Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ellen’s Dog – Do Right by Iggy

This Ellen dog debacle has blown up and there are a lot of issues at play. The issues of dog adoptions, contracts, reading the contracts, and being right are all being thrown around. But isn’t the goal of a shelter to find a good home for a dog? Shouldn’t the dog come first?

Unfortunately, in this case, it seems being right is more important then doing right. Yes, Ellen should have read the contract and should have known that the dog gets returned to the shelter, or at least notify them, if it wasn’t compatible. But, Ellen had the best interest of the dog at heart when she gave it to her hairdresser. Plus, the hairdresser already had a dog, so it’s not like she doesn’t know how to care for one.

Ellen’s wrong doesn’t make the shelter right. This shelter is worried about the wrong things, and their practices of not placing the dog in the forefront makes me wonder about dealing with shelters as a whole.

The other thing that irks me with the shelter is their rule of not adopting to anyone with kids under the age of 14. The hairdresser’s children, of course, are both under this age. What kind of rule is that? So you’re telling me that families with younger children can’t handle a dog? The shelter’s reasoning is that it is for the protection of the dog. I can understand certain dogs aren’t good to have around children, but that should be a case by case basis; not a blanket rule.

I saw a brief interview with the lady that owns the shelter. She came across as arrogant and heartless. She was more worried about following her so-called rules, rather then what’s best for the dog and for the family who is loving the dog; wanting to care for the dog, and wanting to be a good home for the dog. Isn’t that supposed to be the goal of the shelter- finding a good home?

This story also touches my life in that our second dog, Kelso, had sort of a similar story. He started in a home that couldn’t care for him, went to a second home where he wasn’t compatible with the other pets, and finally came to us (not including the time spent at the breeder’s and the store where he was originally purchased). Because of his bouncing around from place to place, he had a hard time adjusting to us, his third family. I’m sure the same is true for Iggy, and bouncing him around from place to place like a toy can’t be in the best interest of the dog.

If the shelter wants to enforce their rule that they need to be informed when an adopted dog changes hands, then at the very least, give this new family a chance to keep the dog. Bend your meaningless “under the age of 14” rule for the sake of doing right by the Iggy.


Anonymous said...

This whole story bothers me as well for several reasons. First, if the rule is that when an adopted dog is not compatible it has to be returned to the shelter and/or the shelter has to be notified it should be explicitly stated at the time of adoption. In spoken words, not buried in the fine print of a contract.
Secondly, I agree that the blanket rule of "no dogs to families with kids under 14" is ludicrous. I'd venture to guess that the majority of people who adopt dogs from shelters are families with younger children and that is very important. Doing that not only teaches the children how to be compassionate for animals, but also gives them a greater sense of responsibility for caring for that animal. Sure, there are certain households that are not meant for certain types of dogs, but that should be left for review on a case by case basis.
As for the woman who owns the shelter, I think she's more concerned with what she perceives to be a celebrity trying to take advantage of the system. She said, through a lawyer of course, that she wouldn't let "the Ellen Degeneres' of the world" take advantage of her.
Let's keep the dog's best interest in mind, and if Iggy really belongs with these two little girls and their family, then please give him back. Why deprive everyone of a complete family?

Donna said...

I agree. The dog was in a good, loving home. Leave them all alone already.

Anonymous said...

I feel so bad for those poor kids who loved that dog and now it has been taken away from them :-(

PetMono said...

Ellen Degenres brought "rescue" and "shelter" to the media. A good thing because when people talk, issues are better understood. It's been a week.

Public reaction
The public response was swift, polarized, and far reaching. There were few surprise reactions with the exception of Craig's List pet forum. Because this pet forum is an experienced, emotional, pro-adoption group, we expected the forum to attack the shelter for taking dogs away from a home. CL sentiment was that Ellen should have read the contract, not take this public. The shelter got death threats.

The skinny
The inevitable inaccuracies are identified. Ellen's new dog mostly with a dog trainer. Mom's & Mutts, didn't go to the media first. Ellen has given away a pooch(es) before.

Rearview mirror
A fight between a star and an animal rescue group. The two sides on whether the animal be returned to shelter: The American Humane Association "recommends" a more open adoption process that does not require the animal be returned to shelter. Mom's & Mutts are standing fast.

On the Internet
Because of Ellen's story, adopting animals is on PM's mind. Some things PM discovered when we searched "rescue, shelter, adoption."

A search for "top pet rescues" brings up 20 different dogs. Horses, cats, birds are the runner-ups.

An adoption search in Chicago metro using "Walmart/pets" and "" brings up 750 dogs and 1,350 cats. Maybe big generic numbers, on display everywhere, are sometimes lost on me. Let people know what's happening in your zip code!

People vs pets
This media event also provoked many comments saying it's a shame that pets get more attention than kids when it comes to rescue and adoption. Maybe not. Do a similar search less "pets" and we find an assortment of breaking news, blogs. The reality: Write a story and they will come.

The above is a summary to adhere to keep comment word count limited. A full story with links and details can be found at story title: "Ellen. Rescue. One week later."

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lin said...