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Judgment Calls

Author Stephanie Shain’s daughter Mia with Panda Bear
You know the scenario: People walk into your shelter ready to adopt, only to leave angry half an hour later, declaring their intentions to head straight to the pet store. They are the people who just didn’t get it, the ones who don’t understand what it’s really like to work in a shelter, the meanspirited folks who think they can just come in and pick out any old dog they want because all the animals are “going to be killed” anyway.

Certainly these assessments describe some people all too accurately. But how many others are needlessly turned away? By painting potential adopters with a broad brush and sticking to a strict prescription for the “best” pet guardian, are some shelters turning potential supporters into enemies?

In the following essays, three HSUS staff members consider their experiences with adoptions. One, a former shelter worker, tells what happened when she went from being the person managing the adoption process to the person trying to adopt. (It wasn’t pretty.) The second writer explores why it may have happened—and why treating people well is as important as caring about other species. And our program manager for animal sheltering issues explains why the one-size-fits-all adoption policies once recommended by The HSUS no longer work.

 Read the full article.


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