You Have To Be Howling Mad To Work Here

| OK, USA | Working | August 21, 2014

(I’m working cleaning out cages and feeding the dogs, who are housed in a concrete building. The noise is cacophonous. One dog in particular begins howling.)

Dog: “OOOOOooooooo.”

Me: “OOOOOOOOOOOooooo!”

Dog: “OOOOOooooOOOOO.”

Me: “ooooOOOOOOO?”

Dog: “OOOOO.”

(This proceeds for several minutes until I notice that my supervisor is in the building.)

Supervisor: “Were you… howling at that dog?”

Me: “No! Of course not! That would be weird.”

Supervisor: “Oh, okay… Sure is loud in here today, though.”

(Supervisor walks away, looking back at me suspiciously.)

Dog: “ooooOOOO?”

Me: “OOOooooooooo.”

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Introduction To Reality

| CA, USA | Right | August 4, 2014

(We do dog intros with the owner’s dog and our dog to make sure that when our dog goes home it won’t attack their dog and vice versa. During the intros we ask the owner to wait outside so that we can see how their dog reacts one on one with the other dog. The dog the old woman has picked to do a dog intro with isn’t friendly with her dog at all. She tried to bite several times and the woman’s dog looks very uncomfortable.)

Me: “Unfortunately, your dog and our dog didn’t get along, so I am not able to approve this dog intro. But if there is another dog that you like we can do another dog intro.”

Older Woman: “But I wanted that one. I want her!”

Me: “I am really sorry but I cannot let you take that puppy home. She tried to bite your dog.”

Older Woman: “But that’s the dog I want. OH, I really want her. I am going to take her home.”

Me: “She was being really unfriendly with your dog. Your dog was being very nice, but was trying to get away from her. I would be happy to do another dog intro, though, if you have another dog in mind.”

(She keeps telling me how much she wants the dog.)

Coworker: “Ma’am, we are not allowed to let you take the dog home. She would just attack your dog.”

Older Woman: “Okay, I’ll see if there are anymore dogs.”

Me: “That sounds great! Unfortunately you cannot take your dog out to the kennels, but I would be happy to hold your dog for you while you look!”

Older Woman: “Okay.”

(I sat in the lobby with her dog for almost an hour, waiting. People went out into the kennels to make sure she was still there. Eventually she came back and said she didn’t want to see any other dogs and left still mumbling about how she still wanted that dog.)

Bring The Whole Animal House With You

| TX, USA | Working | July 30, 2014

(My family arrives at our local animal shelter that has a big glass front. I see the inside volunteers watching my family pile out, including my wife, my eight-year-old twins, and one-year-old daughter. Then their eyes lock on me carrying our dog, Rocky. Their gaze follows me the entire way up the walkway and as we enter the building.)

Volunteer: “Can I help you folks with anything?”

Wife: “Yes, ma’am. We would like to see your cats, please.”

(She shows us to the cats and my kids go nuts trying to find the perfect cat. The whole while, Rocky is trying to break loose and the other volunteers are shooting hateful looks at me. Finally the kids settle on a young adult black cat. She is young enough that she won’t be cranky, but old enough that the baby won’t hurt her. The kids look at me and back away. I set Rocky down in front of the cat, Boo, and they seem to be okay with each other.)

Me: “Okay, looks good to me. We’ll take her home!”

(The volunteer helping us looks puzzled.)

Volunteer: “Why did you bring your dog?”

Me: “Why wouldn’t I? He lives in the house, too. Wouldn’t want to bring someone home he didn’t approve of as well.”

Volunteer: “That’s brilliant! Sir, we all thought you brought him here to dump him, and for some reason brought your kids. Then we thought you were going to ‘trade’ him for a cat. Nobody has ever thought to bring their other pets in to make sure they get along with a new adoption.”

(We brought Boo home, and after a short adjustment period she’s just as much a part of our family as Rocky is.)

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Has A Cat’s Chance In Hell Of Adopting

| Kearney, NE, USA | Right | July 28, 2014

Me: “Hello! Are you interested in finding a pet today?”

Customer: *with young son* “Yes. I would like to adopt two cats.”

Me: “That’s fantastic! We have many to choose from.”

Customer: “Too bad my landlord won’t let me have more than one pet at my apartment.” *handing me her phone* “Here’s a picture of my son’s cat.”

Me: “You already have a pet?”

Customer: “Yep.”

Me: “And you want to adopt two more?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “But your landlord says you can only have one animal in your home?”

Customer: “Oh, the two cats I adopt here won’t live with me! My father just passed away and his house is lonely so they’ll live there.”

Me: “I’m so sorry to hear about your father, but we can’t do an adoption for cats to live alone in a house.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “Because we want to make sure that the animals would be properly cared for and if no one lives with them they could run out of food and water or get trapped during an emergency and you might not know about it for days.”

Customer: “Well, I’m paying for the air conditioning to be on at his house so someone should live there!”

Me: “Maybe you could live out the lease at your apartment then move in to your dad’s house.”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to have to move my stuff. What if I just tell you I live there?”

Me: “Since I already know that that is a lie, I would not feel comfortable doing the adoption.”

Customer: “Do you even care about the animals here?!”

Me: “Yes, that’s why I don’t want them it have to live alone in a house. They deserve to be cared for.”

Customer: “Maybe I’ll just spend every night at the house so I know they’d be okay!”

Me: “Would your son stay with you?”

Customer: “No! He’s afraid of the house!”

Me: “So, you’re willing to let your young son live alone just so you can adopt these cats?”

Customer: “I’m gonna tell you whatever you need to hear so you’ll give me these animals!”

Me: “Ma’am, I truly am sorry that you lost your father. But the situation you are in right now simply makes me unable to let you adopt an animal from us. If you move or can provide us with written proof that your landlord will allow more pets, come back and see what cats we have at that time.”

Customer: “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer! You don’t even care what happens to these animals!” *storms out the door*

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She’s Going To Have Kittens

| Vancouver, BC, Canada | Right | May 22, 2014

(I volunteer at a cat shelter and am usually on care duties, but I manage adoptions when there isn’t a more experienced coworker available. On this day I’m one of only two people working, so when someone interested in adoption enters, I take care of them.)

Customer: “I’m looking for a cat that’s docile and easy to care for, but isn’t scared of everything or so shy you never see it. Y’know?”

(There are many cats that match this description, so I introduce them to the first three that stick out in my mind and invite them to take a look around the shelter on their own while I take care of the other units. They thank me and I leave for ten minutes. I later catch up with them as they’re exiting the kitten unit.)

Customer: “I found the perfect one!”

Me: “Oh, really? That’s great! Which one?”

Customer: “The little black and grey one just in there.” *points*

(There are two matching that description, so I invite them back into the unit with me and they show me the kitten they want. To my horror, it’s one of the worst-behaved cats we have, deceptive in that it will purr and cuddle you before it pisses all over your clothes and tears up the blinds.)

Me: “Oh… this one? I feel like I should warn you that she’s had behavioural issues in the past. She’s the reason this room doesn’t have any cushions in it and she has a bad track for urinating on clothes. I wouldn’t recommend her over the other cats I showed you.”

Customer: “What?! No! You must be thinking of that one.” *gestures to the other black and grey kitten, with distinctly different facial markings, sleeping in a bed* “This one’s so sweet. She just came right up to me and cuddled me the entire time I was in here.”

Me: “No, I’m positive it’s this one. She is very loving, but she’ll shred all your furniture. I’m afraid that if you adopt her you’ll have to spend a lot of your time working through her destructiveness, if you can at all. Since you’re looking for an easy to care for cat, I really don’t think she’d be a good match.”

Customer: “Blah! This is the one I want. I’m sure of it. Don’t you want them to get adopted?”

(We argue back and forth for a short while. I’m reluctant to put their application through to the shelter owner, but they’re insistent, and I don’t have the option not to, anyway. Three days later they pay and pick the kitten up. They arrive at the shelter again in two weeks and catch me as I’m emptying litter boxes.)

Customer: “You! You’re the person who let me adopt that s***-brained f****** cat! I should sue this place!”

Me: *remembering them* “You adopted the black and grey kitten that I specifically warned you not to adopt?”

Customer: “Yes! She f***** up all my drapes and pissed on everything in my f****** closet! I should make you pay for the damage!”

Me: “I’m sorry for your belongings, but I told you this would happen before you even placed your application. There’s nothing we can do to reimburse you.”

Coworker: *approaching the shouting* “I can help you in the office. If you would follow me?”

(They follow her, ranting about their drapes and my incompetence. Turns out the kitten did more than $500 worth of damage, but we’re in no way liable to compensate their loss. The kitten was returned to the shelter and was later adopted by a woman who was able to rehabilitate her.)

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