The Most Ridiculous Adopt a Pet Story You've Ever Heard
My sister's family decided to adopt a dog a few years ago. Their children love dogs and had been waiting patiently (sort of) for their parents to decide they could finally get a dog.
They took their children to a local shelter and found a few prospects. The shelter had a little yard for adoptive families to play with the dogs. Right away they saw two dogs they liked. They were Golden Retriever/Lab mixes. Their names were Cougar and Bear. They took the dogs to the yard and played with them. They were calm, gentle and sweet.
Then they took out a chocolate lab. He was younger than Cougar and Bear and much more rambunctious. In fact, he was a little wild, so they decided they'd rather have Cougar or Bear. My sister took the children to the car while my brother-in-law (BIL from now on) told the shelter employee that they'd like to adopt Cougar or Bear. He was told they wanted to keep them together.
BIL went to the car and discussed it with my sister. They decided they'd rather have two calm and sweet dogs than one wild dog, so they agreed they'd take both. He told the shelter worker, who sat BIL down at a table to fill out the paperwork.
He was surprised at the length and depth of the questions on the form. One question asked if he had a pick-up the dogs would ride in. He grew up in Idaho where a pick-up truck is just a Miada with a big storage compartment if there isn't a dog in the back, it's front legs perched on a toolbox and it's ears flapping in the wind. He said yes.
Another question asked if the dog would spend a lot of time outside. He has a large yard that his children spend a lot of time in, so logically, the dogs would be with the children. He again said yes. It even asked how long he'd been with his current employer. I'm not sure why that's relevant. As long as he can afford dog food, that should be satisfactory.
At the bottom of the form it asked what training method he planned to use to handle any bad behavior on the dog's part? A training method? There are names for those? He didn't know of a dog training method. That's one of the reasons he was taking the older, already trained dogs. But the blank spot for his answer was looming there, needing to be filled. A training method. The only method of any kind that he could think of was the Suzuki method--the method used to teach children piano and violin. He'd taken a month of Suzuki method piano as a child. Surely this form was a formality anyway. So in the training method, he put Suzuki method.
When he had the form completed, an adoption specialist came in and sat down with him. Row by row, answer by answer, they went over the form. It didn't take long for him to realize he was going to have to justify the Suzuki method response. What was he going to say?
Adoption Specialist (AS): Hmm, the Suzuki method. I don't think I've ever heard of that one. What is it?
BIL: I grew up in Idaho and it's a method that a lady down the street taught.
AS: Oh really? Well, what is it?
BIL: Well, basically what it is is a method of repetition.
AS: Mm hmm. Go on.
BIL: Well, if you're trying to teach the dog to go to the bathroom in one spot, you'll take the dog to that spot. If the dog doesn't go, you're back out there 30 minutes later to the exact same spot. You continue that every 30 minutes until they learn that they go there. It's just a lot of repetition and consistency.
AS: I see. Okay, great. I'll be right back. I've got to talk to my manager.
Five minutes went by. Then ten minutes.
Eventually another woman came in. "I'm sorry, Mr. BIL. Your request has been denied."
"What? Wait a minute. Why?" Greeting the five children waiting in the car empty-handed wasn't something he wanted to do.
She pointed out the question about the pick-up truck. "We don't like our dogs to ride in trucks. It isn't safe. That's a no-no."
"Okay, we have a van. We'll have them ride in the van."
"About the dogs being outside. We want them to be inside at least 50 percent of the time."
"Sure, that's no problem. They can be inside half the time."
"Well." She hesitated. "We don't like to do any adoptions this close to closing time so we'll need you to give us a call tomorrow."
BIL says, "We'd really like them."
She says, "Give us a call tomorrow."
When they called back, they were denied. It must have been easier to say no over the phone.
A week or so later, they adopted a 3-legged yellow lab named Jack from a different shelter. He'd lost his leg in an accident. He's been a happy and loved member of the family for nearly three years.
It's baffling to me that potential euthanasia would be preferable to a family with a pickup whose kids would play with the dog outside and who would use consistency and repetition to train the dogs, if that was needed. I hope Cougar and Bear were adopted by Paris Hilton. Because she's the only person I can think of who'd have babied and spoiled and loved those dogs more than my sister's family.
Now, go adopt a dog.
(Image from http://www.ilovedogs.com/2009/09/are-you-a-hero-adopt-a-dog-and-become-one/)