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« Top 5 +1 for August, 2011 | Main | 13 Day old infant dies in dog attack (over Labor Day Weekend) »

September 06, 2011



Earlier this summer I was trying to place a dog that needed to have behavioral training to be rehomed. I emailed several rescue/organizations that specialized in rehab and, except for one, got no response. Even after several attempts at pinging them over an 8-week period. That was the impression I got of their organizations. An answer of "We are unable to help you" would have been more preferable than silence. Two of them knew me and I have donated to them in the past. If I am ever asked in the future if I can recommend them, my answer will be "I cannot give a positive recommendation." Someone saying that about your rescue organization is the Kiss of Death.


I'm constantly amazed at the rudeness and insensitivity of emails, not just from animal groups, but from national organizations that should have some idea of customer service. It's like really mean people are in charge of the email communication.


I know several nice breeders, both hobby/show and commercial breeders, that would sell someone a puppy or adult dog without being rude.

Crimonitly, I think a lot of these rescue organizations have become too big for their britches. The Animal Rights mentality in this country has convinced them they are above the law and excused from common courtesy.


When I was attempting to adopt a dog this was the kind of response I got...or no response at all. After 8 months of this and being turned down be shelters for a list of excuses of our chosing a pitbull type dog and them deciding to put every dog down that we tried to adopt that we decided to go to a reputable breeder for an amstaff. 4 months later we have a pup and I decided to inquire again about one of the 6 dogs that this one rescue had that we wanted. She emailed me a rude email that they finally adopted the dog out to someone who was serious that week! The woman would never email us back before and we inquired constantly. We also arranged a road trip 500 miles away, take off work and stay in hotel to meet this dog to see if he was the right fit. Then no call. I decided to send photos of our pup and what he has already accomplished along with my 2 children and the cat laying next to him. We wanted to adopt! We have to rescue cats but the dozens of rescues we dealt with were terrible.

As the World Turns in KCKS

I work with a group of highly degreed folks, who have a lot of discretionary income and many of them love dogs/cats. My coworkers keep running into the same rudeness or lack of response from area rescue groups and local shelters that I see mentioned in these comments. End result these adopters go elsewhere to get pets where they aren't treated like "potential animal abusers" and often times seek out a retail pet store or breeder.

Not only are pet adoption groups who treat potential adopters missing the mark on a pool of customers, they are missing the mark on potential donors, volunteers, and on and on.

Many companies big and small are filled with animal loving employees who like nothing better than to host a jeans day or other donation drives for their local animal shelters and rescue groups.

Bottom line it's time to move into the 21st century and be smart - rescues and shelters need to place their customer friendly and marketing savy folks in the trenches to increase adoptions.


My experience, and I mentioned this in a previous post, is that a lot of these animal rescue organizations are staffed by volunteers who are dog people or cat people, and not necessarily people people.

Believe me, I sympathize. But helping these animals requires working with people, and if your people skills are not up to snuff you're going to turn a lot of people off. I honestly believe many folks just don't understand the impression they give.


Joel is very correct...I can't tell you the number of applicants I have had at the veterinary hospital that focus on their "love of animals" as the primary reason for wanting to work at the clinic. During the interview, when I mentioned how much interaction with people needs to occur, the look of disappointment in the applicant's eyes was almost too much to bear!

This posting is not only important for shelters and rescues, but ANYONE who is trying to help animals (veterinarians included). We simply must be cognizant of the impression we are giving to potential adopters, rescuers, pet owners, clients, etc in any of our communications.

Although technology has driven people to expect answers in an immediate time frame and this is fairly unrealistic for most volunteer organizations, there are still MUCH better ways of handling emails and phone calls than what Brent and others have described here. As was mentioned above, it's time to move into the 21st century and realize that successful adoption events and rescues need to have client focused volunteers.

Jennifer Brighton

I have a friend who was denied adopting a small dog after her standard poople passed on because she was deemed too old. She had filled out two different forms, had testimonies both from a trainer and her vet, and a signed statement by someone who would take the dog if something were to happen to her and her husband. All they got was a flat-out refusal to adopt to them because supposedly they were too old to give the dog enough exercise. (This friend attends a dance weekly.)

Thankfully another local no-kill organization adopted to them and the darling little poodle mix they have goes to the park twice a day and accompanies my friend everywhere, including our recent dog days of summer humane society event where we co-manned a booth. This woman and a few others are almost solely responsible for the legal off-leash areas in my city due to their lobbying, attending hearings, city council meetings, etc. over the past 15-20 years. She and her husband have had poodles their entire life together. She was quite outraged at this treatment.

I just hope the woman who runs the other rescue realizes that some day she, too, may be 80 yrs old and I hope she's not treated in the same manner of being denied adopting a dog for being too old!


Nathan's comment made me laugh...I've always said there are a lot of people that own and show dogs because they don't get along with people very well. I suppose the same goes for rescue work, shelter work, etc.


I know there are volunteers at the rescue I volunteer for that I would love to slap around a little bit for the way they treat people and turn away homes sometimes. For example, there was a lovely home that wanted to adopt a dog, the only thing they were denied for was that they didn't give their dog heartworm preventative. However, they DID take their dog to the vet regularly for heartworm tests. The lead volunteer wrote these people off, but I would have actually sat down and talked with them person to person and asked why they made that decision, told them why I prefer to use it, and then given them the dog.

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