Life in a shelter is no place for a dog. Many dogs struggle living in cement kennels without a family to call their own.
It’s always a beautiful thing when a loving person comes in to adopt a pet and frees them from life in the shelter, but sometimes even the best families are rejected by the shelter for some reason or other.
Usually, reasons for denying an applicant a pet involve things like unstable housing, strict work schedules and time restraints, or having kids or other pets that conflict with the animal they’re interested in. In one case, however, a potential adopter was denied the chance to adopt a dog because of their weight.
The shelter worker, who’s since been slammed for being fatphobic, posted on Reddit’s popular sub: Am I the Asshole?
They went on to say, “My favourite days are the ones where I spend my eight-hour shift throwing frisbees and playing chase with dogs in the yard. So naturally, I fell in love with Rocky. Rocky was taken to us several months ago by a couple that didn’t have the time/energy to care for him. He is a breed that will destroy furniture if not adequately exercised, but when he IS exercised, he is a very good boy.”
u/stinkyStuart wrote in the post that Rocky’s activity level has prevented him from getting any adoption applications or interest. That is, until an adoption event took place.
The poster wrote:
“Rocky jumped on a woman and attacked her with kisses. Instead of pushing him away, she embraced him. It was love at first sight. Only problem? She was morbidly obese and drenched in sweat when it wasn’t warm. I know you can’t judge fitness by looks, but I’ve never met someone her size fit enough to run over two hours a day with a hyperactive dog or chase him when he jumps the fence.
The woman asked about adopting Rocky, so I ‘interrogated’ her (as we do with ALL adopters). She gave me mostly yellow-green flags. She worked full-time, but had flexible hours and could work from home. She lived in an apartment, but next to a dog park etc. But I couldn’t shake the uneasiness.”
When asked about her activity level, the woman allegedly said she had an “‘active lifestyle’ but didn’t elaborate. ‘Active lifestyle’ has many meanings nowadays,” according to u/stinkyStuart.
The post went on to say, “As excited as this woman was about Rocky, I saw him going home with her, getting little to no exercise, trashing a couch or two, and then being taken back here or worse, to a kill shelter. I’d rather he spend a few more months here, with staff who can meet his needs, and wait for a better home. I told her she couldn’t have him, and suggested she look at smaller animals like cats.
She got mad and said things I won’t say. I didn’t mention weight, but I think she knew that was the reason I turned her away. I briefly doubted my decision. What if she WAS a good fit for Rocky? What if Rocky spends years in the shelter because I turned her away? But as I saw her struggle to walk to her car, I knew I was right. My boss said he would do the same thing.”
After the event, the woman ended up blasting the shelter and poster online for being fatphobic. The Reddit post read:
“…the woman I turned away has a large social media following, and she’s been talking about the shelter, calling us fatphobic, and urging followers to post bad reviews of us and not to donate to us. Now people are leaving nasty reviews and someone is harassing the owner via email.
The owner also says I did the right thing, but I’m unsure. The emails have been getting worse and worse. I fear we will lose funds and adopters, all because I was too judgmental. The animals are my number priority, but should I have just let Rocky go?”
People in the comments were quick to share their opinions, and the vast majority were in agreement that the poster was in the wrong and was certainly coming across as fatphobic.
“YTA. ‘I know you can’t judge fitness by looks’ and then you immediately did just that. The best thing to do would have been a home check and two week foster trial,” one person commented.
Another added, “Not only fat phobic, but ableist to boot. There are multitudes of ways to exercise and stimulate a dog and offer a dog a good home where they aren’t kenneled so much as they are in a shelter beyond the ability to run after them.”
Hopefully the shelter does better in training its employees to be receptive and fair to all type of people, with the ultimate goal of giving the animals in need the best homes and lives possible.