Okay so today while perusing my twitter feed I noticed a tweet that got my blood boiling! Someone said that animal adoption is too complicated, there is too much paperwork and too many hoops to jump through.
Now more than likely this idiot is someone who has tried to adopt an animal and failed because they did not meet the adoption requirements, or someone who is just altogether ignorant of the rescue and adoption process. Never the less I wanted to refute their “arguments” and explain to you all why animal adoption is so “complicated.”
In order to do so we must go back to initial rescue and follow it through to the end. Perhaps then you will understand that although the animal adoption process seems complicated, it is the ONLY responsible way to rehome an abused or abandoned animal.
A rescue group finds or is brought a dog. The dog has been abused by it’s previous owner and is wary of humans. The dog is assessed by the rescue group and it is determined that he will need approximately six months of rehab training before he can be found a new home. He is placed in a foster home with people who specialize in retraining abused and abandoned dogs, and his retraining begins.
Six months goes by and the dog is now ready to find a new home. The rescue agency puts him up for adoption and encourages people to “apply” to adopt him. Here we have the first of the adoption paperwork, the application.
A few days go by and a volunteer begins contacting those who have applied to adopt the dog. It is that volunteers job to set up dates and times for home inspections.
After all someone has to make sure your home is a safe place for a dog to live. Once home inspections are set up a volunteer goes to each home and inspects it. They are trying to determine which home would be the safest for their rescue, after all we are not talking about a pair of old shoes here are we? Some applicants will be eliminated after this step. Here we have the second bit of paperwork, the home inspection survey.
Once home inspections are done the volunteers move on to references. Each reference given by a prospective adopter is contacted and asked about whether or not their friend who has used them for a reference is animal owner material. Notes will be taken from the discussions with each reference. Some applicants will be eliminated after this step. Here we have our third bit of paperwork, the reference check.
From there we move on to the veterinary check. Any prospective adopter who already has an animal in their home will be asked to provide a vet reference. That vet will then be called and questioned as to the health and current vetting of the animal already in the home. They are looking to make sure that this person is willing and able to provide quality vet care to the new adoptee. Some applicants will be eliminated after this step. Here we have our fourth bit of paperwork, the vet reference.
By now we probably only have one or two adopters who have not been eliminated, it is time to choose who the pet will go home with. Some families are more suited to a dog’s energy than others so now it is a matter of deciding which remaining home is best for the animal. For example you are not going to place the ten year old sedate poodle in a home with several small children, nor are you going to place the rambunctious 2 year old collie cross in a home with retirees. The best home is chosen for the dog.
Now we come to the fifth and final bit of paperwork, the adoption contract. This is a document that states that you (the adopter) have agreed to take this animal into your home and give it loving care for the rest of it’s natural life. It also states (in most cases) that should you ever find it impossible to care for the animal you have adopted it is to be returned to the adoption agency for proper rehoming.
Yes there is a lot of paperwork, but there is a very good reason for that. We are not after all selling old shoes at a garage sale here, we are handing over a living breathing being that we have saved once from the brink of death. You had better believe we are going to do everything in our power to see that this animal NEVER returns to a life of abuse. That means that if you want to adopt a dog you are damned well going to prove yourself worthy.
Why do people have such a hard time with this? If they were applying to adopt a baby the process would be even more invasive, but no one complains about that. Maybe that is because they understand that giving a baby up for adoption is a very serious thing and one has to be sure it is going to the right adoptive home..
So why is it people complain about the animal adoption process? It is very simple really, people do not see animals as anything more than objects to be owned, and therein lies the problem. People expect to be able to walk into a shelter or rescue group and say “I’ll take that one.” as if they were picking out a pair of shoes or a dress to wear to an event. Problem is rescue doesn’t work that way.
Do you honestly think that when you have put months worth of work and love into rehabilitating an animal you are just going to hand it to the first person who comes along and says “I want that?” There have to be some checks and balances people! We have to be sure that we are handing over that animal to someone who values it’s life, and will treat it as a family member. We don’t take chances, we don’t skip steps in the adoption process because “it’s too complicated” for the adopter.
We believe that if you are truly serious about adoption you will jump through those hoops and prove yourself worthy without complaint because you know that the process is in place to protect the animal not make things convenient for the adopter.
So the next time you think “the animal adoption process is ridiculously complicated” remember this. The animal you want to adopt deserves nothing less than the best home we can find for him, and although you think that home should be yours without question, you are going to have to prove yourself worthy.