I have wanted a puppy for awhile now -- since my 1L year, actually. While I was in law school, common sense, my dad's advice, and a restrictive covenant in my lease convinced me that it would be best to wait until school was over.
Then school was over and I was studying for the bar, so that seemed like a bad time to start house-breaking a pup. Then the economy deferred my job and I spent the fall living with my folks, who already owned one dog and thought he was quite enough.
Next thing I knew, I was starting a new job and studying for ANOTHER BAR. But I promised myself as soon as the bar was over, I would start buying squeaky toys and puppy pads.
(It didn't hurt that when I was visiting SLC after the bar, I met Nelson's roomies' new puggle puppy Maggie. Adorable little motivator, that one.)
While I was concerned about the idea of not having enough time to take good care of a dog, some people at work volunteer with animal rescue groups, and they convinced me that it would be better for a dog to live with a busy attorney than spend its life in a cage (or worse).
So I applied for two different puppies yesterday. Yeah, you can buy a puppy outside of a Cabellas, inside a mall, or out of a newspaper, but if you want to take in a rescue dog, they want you to fill out two pages worth of questions. (Including the directive to write a paragraph about the "qualities I love most in dogs.") While I knew my application would probably get second-fiddle to anyone who had a more flexible work schedule, or a spouse, or kids, or a fat check to write to the rescue organization, I figured with 420 available rescue puppies in my area (according to Petfinder.com), someone would be grateful to intrepid Lawyer Girl, always willing to sacrifice her shoes and furniture to the greater canine good.
How wrong I was.
Today I was rejected for both puppies. The first rejection was harshest--a tersely written email that didn't even bother to thank me for my interest, but instead lectured me about how someone who works 40-50 hours a week "is incapable of assuring a puppy that it is loved." This email also made a point of saying a "puppy's human" instead of a "puppy's owner"* (gag) and ended with, "We just do what is in the best interests of the dog."
The second was a phone call, with the rescue society's worker at least being nice to me. She turned me down not for my work schedule, but for the fact that I live in an apartment and don't already own a dog. I tried to buck up, but honestly, I had gotten my hopes sky-high that I would get one of the puppies. (One of them had a crooked spine and couldn't run, for crying out loud, I thought they'd like an applicant with disposable income to buy a doggie wheelchair.) "Well, I'm glad that you found someone else to take Pip," I said honestly. "He looked like a real sweetie."
"Oh, we haven't found anyone yet," the woman replied. "We just don't think you're a good fit."
As of tonight, both puppies are still listed online as available for adoption.
You know, there's really nothing that will make you feel like a bigger loser than being told you are unsuitable to own an unwanted puppy.
* Look, I love animals, so please don't attack me animal rights people, but seriously. I agree, the dog becomes part of your family, but I am not the dog's parent. I am not its "caregiver." I am its owner.
Although, actually, I am none of those things, since I work full time, live in an apartment, and don't have a stay-at-home hubster to lovingly wash my delicates and be the human to my adopted puppy. So, whatever.