Yesterday we talked about dogs who might be harder to adopt and how we work to find them homes no matter how long or how hard it is. But what about the other side of the story?
When we adopted Coconut we were the most uneducated people out there regarding rescues and shelters. I seriously thought dogs were free. In fact, shouldn’t they be paying me to take a dog if there were so many out there? I had no idea of the tremendous cost of time, effort, and money to rescue a dog and do all that’s needed so that I’d have a dog. Okay, call me naive.
Now that I’ve been doing this for over two years I know a lot more. I’ve heard stories that make me weep. Or make me so angry that I wish I could hop in my car, drive to the rescue no matter how far and give them a piece of my mind.
Why you may ask? When Jim decided to open NEW PAWSibilities he knew he wanted to create a rescue where animals matter. That’s a given. But he also wanted one where people matter, too. I’ve learned, and this is not unique to our area but all over the country, that there are true barriers to adoption.
I’ve watched people cry when their adoption was approved even though they were in a wheelchair. Or had a bankruptcy five years ago. No fence? Work long hours? Live in a one-bedroom? Have children or cats? These are just a few of the reasons why people who would be great dog parents get told no.
The reality is that there are no perfect people or situations. But an excellent adoption counselor who is willing to take the time to ask questions and listen makes a huge difference. Helping people to be realistic about expectations helps. And that’s what we do.
A person who works twelve hours a day is asking for trouble if they try and bring in a Husky puppy. Why? They need exercise and they crave attention neither of which this person can easily do. Now, if they are committed to daycare, or dog walkers, or can run home at lunch every day it might work out. So instead of saying no, we help potential adopters to understand what is the best dog for a busy person.
A bankruptcy in your past doesn’t exclude you from having a dog. We want to know about your ability to see the vet, get vaccinations in the future, and feed your dog nutritious food.
We have had seniors in our lobby tell us that they were told anyone over a certain age can’t adopt. I was almost sixty-four when we adopted and that little stinker of mine gets five to six walks a day!
This video from CARE (Companion and Animals for Reform and Equity) is simple but well-stated. Our friends at Maddie’s Fund provided the production budget for these diverse interviews.
“Take a look at the stories we tell, and re-tell. Stories shape our vision of the world and often frame our perceptions and biases. People of Color, People without homes, Seniors, Women, and other marginalized groups do heroic things for their pets every day, but too often Animal Welfare and Hollywood do not celebrate their heroism. CARE is broadening the narrative because the stories we tell matter in the battle to clear our shelters.”
We’re not asking you to donate to CARE or even to tell us your story. We’d love to hear and share your story about how NEW PAWSibiltiies helped you when others wouldn’t, but only if that is something you’d like to have others hear.
We are not talking about any specific shelter. Our adoption area is growing wider and wider because of the scarcity of dogs and also because of sites like PetFinder and Adopt-a-Pet. We also know that there are so many wonderful shelters and foster groups out there who do listen and that makes us happy.
After you watch this video you might want to settle in and watch a few more. Okay, a lot more.
Our goals and the reason we exist dovetail those of CARE. Everyone who wants to adopt MUST have a fair opportunity. The Homeless, Seniors, Renters, Families with Small Children, and other marginalized groups all have love to give. Together, we can remove barriers to adoption so they too can share their lives with companion animals.
As a person of color with a former bankruptcy, a senior, a new arrival, and someone with a traumatic brain injury I can’t thank Jim and NEW PAWSibilities enough for making room for me. I know some of you reading this feel the same way.