I had other plans for today's post. Mr. K and I had a most fantastic evening out last night and I was going to tell you all about that, but something else has gotten under my skin. And so, that post will have to wait until tomorrow.
Today has been a legitimately rainy day. We've had a few fabulous weeks of moderately warm and sunny days. When the sun is out in Scotland, you take advantage of it because you never know when it will go away. So, the last little while has seen me and the dogs out...a lot. With the change in weather, I've honestly spent the afternoon doing absolutely nothing useful. I've played with the dogs, put one load of laundry on and made sure all fuzzy creatures were relieved and fed, but other than that, I've been a real couch potato. This use of my time may have been dangerous.
I had spent the earlier part of the afternoon reading various articles about cat health, dog training and other animal related topics. I read about how cat's claws are made from the same material as human hair/fingernails and why exactly declawing has been outlawed in the UK. After reading the article I'm glad it has been.
Did you know that in order to declaw a cat the vets actually have to amputate a part of your cat's toe? It would be like someone removing your fingertips from the distal joint. What makes this procedure even more horrifying is that cats walk on the ends of their digits. This means, with the amputation, the cats basically have to re-learn how to walk again. Anyway, it wasn't just this that got me all in a tizzy.
I also decided that it was a good idea to look at dogs needing adoption.
Because I like torturing myself apparently.
I don't know what the population of homeless animals is like in North America because I haven't looked in a while, but here in the UK it is a rampant problem. I've known that for a while and thought to do a little in order to help. Mr. K and I donate to a rescue once a month. Basically, we symbolically adopted a dog and our money goes towards his care. You can even go to meet your dog if you want, but our guy doesn't like strangers touching him and he lives far from us. So, it kind of seems silly for a person who uses touch to see to spend five hours on a train to meet a creature she can't touch/see. However, I really like getting the updates we get about him and I plan on sending him a little care package of toys and maybe a hand made blanket. It was from one such update that I began to realise just how dire the homeless animal situation really is. I can't remember the exact number, but whatever it was annually, it works out to over 345 dogs being picked up by dog wardens and/or placed in shelters a day. This also means that over 20 dogs are put to sleep a day.
The numbers are shocking and, of course, bother me. I want to help.
aside from our monthly donation, I've applied to volunteer with the Springer Rescue of Scotland. I had a home check and just have to finish filling out the paperwork to become an official volunteer. These are not the only ways we've tried to help either. I don't remember if I blogged about it then, but when Mr. K and I were looking to add another dog to our family last autumn, we tried adopting dogs from at least three different rescues.
All three denied our requests. And, this is where today's reading started getting me all worked up.
One didn't actually come out and say "no," but they blocked out application by never following up with us. I emailed several times about different dogs we liked, expressing that we were willing to travel great distances just to meet the dog and see if we were a good match; never mind having to go back and pick him/her up if we were. One dog we looked at would have taken us over eight hours on the train. The rescue never responded even though we saw on their Facebook page that the dog stayed available to be adopted for long after our request. We had even been home checked and the person who conducted the check said she was telling the rescue that we would be suitable for any dog we wanted. She even forwarded me a copy of the form in an electronic format so I could see what she said. Still nothing from the rescue.
The second rescue we contacted told us flat out that they did not re-home dogs with other dogs.
Pardon me? I am confused by this policy. Dogs are social creatures and often enjoy the company of other dogs. Of course some don't and then there are some who can't be re-homed with other dogs because of issues he/she may have acquired throughout his/her history, but I repeat-dogs are social creatures. But, nope. They do not re-home dogs in homes with other dogs.
End of story, apparently.
The third rescue we actually went to view as they have a physical location complete with over flowing kennels very close to where we live. We walked through the kennels, meeting the hundreds of dogs-and I mean hundreds-that needed homes and picked five that we thought could be potential matches for us. We were prepared to look at other dogs, but those were the ones we wanted our dogs to meet. I had said that I didn't want a Border Collie when we went in and despite that, we still looked at one because he seemed sweet. We have nothing against Border Collies, I just know their energy levels are beyond my capabilities; unless I move out to a farm. They told us to come back with our dogs and we did the very next day, but when we arrived we were told that we couldn't have any of the dogs we had looked at because they were "too much dog for you." I asked what that meant and basically we went in circles for over twenty minutes and finally it came out that we couldn't adopt the dog we wanted because I was the primary caregiver and was blind. They told us they had an elderly Border Collie we could take a look at if we wanted, but by that point we had both had enough and left. Not to mention, when I expressed that I was not prepared to take on a Border Collie, I was told that "this is not a catalogue. We can't just give you whatever breed you want." I was stunned: hadn't they just told me that a German Shepherd cross was the wrong breed for me?
We're not the only people I know to be denied by rescues for, what seems like, unreasonable criteria here. One of my friends who has owned dogs all of his life had gone into a shelter and was denied because he worked. They said that if he would be away for more than four hours a day then he could not adopt from them. They must not have been listening because he told them that he would be taking the dog to work with him. This is the friend who is Glacier's new Daddy. If I could trust this man with my retired guide dog with, how is it possible that the rescue could think that he wasn't good enough to adopt a dog in desperate need from them? I guess this worked out for me in the end though, because Glacier has a first class home.
There are rescues here won't re-home any dogs to any homes with children. Some won't re-home unless the children are over the age of ten. some won't re-home to you if you have cats.
Now, before I go any further I just want to say that I understand that there are parameters put into place for a reason. The dog's best interest is what is at stake here and they are trying to do right by the dog, but in light of all of the statistics, something has got to give.
We know for sure that one rescue didn't want to give us a dog because of my disability. We suspect that the other rescue who just didn't reply felt the same way after the home checker put it in her report. At the time, I didn't think it was a problem for her to tell the rescue I was blind. I had not told them initially because I was afraid of their reaction but I thought that if the woman doing the home check didn't think it was a problem then the shelter wouldn't either. I assumed incorrectly. A friend was refused a dog because he worked, but it makes me wonder how the rescues expect people to pay for the dog's food and vet care if he/she doesn't work. Other rescues flat out refuse to re-home to families with children and it makes me wonder how many dogs are missing out on a family life just because there is a nine year old kid in the home?
I have a household of four dogs who eat high quality food, receive first class vet care, go on walks every day and have mini training sessions every day. They are played with, snuggled with, groomed (which includes tooth brushing), and free run. They get healthier treats than I do and play with safe, interactive toys. It's to the point where my friends think I'm nuts. And yet, I did not offer a good enough home for a rescue who so desperately needs a home.
I think you can probably see the point I am attempting to make here.