Thursday, April 16, 2009

E-mail to the No-Kill shelter who were going to kill my Dog.

Yet again, this is shelter who was going to kill my lovely boy party because of temperament testing. I decided to write them about Party in the hopes that they might change their mind about killing adoptable animals on the basis of temperament testing, which is set up for dogs to fail. According to the test Party was positive for rough play, food aggression and possession aggression. He has neither.

And what is almost worst is that dogs who actually have these issues can be rehabilitated and become perfectly loving dogs too.

Anyway here is the letter:


This is Amanda Dickie, you redeemed a dog to me last November he was a young rotti named Party. I just wanted to let you know that he is the sweetest dog out there. And despite what your tests may have indicated, he does not have possession aggression or food aggression. He met my mother for the first time on the ride home and was eating chips out of her hand the whole way back.

When we arrived home we had him sitting and waiting for his food, once or twice he jumped the gun and started eating before he had permission and my 54 year old mother was able to pull him back off his food with no protest. After he got settled here everyone approaches him while eating and he is fine. My mother and I regularly take his food dish from him while he is eating and he is just fine with waiting for us to give it back.

He is learning to take treats gently from people and whenever he is to rough we always take them back and try again until he gets it right. He has never growled, snapped or bitten anyone since leaving your shelter. We also have four cats, who occasionally eat out of his bowl and he will sit back and wait for them to finish. He is patience and still waiting for the day they all accept him.

There is a constant flow of new and strange people in and out of our house and party is excited and happy to meet everyone of them. He no longer jumps on people when they come to the door, and is happy when strangers approach him even when he is tied on outside the home. He also loves small children and is extra gentle around them.

He regularly brings his toys over to people to play and even if he's gone off in a corner to play alone will give up any toy when asked. Everyone at one point or another has had to take toy pieces out of his mouth. Our older and smaller dog is able to take any toy he is playing with and she occasionally eats out of his dish and he waits until she leaves to resume eating. Party and Claire (our older dog) share a water dish and he is usually left waiting for her to finish before he drinks. However, at times when he is drinking she will push her way in and they will both drink together. They eat and get treats next to eat other, Party is always last but he waits patiently and never tries to take hers away.

The more comfortable cats have begun drinking out of the water bowl while Party is drinking or sniffing them. And even when the tense cats hiss or swat at him he remains calm. He doesn't even bark when people come into the house.

He hates having his nails cut and teeth brushed but he remains calm during the whole ordeal. Even when I accidentally quick him.

This dog is one of the kindest, gentlest and friendliest dogs I have ever met. We do things to him that would have my older lovely girl seeing red. Kids pull his tail, blow in his ears and pull on his cheeks nothing bothers him.

We just wanted to pass along this message in the hopes that you might reconsider using temperament testing as it is an unfair system that sets perfectly adoptable friendly loving dogs up for failure.

Thank you,
Sincerely Amanda
With Love, Amanda Dickie
"As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together."
- Isaac Bashevis Singer,Writer, Nobel laureate (1904-1991)

I just get so fustrated every time I think that they were going to kill him because he was "dangerous", "aggressive", etc. When he is the sweetest boy I have ever met. GRRR


jessy said...

hello! i read your blog but i've never commented (sorry i've been "lurking"! i'm on the PPK boards as "jessyf".) - but i thought i would comment today because i totally agree with you about the temperament testing that goes on in the no-kill shelters. i used to work for the Richmond SPCA as a medical technician waaaay back in 1999-2003. that was when susan sternberg (a burned out shelter worker herself) developed the "test" and our SPCA got on board with it. the Richmond SPCA used the temperament testing to pretty much call some dogs "behaviorally unhealthy" so that they could justify euthanasia to make more room in the kennels. sure, there were dogs who were aggressive and just nasty - unsocialized and a very real threat to people, but many of the dogs would be euthanized for "lightly" growling over a bowl of food or a treat - and really, what dog wouldn't when it had just been abandoned by its owner and left in a strange place with a bunch of strange people around. while i understand that temperament testing, as a theory, is a good idea to get a handle on what type of home a dog may do best in (lets say a dog that bites over a dropped treat would do better in a home without children, or maybe in a home with a more experienced dog owner who can work on adjusting and correcting the behavior in a positive and rewarding way) - but it's often times (sadly) just used as a way to justify euthanasia and then you get kennel workers poking and pushing the dogs around unnecessarily just to agitate them to a point where any dog would lash out - hell, were any person would lash out. (our dog, julie, who we adopted would have failed any temperament test horribly, but we're working with her & she's great with us! she doesn't like to give up treats she gets - who can blame her?!) it's just sad - and it makes me so angry that these shelters wrongly assess these animals. they being to see everything as black and white - and they don't realize that there's a grey. take the dog that was redeemed to you - at the shelter he may have just growled a bit, or even (and i kid you not) given the kennel workers "a look" (it's refered to as a "whale eye"), hell - even "eating faster when a person approaches" is considered a mild form of food aggression - and your dog was unfairly labeled aggressive & given a death sentence. i guess you already know all of this, but i just thought i'd let you know that your e-mail is awesome, well-written, and i think it's great that you're speaking up. thank you!

B.A.D. said...

Thanks for your comment!

Temperament testing always annoyed me, but I never knew it was such a set up.

Jeni Treehugger said...

I've never heard of temperament testing before. It's quite shocking how an animals life depends on whether they're having a good day or not. I wonder if this practice just takes place in the USA and not Europe.....which would explain why I've not heard of it before.
Your email was awesome and I so hope with all my heart that it makes "them" re-think the whole test process.
Give Party a tummy rub for me.