Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"The Bitch is Back" (Reply)

(Picture Left: "Smokey" -- Sweet Shepherd mix at Animal Control. Clock winding down to 11'th hour with no last minute miracles in sight.)

Amby111 Writes: The pool of potential adopters is sad indeed, Patty. A few months ago I had a woman inquire about adopting a black cat; I was thrilled, because as you know, black cats are even more difficult to place than cats with other coloring. We had a very sweet black kitten named Homer in foster care, but after meeting Homer the woman informed me that he was just "too black." I'm not sure what that means, but I was disgusted that she had wasted my and the foster parent's time and had rejected Homer for such a silly reason. Luckily, we were eventually able to find a wonderful home for Homer and another kitten with someone who didn't care what colors the kittens were. Unfortunately, those kinds of adopters are few and far between.

Reply: I wish it could be said that your story of the black kitten rejected for being "too black" is far fetched or unusual. Unfortunately, it's not.

Some years ago, we rescued a black cat from the pound who was an owner dump.

Listed as the "Reason for Surrender" was, "The Cat is Black."


I wondered what color the cat was when the people acquired him? Did the cat change colors? Or, did the people not notice his color until two years later?

I may complain about time wasting or downright crazy calls sometimes.

But, today we didn't get any adoption inquiries at all.

How depressing is that?

I'm actually starting to miss the crazy ones!

It's hard to figure out what's going on. I would think the problem was me, except that other rescuers are relating the same experiences and scary lack of adoptions.

Certainly, the poor economy is impacting badly, as well as the cold winter weather generally deters dog adoptions.

But, even these things don't explain the precipitous decline in adoptions, fosters and even inquiries.

I used to get between 20 and 30 calls a day.

Now, I actually check the phone to see if it is working. (It is. I get plenty of telemarketing calls.)

To make matters worse, we are swamped with requests from Animal Control to take animals. They too are packed with seemingly many more animals coming in now due to people losing homes or claiming they can no longer afford their pets.

I received two personal calls from the shelter today requesting us to take two specific dogs: A very nice Chow and a sweet, older Shepherd mix. Both dogs are now threatened with Euthanasia.

I hate to say "no" to Animal Control, but I also have to be honest in saying we are totally in the ditch with nothing moving and no available fosters.

What is the answer here?

With all rescues seemingly saturated, few animals moving and more cats and dogs arriving at the shelters everyday, it's all adding up to a very grim picture.

The shelter is lucky that they are at least able to get some press to the problem. AC&C was on "New York One" news today begging for people to come to the shelter and directly adopt.

But, while some people will be motivated to go to the shelters and adopt (especially when told they are saving a life), we in rescue don't have the advantage of easy access to the media. Moreover, many people feel once an animal has been "rescued" the story is over, complete with a Disney ending.

Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Rescue in fact, is the easy part.

It's finding the "loving, committed homes" that is the bitch. -- PCA


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