*edit* I want to thank you all for sending Hank your love and well wishes. He has his antibiotics and some lovely narcotics to suppress his cough. He’s currently high as a kite, having happy little pug dreams.
I understand many people are passionate about EHS. No matter how you slice it, when it comes to animals and animal ownership,we are all passionate. We all have a favorite agency, charity, or society. EHS has a great reputation, and a huge, supportive network of donors, volunteers, and fans.
My post struck all kinds of chords. Some people are very angry, because EHS is a place they support, or adopt from, or donate to, or volunteer with. I understand that my story and my experience has upset those people.
Some folks have said they’ve gone through a similar experience. They are disappointed with EHS and would consider other options for adopting. I thank these people for sharing.
EHS addressed my post on their Facebook page. I encourage you to visit it. They wished Hank well, corrected my comment on it being a city-run facility, and reiterated the information that was in the brochures issued to my friends when they adopted their dog.
I am grateful for their response. I am glad my post was read by staff @ EHS, and I hope my friends’ visit to EHS raised some awareness to their top-tier staff.
Adopting an animal should be no different than adopting any other creature into your family. Make an informed decision. Ask important questions, and stand your ground if your questions go unanswered.
And now, I am so glad to be getting the hell off Facebook again. Thank you for letting me hop back on for a minute to share my story. heart emoticon
This is Hank. You’ve met him before – on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and, if you’re super lucky, in real life. Hank is my grumpy 8 years old, old-man pug.
I’ve made the decision to come back onto FB to post this. We need to discuss animal adoption.
Hank is sick. My grumpy old-man pug has contracted kennel cough. My sweet man, with his honks and snorts and snotty sneezes – my fella who hasn’t been sick a day in his life – is now wheezing and hacking and having an awful time trying to breathe.
My friends recently adopted a rescue from the Edmonton Humane Society. When we met this doggy, at the lovely new facility in Edmonton’s west end, one of the first things we noticed was his cough. This beautiful Husky dog, who my girlfriend fell madly in love with, looked worse for wear – with a big scab on his face and a scar on his back – he was a rough sight. But he was gentle and sweet and goofy and wonderful. He also had a hell of a cough.
My friend convinced her husband to come meet this fellow, and he fell in love, too. They made the decision to adopt the Husky. He was going to be the perfect addition to their family.
I asked my girlfriend to please make sure he didn’t have kennel cough during the medical exit exam. I asked this question because she and her husband were actually doggy-sitting for me – so the handsome Husky was going to be coming home to my dog.
When the final paperwork was signed, and their family finally had the addition they had been searching for, my girlfriend told me the medical staff at the Edmonton Humane Society had cleared the Husky – it turns out he was coughing due to a scratchy throat from ‘stress’. They called it a ‘stress cough’. While I wasn’t convinced, we were all pretty happy to welcome a new dog into their family.
Their dog and my dog were together only about 15 hours. Long enough to meet and sniff each other, play, annoy each other, and share some toys. As the week progressed, their new pooch became quite sick – his cough worsened and he became a bit lethargic. He went to meet his new vet (not through the Humane Society), who immediately diagnosed him with kennel cough and gave him some heavy duty antibiotics.
Even though their new family member was sick, my friends were so incredibly upset and concerned about Hank possibly contracting kennel cough that they attempted to call the Edmonton Humane Society on several occasions. They spoke to four different people, each of whom passed them off to someone else. No one could help them sort out what we might do or who we could speak to. At this point, Hank wasn’t exhibiting symptoms, but my friends wanted to know why the Edmonton Humane Society had discharged a sick animal to new adopters. Especially when it was documented that they had asked about the cough.
Now, my Hank is sick. He isn’t strong like a young Husky. He is an old man who is already plagued with poor genetics where breathing is concerned. As soon as I let my friends know that Hank was exhibiting the trademark hacking and shuddering symptoms of kennel cough, they took action.
Having had limited success with contacting anyone by telephone, they took time out of their Sunday to go to the facility. They were met with apprehension – the staff at the Edmonton Humane Society tried to convince them to leave the facility and to either call or email their concerns. They finally met with a facility Operations Manager. This woman was dismissive and assigned blame on to my friends. She told them that “taking their dog home was a risk” and that it was up to them to have “quarantined the dog for a few days”. My friends told this Operations Manager that they had explained the situation to the staff when they adopted their dog, and that they medically cleared him to be around other animals. This Operations Manager then passed the blame on to the medical staff. She was defensive and refused to take any responsibility on behalf of the Edmonton Humane Society in regards to sending a sick animal home.
There are so many rescue organizations out there that need your dollars, your homes, your volunteer hours. AARCS, SCARS, HART, Pawsitive Match, WHARF – to name only a few. These organizations care so much about rehoming animals that they may have slightly higher adoption fees to cover medical costs, food costs, admin costs. They have extensive applications – four to five pages of questions that really force you to think about the responsibility of animal ownership. They want the best for the animals that come into their care, and they truly want these animals to go to their ‘forever homes’.
The Edmonton Humane Society is *edit – a charitable organization that seems to be in the business of churning out animals. Their application process is fairly simple – with the toughest questions being ‘Do you own or rent?’, and ‘Why do you want to adopt?’. It is, simply, a business. Their Operations Manager openly admits it is risky to bring an animal from their facility home – and is quick to assign blame anywhere but to the facility itself. They discharged a sick dog – I am certain they are experts in their field and knew the handsome husky had been exhibiting symptoms of kennel cough – assuring my friends the animal was fine. What did it matter to the Humane Society? They are overrun with animals needing a space. Rehoming the Husky freed up a room for another abandoned dog. Not to mention the financial side – they had their $200 adoption fee.
I believe it is morally reprehensible to discharge sick animals. It is unfair to the animal, for obvious reasons. It is unfair to the adopters, because they fall madly in love and want to provide a safe, healthy, happy home to their new addition. And finally, it is unfair to other fur babies. My sweet Hank, my old man, who unconditionally loves us in his grumpy old-man way – he doesn’t deserve this. He doesn’t understand. And now, we will have to stress him out further with a trip to the vet, doses of antibiotics, and general discomfort. My poor old man.
I hope you will make an informed decision before financially supporting or adopting from the Edmonton Humane Society. Please consider an organization that isn’t bursting at the seams, desperate to discharge animals at any cost.