When it comes to the world of animal rescue, nothing makes me happier than coming across an organization that difficult as it can be at times, operates as ethically as possible. You know the ones I'm talking about. The rescues that fully vet their intake animals, fully assess their behaviour and above all, are fully honest with the individuals adopting a beloved new family member. The one thing almost all animal rescues have, or SHOULD HAVE in common is a shared belief that animals deserve every ounce of love and care that we give to their human counterparts. I know I certainly do.
Many of us are often asked a comparative question such as, "If your dog or ________ were drowning who would you save? Here's how the conversation always goes with me :
Person : "Hey Gord, if your dog and ________ were drow..."
Me : "My dog. I don't care who it is. They've had a good run and should have worn floaties."
Keeping in mind how we all feel about these needy animals, consider the following situation : A family has finally, after years of interviews and scrutiny, adopted a son. There are hardly words to describe the emotions they are feeling as the family they always dreamed of is now complete. Unfortunately the adoption agency failed to disclose the fact the boy has behavioural issues that will require years of effort, love, and patience to overcome. Beyond this, the boy has a hereditary illness that will cost the parents tens of thousands of dollars every year for the rest of the boy's life. Upon learning this information a month or so after adopting, the parents realize they simply do not have the means to give this boy the care it deserves, so they return him to the adoption agency. Outrageous right??? Imagine the adoption agency continues to adopt out the boy without disclosing this information time and time again only to have the child returned. Now imagine how easy it would have been for the agency to have been honest in the first place. The child would have been placed into a loving home with the means to care for him for the rest of his life. I'd wager a bet the adoption agency would be closed down and face immense legal repercussions. Why then, shouldn't the same apply to animal rescues?
A friend of mine recently went through this exact scenario. Earlier this year she lost the second of her beloved dogs, and after a short break determined the time was right to open her heart and home to a new four legged family member. As she has an affinity for a particular breed she researched rescues in Canada that concentrate on the particular breed. She finally found a rescue and was so happy to bring her new girl home. Within a week however she realized the rescue refused to disclose incredibly important information. First the dog displayed a bit of aggression in particular situations, and most incredibly the rescue did not tell her the three year old dog has hip dysplasia. Thankfully my friend has the time, patience, heart, and finances to deal with these issues (the pooch is no longer aggressive!) but just think of how many people aren't in the same position. All too often people don't even bother taking the animals back to the rescue, rather they take them to a local humane society where the future is unknown, or even worse they have the pet euthanized.
When rescues omit important information or outright lie about a pet, they hurt themselves, they hurt the people adopting the animal(s), and above all as is always the case, it is the needy animals who are hurt the most.
As always, share your opinion and join the conversation on the Toronto Pet Daily Facebook page.