Toto, a band well known for a string of hits in the 80s including the song “I Won’t Hold You Back”, was fronted by singer Bobby Kimball. Kimball and his wife, Jasmin Gabay, formed a rescue group called Saving K9 Lives in California in 2011. The group’s website has a number of pleas posted for more foster homes in the Los Angeles area. Rescues typically ask for more fosters so that they can pull more pets from area pounds to save them from being killed.
Saving K9 Lives recently received an offer even better than a foster home – an area pet owner fell in love with one of the group’s dogs and offered to give the dog, called Eloise, a permanent, loving home. Criss Keeler filled out an adoption application, sent photos of her home and of her 10 year old dog Finnegan. She was initially approved for the adoption and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of her new family member:
The one remaining step was a home inspection to be conducted the day Saving K9 Lives Plus delivered the dog to her “forever home.”
According to Keeler, the trouble started the moment the group’s founder, Jasmin Gabay, stepped out of her car in front of the apartment building.
“She said ‘I’m just not comfortable in this neighborhood.’ That was kind of the first words out of her mouth. Not even ‘hi’ or anything,” Keeler recalled. “She then went on to say that if she had known this wasn’t West Hollywood, she wouldn’t have gone this far in the adoption process.”
Gabay took Eloise and left. An hour later, Keeler checked the group’s website and saw that Eloise had been re-listed as a dog in need of a home. She immediately emailed Gabay to again offer to give Eloise a good home. Gabay replied stating that the adopters were good, but the neighborhood was not and therefore – no pet for you.
Gabay confirmed that she felt Keeler’s neighborhood wasn’t safe for Eloise. The rescue group founder also issued a written statement defending her group’s adoption standards.
“Our adoption process follows the standard of most rescues. There is an application requesting information, reference check, a phone interview, followed by a home visit. Home visits are an important part of the process,” the statement said.
“If an adopter has never had a five pound dog, they won’t know that the space between their fence and front gate is wide enough for that dog to escape. It’s our responsibility to look for any possible dangers before an adoption takes place and to work with an adopter to remedy those dangers. Of course we also endeavor to match our dogs to an adopter based on activity levels, long term medical needs, training experience and personalities. We have to consider whether a dog will do well in a home with small children and/or if they are compatible with the other animals in the home or if the dog can handle the new adopter’s work schedule.”
Right. But none of those things were a factor here. So I assume the only reason any of those issues are being brought up is because the first draft yo-hood-so-skanky didn’t pass muster with the group’s PR peeps.
So let’s tally up:
- Saving K9 Lives prevented an adopter who wanted to rescue a dog in need from saving one. Now that person may be soured on the process and will perhaps seek another source for a dog. Maybe it will be a source we all think is wonderful. Maybe not. I’m guessing she’ll probably look for a source that isn’t so snooty. I can think of several. And she’ll perhaps tell her friends and family that applying for a rescue dog is a bad experience and recommend they find alternative sources for their next pets.
- Saving K9 Lives prevented Eloise, who is in a foster home, from going to a permanent home. Now Eloise is back in limbo instead of learning to feel secure and comfortable in her new life. But at least she doesn’t have to set her paws down on those inferior sidewalks in East Hollywood, I guess.
- Saving K9 Lives returned Eloise to her foster home, which they say they need more of, so now there is no free space available there. I’m sure the dogs currently waiting to be killed at area pounds all completely understand why Eloise had to take up that foster space. It will surely be a great comfort in the kill room.
Everybody loses. Congratulations.
Pets do not know or care about their neighborhood status. They want to love their people and feel loved in return. Eloise had a chance for that but was denied because of an unfounded bias against poor people.
Discriminating against “good adopters” because they don’t have a fancy zip code holds us all back. If Saving K9 Lives truly wants to save pets from being killed at the pound, the group needs an attitude adjustment. Otherwise, a name change may be in order – something like “Saving K9 Lives from Being Wrecked by Having to Suck the Same Air as the Poors” might more accurately reflect the group’s mission.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)