? (see below)

  • Fenced back yard required
  • Must own your home
  • Must have good credit
  • Must be able to comply with what we believe to be the dog’s needs after fostering the dog for a week (i.e. no children at all not even if they’re 16 and mature enough to know how to act around a dog, no children under age six [because five-year-olds are way different than six-year-olds?], no other pets, no cats, must have another dog to keep it company, no other dogs, must have a cat, must not smoke in the house)
  • In-home visit without the dog, three supervised visits with the dog, and two in-person interviews (Weekdays only)
  • You must, regardless of where you may live then, return the dog to the same rescue group from which you adopted it in the event you can no longer keep the dog. Even if you’re living in Germany. Or Morocco. Or Timbuktu. Get the dog back here. But we don’t ship dogs.
  • You must be at least 23 to adopt (again with the weird age restrictions! What is different about someone who is 22 versus 23? I was equally stupid at both ages.)
  • Adoption fee ranging between $400 and $1,500, regardless of breed, state of health, or amount of money the rescue group actually has invested in this particular dog

I’m not saying the work these rescue groups do isn’t admirable, because it really, really is. But we’re being rejected for things that are well beyond the scope of what most people can provide in this area of the country anyway. How successful is your rescue if only one in 50 applicants are even considered eligible to adopt from you? How can you deny someone you haven’t even given a chance or contacted or visited? It’s been so disappointing and full of such rigid restrictions that the Mister and I have been toying with the idea of purchasing from a breeder and have gone so far as to (gasp) contact a few to see if they have any litters available. (I feel really guilty about this because I don’t believe in buying from breeders when there are so many wonderful, homeless dogs out there. You know, the ones that are effing impossible to adopt.)

And then, the rescue groups send emails to people to deliver the news that the dog they fell in love with via a single photograph on a pet database has been adopted. Could they maybe at least not be condescending?

“Jack is meeting his new family today. They are a pre-approved home.”

Maybe I’d be a pre-approved home, too, if you’d at least try to get to know me.

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