Rescue Group Denies Foster Family’s Request to Adopt

Kaiya at home with her family, including her photobomb cat, as shown on the WOWT website.
Kaiya at home with her family, including her photobomb cat, as shown on the WOWT website.

Most readers are probably familiar with the term “foster fail”, used to describe the situation which arises when an owner intends to provide a temporary foster home for a pet in need but ends up falling in love with the animal and deciding he can’t part with the pet.  It happens a lot, primarily because foster owners tend to be compassionate animal lovers and the heart doesn’t always fall in line with the head.  It’s a win for the pet since, instead of adjusting to a foster family then being placed in a strange home environment with a permanent adopter, she gets to stay with the family to whom she has already grown attached.  And it’s a win for the rescue group since it’s one less pet in need of advertising, transporting to adoption events and screening applicants for, potentially opening up a space for another animal in need.

The Wilson family in Omaha began fostering a senior dog named Kaiya for Golden Retriever Rescue in Nebraska (GRRIN) one year ago.  They opened their home and hearts to Kaiya and recently decided the bond they’d developed with her was too precious to break.  The family let GRRIN know they wanted to go ahead and officially become Kaiya’s permanent family.  But GRRIN denied the family’s request, without providing any reason, and the group’s president came to the Wilson’s home to take Kaiya away:

Roger Wilson even told the President he was filming a recent interaction when the President came to the Wilson home. The President can be heard on camera telling Wilson, “I’m not going to talk to you about this on camera, I’m here to transport Kaiya.”

The Wilsons had taken Kaiya to their daughter’s home ahead of the president’s visit in order to protect her from being taken.  They are vowing to fight for Kaiya:

“I’m not going to give her up,” said Wilson. “I’ll fight tooth and nail all the way to the end. The dog belongs with us.”

GRRIN’s president told WOWT that an 11 person volunteer board will hear an appeal regarding the adoption at some unspecified future date.  He refused to comment on any legal action the group might take to gain custody of the dog.

GRRIN’s online listing for Kaiya has been removed from its website but the cached version indicates the page was posted in May 2014 and reads:

I am a 7 year old sweetheart. Yep that’s me. I love to hang out, play a little, and cuddle. I do like to play with a ball or a toy, but mostly I like snuggling up. I have terrific house manners and have been trustworthy in the house. Sometimes I get a little frightened but you know how it is when things are new, they can be a little scary. I get along great with cats and am learning to like my foster dog buddy, and I might be ok around much older children. Fast movements can scare me a little. If you like to snuggle, I might be the girl for you.

GRRIN seems to acknowledge that Kaiya was frightened in the first few months while adjusting to her new home environment.  This would not be unusual for any foster dog, especially a senior.  The video accompanying the WOWT story clearly shows how comfortable Kaiya now is with the Wilson family.  But GRRIN apparently thinks it’s in Kaiya’s best interest to take her safe and secure home away from her and place her in another strange environment.  And they won’t say why.

It sounds like another case of a rescue deeming a home good, but not good enough.  In this case it’s particularly bizarre since GRRIN obviously believed the Wilsons were fine as a foster family for an entire year.  Does the group place foster dogs with people they feel are unsuitable to own pets?  Why was Kaiya’s adoption denied?  Is GRRIN one of those groups that believe that good homes need not apply to adopt pets?  A rescue group that doesn’t rejoice at a foster fail is puzzling, to say the least.  How many people, probably including the Wilsons, are learning about Kaiya’s story and deciding fostering is a terrible idea?

Further, this story is yet another illustration of why it’s so dangerous for pounds to send cats to rescuers without holding them first so their owners can reclaim them.  There is little to no legal accountability for rescue groups regarding adoption screening.  They can deny anyone a pet, anytime, for any reason – or as in Kaiya’s case, for no reason at all.  They can deny someone who has clearly been providing a loving, long-term home to a pet while refusing to discuss the matter. This is not what rescue is supposed to be.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

28 thoughts on “Rescue Group Denies Foster Family’s Request to Adopt

  1. What was the reason given for the foster family not being allowed to adopt? Sometimes the situation in the foster home changes, or some information comes to light about issues in the home. Speaking from both sides of rescue, as a rescue director and a foster home. Need more information on this. IE: I put a dog in a foster home that passed our application process. The foster mom had fostered many dogs for the rescue. Her son came home from college and left the dog outside and fell asleep. Dog DIED! This foster home had changed and not told our rescue. Would we have done things differently had we known her son was home from college? Probably so, had we met the son in person, he had obvious “issues” but we cant say for sure.

    1. “What was the reason given for the foster family not being allowed to adopt?”

      Both the post here and the linked article say that the rescue didn’t give a reason. That’s the problem.

      1. When i ran the golden retriever rescue in las vegas, i ALWAYS gave people a WRITTEN letter stating why they were not approved to adopt! Some rescues dont do that, they say it is their decision and they dont have to give a reason.

      2. That is a big problem there was no reason given. It is not right to move any dog around and most of all after a year. The people was good enough to home the dog for a year. I have a adopted dog here so that would be like the rescue cumming to take him back. He had issues for sure but we are working through them with him. But it would not be in his bet interest for him to move out of here all he was was confused. I feel this dog here in this article will get so confused at his age. He should be left alone and where he is at. Just my opinion. He sure does not look mistreated.

    2. What was the reason the dog died? You left that out. I could guess reasons why the dog might have died, but that’s all it would be: guessing.

  2. Or, like Jan said, the rescue might have had a BIG donor that showed interest in the dog and did not want to lose the donation $$$$. Hard to judge without the facts. And this rescue is NOT providing the facts.

  3. GRRIN has removed the option to post on their Facebook page. The posts questioning the decision and criticizing GRRIN have been removed.

  4. just remember before declaring them the “adoption nazis” that there are 2 sides to every story. I have been on the “Rescue” side many, many times and although i wouldn’t take the dog away from someone who has had it for 1 yr, i have taken dogs that the fosters declared “were fine and didn’t needs their meds” (the dog had liver shunt and had already seizured) or they were feeding regular food as opposed to the special diet (bladder stones) or they just felt that any adoption fee was too much (if you can’t afford the vetting, you probably cannot afford a dog)……7 is NOT a senior as far as I’m concerned.

  5. At the very least, this rescue owes her family their reason(s) for not wanting them to adopt this dog (who clearly is very loved and well adjusted to her foster home). I am so very tired of rescues thinking they can do anything they want, regardless of how it affects the animals. Take your power struggles somewhere else and do what is best for the animals. Geez, that’s why we are supposed to be doing this. (Sorry, some issues with a local rescue right now that are impossible to understand! So I’m not very objective.) I hope the foster family prevails.

  6. Thanks for this article. I hear this too often. I understand the desire to make sure you get a homeless pet to a safe home as a rescuer. But frankly, fosters are a safe home. There are anecdotes like the one above by Julie, but it is that: an anecdote. The vast majority of fosters are IDEAL homes for pets. Otherwise the whole system wouldn’t work. I understand the importance of keeping fosters available so you can temporarily hold pets over and over again. They are essentially expanded kennel space. But if a foster that is approved by your organization is not fit to adopt there is something wrong with your foster program. Giving a pet to a home where he/she will clearly be happy is a good thing, right? Isn’t that the definition of rescue? An organization finding good homes for pets?

    1. YES, that was the only time that a foster home had caused any problems. All my other foster homes were wonderful and adopted many dogs. Of course, i never charged my fosters an adoption fee, they did so much for the rescue! Foster homes are so very important. I am now a foster home myself and no longer a rescue director. Like it much better this way!

  7. I’ve fostered a dog I would never have approved myself to adopt–but the reasons why I wasn’t a good permanent home for that dog were clear and obvious. I was a safe temporary home for a highly adoptable, sweet, friendly, larger, high-energy dog I couldn’t have handled longterm.

    If someone is an approved foster for your organization, and would not be approved to adopt, you are doing it wrong. If there is some reason they are not suitable to adopt a particular dog, it shouldn’t be that hard to clearly explain why.

    God knows Jackson was a sweetie, and I was singing his praises with real enthusiasm while he was with me. It’s not that hard to imagine an alternate scenario where I fell in love with that dog. But he would still have been in need of a fenced yard, at least one human to be really active with him, and preferably at least one older child. I could never have given him that.

    But the rescue would have been clearly able to state those reasons, not hide behind a stance of “none of your business.”

    1. There is no cat in this story. This story is about a rescue being unreasonable. If you read the linked post, it’s about cats of unknown ownership being transferred from a municipal pound to rescue with zero stray hold time. One of the concerns is that those rescues may also have some unreasonable people in charge, and they may not return those cats to their rightful owners. If there’s nothing legally obligating the rescues to return those animals, then they can decide that the owners shouldn’t have their pet back, because if the cat was picked up as a stray then the owner must have been terrible and irresponsible, or for whatever non-reason they come up with.

      1. I’m having the same issue at CASPCA Charlottsville Virginia.Does anyone have knowledge on adoption foster bring pets due to rental agreements rectified situation paying money for having pet went to see if I could get the kittens back home that they CASPCA refused to take Kittins four said because of a different county when the county that was their home was closed due to renovations done.and told them to go to CASPCA… I want an answer as to why not?

  8. I had a rescue try this with me, it’s the big reason why I got out of rescue. In my case, a civic leader wanted the dog. I won. Because in my case, they never provided vet care or other support for the dog the entire time I had him. I paid for everything myself.

    The dog in question can jump a four foot fence like it wasn’t there. And no amount of looking at him or yelling for him to stop phased would stop the behavior. Thankfully, I have a six foot fence covering larger area so he never got away. This civic leader only had a four foot fence, and lived next to a *very* busy road. And thought just standing in the yard watching him would stop him from running. The rescue didn’t care about what was best for the dog, they wanted that connection.

    Oh, and I had never signed a foster contract. That wasn’t intentinal on my part, when I became a foster for them they were more concerned about having somewhere to dump dogs to think about such things.

  9. It’s a shame, I guess the family was good enough to foster, but not good enough to permanently adopt the dog. Then people wonder why we get so jaded with some of these rescues

  10. Too many rescues are so impossible to work with. I was part of a nationally known one who put so many ridiculous rules that made the adoption process almost impossible for many great families I interviewed. They were like Nazis…used lot of scare tactics and the dog never came first. Said good bye to them after three long years…stayed for the sake of the poor abandoned dogs. Then started my own group. Some of the leaders of rescues are putting their egos far ahead of compassion and common sense. Others are so good and do so much to make it work. The one I was with, for instance, NEVER allowed home visits! Ridiculous!

  11. I work for a rescue and have worked for other rescues prior to the one I am currently employed with. The majority of the time that a Foster wants to adopt a pet it is an easy decision to process the adoption for them. There are some occasions where I could see that it will not be in the best interest of the animal to be adopted by the foster family. As a rescue we are responsible for all of the medical expenses as well as food and supplies for the foster pet. Sometimes people foster because they can’t afford to take on a new pet. if that is the case, then I can see not wanting to process an adoption to that family. We always want to make sure that the pets are going to a home where they can receive the care that they need and deserve, including medical care.

  12. a good rescue who is in it for the right reasons would never begrudge a pet from having a good home even if fee is waived. if certain basic expenses have to be met, they could still work that out somehow. l’ve always given volunteers a break with fees when they want to adopt. it’s a good way to run off volunteers when you don’t appreciate the work they do for you.

  13. Wow- so many variables. We were working a huge TNR colony and pulling sick ones for treatment. One of our volunteers who I had allowed to foster two cats on short term notice in the past wanted to help with the sick ones and the sick litters. I had hesitation as I know all the time necessary to properly treat and especially keep the cats environment clean whe they are sick. Against my better judgement and because I was up against a wall I agreed. She had no resources so we supplied all the food litter medications and vet visits. Well her brother had moved in with her and he was supposed to be this wonderful cat man. I made a surprise visit to the house and was absolutely appalled at the living conditions -feces piled high in litterpans-being kept in a dark shet with no sunlight or fresh air on the ground in cages- it was horrible. A hording Raid to be sure. Quite frankly they would have been better left in their colony and I told her so. So I immediately made haste to get the cats out of there.
    The brother threatened to kill me if I tried to remove the cats had to get the cops involved etc. People are not what they appear to be. She is now with another hoarder friend running a new animal rescue.

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