Saturday, July 02, 2011

how I hoodwinked the animal communists without an ounce of guilt

When I was growing up in Texas, things were simple, when it came to dogs.
You don't want your dog? You take it to the shelter.
You want to get a new dog? You adopt one from the shelter.
Simple. Efficient. Dare I say, Libertarian.

Because after all, they are dogs.

Here in CA and especially in the bay area, adopting a dog is akin to international infant adoption.
Background checks, drug tests, retinal scans, and a very uncomfortable full-body-interview process, all of which is necessary before you can even take a number, to get on a list to be considered to fill out an application.*

*truth: okay, I exaggerated a teeny bit, but here are the real requirements:
You must take a number to make an appointment.
You must have all persons and animals who live in the household present to interview for the dog.
All persons and animals are then evaluated on dog-worthiness, by a staff person (read: crazy cat lady) for at least 30 minutes.
If for any reason the staff believes you are unfit to adopt the dog, you are rejected (and your children sob uncontrollably).

Since I have small children and an existing dog, this makes me largely ineligible for any dog adoption. Why is that? Because children get excited around cute new dogs and jump and yell, and Mojito freaks out being in an animal shelter. Especially when they make you wait in the lobby for 20 minutes so the children and chi-weenie can get all anxious and tense.

Yes, I tried twice in two different cities to adopt a homeless animal, and twice I was given verdict of unworthiness.

My reaction: I was furious.
I've had dogs for 25+ years. Mojito eats organic kibbles, gets walked, nails clipped, teeth/ears cleaned, belly rubbed, roams both fenced yards whenever he wants, and bonus, gets all the fallen floor food from my kids. He lives like a king.
But he sits alone for 6 hrs during the day and his best friend died last year, so sue me for wanting to get him a friend (wolfpack!).

And [crazy cat] ladies judge me?! No way!!

So last night I came up with a plan. insert maniacal laugh
This morning I executed it. insert badass transitional music

I took off my wedding ring, pulled out my passport with my maiden name and chose an alias mailing address, so to avoid traceability back to Mojito or his registration under my name.
I drove down to the unnamed city's animal shelter, arriving shortly after opening time with cash in my wallet and took a number. insert funk guitar riff...okay I'll quit the screenplay notes...

I handed them my passport and filled out my application as a single white female with no pets.

I picked out the sweetest little homeless and neglected chihuahua, ab libbed my lines in the interview and the dog was mine.

Mine, I tell you!!!

I walked out of there a winner.
I haven't felt that awesome in a long time. It was better than scratching a lucky $100 lotto ticket.

And even though I totally lied about my life-status, everyone wins. The overcrowded, under-funded shelter has one less mouth to feed, the dog gets a new home and a life of luxury that's better than most humans on earth get, and our family gets a new member to love.

Win win win.

The proverbial frosting was applied when I stuffed her into my totebag before walking through my front door. I had told the kids I was going to the store. Kevin knew where I was going (and he's still not happy about it) but he didn't know I had a dog hiding in my bag either.

Then I told Kid C to look inside to see what I had brought her. :D

I don't have to tell you that they didn't want to sit and eat their lunch after that revelation.

p.s. she's an incredibly good dog. I really can't believe how well behaved she is. Heaven knows where she came from, she's 4 lbs under weight and just came out of the shelter. But she's fantastic. :)


Kate said...

A very similar thing happened to us when getting another cat. We already had a rescued cat and 3 kids (also rescued...not really). On our 3rd trip, I decided to go alone to get finally choose a kitty that might work well with the family. Big mistake telling them I am married with 3 kids and another cat. In order to get the cat I knew we'd love (he later proved me wrong with his overbearing needyness and toe toes. We actually do love him, but he is a bit odd at times.) Regroup - They said we all had to be there and that if anyone walked in before my husband woke the baby and 2 year old from their naps and grabbed the 5 year old out the door and to the shelter, the other person could take him! I'm like, "You've got to be kidding me?! Is this a joke?" Nope. The very serious look on the hippie chick's face told me it was certainly not a joke and how dare I treat this process so lightly. So, my husband came dragging three tired children to a shelter where we were interrogated, I mean interviewed, and after 2 hours were deemed fit. There were a couple close calls though because the two year old wanted to hold the cat. GASP! For heavens sake, we weren't going to eat the cat for dinner!

Laura Seymour said...

way to go, charlie! i love your conniving! i love your new teeny dog!

Cristin said...

Only in California. I can't believe how difficult it is to adopt a pet! I don't blame you for fibbing. So glad you got another sweet dog for your family :)


Betsey said...

I made the fatal mistake of telling the shelter people that I needed a cat because we leave up against a field and have a mouse problem... Heaven forbid I need a cat to keep the mice away!! DENIED!

Lacy said...

It's so sad to me that it's so hard to adopt (pets or kids, for that matter)! I cannot believe they denied you guys twice. That's ridiculous.

If the opportunity arises for you again, try going to a PetSmart when they're having adoption days. That's where we got Bella. And although you still have to fill out a crap ton of paperwork, they interview you right there and make a snap decision, and there's no running home to get the cat or any of that nonsense. It was (relatively) painless.

Jennifer said...

Love it!!! Congrats to the growing family!