Sunday, December 11, 2011

How Do You Measure A Sense Of Commitment?

Last year, we took a lovely black/white female GSP from a KY shelter. This sweet, happy 5 year-old girl was nothing if not perfect. She never met a stranger, was well behaved, and enjoyed each and every moment. She was here for a short while, and I absolutely adored her. She was a joy to be around.

You all know we are VERY selective with our adoptive homes. We perform a detailed interview, we visit the home, we require fencing, we make sure all current and former pets have been and are up-to-date on all vaccines, heartworm prevention, etc. We speak to them about commitment, the fact that the dog had been displaced already, and that an adoption should be forever.

This sweet girl went to a fully approved home in the Mid-Atlantic region. They had three children, and the kids LOVED their dog. She seemed to fit in well, and there were absolutely NO reports of issues. Then, last week, an e-mail arrived. I am pasting it here, but I'm removing the dog's name, as well as the adopter's names.

Dear Faith,

My family and I adopted _______ (now a 6 yo female Black/White GSP) from the rescue in July 2010 and in accordance with our adoption contract that if for any reason during the life of our dog we are unable to keep it we are return the dog to the rescue.

This email is to initiate the process to return _______. She generally is a good dog; our issue is that she has a tendency to find crayons, pencils, and other such items that belong to our kids (ages 4, 6, 8) and eat them. At first it was a minor inconvenience but now its a problem and we don't have the time to deal with it. We have given and much time and patience to the issue as we can afford to.

We think _______ would do best in a home with no kids where she would get all the attention or a family with older kids who could be responsible for walking her, etc, and are beyond the crayons and colored pencils stage of life. (Note she does not eat kids toys).

I appreciate your understanding and hope that you are able to rehome _______ quickly.

And that, Ladies and Gentleman, just goes to prove one thing. No matter how carefully we screen adopters, there is no possible way we can truly measure their true sense of commitment, nor the depth of their compassion.

This sweet little girl is safe, as of this afternoon, and in one of our foster homes. But, this scenario plays out in different ways, time and time again. Even the most "wonderful" adopters return dogs. Trust me. One of my own is a former foster who lived with her "absolutely perfect for her family" for nearly two years. Divorce struck, and she was returned to us. We took her back immediately, without question nor reservation. She remains here with us and will be with us until the end.

This brings up an ethical question. What happens to the dogs that are placed without a safety net? There are so many"rescue groups that find long-distance adopters through cross-posting on Facebook and other means (Petfinder, etc.). They may do a phone screen, or perhaps check vet references, and maybe even some of them network to find someone in the area to perform a home visit. Maybe. Let me ask you this...what happens when the adoption doesn't work out? If there was no "connection" made with a breed rescue or all breed rescue in the adopter's area, how does the placing rescue get the dog back? Where does the dog go? And, if the adopter is outside of the rescue's coverage area, how do they know the adopter will even contact them if it doesn't work out? What happens to these dogs that are "saved" then are FAILED by their adopters?

I will tell you that _________ left rescue in great physical shape and at an ideal weight. She returned today looking, shall we say, rather chubby. Crayons must be fattening. Who knew?

1 comment:

natalieanddogs said...

You got a great choice getting a GSP. I have mine for five years now, and I know that she's very much committed to our family. She's been my kid's best playmate since then. She has never hurt my daughter.

Natalie on german shorthaired pointer care