Adopting a dog is no walk in the park02/28/2020
Nothing against dogs but I've never really wanted one. They're too needy for my liking. Too in-your-face. The way they snuggle up close and stare at you with their big doggy eyes then nudge your hand with their long, wet snout until you pat their head – it's so manipulative.
But my beloved loves dogs, she's a real dog person: she looked at me with her big eyes and said, "Can we get a dog? Come on, let's get a dog!" I couldn't say no: she was nudging my hand with her long wet snout. So manipulative.
Dog pounds are now 5-star Pet Rescue Resorts with an all-you-can-eat kibble buffet.Credit:Hamish Hastie
Everything I know about dog pounds comes from 1960s-era Disney movies where there's a villainous dogcatcher man who catches stray dogs off the streets. He's got the bushy-eyebrowed menace of a Disney kitten-catcher mixed with the rat-faced charm of a Disney child-catcher. He drives around in a dilapidated old cart with "Dog Pound" written on the side and steals dogs while they're enjoying romantic spaghetti dinners in the moonlight. Then he locks them in doggy-prison where all the dogs huddle together and bark-sing There's No Place Like Home in perfect five-part harmony. Dogs could do that back in the 1960s. It was a good time for music.
That's all changed. Dog pounds are now 5-star Pet Rescue Resorts with an all-you-can-eat kibble buffet and rave reviews on TripAdvisor ("Clean accommodation, lovely staff, internet a bit slow but still able to connect. Highly recommended!" MisterWigglebutt, Melbourne). And the dogs are not easy to adopt: my beloved spent days going from one pet rescue place to the other, but all the suitable dogs were taken – the only dogs left were too big for our house, or they were cats. But she kept looking, kept checking websites, kept filling out complicated forms with personal details and family histories and character references like she was trying to adopt a kid from North Korea. But every dog she wanted got snapped up fast and she started feeling dejected, pining around the house, head lowered, making a whimpering sound. I had to put her outside for five minutes, it was getting irritating.
Frankie came along. She was a foster-dog: a black "Staffy Lab Cross", which sounded more like a bacterial laboratory experiment than a breed. But we got "shortlisted", so we drove 60 kilometres out of town for a doggy meet-and-greet. And my beloved was excited on the way, poking her head out the car window, her ears flapping in the breeze (kind of cute, but she was driving at the time, so also kind of dangerous).
For an hour and a half we hung out with Frankie, played with Frankie, fell in love with Frankie, while the foster-carers scrutinised everything we did – it was intense, like a driving exam during a very long reverse-parking task. We felt we had a chance, but several other people had also been shortlisted so we went home and waited for an answer. Waited. Then at the end of the week, an email arrived … and someone else got the dog. My beloved howled, "I give up!", then slumped on the couch, curling her hind legs up behind her. Normally she's not allowed on the good couch, but this time I let her.
Adopting a rescue dog shouldn't be this tough. There's got to be a better way for dog-lovers to find dogs. That's why I'm going to invent a dog-matching app where you simply swipe left, swipe right. I'll call it Rin-Tin-Tinder. Good, right?
Danny Katz is a Melbourne humorist.
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