Ghosted by pet adoption organization: what happened?

We were looking at adopting a dog that people had to give up, and saw a post on Facebook about just such a dog. We contacted the organization, and filled out an application. Last Thursday the head of the organization called and said they hoped they could send us home with her over the weekend. Then…radio silence. Emails, texts, and calls not returned. The best I can come up with is that either A) The organization’s head had some kind of major catastrophe happen in her life, or B) she decided we weren’t a good fit, but doesn’t want to tell us, or C) the partner of the dog’s deceased person decided to keep her after all. Whatever the case, it’s weird that the person in charge of adoptions just stopped communicating. The organization, by the way, is called Legends of the Paws.

A lot of animal rescue organizations are run by people of questionable sanity. Plus they are almost all volunteers. This is a very mild story. I’ve heard many that would curl your hair if it was straight and straighten it if it was curly.

I would just shrug and move on.

Legends of the Paws appears to be legit but they are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation which usually means all-volunteer “employees”. You should try contacting them and see what happened. They at least owe you an explanation.


Most likely you were #2 (or 3, or 4…) in line for the dog, and someone in front of you got it. Ideally they would contact everyone who had expressed interest, but that kind of follow-up can easily fall through the cracks with all volunteer organizations that are very busy and/or poorly run.

Big thing for us is that the dog gets a home. We were just frustrated that the person just suddenly stopped communicating.

You can try leaving a message here on their website, but I doubt it will help.

When 20+ people enquire to adopt every pet, I think they just do the best picking whomever they feel is right. Often based on little information. Maybe this person lives further downtown, or this person is slightly older, or this person has one dog already, etc, etc. It could always be something totally random, is all.

But yeah, they just ghost you, without explanation. Imagine how much MORE work it would be if they had to send out communications to all of the 19 people who didn’t get the dog. And then, answer all their inquiries about why they weren’t chosen. That’s a whole lot of pointless back and forth, and excess work, for already overloaded volunteers.

But I do feel your pain, as someone who eventually DID adopt during the pandemic! Don’t take it personally, and don’t stop trying. I know it’s heartbreaking and hard, but don’t give up, just keep swinging. One of these times, you’ll be the one!

Good Luck!

Generic message, hit "Reply All’.

Agreed. It takes little time or effort to send a generic letter saying the pet was placed with another family “who we believe was a better fit for this particular dog.” It’s the right thing to do, and it would be in the shelter’s best interest if they want to foster goodwill with the public and not turn away good potential homes for their animals in the future. Of course, if the candidate’s application has red flags (e.g. Hobbies: dogfighting), then send a generic letter that says “we don’t believe you’re a good fit for any of our animals.”

Can you visit them personally?

I just checked their website and the only address I saw is a PO Box. That’s not a good sign.

I hadn’t noticed that about the PO Box. The person lives in Idaho and apparently facilitates adoptions for dogs all over. It happened that this one wasn’t that far from us; someone from church had posted it on Facebook. We aren’t desperate for a dog, so the disappointment isn’t that great. It was just annoying to go from “hopefully you can take her home over the weekend” to nothing. I think we’ll just keep an eye on the local shelter and keep eyes/ears open for dogs in our immediate area who can no longer be kept for reasons that have nothing to do with their behavior.

Some organizations are pretty much one-person operations, so a personal crisis could stop everything in its tracks. And sometimes the person making adoption decisions is just flakey.

The last time we were looking for a dog, we had a few weird experiences with small rescues. We got our current dog from a well-established medium sized rescue organization, and it was a much better experience. We got our previous dog from a very small rescue, and she was a love, but had some undisclosed problems. It’s worth vetting the rescue to the extent you can before getting attached to a dog, I think.

I wonder if some of these organizations really want to find homes for their animals. We tried to adopt a dog for well over a year before giving up. We own our home, have no kids, a stable history with previous pets (all cats that lived to ripe old ages due to our exemplary care) and perfect references from our veterinarians. I was working from home (now retired) and my wife was retired, and we had plenty of time to devote to a dog. We had a friend who had an “in” with one organization who tried help us. We filled out a 9-or-10-page application and heard nothing. Our friend checked into it. We were turned down because we hadn’t had a dog in the last seven years (how ridiculous is that?) and because we didn’t have a fenced yard. Our friend had adopted from them, and she doesn’t have a fenced yard either, but that was then and this was now, so no dog for us. We finally just adopted another cat.

Our last communication was a text that basically said, “We hope you found a home for the dog, and that all is ok with you.”

What’s kind of weird is that she told us our application looked good. We’ll probably never know what happened.

That’s very common for small organizations. They are often run by one person out of their home, with a network of volunteer foster homes. It’s perfectly understandable they don’t list their home address.

We’ve adopted two dogs from such organizations (and attempted to adopt from a few others). It can take a while and often isn’t the smoothest process. In most cases, I get the sense that the people are better at dealing with animals than with people.

I can’t really add much to what others have already said, but try to adopt locally. You get to visit with the dog personally and see a little bit of their behavior to help you make a decision. Locals also tend to know the animals they have up for adoption way better than a national organization.

Personally, I wouldn’t adopt from some place that made me fill out a 10 page application. That’s just overkill. I sometimes wonder if some people think pets are better off being switched around in foster care for years waiting for the Perfect Owner, rather than a perfectly good owner.

We adopted our last dog 3 years ago. We looked thru local agencies online for dogs that fit our really tough standards: female and under 50 pounds. Found one we liked, called to see if she was still available. Drove there and spent about half an hour with her outside playing and walking on a leash while we talked to the adoption lady. She was perfect, so we forked over the cash (senior discount for being 55! bonus point because I’m younger than my wife by 3 years and I didn’t qualify), signed a paper and took her home. Hour and a half tops. And she’s a very good dog. :dog:

Bullshit “rescues” are the reason why I finally gave in and bought a puppy from a breeder. After well over a year of working with rescues, endless meet 'n greets that went nowhere, lots of ghosting and the attitude that it’s completely normal to pay upwards of a thousand dollars in “rehoming fees” for mutts of unknown quality and temperament it was such a relief to visit a litter of pups, play with them in a barn for a while then pick one out, pay a deposit and go pick him up in a couple weeks. And if I decide I want another dog it’s quite likely I’ll go back to the same breeder too. I’m firmly in the “adopt don’t shop” camp but these gatekeeping shitbirds are making it impossible. Plus Petfinder listing dogs as “local” when they’re actually thousands of miles away with the expectation that you’ll just pay hundreds to have them flown to your location without any way of meeting the dog first can also fuck off briskly.

Yep. The modern culture of Rescue: good under all circumstances, moral, noble, gold star in your crown in heaven, and Breeder: bad under all circumstances, evil, cruel, venal, took a while to grab hold of the American psyche (it was an overcorrection from decades of stupid dogshow inbreeding for looks without regard for anything else, and puppy mills in the midwest supplying execrable quality ‘purebreds’ to petshops), but now the tentacles are deep. Thousands of animal lovers with savior complexes have taken up the religion and getting a dog from some of them is more difficult than adopting a child.