If your dog adoption application got rejected, I’m so sorry to hear that.
I want you to know that it’s most likely nothing you did wrong. A lot of rescue groups and shelters are very, very picky about who their “perfect” adopter might be.
They have the right to set whatever requirements they choose. But sometimes their policies are counterproductive to getting dogs into good homes.
Personally, if I want to adopt a dog or a cat from most rescue groups, I have to lie or at least leave out some information on the application form.
I will get rejected from adopting from most rescue groups because of these reasons:
1. I’m not willing to allow a “home visit.” I have nothing to hide, but I believe this policy is ridiculous except in very specific cases. For example, if the dog is known to climb fences, the rescue might want to see the adopter’s specific fencing.
2. I’m not willing to announce to my landlord I have cats. I’ve had cats for over 15 years and have rented this entire time. I’ve never told any of my landlords that I have a cat (five different locations). I pay my monthly “dog rent” for my dog. I choose not to announce I have a cat in order to avoid an additional pet fee.
3. I choose not to vaccinate my senior, indoor cat. Most rescues require current pets to be “up to date” on shots. They typically will not make an exception even though our vet is fine with me not vaccinating my 15-year-old indoor cat who has kidney disease.
Why my dog adoption application got rejected
I know not to waste my time applying to most rescue groups because I am not willing to allow the home visit that most of them require.
I strongly believe home visits are an invasion of privacy, and while I have nothing to hide I believe it’s wrong for rescues to “inspect” people’s homes.
There are still at least 3 million dogs and cats killed in U.S. shelters annually, and I can’t support a group that puts up these barriers to adoption:
- requiring a home visit
- requiring adopters to hand over their social security numbers
- background checks
- requiring a specific income
How my dog adoption app was denied …
I actually found a rescue group that does not do home visits for all adopters. I got around the home visit because I was already a volunteer.
Like most adopters I truly wanted to be honest.
So, I checked “yes” when the application asked about renting and “yes” when it asked if I have a cat.
I could’ve easily lied about both and said I own my home and do not have a cat. But I chose to be honest.
Then, I waited …
I got a call from a polite volunteer who told me in order to adopt a dog I would have to provide my landlord’s permission, in writing, saying I could have cats.
I said I was not willing to do so because that would welcome my landlord to charge additional pet fees. I’d rather tell the landlord about the second dog without mentioning the cats.
She politely told me I could not adopt a dog.
I was really bummed because I truly wanted to support this rescue and had already had positive experiences volunteering at adoption events.
So I said, “OK, that’s too bad.“
I even paused a bit, giving her the chance to change her mind.
I even went so far as to say, “Are you sure you don’t want to pretend you didn’t see that I have a cat?”
But she said no, policies are policies.
And I politely said, “OK, that’s too bad, and goodbye.”
I remained polite and positive to the volunteer.
… And then my dog adoption application got approved!
About a week later, I got a call from a different volunteer saying there was a misunderstanding and they didn’t really need my landlord’s permission as long as I was OK taking on that “risk.”
Hell yeah I’m willing to take on the “risk”!
Basically, some of the volunteers discussed the situation and decided to make an exception to their policies, which every rescue group should be willing to do!
“We are not the landlord police,” is what the volunteer said.
Good things happen when rescues are willing to be a bit more reasonable.
More people are able to adopt, which means more volunteers, more donations and more positive word of mouth. And of course more dogs find loving homes.
What do you guys think about all this?
Do you support rescue groups with difficult policies, or do you run like hell from those groups?
Was your dog adoption application ever rejected?
If so, please know that it’s not your fault. There are always ways to adopt a dog if that is what you want to do. It just might take some time to find the right rescue group or shelter.
There are also a lot of people listing their young, adult dogs for adoption on Craigslist.
Other helpful articles:
- How to get your adoption application approved
- Do rescues make it too difficult to adopt?
- How to choose which dog to adopt from a kill shelter
Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training and behavior, healthy raw food for pets and running with dogs.