how not to adopt an animal

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Neko
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how not to adopt an animal

Postby Neko » Thu Jun 17, 16:06 2010

I need to cut down my hours at the shelter.

A lot of volunteers have a hard time dealing with all the sad wittle kitties and doggies, and the idea of euthanasia (which leads them to cutting back hours or quitting). I don't. Sure, they're cute. Sure, euthanasia is a bummer. But they're animals. They have personalities, but they aren't people. They're fluffy and playful, but they aren't toys. They won't turn off or put themselves away or vanish when you tire of them. And once you buy it, unless you return it to the shelter and walk it down that long hallway of owner-release shame, it's going to be with you for the next 13-20 years.

So my problem, obviously, lies in the people who come into the shelter to entertain the idea of adopting anything when they haven't even put any thought into it beyond, "OHHH LOOK AT THE KITTIES!!" That would actually be fine if they came to a volunteer or kennel staff with questions and sought to educate themselves before filling out the paperwork. But so many of them don't.

And it turns out to be more than they bargained for once they take it home and live with the animal. Especially with kittens:

"It meows a lot." -- No joke. This is a real complaint.

"It goes outside of the litter box."

"It claws the furniture."

"It runs away from my obnoxious, terrorizing hellspawn children."

"All it does is hide."

"It tears up everything."


You. Bought. A. Fuck. Ing. Kit. Ten.

Those are things that they do. Not all of them. But a lot of them. And when you walk up to the cage with the LOUDEST, SCRAPPIEST kitten on the wall o' cages, don't be fucking surprised if it scratches your dumb ass. Also, they may be cute and spazzy and playful now... but that's how almost all kittens are. They haven't developed their personality yet. You really don't know what you're getting when you adopt a kitten.

This is why they cost $85 to adopt--$45 more than adult cats. To make fucking morons put a smidge more consideration into their decision to take home a bug-eyed poof-ball of destruction.

It's damn near impossible for me to assist people like this when they're looking to adopt. I'm supposed to be nice to everyone. I generally am. And I've successfully matched mature folks up with the right animals. And it's a fucking pleasant feeling of accomplishment when I do. But my shit-giving gland begins to fail when prospective adopters behave just as badly as their screeching, kitten-stomping offspring.

I have no issue whatsoever with people who just like coming to the shelter to see and pet the animals. The socializing is so good for them (when they're being handled correctly). And it's a nice escape from life to sit in a room with a bunch of critters who all want to be loved on.

But.

A cat is not a fucking impulse buy in the checkout line when you're adopting a dog as well. If you haven't thought it out, DON'T DO IT. If you have other cats and don't know how to introduce a new one to the rest of the clan, read up on how to do it and come back later. The information is fucking available in handouts all over the shelter. I'm not loading you up with all this reading material for my amusement (although the "aw man, I have to read?!" look is heartbreakingly hilarious). Read it. Think about it. Make a mature decision like an adult.


And, if I hear this one more time from anyone during my shift, I swear, my brain will collapse on itself. Considering that at least five people say it daily, I feel like I can predict the future: "This kitty likes me!!"

Forgive me for being an irritable, anti-social, mean old bitch here, but, they're cooped up in cages all day. THEY FUCKING LIKE EVERYONE WHO OPENS THE CAGE AND TOUCHES THEM. YOU AREN'T SPECIAL.



Yeah, I think I'm only going to go in on Fridays.
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Re: how not to adopt an animal

Postby Pyro Chick » Thu Jun 17, 22:15 2010

thank you so much for posting this. i love you.

I hate hate hate when people treat animals like they're toys, and then get angry when they can't just turn them off. You're making a fucking commitment for AT LEAST ten years, assuming your neglect doesn't kill the poor thing faster. Spend more than ten minutes deciding whether or not to adopt. Jesus.
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Re: how not to adopt an animal

Postby Mordak » Thu Jun 17, 22:29 2010

I hate it when people buy cockatoos and really have no idea what they've gotten themselves into and the poor things gets left in a cage with no stimulation or attention. Self mutilation is a huge issue with such intelligent and awesome creatures, and it makes me want to throttle people who seem to forget that a cocky isn't only just for THEIR life, but for whoever's going to care for the bird when its owner passes away or gets sick of it and tries to re-sell it. In the wild, these creatures can live to be over 80. In captivity, they can live even longer when cared for correctly.

Please, don't buy a cockatoo unless you're in for a life long commitment.
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Re: how not to adopt an animal

Postby Bork » Fri Jun 18, 10:55 2010

Mordak wrote:Please, don't buy a cockatoo unless you're in for a life long commitment.


Ha, I saw a commercial recently (forget what it was for) where someone had bought a cockatoo and was then miserable because of it, and the husband was like, "it's going to live for sixty years" or something along those lines.


That must be so frustrating, and somewhat heartbreaking, to work in an animal shelter and have people come in and clearly not have really thought through the process of adopting an animal. Yes, adopting an animal from a shelter is a great thing to do, but it really is a much more serious decision than people think it is.
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Neko
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Re: how not to adopt an animal

Postby Neko » Fri Jun 18, 13:35 2010

I feel much better after writing that.

It also helps that today was a better day. This one aunt and nephew came in to check on a cat who is in isolation for upper respiratory illness. They have been planning to adopt him for a week. And it was so nice seeing people who cared about one particular animal to come in to see it personally.

Sal also reassured me that the people at the front desk who perform background checks and evaluate adoption applications are actually really good at weeding out the families that have no business adopting anything. And that's a major relief.
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dwarp
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Re: how not to adopt an animal

Postby dwarp » Fri Jun 18, 13:36 2010

Image
Leopold thanks you for this message. (He's organic)

When I adopted him, there was a couple turning in a bunny rabbit that was "too much work" and picking out a kitten at the same time. I couldn't believe the shelter even allowed them to do such a thing. I can understand that they want to make more space in their shelter for more animals, but they need to go to a responsible home. There was another lady turning in her dog that she'd had for six years because it "barked weird at her 13 year old son".

It took me about 6 months to decide I was ready for a cat. It's not like picking up a candy bar at the register when you're buying a lawn mower. I really couldn't do your job.
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Re: how not to adopt an animal

Postby Butterfly North » Sat Jun 19, 6:45 2010

I can't believe the attitude people have to animals either, it must be tough working there because there are so many morons out there who have no idea of what animals are like beyond 'cute'. When I was like seven my friend's mum was all like 'this hamster we got three weeks ago still isn't tame, it bit me, it's evil, I think I'm just going to release it into the garden cos it's basically a mouse, right?' whereupon my own mum replied 'WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, IDIOT?' and took it in. Two weeks later, after handling her every day wearing goalkeeping gloves, Snowball (yeah my friend was unimaginative) was the sweetest and tamest hamster in the world. It's not difficult, it's just not some sort of preprogrammed toy which will do whatever you want from the off.

It's sad people want to adopt the kittens more than the adult cats, but mine has become that sort of family because the local animal shelters we had used straight up LIED about the cats. We got a cat called Dylan they swore was 4 years old, then the vet goes 'Uhhhh no, more like 15' and he died of cancer after three years. Then we got a 3 year old cat called Maddy which had a completely clean bill of health, apparently, then immediately started throwing up every few days and died a couple of years later because she had a series of hereditary illnesses and nerve problems which ended in her losing the ability to move the right side of her body. I think the cat before that, the one we had when I was born also appeared to have died of old age when she was what the shelter would reckon was 9 years old, which is a touch suspicious. These were from different shelters, so we eventually decided we were only getting a kitten. Kye is our current cat and when we got him he was almost full grown but not quite - and so less likely to have been abandoned because of the costs of his care or to have been mislabelled by well meaning people wanting to find him a home. I have a lot of respect for people that will take in elderly cats despite the increased costs and shorter lifespan, but we can't afford that shit. Both those cats must have been costing my mum hundreds per month by the end of their lives, and she stacks shelves for a living.

I'm sure your shelter doesn't lie about stuff like that, but yeah, I just ended up ranting basically haha. I think my original point was going to be, if a family comes in and goes 'KITTEN PLEASE' they're not necessarily complete idiots.

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Re: how not to adopt an animal

Postby Nachos » Mon Jun 21, 13:23 2010

I want to work in an animal shelter.

I used to volunteer and go to "classes" that they ran when I was a kid in Aruba, we basically talked about animals and then completely cleaned all the animals in there one at a time with tweezers to pick off the ticks and other weird bugs living on them before they were ready for adoption. And we got to cuddle them. I once found a box of kittens that some bastard had thrown over the gate once when this little kitten crawled out by the wall behind the water tank and I was confused because all the animals should be in cages there.
No thanks, I already have a :penguin:

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Aelwyn
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Re: how not to adopt an animal

Postby Aelwyn » Mon Jun 21, 13:56 2010

thank you for this neko !
my big cousin pretty much used to be one of those folk who didn't really realise how much commitment you needed to take on an animal. she was/is in a pretty difficult financial situation & we always had to take on her animals.
as for my mum & i, we've always had dogs from the sspca (scottish branch of the rspca) rescue centres.
we've had the wee dog we've got at the moment for about 10 years or so & she's bloody brilliant.
we went to the rescue centre after our old dog passed on & looked about the kennels for a dog we liked the look of. we asked to see a certain dog that caught our eye & they ended up bringing out hollie, not the dog we'd asked to see, collie x greyhound. she was really thin & just looked so horribly depressed but we ended up falling in love with her & she came home with us that day. it took her so long for her to come out of her shell but all these years later i genuinely can't imagine the house without the wee hooligan.
but yeah, wee hollie dog thanks you.


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