Is Animal Adoption the New Online Dating?

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
Maybe you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places. You won’t find it on Tinder – it’s more likely the love of your life has a profile on an adoption website.

So I have decided that this will be the year I finally adopt a shelter dog. I’ve been around dogs my entire life but because of work and a lengthy commute I never considered a pooch a realistic option. Instead I collected a varying number of felines – or rather they collected me. Strays and their offspring, pets inherited when relatives passed… you get the picture. Single female, living alone; I truly was just one lint brush shy of becoming the crazy cat lady.

But the call of the dog has prevailed all these years and today I work from home, live in a detached house with a big backyard, have dog owner neighbors and am smack-dab in the middle of a town that has great walking trails and pooch-centric eateries. My one dog-fearing feline Chico sadly passed away last fall so to me the stars have aligned and I’m the type of applicant any shelter would be scrambling to woo. Am I not right?

Related: How to Bond with Your Rescue Dog

Not so fast. Over the past several months I’ve been on a number of larger, international rescue sites as well as smaller local ones. I scroll though the many mutt mugs, fall in love, check that he’s cool with cats and send out an email, asking for more info. Crickets. I try them a few days later and still nothing so I move on to another site and try to find love again.

Make no mistake, searching for a rescue dog is no easy feat. Many shelters will only accept applications from those within a 1 hour commute so they can conduct a home visit. They all want your veterinarian’s phone number, references (nope, family doesn’t count), details on your other pets and to know how “active” you are. I feel like I am caught up in an on-line dating site where no one wants to meet me for a coffee.

Related: Getting Things Ready for Your New Rescue Dog

By chance, I come upon an organization called Tracy’s Dogs in San Antonio, Texas who remove dogs from high-kills shelters, promote them online and then transport the adopted pooches to northern states for pick up by their new families. I love the idea and it fits with my determination to adopt a shelter dog that needs a good home versus purchase from a breeder.

I visit their site, find my dream dog named Mulligan under their “long time campers” listing of pooches who have been continually passed over and wait with fingers poised at the computer keyboard, for them to open up the next round of adoption applications.

It’s a long questionnaire and in addition to asking about my living arrangements they want to know if I rent or own and if my yard is fully fenced. Wow, these folk are serious about placing their pooches with the right families. Mulligan has been chilling in their kennel for six months already so I’m sure to be a shoo-in, right? I have to pick a second choice and opt for a little beagle mix called Trinity.

A Tracy’s Dogs rep is quick to acknowledge my application and advise that if it is accepted, they will contact me for a phone interview. I wait. And wait. Check my phone – yes, it’s fully charged. No phone call so I check the site again and see Mulligan has now been adopted. Hey, how did that happen? I check again and Trinity has been adopted. Great for them; not so good for me.

Emails from the Tracy’s Dog rep confirm the snag is that they run criminal checks on all potential pet parents but can’t run something similar for those of us north of the border.

Undaunted, I am now off in pursuit of an official police background check! Stay tuned.

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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