I never imagined it. I thought that volunteers and staff workers at animal shelters chose potential adopters wisely but straightforwardly. I thought they ticked all the boxes and just got on with the job. Apparently this is not the case.
Vera Lawlor writing on the care2.com website states that she has heard from numerous people who were disappointed with their experience when trying to adopt from an animal shelter. Potential adopters have become frustrated at being denied the chance to adopt an animal because they are not a perfect fit.
It would seem that shelter staff have in the past become too critical, too demanding of potential adopters. As a consequence animals remain in shelters longer which makes them less adoptable and exposed for longer to the potential of illness and stress. Vera even says that shelter clients have experienced rudeness from shelter staff and, in addition, not received a response to emails.
I wonder whether this attitude comes from the individuals, volunteers and paid staffers, who work at shelters or whether it is a culture at shelters generated by management. Perhaps also being surrounded by the difficult task of looking after unwanted cats and dogs and seeing some unpleasant sights and listening to unpleasant stories that people working at shelters become hardened to irresponsible companion animal ownership and therefore become too critical of people who want to be pet owners.
As a consequence I now understand what an open adoption policy means. It means that shelters are more open to the less than perfect adopter who has arrived at their shelter because of a commitment to adopt a shelter animal which should be respected.
In addition to being more amenable to potential adopters the open adoption policy is meant to incorporate the education of potential adopters rather than being judgemental of them. The idea is to build a partnership with shelter clients so once they return home with their adopted cat or dog there is still a connection between them and the shelter which promotes successful adoptions. Call it aftercare.
The concept of “open adoption policies” has led, in part, to a 45% reduction in the euthanasia of animals in shelters over the period 2011 to 2016. We can see that it is a successful concept.
I wonder whether any visitor to this website, on reading this page, has experienced rudeness or an obstructive approach by shelter staff when trying to adopt a cat or dog.
P.S. I have also used the dogingtonpost.com as a source.