When you work in rescue, you get to deal with all types of people. Those who adopt are refreshing and lovely to speak to, however, the ones dumping their animals on you can be hard work. Here are some of the things I have to hear regularly (and some of the things I would love to say back);
“You have so many animals. Are you going to have time for mine?”
I have so many animals because people like you keep dumping them on me! Whilst there are a lot in some people’s eyes, I only take what I can cope with. After all, it’s only me here. Not a team of people. Just me. That means no days off, no sick days, holidays are rare, and an SAS mission to plan. Luckily, I work from home, but these animals do take up a huge amount of my time. My day starts early and ends late. Every. Single. Day. Even Christmas Day. The animals are all kept clean, fed and exercised. Rescue is a stop gap until they can find a new home. If you don’t like it, keep your pet.
“My dog is friendly”
I hear this a lot when walking the dogs. Some of the rescues have to stay on lead because they aren’t good with strangers, other dogs, or their recall needs working on. Just because your dog is good with other dogs, doesn’t mean you should allow them to run up to every dog, especially those on lead as they are probably on lead for a good reason. Another thing that annoys me is it undoes all the work we have put into confidence building this dog, as your dog has run up to it and sniffed it in the face. We then get the dirty look from you because our dog isn’t happy, even though our dog was under control. Not all dogs like strange dogs in their personal space. I can relate. I don’t like strange people in my personal space.
“You ask too many questions! I will go to a breeder/pet shop”
When I take in an animal, it lives in my house with me. Some of these animals have had a lot of work put into them, either medically or physiologically. Some stay for years as they cannot be re-homed right away. I care about every single one, even if I haven’t had it long. That’s why when someone applies to adopt, I want to make sure that they and the animal are the right match for each other. What would be the point in me re-homing an animal to a small cage? Or a dog with separation anxiety to someone who is at work all day? The truth is that animal will either be returned, or live an unhappy life. I want to make sure you have researched this animal and thought about every possibility.
“I wish I got to play with animals all day”
If only it were that easy! Yes, the animals do get cuddles and attention, however, most the day I am walking dogs, picking up poo, cleaning cages and feeding them. It’s a lot more than bunny hugging.
“I feel sorry for the animals stuck in rescue”
I feel sorry for the animals who live their lives being unappreciated. This is a home run rescue, so I don’t think the animals know they are in rescue. The dogs go out every day, they live as part of the family. My garden has several rabbit runs in so they can exercise and everyone gets enrichment to occupy their minds. Of course, the goal is to see them in loving homes, but they are loved with me and I will do all I can for them until their new family arrives.
“I don’t like pink eyes/Staffies/Brown rabbits/rat’s tails etc.”
Ok, so a lot of people have preferences in what they like in life, but I don’t want to hear it! Why should it matter what an animal looks like? It’s so frustrating when I have a lovely friendly bunny in, but because he isn’t a lop and has pink eyes, he will stay a lot longer than all the others. As I have already said, these creatures share my home and life, and I don’t like people judging them on how they look. It wouldn’t be acceptable to say you didn’t like another person because of how they look, so why do people feel its ok to say it about an animal?
Another thing that annoys me is when people come to my house to dump animals, they always have to look in the cages. In my dining room, I have a few tanks and so many people rush over to them, stick their faces to the glass and ask what’s inside. The look on their face of horror when I say its frogs is a picture, but then I have to hear about how they hate frogs and think they are disgusting. Firstly, I didn’t ask your opinion. Secondly, this is my house and I can have what I want in it. Thirdly, my frogs don’t like you anyway.
“It’s for a surprise Birthday/Christmas gift”
This one grates on me because these are living animals, not an iPod! Animals are not presents. If you want to adopt, we need to talk to YOU. Not through your friend. You cannot adopt from us because you want to surprise them at the busiest time of the year because they once “awwed” at a kitten. By all means, tell them about rescues, and if they want to adopt, we will discuss this with them once Christmas is out of the way.
Complain about the adoption fee
“But you’re a rescue! We can provide a loving home, so let us have it for free!”. Firstly. No. Secondly. No. We have to pay for all of these animals and our vet bill is ever growing. That’s right. WE DO NOT GET FREE VET TREATMENT. Not only that, we also have to pay for the animals food and bedding. WE DO NOT GET FREE PET FOOD. None of the adoption fees we have actually cover the full cost on what we have spent out on that animal, but we have to ask for something back or we wouldn’t be able to stay open. If you cannot afford the adoption fee, you cannot afford the pet. Vet bills can appear suddenly, so if money is too tight, perhaps now is not the best time to get a pet.
Don’t follow our advice
We don’t say it for fun or to sound like know it alls, we offer advice to help the animal have the best possible life as possible. If we’ve given advice on what to do with your pets during fireworks, it’s because we know how distressed they can get. If we say rabbits and guinea pigs cannot live together, it’s because we have seen what happens when they are put together. If we say you shouldn’t release your unwanted pet into the wild, it’s because we know it will die. Please listen.
“I went to a breeder because you can’t get X from rescues”
You can get any species and any breed in rescue, you just might have to be patient. I have a Pug and I got him when he was 14 weeks old, of course, he was a rescue. We do get lots of Pugs and their crosses in, as well as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Spaniels for dogs, and Mini Lops, French Lops and Netherlands for rabbits, you get the idea. Any breed will come into rescue. If you are looking for something specific, contact a few rescues and let them know as they may tell you if and when they get one in, or pass you on to someone who does. There is no reason at all to go to a breeder or pet shop whilst rescues are bursting at the seams.
Remember, we are only human. We care about the animals and want what’s best. Please be kind and considerate as we are doing this all day, every day and are volunteering our time.