© 2012 Joshua Stark
"Thank you for your interest in Bailey. We are not comfortable plscing
her with such young children."
That right there is the entire email I received after being stupid enough to fill out this absolutely ridiculous form at the Big Dog Rescue of Penngrove, California. I spent maybe thirty minutes answering questions as asinine and legally dubious as, "what brand of dog food do plan to feed your dog?" and, "if you have a family member or friend you would like to care for the dog... please list their contact information here, so that they may be qualified by Big Dog Rescue."
After that humiliation, I expected, at the very least, a call-back so that they might get to know me and my family. I figured that since they are rescue folks, they would care enough to realize the impersonal nature of the internet and want some time in direct communication. I also assumed that they cared about getting dogs to homes where they are loved.
I am an idiot, obviously. They didn't even take the time to spell-check.
I probably should have let the extraordinarily offensive image they have of Buddha with a dog's head on their website be my clue (only a North Bay liberal could have such callous disregard for others' religious beliefs). I should have let my first experience with a "rescue" person over at Golden Gate English Springer Spaniel Rescue exemplify "rescue" people, in general. I even could have listened to my sister-in-law, who works at a county shelter, or my sister, who has dealt with "rescue" people a couple of times for dogs, and who both told me that they are crazy charlatans who make ridiculous demands and charge insane amounts of money.
Why do I keep using quotation marks around "rescue"? Because these people aren't rescuing these dogs. I don't know what sore part of their consciences these people are trying to salve, but they aren't doing what they purport to do. The only dog I've met via rescue was matted and scratching fleas, and the others haven't even given me the time of day.
Under normal circumstances I'd be much more self-reflective, but I know dogs, I love dogs, and I'm pretty good with dogs. In fact, I'm so confident that I'm not even going to defend myself here.
So I'll still scour the shelters for dogs and I'll still look up classified ads. I'll even consider dogs from a reputable hunting dog breeder (a first in my life and maybe a sign of a mid-life crisis). But I will not try for another poor dog from a "rescue".
And as I said in my response to the Big Dog Rescue of Penngrove, I pray for those dogs they pretend to rescue.