Awful adoption experience

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Lily
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Awful adoption experience

Post by Lily » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:01 am

Hi everyone,

So, I've just had a hideously disappointing evening, and want to know if anyone else has ever been in this situation. And frankly, what I should do.

I've spent the last 3 weeks applying to adopt a puppy. I did my shelter homework, I exchanged tons of emails with the shelter staff about a specific rescue puppy, I talked to the foster family, and then I went to visit the dog. She's lovely, gorgeous, hilarious, everything she'd been billed as. I'm delighted. We schedule a home visit two days from now to sign the papers, and I start buying stuff to suit my new little monster.

Tonight I got a call from the shelter staff. The foster family, after spending a month pondering whether or not to adopt this lovely puppy and then deciding "no" (this is where I come in, and spend two weeks talking with the foster mum and shelter before visiting) have apparently been ringing the shelter staff since the day after my visit, asking to disrupt my adoption so they can keep the puppy. It appears that once they realized I like the dog and will certainly adopt her, they've changed their minds. I am completely stunned by this turnabout -- they showed absolutely no sign they were reluctant to adopt out the dog, and even said she was too small for their family, that they were looking for a bigger second dog. I've been in contact with this foster lady for weeks, there wasn't the slightest hint she'd pull this.

It's not me they object to -- they say I'm lovely, and have no doubt a dog would be happy in my home. Apparently the fosters just decided when they saw how much I liked her, they didn't want to part with her. They've had her a month and a half.

Is it just me, or is this cruel? I get that shelters are looking for the best placement for their dogs, but this family had decided not to adopt. They told the shelter worker that the father in the family was set against it. They told me they were looking for a bigger dog. I, meanwhile, wanted this dog from the start, spent time and money getting familiar with her, researching her breed, spent more money buying gear specific to her needs -- and now it looks like the shelter might just tell me tough luck. (I didn't jump the gun on buying all of this stuff, it's suggested by the shelter for the home visit and a few days before seemed rational.) I'm the adult in this mix who works from home, by the way -- the foster family are away all day. With a four month old puppy. Who's barely trained, and is a working dog.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this? If the adoption fell through before I'd met her, that's one thing. But I cannot imagine behaving as this foster family have, two days away from signing. On top of knowing that at least one family member didn't want her in the house, I'm now left with a sick feeling that the family thinks it's okay to treat other people this horribly. And now the shelter's hemming and hawing about completing the adoption.

I do get that the importance here is getting a dog into a home; but I genuinely feel these people didn't want her until I wanted her. I genuinely feel I can provide her better training and companionship than they're offering. I knew that adopting a dog from a shelter would be challenging and emotional -- I just never knew the issues would come from the shelter rather than the dog!

I fell in love with this puppy, and now she's in a house full of people who apparently don't give a damn about screwing me over. It's breaking my heart.

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Nettle
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Post by Nettle » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:11 am

You get lots of this in the Rescue world. People love to play power games. I'm so sorry you have had to go through it, but you must be tough and move on, and find another puppy.

I have worked with rescues for quite some time, and this is very common - then there is the tug-and-let-go where they change their minds and say you can, then you can't, then you can......

They are just pulling your strings. It's a human trait. Move on, change your focus, there will be another puppy for you, and it is so easy to love any puppy. Don't take this personally - it is their failing not yours, and trust me, the game goes on indefinitely if you let it.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

Lily
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Post by Lily » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:24 am

I just don't get it, though! It's like the shelter has absolutely no control over the situation, or no responsibility for the fact that I did what they said and am now several hundred dollars poorer and feel like I've been clubbed on the head! It's their dog, in their approved foster home -- surely there's some sort of system for not having this happen? I never, EVER would have gotten all emotionally attached to this dog if I had any inkling that the shelter would let it get to this point, then give her to someone else.

And that ISN'T the best home for the dog. She'll be home, people-less, for most of the day. The foster people haven't done any obedience training. They DIDN'T WANT HER, for MONTHS. How can this not be part of the shelter equation when considering adoption?

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Nettle
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Post by Nettle » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:35 am

Some shelters are good, some less good, some no more than second-hand dog dealers.

Go and find a better shelter.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

mum24dog
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Post by mum24dog » Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:50 am

Lily wrote:It's their dog, in their approved foster home -- surely there's some sort of system for not having this happen?
Foster homes are hard to come by and they probably didn't want to upset this one by saying no. You were unfortunately collateral damage.

I'm not aware of it happening often here in the UK from the rescue sites I visit and the people I know. Three of my dogs came from foster homes without any problem and the benefit of getting a fostered dog rather than one from kennels is that you have a better chance of getting an accurate assessment of its temperament in a normal enviroment.

Pam

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forkin14
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Post by forkin14 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:52 am

The shelter in my area seems like they like to pull stunts like this also.

I had a friend who wanted to adopt a mini-pinscher from the shelter. Everything checked out for the weeks up to the date to pick the dog up, and once my friend arrived that morning of the pick-up they said to her; "We're sorry, we had to put her down last night, she had some health issues." And that was it!! I'm sorry, but no health problems just come up overnight unless the staff was negligent and did not notice up until that date.

Also, I've constantly reported a dog that is tied up 24/7, rain or shine, hot or cold, and sleeps on concrete blocks. It has about 4 feet to roam around, I've never seen anybody have contact with the dog, and once saw it limping and a basketball was near him (I'm guessing someone threw the ball at him..). The woman in charge of the shelter said she went and spoke with the owners, offered them $200 for the dog, but the owners refused. After seeing the dog out for THREE days in non-stop rain, I once again contacted the shelter. They said they would go out and investigate, but I'm assuming they did not since the poor dog is still out there. He is not aggressive or a "guard" dog in anyway, as I usually stop and toss the poor thing some treats time to time.

These experiences has made me want to do some work with the Humane Society and actually do my job RIGHT and help dogs as I'm supposed to.

Fundog
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Post by Fundog » Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:40 am

I'm sorry to hear what happened to you, Lily. That really bites. :cry:

emmabeth
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Post by emmabeth » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:12 pm

That seriously sucks..

It does happen in the UK as well, though often with less honesty than you have been shown here!

All too often people pass home checks only to never have an email or phone call answered again... get everything ready for a pup only to find out third hand or via a website that the pup has been homed elsewhere... fail homechecks for utterly made up reasons (being friends with the wrong person!)..

This isnt always because the foster family have decided to keep the dog in question but I'd bet sometimes it is... and it angers me a lot, because theres enough bad misconceptions about rescue and rescue dogs without rescues adding in REAL bad practice and shoddy treatment of people to the mix!

mselisabs
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Post by mselisabs » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:30 pm

I'm sorry to hear that. I think mum24dog hit the nail on the head with that one. I'm sure people who originally go into shelter work have grand ideas of changing the world but get overwhelmed with it all very quickly. Still no reason to act the way they did and it's incredibly immature. Depending on the shelter (county run shelters, etc) it's more of a first-come-first-serve but even breed and non-profit rescues that go through very detailed applications I've found to be very misleading. In their terms, they are trying to funnel as many dogs into homes as they possibly. They may be "saving a life" but if the dog isn't in the right environment their *whole* life can suffer. :(

Lily
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Post by Lily » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:48 pm

Some shelters are good, some less good, some no more than second-hand dog dealers.

Go and find a better shelter.
This is what's killing me. It's a shelter Victoria recommends. In fact, I chose that shelter BECAUSE Victoria spoke highly of it. I did my homework.

I just don't understand. The foster people said for WEEKS they wouldn't adopt -- how on earth does that constitute a "good home" for the dog? When they left her in limbo like that, until someone else wanted her?

wvvdiup1
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Post by wvvdiup1 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:59 pm

Unfortunately, when people with good intentions are involved in something for "good of all," a few of them will commit ill-will to others. :(

Lily
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Post by Lily » Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:15 pm

Right. Just got the phone call, it's a done deal. The foster family, with their cruel and awful behaviour, are getting to keep the dog. The shelter is trying to be sympathetic in communications with me, but also making it quite clear that they "never had any legal obligation" to give me the dog. They seem relatively unconcerned with any moral aspect of presenting a dog to an eager adopter, giving NO indication that the adoption could be cancelled due to anything other than a failing of mine, then turning around and saying "oh, that family that didn't want the dog? They changed their minds."

Making it clear I understood their decision was made and final, I tried suggesting that they reexamine their fostering guidelines, if it means people like me get screwed by fosterers changing their minds in the 11th hour, just prior to signing the papers -- the reaction was that it usually works, this is how it's done, it's just too bad that I got burned but I'll have to get over it. I don't see how this is remotely good business. If a foster family has made a decision NOT to adopt and are showing the dog to adoptive homes, then surely that should be the cutoff?! Once you're welcoming others to come and emotionally commit to this dog, you no longer have the option to essentially "cut the line" and adopt her yourself, leaving carnage in your wake? Remember, everyone involved agrees that my home is a fantastic home, and that I was very invested in the dog's wellbeing. It makes me think of siblings, fighting over a toy -- one doesn't want it, discards it, but then when the other sibling shows interest? "MINE!" A good parent doesn't let that sort of crap go down -- the first child is told it's unfair.

In this case, the misbehaving family got rewarded for their meanness with a puppy.

I'm totally broken-hearted. I have to deal with all the puppy stuff I'd bought online arriving at my door for the next week or so, and it's mixed in with Christmas gifts so I can't even send them back unopened. I have to put all of the dog stuff in the crate and hide it somewhere, so I can't see it. I can't imagine going through this process again anytime soon.

Victoria, I was careful. I read up on the breed, on training, on the shelter you worked with, I was careful not to fall in love until I met the dog. And then I met her and I loved her completely, her personality was everything I could ever have wished. The dog's done nothing to change that. But some of the people and decisions involved have made this experience so totally horrifying that I wouldn't approach the shelter again, and am unimpressed that they think this sort of result doesn't merit another look at their process. To give them credit, they're trying to make up for it with offers of other dogs and apologies, but it's hard to swallow when they emphasised finding the "right" dog so much, and now are kind of saying "hey, a puppy's a puppy!"

It's not the end of the world, and I know that. But I feel like I've been hit by a train when I was only trying to do the right thing, and the people who hurt me so badly now get to keep the dog I loved.

wvvdiup1
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Post by wvvdiup1 » Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:29 am

Lily,

I understand you're hurting over this, but don't give up! There will another dog or puppy similar to the one you wanted, but for now, just take the time to recuperate. Don't give up! Some day in the future you will get the dog or puppy you deserve and there are a lot dogs and puppies out there who need loving homes like yours.

Several years ago, I went through the same thing you did, but it was from a shelter. I went through the process, including the interview, and was told I had a very good chance in adopting this dog I wanted.

The shelter did a background check, including talking with my veterinarian at the time. I received the phone call from the shelter telling me I have been denied because I cat I had, which I had never owned a cat, was never neutered! I was definately mad as hell because I have called my veterinarian many times to tell him I did not, never had, owned a cat, a bird, and whatever animals they had sent reminders to my home about, and had asked them to remove those animals from any of my records. Needless to say, they didn't until I went in personally to his office and made them remove any animal I have never owned! In addition to that, I made them call the shelter to rectify the situtation, however, by that time, the dog was already in a new home. That news about the dog in a new home was the only good thing about this, because the way I saw it, the dog was in a good, caring, loving home and would not be euthanized by the shelter or sent to a company to be used for "testing purposes."

To this day, I do not deal with either that shelter or that veterinarian. As for the dog, at least she got a decent home, and last year, she died naturally in her sleep.

emmabeth
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Post by emmabeth » Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:08 am

Please, dont give up..

It really really hurts when you have allowed yourself to fall in love with a pup, and its unavoidable when you have to plan ahead for that particular pups role in your joint futures... I don't know how any rescue can expect you to do otherwise.

It is APPALLING business practice to treat people this way but.. they will say they are not a business, and thus they can do as they please, and in one respect, .. yeah, they arent a business...

In another, well if more rescues were run in a business like way, this would occur much less and good homes and good people would not end up alienated from the rescue world.

You are EXACTLY the kind of home a rescue pup needs.... so please, hang on in there and a pup who needs you will come along!

Lily
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Post by Lily » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:56 pm

Thanks for the encouraging words, but I'm not going back into this for a good while, it was too awful. And the shelter... Ugh. They're now implying that I shouldn't have considered myself to have been approved to adopt, that I was only a "serious prospective home"? Which seems like in-house jargon that means something to them, but little to me. Their own rep told me that references would be checked, but then contracts could be signed if my home was suitable. Which would have been today, by the way.

They're also bringing up the fact that my initial inquiry was about another dog -- a single inquiry, followed by nearly 50 exchanges about THIS dog. I get the distinct feeling that, after all their hype about "finding the right puppy", they now just want to shove me off on the idea of any puppy at all. Insane.

I don't know, they seem to be laying the blame on me for not understanding that the foster home could change its mind right up to the moment of signing. Which was absolutely, positively never stated. Anywhere. In fact, the foster home had chosen NOT to adopt. And the foster people put on one hell of a show, that they wanted me to love the dog and bring her home with me.

I'm just too sick about this to even consider revving it all up again, this time with a new dog. Especially not with this group. I haven't been able to focus for days, this has totally consumed my life for a week -- first the excitement of getting ready for the puppy, and then the horrorshow that followed.

I can't shake the feeling that the shelter still don't think they did anything wrong. More than anything, that's what's bothering me. That they're sorry I'm upset, but that it's somehow my fault. I mean, I get this is all about the dogs. But people actually do figure into the equation, too.

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