|Barked: Sat Apr 24, '10 6:39am PST |
|This thread hits home. I am going through a divorce and, although money was never free-flowing when I was married, I certainly worried less then (about money) than I do now. I literally live paycheck to paycheck. I have paid "regular" bills late so I can afford to take my dogs to the vet. I shop for them (I feed raw) and then buy my food with whatever's left over. I have basically given up shopping for myself... I can't even remember the last time I bought myself a new article of clothing, or new shoes, or anything besides the essentials for myself. Anytime I get some extra money, it usually goes to the dogs... getting them a special treat, or new toy, or some more raw food. And I am happy with this, because they make ME happy. I would NEVER judge someone based on the amount of money they have coming in. I know many technically "poor" people who are better dog owners than people who have lots of money. One of my friends is in the process of adopting a dog from the rescue I work with, and she is in a very bad place financially. She doesn't feed her dogs high-quality food, but she ALWAYS makes sure that they are fed... her fridge has literally been empty of all food for herself and she has gone hungry, yet the dogs ALWAYS eat. She donates to rescue and buys her dogs a few toys and such even when she is struggling to pay bills. Her dogs are her companions, her friends, her children with fur, and she loves them more than life itself. I would NEVER consider her anything less than a terrific dog owner... and just because she cannot afford the adoption fee right now doesn't mean she won't do everything in her power to give the dog a great life. She has used rent money to pay vet bills... she is devoted with a capital D.
From a rescuer's perspective, I know many people who believe that just because a person is low-income or comes from a not-so-great area, that the dog would be unsafe there or would not be well cared for. I myself have been guilty of this, and I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but here goes... When I was screening potential homes for the foster puppies I had, I found out that a potential owner lived in a known dogfighting area. This area is very dangerous to dogs - in fact, when I worked in the shelter I remember people coming in from the area to use our pet food pantry and telling me horror stories about how their personal dogs have been attacked, beaten with bricks, and almost stolen by dogfighters. We have also rescued a number of dogs from that area and they have never been in good shape... chained, neglected, bait dogs, the whole nine yards. I am ashamed to say that I red-flagged this applicant right from the start. I was gracious and kind on the phone and encouraged them to fill out an application, but did emphasize the home check, references, and $300 adoption fee... in the hopes that it would deter the person from adopting. It did in the end (the person never followed up with me or submitted an application), but I still feel guilty for judging someone based on where they live. I struggle with wanting to do what is best for the dog and trying to give people a fair chance to adopt. What do you guys think about this? Was I horrible to think like this? I felt like a very unfair person even though on paper, I treated them the same as any other applicant. I just feel like in my heart, this person didn't really have a fair chance because of where they lived... and it is a low-income area. Am I a bigoted person?
Sorry for the tangent... I do feel it's relevant in a way, though. Opinions and thoughts would be appreciated.
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