Hypothetical question for shelter workers - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-09-2013, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
Cool Cat
 
Blakeney Green's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 964
Hypothetical question for shelter workers

I have a hypothetical question for people who work at animal shelters, specifically those making the decision about who gets to adopt your animals:

Say there's an extended family you've had problematic adoptions with in the past. Nothing truly horrific (no hoarders or criminal abuse or anything) but several pets you've adopted to members of the family have been returned for trivial reasons, rehomed without permission, or have been hit by cars outside.

The family has a very distinctive surname and a fair degree of local prominence (in a positive way in general, except for the animal thing) so you're likely to recognize anyone who is related.

Now say someone you've never had any dealings with in the past comes in with the same surname. That person is from a different immediate family, but is related to the people you had problems with. She had no involvement in the issues, and her personal animal owning history is totally clean.

Should that person even bother trying to adopt from you, or is the rest of the family history too much of a red flag? If you'd be willing to talk to the person, would you prefer for her to bring up the family history directly, or would you rather it not be discussed unless you initiate the conversation?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

The Boys: Maisie, Zephyr, and Cullen.
Blakeney Green is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-09-2013, 05:14 PM
Cat Addict
 
NebraskaCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Lincoln, NE
Posts: 2,851
I'm just going through my training to conduct adoption interviews, so this is good practice for me.

We probably would allow the person to apply and be interviewed IF none of the offending family members resided in the applicant's household and would not have direct responsibility for the care of the animal.

As part of the interview, without bringing up the family, I might emphasize details that I knew to be relevant in the past, such as... Do you know why permission is required to rehome a cat? Do you understand the consequences of allowing a cat outdoors when you live next to a busy street?

During my training it's been emphasized to me to try to get a feel of the applicant's seriousness and/or concern for the animal's wellbeing. This is hard for me because it's not black & white and can be faked.

For me personally, it would be a huge plus if she DID bring up her family's shortcomings with these issues in the past and use it as a starting off point to say "I will do better."


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeff & Nala
Simon and Penny, waiting patiently at the Bridge
NebraskaCat is offline  
post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-09-2013, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
Cool Cat
 
Blakeney Green's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 964
Thanks for your explanation and your honesty, NebraskaCat. I really appreciate it.

This is very reassuring to me. I was spending my afternoon looking for three-cat-friendly apartments and reading reviews of veterinary ophthalmologists, and suddenly I thought, "You know, if the shelter people aren't even going to talk to me the moment they hear my name, this is all a big waste of time."

You've set my mind at ease.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

The Boys: Maisie, Zephyr, and Cullen.
Blakeney Green is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2013, 08:34 AM
Premier Cat
 
Marcia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Posts: 8,421
I'm not a shelter worker, but I will chime in with my 2 cents anyway. I would not want to be judged by the actions of my extended family or a common surname, unless the offenders are members of my immediate family and live under my roof. I would want to be judged as an individual, not as part of a collective last name. I don't even think it is ok to bring up the past bad actions of others as a subject of discussion that have the same last name. Judge people as individuals, not as peas in a pod.

We had a poster recently, I think his name was Newbie, whose brother in law was an admitted abuser. This poster would have been devasted to be lumped in to the same reputation as the abuser.

Cat owners' prayer: "Lord help me be the person my cat thinks I am"
Marcia is offline  
post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2013, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
Cool Cat
 
Blakeney Green's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 964
Marcia, in an ideal world I agree with you. (In case this wasn't already obvious, the hypothetical "she" is my own real situation.) I'd like to see that happen too. It's just that in some parts of small town rural America, being judged for yourself and not by your family connections (whether positively or negatively) just isn't going to happen. So the point of my question was more to get at what people were realistically going to think.

I had suspected that, as NebraskaCat confirmed, it was indeed going to be a factor.

I adopted Zephyr from a city shelter in Northern Canada, and the workers there described me as "stellar" and "exactly the sort of person we're looking for" - because whether my extended family were good pet owners just didn't come up. Here, things are very different.

I'm somewhat of two minds about it, because on the one hand I can't helping thinking that if the situation were otherwise totally identical but our last name was Smith instead of something recognizable, the issue would disappear. On the other hand, I would never blame a shelter for doing whatever is necessary to ensure the animals are going to a good home.

I guess at this point I was more just looking for answers about what would happen, and leaving aside the shoulds because it is what it is.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

The Boys: Maisie, Zephyr, and Cullen.

Last edited by Blakeney Green; 03-10-2013 at 04:45 PM.
Blakeney Green is offline  
post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2013, 09:33 PM
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 19,722
I've done adoption counseling for the local shelter. If you showed up with an uncommon name, one that was on our radar list as undesirable pet owners...then I have to say, yes, it would affect the interview. I would know that I need to treat you as an individual, but I would grill you a lot harder than the average person off the street. I would never bring up the history of other members of the family, but I would definitely be trying to find out if any of them lived with you and what your history of animal ownership was. And I would err on the side of caution if any of your answers seemed off.

I also agree that bringing it up yourself would be the best approach. Indicate that you are from a different branch of the family and your parents have "raised you better". The fact that you acknowledge without any prompting that your family members are a bunch of losers when it comes to pet responsibilities says a lot about you. Assurances that you don't live with any of the family members, will never allow them to take care of your pets etc.

You may even find out that they're aren't as bright a spot on the radar screen as you believe...


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


Holly, Misty & their friend, Jake, the dog.
Onyx, Callie May, Maggie & Kobi forever in my heart.
Yes, I know I need a new signature pic...someday...
doodlebug is offline  
post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2013, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
Cool Cat
 
Blakeney Green's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 964
Thanks, Doodlebug. I appreciate your perspective and your honesty.

I do hope it will turn out that there are no blanket negative feelings. That's very possible. Like I said, it's a small town. The shelter doesn't have a high volume of adoptions. I'm not sure how carefully they track their outcomes, though. So they may not actually be concerned.

Not like I couldn't pursue adoption elsewhere if it's an insurmountable issue. It's just one of things where there's a particular pet I'm interested in. If that doesn't work out, though, there are options.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

The Boys: Maisie, Zephyr, and Cullen.
Blakeney Green is offline  
post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2013, 09:49 PM
Cat Addict
 
NebraskaCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Lincoln, NE
Posts: 2,851
Please don't let what I said affect your future actions. Like I said, I don't do the interviews yet. I'm just in training.

I agree (and the shelter I represent would say) that the application should be considered based solely on the people who reside in the household and those who will be responsible for the care of the cat.

The only reason I added the last part about it could be good for the applicant to mention up front that her extended family has done things was to see a statement of "I am not my relatives, I am a good cat mom." That essentially negates the interviewer from going down that road. (I am very familiar with small town thinking also.) Other interviewers at my shelter may disagree with this - that's why I noted it as a personal opinion when I wrote it.

I really do apologize if what I said was harmful.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeff & Nala
Simon and Penny, waiting patiently at the Bridge
NebraskaCat is offline  
post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2013, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
Cool Cat
 
Blakeney Green's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 964
Oh, I'm not hurt. Seriously, not even a little.

I wanted honest answers, and I feel I've gotten them - so I sincerely am grateful.

I know tone isn't conveyed well over the internet, but I'm truly not the least bit upset about anything that has been said here.

This won't change my actions. I'm just trying to prepare myself for the possibilities because I don't want to get too attached to an idea that's just a fantasy, know what I mean? (And there are other things that can go wrong - for example, if they don't want to bother pursuing a Canadian vet reference, I wouldn't blame them for that either.)

I've adopted from a shelter before, so I know they have to ask questions and it's for the good of the animals. That's not a problem for me.

Actually, I decided to send the shelter an e-mail to see if I could volunteer there. Not for reasons directly connected to this, but because I've lived outside the United States for a number of years and now that I'm back and staying put here for awhile, I would like to get out more and make some new friends. I dropped off a donation there once and the people seem really nice. We'll see how it goes.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

The Boys: Maisie, Zephyr, and Cullen.
Blakeney Green is offline  
post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-10-2013, 10:30 PM
Cat Addict
 
NebraskaCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Lincoln, NE
Posts: 2,851
Whew. Just one more thing. I wouldn't necessarily mention on the app that you're from the House of Slytherin either.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeff & Nala
Simon and Penny, waiting patiently at the Bridge
NebraskaCat is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome