The Dog Adoption/Rescue model is BROKEN and it’s soul-crushing.

I’ll start by saying—I know there are good, reputable rescue/adoption agencies/shelters that just want to find their pups a good home. I have no doubt those exist. I also know that SOME screening is necessary and discretion has to be used at times to prevent a dog being returned or miserable in their new environment.

So, I’m not attacking every altruistic organization out there that is just passionate about dogs, but I believe the issues I’ve encountered are widespread enough that there needs to be a call to action, an expose, a 20/20 episode, a documentary, SOMETHING to shed light on the absolutely abhorrent, classist, racist, socioeconomically prejudiced, and rogue foster parent epidemic that has quite literally sullied one of the most wholesome activities any family can partake in—adopting a forever friend.

My whole life, I have had rescue dogs. My wife has had rescue dogs. We have never returned a dog. We have never had a perfect dog. We are not perfect owners, but we love and take care of our pets and they lead long, healthy, happy lives.

This next bit should not matter AT ALL in 99% of the cases, but it is context for the experience I am having and I see/believe so many are having. I am a homeowner. I have a yard. I can afford all brands of dog food (not that it should be anyone’s business), I have vet records, personal references, 0 criminal history, 2 kids under 8, an 11 year old mutt, and we just lost our 16.5 yr old American Eskimo a few months ago.

After grieving mightily, we decided it was time to give our remaining dog and family another lifelong companion by adopting another shelter dog.

Step 1: google local shelters, go to Facebook and ask local groups where to adopt, talk to friends and family about where they have adopted, etc

Step 2: see what dogs are on the websites, Petfinder, petango, werescue, etc.—we found many dogs that looked like a good fit, but, of course one cannot know how a dog will react to your family, how friendly they are, what their demeanor is, etc so we packed everyone up in the car and…

Step 3: go to various local shelters.

Step 4: be turned away at the door by 3 out of 9 shelters we visited on Saturday because we had not completed an 8 page online application. The other 6 shelters wouldn’t allow us to walk around and look at dogs, we had to know exactly who we were there to see and look through adoption binders. Ok—we are new to this in 2022 so maybe this is just the way now…4 out of the remaining 6 would not let us see the dogs we asked about because we had young kids. The dogs we were interested in meeting were juvenile dogs under 2 yrs old and less than 40lbs—-why are they already blackballed as bad with kids? “It’s a herding dog so it might nip.” So…that’s it? They might nip? We will take our chances. “no”.

Step 5: take a deep breath—go fill out ten online applications and try again the following weekend

Online applications: CHOCK FULL of personal questions that are thinly veiled classist and racist in nature. Do you own your own home? Is your yard fenced? What brand of food do you feed your dogs? How any hours a day would the dog be alone? Do you work from home? Take a video of your house and include an attachment.

We are now on week 3 of trying to adopt a dog and are about to throw in the towel and just pay a breeder.

I cannot imagine how anyone who lives in an apartment or mobile home ever gets a dog from these rescue facilities. We have been turned down for not having a big enough yard, for having a 9-5 job at an office, for having kids, for having another small dog, for boarding our dogs when we go on vacation, the list is truly absurd.

Owning a dog is absolutely a privilege, not a right.

However, I firmly believe that the people that could benefit from the dog’s companionship the most are being barred from owning a dog for absolutely no valid reason.

These applications are driving good people away from dogs in need. Every space that doesn’t open up in a no-kill shelter means a dog is being euthanized somewhere. Foster parents that are finding reasons not to adopt out the dogs you’re fostering—you’re killing dogs by being so ridiculous about the absurd “requirements” for these forever homes.

I know SO many incredible dog owners that could not adopt a dog in 2022. This system is broken and shame on you if you are turning down potential owners based on socioeconomic prerequisites and because you think a dog is happier in a shelter pen than eating Purina dog food.

Dr Bryan Goodchild,” has spent his life working toward better health for pets and the people who love them. He is the founder of , which works to prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.

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