Natalie Kramer and Clooney from Maryland

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Human: Natalie Kramer

Canine: Clooney

Location: Maryland

Type: Mutt

Our Story:

Clooney had to be rescued from the rescue group. He came to our house as a foster dog in February of 2007, after I (his then foster mom) heard rumors that he was aggressive to small children, and that my then rescue group considered putting him down. I don’t have any small children; in fact my “smallest” was 20 at the time. I took Clooney to my house, and it only took but a couple of weeks to fall in love with him. I also have a dog-aggressive dog named Cessi, who lives separately from the rest of the dogs in the downstairs apartment.

When I communicated to the rescue group that I was considering adopting Clooney, the Dog Coordinator (DC) said that I could not because a) he would learn bad habits from Cessi, b) I might have a grandchild soon, and c) my other dog, Josie, had “resource guarding issues” (she didn’t actually).

When I suggested that Cessi is separated from Clooney and doesn’t have an opportunity to teach him bad manners (other than occasionally over e-mail:), the DC threatened to take Clooney from us. There was no foster home for him, so he would have to go into boarding, and in any case the rescue group was toying with the idea of euthanizing him. The next several months were very tense, but finally two other more senior officials in the rescue group overruled the DC at my request, and I was able to adopt Clooney.

The moral of the story is that this is typical of some rescue groups, which are run by small groups of people controlling adoption decisions, and their adoption criteria are sometimes bizarre at best. Their reasons for denying adoptions are diverse and arbitrary: from applicants’ smoking or limited English ability, to potential for having grandchildren, lack of a fence, or lack of other dogs in the residence. As a result, in my former rescue, many potentially good applications are declined, and dogs go into boarding for many months at a stretch, while the unfortunate dogs at our local shelter (a high-kill shelter) that could be rescued are put down. With some rescue groups it is a virtually an impossible feat to qualify for a dog; everything has to be “just so” (they call it a policy of the “best match,” as opposed to “quickest match”). They seem to forget that if a dog has to wait in a cage for 8 months for that perfect match, it might not be so perfect after all. Clooney has become a spokesdog for all the dogs affected by this problem. We love him to death! He is the best match for our family.