That's wonderful Lani, and I think it's the experience of a lot of adopters; but they don't write opinion pieces about and if they did, nobody would pay any attention because it's neither contraversial nor sexy.
While I don't intend to post in this thread again, there were two points I wanted to make one last time lest anyone else think I'm being "unreasonable."
The first is another example of how rescue is often perceived based on how the applicant chooses to perceive it. I had a dog in rescue recently who was VERY popular among applicants. I received somewhere in the neighbourhood of two dozen inquiries about this dog in the space of about 15 days. After discussion with the first handful of applicants, all of whom sounded very promising, my standard reply to everyone thereafter was something along the lines of "thanks so much for your interest in (dog). We have had more than 20 applications for this dog in the last two weeks and while we think it's fantastic that so many people are interested, there is unfortunately only one of this dog and we can only choose one home to adopt this dog. All of the applications we have received previous to your inquiry are excellent, so we are no longer accepting new applications at this time as we are confident the dog will be placed from among the existing large pool of applicants. Thanks again for considering adoption" etc etc.
One of my foster homes was out with her dogs and her foster dog (different dog than the one in question) last week and ran into someone at the park who was one of the people who received the above response. He apparently felt the response was not genuine, but rather a denial letter in disguise, and he said something like "you'd think having a 15 year old border collie already would be enough for these people, but no, apparently I'm not good enough to adopt a dog from them."
So once again, while I may sound like a broken record, we have another example of people believing what they want to believe and hearing what they want to hear no matter what was actually said to them. At no time did this individual contact me and ask for clarification on my response email, he just made his assumption about being denied. And these disgruntled people are the ones who speak the loudest, whether their disgruntlement has any validity or not. And people love to believe them when they rant. And we rescuers can do nothing about it.
Secondly, I work in an animal control facility, and I sell dog licenses to people every day of my life, more or less. About half of the dogs I license are adopted from shelters and rescue groups (I don't generally ask; there is a price difference between an altered and unaltered dog, and we require proof of neuter at licensing time, so I get to see the paperwork. And often they offer the information about where they got the dog quite proudly without prompting, especially if they have the dog with them and I admire it). In a municipality with approximately 10,000 licensed dogs in it, about half of them are adopted dogs. So clearly lots and lots of people *are* successfully adopting from rescues and shelters and are very happy with their experiences and with the results.
This is yet another reason why I have trouble taking articles like this Slate one very seriously; if the results were not so damaging because so many people love to believe the worst in just about everything, it would make me laugh. Instead, it just makes me feel like the author is irresponsible, and ill informed, and pandering to her irresponsible and ill informed peers to boot. Biased, under-researched and from a palce of axe-grinding, it reinforces what many people have already chosen to believe and sadly a great deal of those people lack the, ummm, "self reflectory" abilities to see how there could, perhaps be another side to something.
Just remember - when you adopt a dog, you aren't doing rescue a favour. One of the sentiments I hear kind of too often for comfort is that rescue should be grateful that someone wants one of their dogs, but buyers should be grateful when a breeder wants to sell them a dog. Maybe it's all in the marketing, or maybe its part of the collective unconscious that rescue dogs are someone else's rejects. Either way, it's pretty sad