I've been looking at adopting a female dog for myself. It's been a long search and kind of a rough one. I thought I had found perfection as two Great Dane puppies were listed by the Animal Welfare Foundation of Iowa.
I don't have a Great Dane puppy, the experience was AWFUL. Here is a letter I sent to them along with a response I received from one of their Board Members, just beyond ridiculous I am just baffled by this. It makes me angrier that such a response brought me to tears, now it's just anger.
March 22, 2010
Animal Welfare Foundation of Iowa
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Stephanie Griffin and I had placed an application for either of the Great Dane puppies you recently had listed on your site.
I have been searching for my forever female canine for over a year now. I am a dog LOVER, have had dogs in my life since I can remember. Most of those dogs have been wonderful animals found as strays or adopted from shelters.
I currently have a boxer named Tybalt. He is four years old and one of the happiest boxers you could ever meet. He is surrounded by people who love him by myself, my husband and especially our three year old daughter. Tybalt is a 95 pound boxer, a BIG boy. Our daughter can tell him to sit, lay down, go to “bed” and he listens to her like he would any adult. Tybalt is crate trained, we chose this training for our boxer because we personally feel it is best for a dog to have his/her own “personal” space. I have to mention the way we choose to raise our dog because this was something viewed as negative by Gretchen who was fostering the Great Danes.
I took it very personal that she viewed me as someone who would let their dog or dogs “live in a crate their entire life”. First off, Tybalt does not “live” in his crate, quite the contrary. As The Humane Society states Crate Training is,
“Private room with a view. Ideal for traveling dogs or for those who just want a secure, quiet place to hang out at home."
That's how your dog might describe his crate. It's his own personal den where he can find comfort and solitude while you know he's safe and secure—and not shredding your house while you're out running errands.
For a shelter trying to find good homes for their dogs I was completely disgusted to know one of the negative things about me could be the fact that my happy boy is “crate trained”. Tybalt is not left in his crate for ungodly amounts of time, my husband and I both work and one of us goes home to let him out and run around on our lunch hour. I view Tybalt’s crate as his own private space, and that’s a great thing for him to have as a happy, healthy boxer.
Gretchen also questioned if I realized how much is costs to raise a puppy. First of all your organization requires each applicant to sign your application which states right at the top the projected cost of raising a puppy. Great Danes are very large dogs and have an increased chance of health issues, I know this, I would never try to adopt a breed I didn’t thoroughly look into to make sure they would be a good fit for my family. I’ve been looking for a Great Dane for a very long time and was just so happily surprised to see two puppies in Iowa up for adoption. Believe me, it is RARE to see these wonderful dogs in our area available for adoption through a shelter/rescue. To be questioned on such an issue was extremely insulting, again I put on the application that I have a four year old boxer, obviously I know the cost to raise a puppy. My boxer is no small boy, feeding him is costly but that’s beside the point. I don’t care how much it costs to feed my boy, and it doesn’t matter how much it would cost to feed TWO large dogs. My family can more than afford the cost, I feel that just needs to be stated.
I feel I shouldn’t have to explain myself to your organization, but then again I think you should also learn a lesson from this experience. To judge so harshly before first meeting an applicant and their family is asinine. In all actuality these precious animals are losing out on great opportunities for forever homes. I’m not saying I am the best applicant out there for these dogs, but I certainly didn’t deserve to be perceived as I was.
My biggest issue and disgust over this entire experience was seeing your organization increase the cost to adopt the beautiful Danes. I sent an email to Gretchen asking her why the price was increased, and never received a response, it was just odd to me that you would do such a thing only after receiving a large amount of applications.
I feel it is a great injustice to try to make money off of dogs you have “rescued”. I see it this way only because like I said before I NEVER got a response to my question. So obviously the Danes health hadn’t changed and they didn’t require any extra care, or Gretchen is just the type of “foster parent” that judges way before she should and just chose to ignore my question and seemingly just myself in general, which is simply unprofessional.
I will never again try to adopt an animal from your organization, the adoption process was shady, judgmental and got even worse with increased cost which seemed simply a way to make some money.
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."
MY RESPONSE FROM A BOARD MEMBER:
I have been around long enough to know that when someone sputters and spats and makes a BFD over stuff like this that they are EXACTLY the kind of adopter we are trying to avoid. Good riddance, I say.
My two cents.