Last month, I posted A Letter From A Shelter Manager and received a much bigger response than I ever expected. Many people commented on the dogs they had adopted from a shelter or a rescue. Or, how they would be adopting a dog in the future.
A few people wrote me or commented on the fact that they had tried to rescue a dog only to be turned away because no one would be home all day with the dog or they didn’t have a yard. Then, this last Monday during our #dogtalk discussion on Tweetchat (about the BlogPaws Conference in Denver) someone mentioned that they had been turned away from adopting a dog because the rescue wouldn’t let someone adopt a dog if they didn’t have a backyard – even though a dog park was down the street.
I want to acknowledge up front that I know many amazing rescue groups. They do the hard work of rescuing, spaying and neutering and preparing a dog or cat for a new home. I have met many rescue folks on Twitter and even locally, here in Minnesota. But, I hear these stories and wonder why some rescue groups are being so stringent when the economy is changing the housing environment. Are they changing with the times?
Just last week, Time Magazine pondered home ownership and whether home ownership even makes economic sense. An article in the Wall Street Journal (written by Thomas J Sugrue, Historian at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on American urban history) suggested that the new American Dream should be renting. And, in The Washington Post was the announcement that three U.S. Senators “are pushing an amendment that would wind down the government-controlled mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
Are rescues taking a second look at their guidelines and wondering how they will fit into the changing landscape? In an age when home ownership seems to be on the wane, should they refuse to adopt a dog to someone without a yard? In these economic times, when both parents often work either out of necessity, should they refuse to adopt a dog to a home where someone is not home all day? Obviously, I’m not the one to decide, but I do wonder if they are asking themselves these questions as well. After all, if the economists and historians and politicians are questioning who should own a home, shouldn’t rescues be asking whether a home with a yard is a valid guideline anymore?