Stories & Lit
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Chloe Chronicles VII: Rejection Blues


After a few days of immature moaning, I finally had to settle into the truth that Trinley would not be coming to live with us. I like to think that I’m rational, and I always try to see both sides of the story. Thus, I reminded myself that people who work at rescue groups are well meaning. Actually, that’s an understatement. They volunteer their time and effort and heart all for the sake of rescuing and rehoming dogs. They have witnessed cases of intolerable neglect and abuse. They have seen dogs die at the hands of humans. They have rescued dogs who were emaciated, or broken-spirited, or simply confused at being separated from people who didn’t care enough to keep them. I am sure that doing this kind of work would make it hard to have faith in the human race. So I guess they didn’t have faith in me.

I must say, it took quite a while to get over their decision. In fact, I pretty much gave up on the idea of trying to adopt another dog. Years passed, and by the time I started to reconsider, Chloe was a different dog. Now she’s showing signs of arthritis, and is no longer all that patient with exuberant dogs, especially pups. She has also become — forgive the pun — quite the bitch, and doesn’t necessarily want to share her space with anyone else but me. So perhaps it was all for the best. Who knows?

I think about Trinley sometimes. I am sure he found a home; puppies always do. But I wonder about all the dogs who still do not have homes because their applicants were rejected. I do respect a rescue group’s need to err on the side of caution, but I often still wonder: What exactly is the fine line between caution and error? We look forward to hearing your responses.



This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 71: Sep/Oct 2012
Lee Harrington is the author of the best-selling memoir, Rex and the City: A Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog (Random House, 2006), and of the forthcoming novel, Nothing Keeps a Frenchman from His Lunch. emharrington.com

Photograph by Hedda Gjerpen

CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.
Submitted by Karen | November 6 2012 |

I remember when we were looking for first family dog, my husband and I wanted to extend our family, so we started the hunt for the perfect dog. Our children were very young at the time, but my husband and I are experienced dog owners, we knew what we were getting into. We scoured all sources, probably 6 or 7 months, and turned down nearly every time, it was heartbreaking and frustrating. No one, not Rescue groups, not shelters, would let us adopt because our children were so young. Some would literally freeze when we walked through the door. They were, however, willing to let us interview baby puppies, as puppies were less likely to hurt a child. OK we got that, but we didn't want a baby puppy, we had two toddlers, I didn't want to be in the midst of potty training everyone under the age of 3. Finally after nearly giving up, we found Claire on Petfinder, a dog in Mexico being fostered with children the same age as ours. We filled in the paperwork, and the Rescue group, gave us a chance. It was the chance of a lifetime. Claire has been with us 5 years now and she's not going anywhere.

Now we foster for dogs for that Rescue group, because we have always been so thankful to them for giving us that chance. You may have your heart set on one kind of breed or mixed breed, but you need to look all options, there are so many good ones waiting to be with you.

Submitted by Anonymous | November 25 2012 |

What you described is why my dog is a pure breed. It never occurred to me that I would do anything other than adopt until I started researching rescue organizations. I am a single person living in a studio apartment with no yard. I live about a mile from an excellent off-leash area, but while it is removed from traffic it isn't fenced in. I'm also a first time dog owner, although we had dogs when I was a kid. So it quickly became clear that filling out applications at most rescue organizations would be a complete waste of time and energy. Unless I wanted to adopt a tiny dog that required minimal exercise (I didn't), I wasn't going to be approved on multiple fronts. One organization flat out stated it only placed dogs with couples in which one person didn't work outside the home. I do work from home, but that wasn't considered good enough. I could have gone with a public shelter, but given my small, urban living space, it seemed like too much of a gamble. The breeder, by contrast, was comfortable enough with my plan for dog ownership to place one of her puppies with me. My dog is now well trained and socialized and has passed the AKC Good Citizen Test. He gets plenty of exercise and has, I think, a really good life. I understand the interest in being cautious, but I think good adopters are being turned away because we don't fit the checklist.

More From The Bark

Katherine Goldberg
Black Lab
Michelle Massie
Illustration by Heather Horton
Bernice Kolier
More in Stories & Lit:
Part-Time Puppies
Walking with Misty
My Dog Murphy
How I Found My Dog Carson
Healing Fraught History of African Americans and Dogs
The Great Unwashed
My Canine Co-Counselor
Canis Mythicus
This Hound