Planning on Adopting a Rescue Pet?

by Deborah L. White

I know many of us love and deeply care for the furry additions we bring into our homes. We nurture and care for them.

Recently, my ‘Freckles’ passed away. She was a rescue from Washington state I adopted while living in Kotzebue. I prefer to adopt rescues. They are truly underdogs and cats that need just a bit more compassion.

My needs were specific but not at all extreme … just small and a travel companion, preferably housetrained.

Bethel Friends of Canines did not have a small dog. I started to go to the agencies throughout Alaska in search of what I had hoped was a new addition to my home. I found 2 from 2 separate agencies in Alaska. I contacted both.

I noted in my application I could provide references, including my veterinarian, and was open to a home visit from either the local rescue group here and/or my vet. Both times I was declined: “we do not adopt out of our area”.

There are 2 reasons for that, either there are a small number of animals in rescue, or Bethel is not considered as an option for the agencies to send dogs or cats to. By looking at the sheer number of animals in Alaska in need of homes, I knew option 1 was not the reason.

I spoke with a long time friend who fostered a large number of animals while living in Bethel. She confirmed Bethel has a bad reputation and agencies will not adopt pets to people in Bethel. It doesn’t seem to matter how responsible an applicant can be, the references, and home checks we can provide. We are classified as not acceptable.

I adopted a small companion with the help from Faith at Dr. Sept’s office about 7 weeks after Freckles passed away. The dog is from California. Her name is Schatzi. And she is already spoiled and a cherished addition to my home.

Alaska agencies had 1 less opportunity to provide a pet to a caring, responsible home. I still got my dog. The poor dog in need of rescue in Alaska was the one that lost the opportunity for a forever home.

If agencies classify an applicant from a location as not acceptable, without doing their due diligence in the background checks they require, are they really a rescue group?

Deborah L. White is a Pet Owner and Parent and a resident of Bethel, AK.