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Opening Up

Inspired by a collection of essays in Animal Sheltering, a shelter staffer shares her organization’s evolving perspective on adoptions

Inspired by a collection of essays in Animal Sheltering, a shelter staffer shares her organization’s evolving perspective on adoptions

Karla Hartlep says that the Kansas Humane Society has improved its relationship with adopters by making counseling and adoption processes less strict. THE KANSAS HUMANE SOCIETY
I was very pleased to see the essays dealing with changing perspectives on shelter adoptions in Animal Sheltering (“Judgment Calls,” Sept-Oct 2007). In response, I wanted to share some of my own history, and the history of our organization’s adoption policies. The adoption issue is one that our agency has become very passionate and proactive about, and we have seen positive results in both the culture of our agency and in our numbers of adoptions with the changes we have made.

In 1995, I was a full-time child behavior specialist, working with developmentally delayed children during the day, and as a part-time pet dog trainer in the evenings. My own pet dogs were certified as therapy dogs, and they accompanied me in my work with children and as a trainer.

I was also in the market for a puppy. I quickly cast aside the notion of visiting the Kansas Humane Society in Wichita to adopt: I had been exposed to this organization via contacts in the dog training world, and had found its customer service to be sorely lacking. I feared that my husband and I would not be able to behave in a manner sufficient to pass the intense scrutiny of the humane society’s staff—and as a result, we purchased a puppy from a commercial breeder.

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