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Wacky shelter visitors!

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Ok, so I volunteer at my local animal shelter, helping with adoptions. Well, I've had to deal with some pretty wacky people who come in, but this one takes the cake:

A young lady and her father came in to look at dogs and cats. She found a Pom dog that she likes but it was not up for adoption because of severe health problems. So that made her mad. I urged her to fill out the application anyway and we'd keep it on file for the future. While she was filling it out, she was telling me about her cat that ran away a few months ago, and described a black cat. (We've had HUNDREDS of black cats, and they all look the same... BLACK!) After she finished the paperwork, she wanted to look at the kitties. Well, the first black cat she saw, she INSISTED it was her cat "Linxie" and wanted to take it home. I said that a lot of cats look alike and that it's most likely not her cat. She argued and began to get really loud, saying it was her cat and she was going to take it home. To make matters worse, the lady who was adopting this particular cat came in to pick him up! Of course, this made the other lady furious. I was getting fed up with her, and said to prove it was her cat, we'd need proof, like vet records and several pictures. She said there was no records because she never took it to the vet! By now I've realized this is an unfit pet owner and have made up my mind NOT to adopt to her. I finally said there's nothing she could do, the cat was going home to the person who adopted him. Well, she stormed out in a huff! Good, she's finally gone. I finished the adoption and Midnight (the black cat) went to a GOOD home, to someone who will actually take him to the vet when needed!

Well I thought it was over, but 1/2 an hour later, I see them pulling back in the dooryard. I quickly got nervous, not knowing what to expect, so I thought up a little white lie to diffuse the situation. The father came in and apologized for his daughter's behaviour, saying she just got out of the hospital for mental reasons (obviously!). I said no hard feeling, and (here comes the lie) that "the cat was owned by a little old lady who had him for 6 years, and she became too ill to care for him so she surrendered him to us. So it couldn't possibly be her cat." SCORE! Midnight actually came to us as a stray, town unknown.

So, sometimes you just have to lie to diffuse a potentially bad situation. It all worked out well now and I'm glad she didn't take an animal home. She couldn't even take care of herself.

I'd love to hear other people crazy shelter stories.....
post #2 of 23
Going on the way she did would have a red flag flying straight away with me when it comes to looking after an animal, regardless of her condition.

I don't discriminate anyone with mental problems, because theres hundreds of people that do shower their pets with love and take care of them, but if she was reacting like that i would be wary.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Trouble is, she's known for being very unstable and just not a good pet owner. I didn't know who she was until I told my fellow shelter mates about her, and they are definitely glad I followed my instinct and didn't let her adopt.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post

I don't discriminate anyone with mental problems, because theres hundreds of people that do shower their pets with love and take care of them, but if she was reacting like that i would be wary.
I agree. Many persons with psychic problems know their cats are holding them into the live and sanity... Thus they are the dearest friends to them - or each other if you want. As long they know their own problems - they are often excellent cat owners.


My question is.
White lie is sometimes very useful to use. Like here.

But let us reverse the situation into a hypthetical but very possible scenario:

In comes a person seeking a cat, who did lost a black cat. You think it is a appropriate cat owner and are willing to help herhim.

So shehe sees a black cat, alike her lost cat. You are almost sure it is wrong cat. But the cat is unadopted, IS seeking a new home. You also know since before black cats arent easy to get adopted.

What are you doing? A white lie?:Yes, I think it is he! YOu can have him, only a small fee...

Or someting in between?: Im not sure it is him, black cats are often very alike. .. but sure, If you want him -.....


Or do you say: Im sorry to say against you. Black cats are very alike....
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
I agree. Many persons with psychic problems know their cats are holding them into the live and sanity... Thus they are the dearest friends to them - or each other if you want. As long they know their own problems - they are often excellent cat owners.


My question is.
White lie is sometimes very useful to use. Like here.

But let us reverse the situation into a hypthetical but very possible scenario:

In comes a person seeking a cat, who did lost a black cat. You think it is a appropriate cat owner and are willing to help herhim.

So shehe sees a black cat, alike her lost cat. You are almost sure it is wrong cat. But the cat is unadopted, IS seeking a new home. You also know since before black cats arent easy to get adopted.

What are you doing? A white lie?:Yes, I think it is he! YOu can have him, only a small fee...

Or someting in between?: Im not sure it is him, black cats are often very alike. .. but sure, If you want him -.....


Or do you say: Im sorry to say against you. Black cats are very alike....
I wouldn't lie in that situation just to difuse the situation and move a cat. The black cat could have been the closest thing in that persons life, and to have them thinking they had the right cat when they possibly didn't would just be cruel.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
I agree. Many persons with psychic problems know their cats are holding them into the live and sanity... Thus they are the dearest friends to them - or each other if you want. As long they know their own problems - they are often excellent cat owners.


My question is.
White lie is sometimes very useful to use. Like here.

But let us reverse the situation into a hypthetical but very possible scenario:

In comes a person seeking a cat, who did lost a black cat. You think it is a appropriate cat owner and are willing to help herhim.

So shehe sees a black cat, alike her lost cat. You are almost sure it is wrong cat. But the cat is unadopted, IS seeking a new home. You also know since before black cats arent easy to get adopted.

What are you doing? A white lie?:Yes, I think it is he! YOu can have him, only a small fee...

Or someting in between?: Im not sure it is him, black cats are often very alike. .. but sure, If you want him -.....


Or do you say: Im sorry to say against you. Black cats are very alike....
This has happened many times before. We tell them they are welcome to adopt the cat back, but they'll still have to pay the adoption fee to cover his vet bills/food/care while at the shelter. Most people are more than willing. If we are absolutely sure it's their cat and they have proof, they can take the cat home with no charge.

And just to be clear, I was not discriminating because she had a mental disorder. I denied her application because she admitted never taking her animals to the vets for shots/neutering/spaying, which is one of our adoption policies. I did not know she had mental issues until her father came back to apologize. She was very nice until I told her she couldn't take "her cat" home because he had been adopted.
post #7 of 23
Ahhh....I love those types of people. I've had people go through & tell me their cat had pretty hair, then point out one kitty. That kitty was a surrender. The people say Whoops!...I meant that kitty. Who looked completely different & was declawed. Their kitty had claws. Some people will lie to your face just to get an animal free of charge. The kicker....here if they do not claim their pet within 5 business days, we do not have to return the pet....they have to fill out an application & pay the set adoption fee, just like anyone else.
post #8 of 23
We have had a bunch of strange adoptions; these two stick out:

One time a woman who adopted a cat paid for it using a forged check. It was sad because if she had just said she didn't have money, we would have given her a reduced fee.

But because the check was literally fake/forged, we worried that she took the cat for illegal activity. So we called the police. It turned out she had a rap sheet. They promised to keep an eye out for the cat.

After several months they arrested her on another charge. We had to go to the station and identify her from among several mug shots. Me and two others positively identified her. They tacked the cat charge onto the other charge.

We got the cat back and it went to a responsible home. By that time, this lady was very attached to the cat and wanted to pay cash to keep her. But we could not let the cat be in the care of someone that irresponsible.

Can you believe someone would actually use a forged check to pay for a cat! And trust me, she was an experienced liar and looked like a suburban soccer mom!

Situation #2 was when a family came in to adopt a kitten. The adopter was a 21 year old severely disabled young woman in a wheelchair, accompanied by her father and other relatives. She looked at all our kitties and finally selected one. We spent a lot of time talking to her and making sure everything would work out for both her and the kitty. Everything looked fine and our interview with the woman had gone well. Then we reviewed the questionnaire, which had been completed on the woman's behalf by her father. He had checked "yes" in the section about letting the cat outside.

We said this will not work and it is not our policy. We further discussed how unhappy the woman would be if her cat went outside and got lost and she could not do anything. The girl's father went nuts in the store, ranting about how the cat would need some sanity time to be free of the girl and her special needs and chair. The more he talked, the more obvious it became that he was talking about himself and projecting it onto the cat.

We could not relent and after him getting increasingly out of control, he ultimately pulled the cat from his daughter's lap and literally threw it at us, accusing us of being unkind to the disabled and ruining his daughter's dreams. He left the adoption show cursing us and yelling.

We've had a lot of other strange ones but those two stick out in my mind.
post #9 of 23
This isn't a weird encounter, I've just got a question.
How do you go about adopting an pet that several people are interested in?
for example when I was young my mother and I were looking around the SPCA and I started asking questions about a Dalmatian that had a bandaged paw. she had been hit by a vehicle, anyway after further talking the lady at the SPCA said they had more than 100 applications for her. I don't know how they went about choosing an owner.
How do you choose if you have say 1/2 dozen applicants? I take it you interview and have a questionnaire but what else factors into your decision?

I'm just curious.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DIEGO View Post
This isn't a weird encounter, I've just got a question.
How do you go about adopting an pet that several people are interested in?
for example when I was young my mother and I were looking around the SPCA and I started asking questions about a Dalmatian that had a bandaged paw. she had been hit by a vehicle, anyway after further talking the lady at the SPCA said they had more than 100 applications for her. I don't know how they went about choosing an owner.
How do you choose if you have say 1/2 dozen applicants? I take it you interview and have a questionnaire but what else factors into your decision?

I'm just curious.
At our shelter, we take "pre-adopts." The people pick out an animal, and fill out the paperwork. Technically they are first in line for the animal, althought we do take other applications in case other people are interested. If the first application falls through or we just don't think it's going to be a good match, we check the 2nd application, and so on. The pre-adopt puts a hold on the animal for 48 hours. After that, if the people are a no show, the animals goes to the 2nd person in line.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Oh I just thought of one more wacky visitor that really sticks out:

A young lady came in and looked confused. I said, "Can I help you?" and she said, "Um, yeah. I need to adopt... something."

Me: "Ok, are you intersted in a cat or a dog?"
Her: "Ew I hate cats. I almost ran one over yesterday and felt no remorse."

By this time I'm stewing, but showed her the dogs anyway.
All the dogs in the kennel were (of course) barking their fool heads off, like they always do when someone comes in to look at them. The young lady was obviously uncomfortable and asked, "Don't you have any dogs that don't bark?" and I told her that that's what dogs do!

She finally came to one hound that just stood there, and she said, "this one looks good, I'll take her." I explained that there's an adoption process, but she should meet the dog first, so she did in a separate room. Then she asked all sorts of crazy questions, like, "Do dogs smell? How often should I bathe her? I think I'll give her a bath every day. She won't ever bark will she?"

I'm answering all these questions but finally asked, "Have you ever even OWNED a dog before?" and she said her family watched a friend's Shi Tzu once.

I did tell her there'd be a waiting period, and she was very upset and wanted to pay cash for the dog today and take it home right then. I said, "Does your family know you're doing this?" and she laughed and said no!

By now I've decided to take her information but she didn't seem interested in the dog itself, just getting one that didn't bark or smell . I finally told her that I didn't think she was going to find what she was looking for here. It took me forever to get her out, and we never heard back from her. Good! Who knows what she wanted the dog for!
post #12 of 23
Pets can actually be great for people with mental problems--especially depression. When you have a pet, you have something to live for, company that doesn't judge you. It's a good thing all around. Dogs are generally recommended more than cats, because dogs make you go out and take them for walks; but cats are better for cat-lovers...

Anyway, mental illness can hit anyone--and that means it can hit jerks as well as non-jerks. I think you got a jerk that just happened to have a mental illness.

I have Asperger Syndrome (high-functioning autism), and I'm recovering from depression... I lived in a house with three housemates and three dogs; and the dogs--especially a pretty little Beagle mix--were a great help. In fact, that was the year I stopped self-injuring (a lot of autistic and/or depressed people do this to cope with emotions--turn them into physical pain... sounds weird but if you don't have any better way to cope, it works). I also went back to school, which the depression hadn't let me do before.

There are only a few mental illnesses I'd be worried about pet ownership--those that cause psychosis (make you lose touch with reality), and could cause you to not take good care of the cat... in which case, you need someone living with you anyway, and that person could take care of the cat. Or else, antisocial personality disorder or conduct disorder (in teens), which basically causes people not to care about others (including cats).

Anything else.... especially disabilities... Pet ownership is highly recommended.

By the way, your story about the girl in the wheelchair--that makes me really angry at her dad. What cat would even attach any significance to a girl who uses a chair to get around? Cats don't even have a concept of "handicap"! To a cat, she'd be just like any other human--and likely, would be the special human that gave it unconditional love...

I hope she gets out of that house, away from that ass of a father, and to a place where she can live on her own (even if she needs help to do it), and have a cat, and live with self-respect, away from people who don't see her as some sort of burden.

If there's anyone who's a burden, it's her father. Not only does he think of her as dead weight, but he'd throw a cat across the room with very little provocation. On the social ladder, disabled people, mentally ill people, and fat people are at the bottom; and that's not right. The jerks should be at the bottom.
post #13 of 23
Diego, here we take applications in the order we receive them. For a "high demand" animal, like say a Yorkie, we take applications for a set amount of time & then choose the best home for that animal. We honestly don't usually have too many applications on many of our animals, they aren't very "in demand".
post #14 of 23
Hmmm... I think when I am financially stable enough to have a cat, I will pick an old, black cat
post #15 of 23
OOOH I love black cats.

There were some folks at the shelter last evening looking for a female, 1-2 years old, spayed and de-clawed. It happens that there were actually 3 declawed cats at the shelter - 2 females and one male. The one female (who is a sweetheart) was 4 years old so they weren't interested in her. Then of course they weren't interested in the male and also not the other female. They then started looking at the clawed cats - sends one's radar up because you know even if they sign the form that they won't de-claw, they are going to if they choose a clawed cat.

I've suggested the shelter get some coloured, graphic pictures of a declaw and what it is about, put it in a plastic cover and tape it to the counter where these folks stand when they come to the shelter. These types of people need to see the horror of it IMO or they never understand.

I have to tread carefully though because I don't want them to think I'm trying to take over the running of the shelter after one night of volunteering.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post

I've suggested the shelter get some coloured, graphic pictures of a declaw and what it is about, put it in a plastic cover and tape it to the counter where these folks stand when they come to the shelter. These types of people need to see the horror of it IMO or they never understand.
Excellent idea!

And and also do tell
1. How to do instead; ie much scratching post etc.

2. If they still have problems - there are the SOFT PAWS (or whatewer is the name...).
A much better alternative then declaring. And people who tried them out, say they arent too bad for the cat either.
post #17 of 23
Callista, I think you had an excellent post.

About mental problems, depressions contra jerks.

And about the father and the trouble with him...
Of course the cat would be a excellent companion for the girl, wheelchair or not.
Although somebody must probably help some with the cat, if she was that seveerly disabled.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
Excellent idea!

And and also do tell
1. How to do instead; ie much scratching post etc.

2. If they still have problems - there are the SOFT PAWS (or whatewer is the name...).
A much better alternative then declaring. And people who tried them out, say they arent too bad for the cat either.

Very good idea about putting up a graphic picture. Most people who check "yes or maybe" in the declawing section of the application are just uneducated about it. I certainly was until it was explained to me just how horrible it really was. Now when people check that we tell them all about it, load them up with literature, and tell them all the other options that are available instead of declawing. That seems to work well. For the ones we know are just telling us lies when they say they won't declaw, we tell them that the vets in the county call us each month with the names of people who have declawed, and if any of them have adopted from us, they cannot ever adopt from us again. It's a lie of course, but it's usually enough to scare people into not doing it. People just are totally unaware that there are even alternatives to declawing.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Of course the cat would be a excellent companion for the girl, wheelchair or not.
Although somebody must probably help some with the cat, if she was that seveerly disabled.
Yes, probably. Whoever helps her with the daily life stuff can probably take care of a cat, too, though--it really doesn't take more than fifteen minutes a day for food and litter and maybe a little brushing. Whether such an aide would be willing to care for a cat is another matter--it depends on if s/he was hired for personal care or for more than that--cooking, shopping, etc. However, there's a lot of equipment out there that lets people who have limited use of their hands take care of pets and cook and whatnot; so a bit of creativity and she might be able to take care of the cat on her own.

(I looked through one of my mom's catalogs once--she's an occupational therapist, and she basically teaches people how to use aids like that--from thick-handled spoons to grab sticks and shower chairs... When I'm an engineer, I might actually design equipment like that myself; it really fascinates me. I'd have to hire people as consultants, though, because I don't have a physical handicap myself. I've talked to some people who are more autistic than me, and use keyboard communication devices to talk; and it seems like nobody ever asks THEM what kind of features they need--one girl is totally exasperated because she wants a full-size keyboard on her communicator, to type faster, and she can't find one that isn't meant to be used for a computer, or else crazy expensive!)
post #20 of 23
Worst of all for the disabled girl was that the father planned to let the cat out at his house when his daughter and her cat were visiting him. Not that it is better or worse for the cat to go out at one house or another, but go figure!

We were really upset that day, because it felt like the daughter was imprisoned by the father and there was nothing anyone could do

We have adopted cats to disabled people before and it has been a win-win situation all around. This was just a horrible exception. I agree about the father throwing the cat, and abuse. He had a lot of anger.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbB View Post
Worst of all for the disabled girl was that the father planned to let the cat out at his house when his daughter and her cat were visiting him. Not that it is better or worse for the cat to go out at one house or another, but go figure!
It would be worse, though. The cat would be in unfamiliar surroundings. At least you caught this one before he got his hands on that poor cat. Unfortunately he already has his hands on a human girl who probably isn't being treated much better...
post #22 of 23
I vulneteer at a shelter, walking dogs. Though I have no nasty stories from there.

I think he's under alot of pressure personally , I know my dad is, it isnt easy raising an autisic son, which I am/ But I DO have an issue with throwing a cat across a room and saying "The cat will not like her because shes disabled and your ruining my daughters dreams",.

Cats can be better then humans in that they never judge another and they do not care if your rich, poor or disabled to the cat she would be a best friend no questions asked , I also think they handle death better then we do, but then again you all know that I think as a parent he's ruining his own daughters dreams( and 'shutter' maybe even her future) by acting so stupid and immature. I'm glad you didn't let the cat go with them when he threw it, it means he has no heart for the animal and wants it just for his daughter as a object or plaything.


Personally I think also you should have stated the dangers of an indoor/outdoor cat or/and sujested harness and leash training but that was before he threw it.
post #23 of 23
Looking back, I didn't now you had a thing in your policy about letting a cat out, that case I agree you did do everything right.
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