Monday, February 16, 2009

No "Supermen" or "Wonderdogs"

(Picture Left: "Maxie" --Healthy, extremely intelligent and obedient, gentle and affectionate. Nevertheless, languishing in boarding 3 months now. Apparently, not a perfect "wonderdog.")

There was a full moon this past week.

That must be the explanation for the sudden barrage of seemingly "wonderful" adoption inquiries we got a few days ago -- only to witness none of them transpiring into actual adoptions.

There is of course another explanation that is probably closer to the reality:

That is that most potential animal adopters these days are seeking the perfect, "wonder dog" "(or cat).

They may call us -- but they are also calling upteen other animal adoption agencies or making the rounds of numerous animal shelters.

They are doing their "research" into finding the perfect pet -- the one that will provide them with eternal bliss and happiness without ever having to lift a finger.

Long gone are the days when you walked into the local pound, picked out a dog and were grateful if you were able to make it home without the dog pulling you in front of an oncoming bus.

A new show on Animal Planet drives home this point.

The show is called, "From Underdog to Wonderdog."

In it, a team of young upstarts that includes a dog trainer, dog groomer, vet tech and of all things, a carpenter, go to a New York City shelter (usually, the AC&C) pick out a grungy, but adorable small dog and over time, transforms the animal from lowly reject (with "issues") to superstar "wonderdog" (with no issues)!

A waiting adoptive family is chosen for the rags to riches pooch and the carpenter goes to the home to do yard work, build a state of the art dog house and even work on the family house. The adopters are then given a year's supply of free dog food at the end of the Disneyworld-type show.

If we in animal rescues and adoptions were already frustrated with the multitude of demands inquiring adopters throw at us such as, "I need a dog who is housebroken, healthy, good with kids, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, birds, goldfish, my neighbor's grand kids, good riding in a car or under the seat of a plane and would make a good 'therapy dog,'" we can only shake our heads in total despair at the new list of demands we can soon anticipate and expect.

Such as: "When will you send the carpenter to my house?" "Can I choose the brand of free dog food you will give me for a year?"

The only "wonder" to talk about here is that it is a wonder any dogs are adopted at all.

And judging from the truly desperate and seemingly endless "Alerts" rescue groups are now receiving several times a day from the city shelter system (AC&C), indeed, few dogs seem to be getting adopted at all.

The Euthanasia (kill) lists grow larger by the day while people relate stories to us of having gone to the shelter and rejected dogs for reasons such as "pulling on the leash," failing to plant kisses on the person or being "too big" or too grungy.

The "mission" for eternal bliss and perfect "wonderdogs" goes on.

But, as a shelter volunteer said to me the other day:

"Most of the dogs are very nice, but none are perfect."

"Yes," I said to the knowing and dedicated volunteer. "But, it is our job to make the dogs perfect -- and then fix up the adopters homes and hand out a year's supply of free dog food to boot."

Media does animals, rescues and shelters no favors when presenting shows that totally distort realities and human expectations.

Oh, to go back to the good ol' days when people only wanted a dog as a companion and were willing to accept personal responsibility for whether and how an animal adoption worked out. -- PCA


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