In 2011 I wrote a post asking why some people were rejected when trying to adopt dogs from shelters or rescues. Later, I wrote a post on how to get a dog adoption application approved.

I read all the readers’ comments from those posts, and created two lists:

1. Reasons people said they were rejected from adopting a dog

2. Reasons people said they gave up on adopting a dog

I hope these lists will encourage shelter and rescue directors, employees and volunteers to loosen up their adoption procedures even just a little.

If someone has a positive experience with a rescue group, she will tell her friends. She will be more likely to donate and volunteer. She will be more likely to convince others to adopt. And when she is looking for another pet, she will be more likely to adopt again.

That being said, here were some of the responses:

Reasons people were rejected from adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue

They were college students

They were under age 25

They would be first-time dog owners

They were single and worked full time

The potential adopter worked 10-hour shifts

Both partners worked 9-5

Their commute to work was “too long”

They hadn’t decided whether or not they were going to have children

They had young children

They had young grandchildren

They owned indoor cats

They owned outdoor cats

They lived in an apartment

They did not own their home

They did not own a fenced yard

Their entire property was not fenced

They lived out of town

They lived out of the metro area

They lived out of the county

They lived out of state

They lived on a farm

Did not want to show proof of income by showing a tax return

They did not have a current veterinarian (because they were first-time dog owners)

They could not provide receipts for a full year’s supply of heartworm prevention medication

They chose not to give heartworm prevention meds in the winter months

The potential adopter did not give heartworm prevention to his senior dog dying of cancer

The potential adopter did not vaccinate a pet ferret for rabies

Current pets were not “up to date” on the kennel cough vaccine

Current dogs were not spayed/neutered because they were show dogs

Current dogs were not spayed/neutered for health reasons or because of old age

A show-quality cat was not spayed

Some were not given a reason at all – They just never heard back!

*Note: I would also be rejected for at least nine of these reasons if I tried to adopt from some of these places! How about you?

Reasons people gave up on adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue

The shelters and rescues did not respond to calls or emails

They sent in applications and never heard back

The adoption process was “demoralizing”

Shelter workers were rude or lacked basic customer service

The adoption fees were high (As high as $400!)

They could not meet any dogs until filling out an application

They could not meet any dogs until paying a $25 fee

They were not allowed to choose a dog themselves (the rescue got to decide)

Did not want to submit to a pre-adoption home visit

Did not want to submit to surprise home visits after the adoption

Did not want to give their social security numbers to the rescue

The application required an essay titled “A day in the life of your new dog”

Could not afford the required “holistic” dog food

Did not want to complete “multiple” interviews

Did not want to take the mandatory dog training class

Yep, some of those reasons would be enough to cause me to give up, too. Good grief! Craigslist dogs, anyone?

And how can we call it “pet overpopulation” when shelters and rescues are refusing to adopt out their dogs? Oh, that’s right! It’s because we have a marketing problem. Not an overpopulation problem.

What is the solution to this problem?

Black lab mix sleeping on his dog bed