"Good morning, I just read the story of trying to save Buddy and had to write. I attempted to rescue a Lab mix from a SPCA in Georgetown, Delaware in November of 2009. I have a family of four: mom, dad, and two kids (ages 13 and 4). My husband and I have had animals all our lives and all pets have been "unwanted" in some sense: an accidental litter from a co-worker, stray or rescue dog/cat. After researching the kinds of qualities which would fit our current family unit, we identified a dog at Georgetown SPCA whom we wanted to meet. I'd like to note that the shelter is approximately 90 minutes from our house. My husband made the first trip alone to meet Drew in person and take him for a walk. He thought Drew would be a good fit, so he filled out an application to start the paperwork process and informed the tech that he was very interested in Drew and wanted to come back with the family.
"Since the ride was so long, we didn't want to make the trip until the paperwork was settled. We had heard about friends being denied, so we just wanted to get that that issue settled first. My husband called the shelter later that day to see if the application was processed. He was informed, yes, it was. (By the way, we would have never brought a dog home if he wasn't a good fit with the kids, regardless of how far we drove!)
"So, we pack the kids in the car, plus a blanket, collar and leash (just in case) and started off on our 1-1/2 hour drive. I had a similar experience as your website story—people everywhere, no clear order or direction. After asking a few people, we were able to meet Drew. He was a match to our needs, medium energy, acknowledged humans as pack leaders, followed simple commands and was not aggressive with kids. We informed the tech we were ready to take him home; she told us to go see the lady at the front counter and she would put the dog back in his cage. We were told we absolutely could not keep the dog with us during this process. So, Drew was pulled back into the kennel while my husband and I took our place in line at the front desk.
"While waiting we witnessed one family being rejected (I didn't catch the reason). The next person in line was a nice lady with a cat in a carrier. She said the cat was running loose at her work (she was wearing a name tag from a reputable organization). She could not keep the cat for several reasons: she lived in an apartment and wasn't sure if they were allowed, plus she was mildly allergic. However, she didn't want to see the animal neglected. She said she had called all around that afternoon to find a shelter to get the cat off the street and claimed to have spoken to a woman at Georgetown who informed her there was room. The front desk lady informed her she didn't remember talking to her. Within two minutes, she claimed that she must have spoken to someone else and that person was wrong and ALSO, that she was the only person answering the phone that day. When the cat woman persisted, the lady behind the desk said someone MIGHT have told her there was room in the afternoon, but now the cages were all filled (it was about 7 p.m.). The cat lady looked aghast. She informed the woman behind the desk—very politely—that she had to wait to get off work, then borrow a carrier, then catch the cat and drive one hour—all on her own time, gas and initiative, to bring this stray kitty in. Had she been told there was no room, she would have left the cat where she was and simply gone home after work! Desk lady is not interested, doesn't care and tells her she needs to take the cat and go. Cat lady says there is no way she can take the cat home (remember, she's allergic) and it will be after 8 p.m. by the time she gets home, so the odds of finding a new home that night are slim. So, she wants to know what to do? Desk lady doesn't care—tells her that's her problem. So, cat lady slinks out the door, looking shocked.
"Then, it’s our turn. The desk lady finds our paperwork from a big pile then informs us there is a problem. My husband expresses confusion since he called ahead. Desk lady at first denies ever talking to him, but then slips and says she knew he was coming back with his wife. However, she points out that she told him his application was processed—not approved. Why would we drive 3 hours round-trip if we weren't approved, we ask—now with our mouths hanging open in shock. Desk lady says "to look at the dogs—lots of people come in to look at the dogs without going home with one." No kidding, really?? The kicker is the reason we were rejected... my name is "in the computer." No file, no notes, nobody knows why my name, address and driver's license are in the computer. They demanded to know why my name was in the computer and I had no idea. I know I looked at pets many years ago in Stanton, DE SPCA and was pretty sure that one of my cats was adopted from there (this would have been early 1990s). Nope, desk lady says that can't be it because there would be a record of the adoption. She informs me I must have abused or dumped an animal and they lost the record except for my name. I assure her there is no way that is the case. But, since I can't explain why my name is in their computer, I'm rejected along with my husband. I was also warned not to reapply. As you can tell, I'm still confounded over this and quite shocked. I am mortified for all the dogs which will likely end up euthanized for no reason other than the horrible system at the SPCA. Nothing we could say would change their mind—they weren't interested in the letter of reference from our vet—or calling him directly—they didn't care about the long history we had of rescuing dogs and cats or anything which reflected on our ability to properly care for an animal. We were rubber-stamped right out of there.
"The story has a happy ending for us. While browsing on the dogbreedinfo.com website, I clicked on the link for local shelters and found Paw for Life rescue group. Long story a little shorter, I filled out the online app and supplied my vet reference, talked to Ginny, browsed the dogs online, went down to Chesapeake City and rescued an adorable Beagle mix last Friday night. He is a wonderful dog and is happy going for walks and settling into his new home. He has a new collar, toys and we start obedience training on December 3. When I first left the SPCA (with the crying kid), I was so angry and embarrassed that I thought about never getting a dog again or going to a pet store and buying a puppy just so I didn't have to go through that humiliating rejection process again. But, I'm glad I stuck to the original plan and found Scooter.
"Thanks for listening to my story. I wish it was an anomaly, but I fear it is not. Great website; you are a wonderful advocate for dogs. I'll continue to check back for great info and I'll remember to support my local no-kill rescue group! Kind regards, Sue"