There was an article in Slate yesterday that may have hit a little too close to home for those among us who have recently adopted from a rescue. If you've ever felt like the adoption process has become less a step in finding permanent homes for needy pets than a testing ground for enhanced interrogation techniques, Emily Yoffe feels your pain, and has captured it in all its tragic absurdity.
The full gamut of disqualifications are covered: no full-time workers, no apartment dwellers, no unfenced-yards, no off-leash time, no kids or old people allowed -- pretty much nobody who might possibly have a life outside their (high-fenced, stick-built) home, when you get down to it.
Also brought to light is the issue of post-adoption home inspections, and the fact that even years after you adopt your dog, you still might not actually own him:
If an applicant manages to get approved, the adoption papers should be read carefully before signing. It turns out the contract often specifies the adopter is not the actual owner of the animal. Sure you’re responsible for the pet’s food, shelter, training, and veterinary care, but the organization might retain “superior title in said animal.” This means the group can drop in unannounced at any time for the rest of your pet’s life and seize Fluffy if it doesn’t like what it sees.
Yikes! Now that is definitely something to look out for.
Yoffe's article has already received over 2,300 comments; it is depressing to see how many prospective pet owners have been burned -- even turned away -- by invasive, zealously overprotective, or just plain rude rescue organizations. I think we can all agree that some level of screening is appropriate, even necessary, but as much we'd like to see every pet in a perfect home, how often does that actually happen? Who among us is perfect? Isn't it better in practice to find safe, caring, and permanent -- if imperfect -- homes for ten pets than an ideal home for one... or none?