16 Things Shelter Workers And Volunteers Are Tired Of Hearing

Written by: Rachel Crocetti

September 11, 2015

Those who have worked at a shelter have heard it all.

Everything from horrible excuses as to why people are giving up their dog to silly misconceptions about rescued animals, you name it, we’ve heard it.

The hardworking staff and volunteers at Bobbi and the Strays on Long Island have heard some of the craziest things from people looking to give up or adopt a dog. Here is a list of things that real life shelter workers and volunteers are totally sick of hearing:

1. “I can’t find what I want at a shelter.”

Hmm, we thought you wanted a new four-legged family member. While animal shelters may not have the most perfect pups, if you broaden your horizon a bit, you are bound to find a loving, incredible dog that is just perfect for you! These animals have been through a lot, and they’ve come out on the other side with even more love to give.

2. “The adoption fee is way too high.”

While municipal shelters get some money from their city or county, most of them are kill shelters. Non-profit shelters that are no-kill get no help from the city and are based entirely on adoption fees and donations. Typically an adoption fee of a couple hundred dollars includes a variation of things, including microchipping, vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and any necessary vetwork. Not only are you getting a deal on your new pet, but your payment is less of a fee and more of a donation to help feed and medicate the other homeless dogs at the shelter.

3. “Do you have any purebred (insert breed name here)?”

Yes, sometimes purebred dogs do end up in shelters, but so do mixed-breed dogs who are just as awesome. Why not choose a dog with a mix of characteristics who is not only unique, but also has a wonderful story of being adopted into their perfect family?

4. “Shelter animals are only in a shelter because there is something wrong with them.”

This is not always true! While some dogs are given up due to behavioral/health issues, tons of dogs end up in shelters because their owners become ill, move to nursing homes, pass away, or are unable to give them the care they need. Don’t judge a rescue pup by the rumors!

5. “Do you have any puppies?”

Maybe, but why not choose an adult dog who is already housebroken, has their shots, and is trained? Or better yet, why not a sweet senior pup who wants to live out their last few years with kind-hearted people who will cuddle them every night and give them love? Some people insist upon getting puppies, but they don’t realize that puppies are a LOT of work. Always remember, puppies do not stay puppies forever!

6. “Shelter animals must have behavioral problems.”

In all honesty, some shelter animals could use some training. Some pups who have been in a shelter for awhile develop anxieties due to being in a kennel for a long time. However, not all shelter animals have behavioral problems! Again, many pups end up in shelters due to unforeseen circumstances, or owners who weren’t well prepared for a dog.

7. “Animal shelters are too sad.”

Yes, they are sometimes. Unfortunately some people are awful to animals, and it’s incredibly difficult to see and deal with that every day. But at the same time, shelters are a place of hope and new beginnings! I have seen a dog come in with her ribs showing and bite marks all over her face due to dog-fighting, and she has grown into the most energetic and beautiful pup ever. If you adopt a dog from a shelter, just realize that you are a part of something so much bigger than you can imagine, as you are not only saving that dog’s spirit, but you are also saving it from a life behind bars that it doesn’t deserve.

8. “What an easy, fun job! You get to play with animals all day!”

🐶💗🐱 Girl's got a heart of gold. #NotSoLittleSister #ShelterVolunteer

A photo posted by Adrianna Leah 💋 (@adrianna_bee) on

It’s true, we are awfully lucky! But it’s not all fun and games. Working at a shelter requires a lot of energy, focus, and willingness to get your hands dirty. While playing with the pups in the yard is a fun break from the everyday work, shelter staff have to keep track of the dogs behaviors to make sure they are healthy, monitor their food intake, deal with medications, and keep track of all of the little details with each and every individual animal. It’s a dream to work with these perfect creatures every day, but it is also a lot of work! (And there is a lot of poop to deal with. SO much poop.)

9. “I’d like to find an (insert breed name) to breed with my dog.”

Sorry, no can do. Most shelters will have their dogs spayed/neutered before they adopt them out due to the overbreeding problem that lands so many puppies in shelters to begin with. If you are looking for a specific kind of dog to breed with your pup, expect to be turned away by most shelters.

10. “The process to adopt a dog is way too intense.”

There is a reason for that, we swear! While many shelters require interviews, meet-and-greets, home checks, etc., they are doing that simply because they do not want their pups to end up in horrible homes once again. These animals have beautiful spirits and have gone through so much, they deserve a perfect home to live and prosper in.


11. “Do you have any dogs other than Pit Bulls?”

Probably, but Pit Bulls are AMAZING. Not only are they some of the most loyal dogs in the world, they are world-class cuddlers and incredible family members. Pit Bulls are found more often in shelters than other breeds because many times they are overbred as fighting or guard dogs, and rescued by shelters from horrible, negative lives. The stereotype that Pit Bulls are aggressive is simply not true – I have had a Pit Bull flat on their back, tongue lolling to the side, putty-in-my-hands, just enjoying every second of a belly rub.

12. “I’d like to donate my dog.”

This actually has been said numerous times at Bobbi and the Strays. We do not have a shortage of homeless dogs. If you actually want to help a shelter, you can donate much-needed money or volunteer to work at a shelter. If you have to give up your dog honesty is the best way to go.

13. “My dog just had puppies. Can you take them?”

Maybe. But please consider getting your dogs spayed/neutered. Also, shelters sometimes do not have the means to care for a whole litter of puppies, and typically they have to stay with their mama for around eight weeks before they can be weaned off of her milk.

14. “Is that eight-week-old puppy housebroken?”

If you want a puppy, you have to take on the responsibility of training them as well. A puppy is not just a cute face (although that is definitely a huge part of it). They need to learn the ways of the world, just as a child would. And if you’re getting a pup, expect a LOT of poop. Sometimes an amount you would never expect from such a small, furry creature.

15. “I don’t believe in spaying or neutering my dog.”

This is obviously a personal decision, but it is responsible to look at all your options. Not only are puppies an obvious possibility when you keep your dog unfixed, but also male dogs who haven’t been neutered have a tendency to be a bit more aggressive due to excess testosterone and sexual energy built up (much like teenage boys).

16. “I can’t keep my pet because…”

Sigh. This is a painful thing to hear. Shelter workers have heard everything in the book. The dog is too old, too young, too playful, too energetic, too lazy, we’re having a baby, we’re moving, we’re too busy, the list goes on. The thing to remember is that dogs are not a trend, they are forever!

Featured image via Earl The Grump

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Written by: Rachel Crocetti

September 11, 2015

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