Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Open Letter to the Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership

Dear Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership:

Well, you broke a little boy's heart today--a heart that was set on Marnie, the Sky Terrier.  He had hoped to gather her into his heart and into his arms and take her home.  But, somehow, we didn't meet your standards for Responsible Pet Ownership.

I'm sorry, but I beg to differ.  First of all, please note that I'm a responsible world citizen--I opted for a shelter dog rather than some pure bred AKC Kennel pup.  I fully realize that there are already enough dogs in the world that no one wants--why make more?  I'd also like to point out, for good measure, that both of my previous dogs were spayed.

I filled out your elaborate form--asking questions about my household, the number of adults, the number of children, their ages, any current or previous pets (and what happened to them), the size of our yard, and our daily routine of being in and out of the home.

I spent a good 90 minutes in a telephone interview with the dog's current foster mom talking about why we were wanting to adopt and what we were looking for in a dog, asking questions about Marnie to try to determine if she 'fit' us and we 'fit' her.

I went out of my way--on a very busy weekend--to drive my son up to PetsMart at Castleton to meet and visit with Marnie...and he loved her.  I wasn't sure he would because he had his heart set on a husky puppy (rather than a 5-year-old dog), but he ended up falling in love with her.  At the end of the visit, I met with the foster mom and we made arrangements for a home inspection later in the week.

 Then, last evening, I got the phonecall from the foster mom saying that our application for Marnie had been rejected.  We'd been turned down because the Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership was nervous that we don't have a fence around our sizable yard.  Really.

Gosh.  Somehow I've managed to own two dogs for over twenty years...somehow my children have managed to stay alive--in SPITE of my irresponsibility in not having a fenced in yard.  And I resent the insinuation that the Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership cares more about Marnie than we would. 

Can we just step back a minute here for me to point out something.  This is a shelter dog. This is a dog that No. One. Wants.  Otherwise, she wouldn't BE IN A SHELTER.  Do you get it?  WE wanted her.  She would be in a home with a family that would love her like we've loved our previous dogs.   We would feed her and make sure she got proper vet care. She would have lots of attention and live the life that a good dog should.  We weren't planning on throwing her out into traffic like some canine version of Frogger.  Yeah, it does get pretty congested here in the cul-de-sac we live on....

And so, we start over--with choices from the ARPO off the list because we know we not good enough for them.  Hopefully, we'll be considered fit parents with our second choice....

Good bye, Marnie, and good luck with whatever family is responsible enough to have you.


Christine C. Schaefer


  1. it amazes me how snotty some of these groups are. We had a negative experience dealing with Indy Sheltie Rescue a few years back.

    I'd be pretty dang LIVID if I was you, too. And I'd be finding ways to be more public, i think.

  2. Thank you, Liz, for your comment. And that was just the push I was looking for. I am a big time letter-writer--not always to complain, but for praise, too. Yeah...Ben cried. I had really wanted him to take to this 'stress-free' dog (already housebroken, shots, spaying taken care of) rather than a cuter, younger puppy (with all the puppy issues), and, sadly, he did... In the end, it's a lose-lose situation and I'm sort of surprised that ARPO didn't see it that way, too....

  3. Incredible... And a shelter dog too. Such arrogance from those people. I have a shelter dog that we adopted from a group call P.A.W.S. there in Greenfield. Dulcenea is a super dog. She was a pup, but they had older dogs as well. Chris you have such a good heart, don't let those jerks at ARPO bring you down. I would post your letter to the papers as well. I know for a fact that ARPO will never get my support or reccomendation from this point forward.


  4. My friend got his app rejected for not having a fenced-in yard as well on a 20-acre farm. It's complete nonsense. What's the alternative for this poor dog then?

  5. FYI....Most rescues aren't shelters. And, most rescues do what's in the best interest of the animal not people. It just wasn't meant to be. I suppose you want kudos for picking a non AKC dog? Rescuers aren't snotty or arrogant. They are big hearted people who devote a lot of their personal time to save animals. Maybe you should devote your time to doing the same instead of whining.

  6. Bring it on, ARPO. As a matter of fact, I DO devote a lot of my personal time, so take the log of out of your own eye, okay? All I'm saying is that with all your 'holier than thou' flag-waving, you missed an opportunity to place an unwanted animal in a good home.