Shelters seem to unfairly judge

My family has been searching animal shelters for the past few weeks for a new companion and have become quite frustrated with the process. I think we are great adoption candidates; I work from home so the dog would rarely be left alone, we treat our pets with love, we have a fenced yard, intend on doing formal behavior training, heck, I even spent over a year volunteering every week at the Seattle Humane Society.

We finally thought we found the right dog for us. She was a one year old lab/shepherd mix named Sadie that is in foster care currently. We met Sadie at an adoption event after seeing her on She was as sweet as could be and got along great with our 2-year-old son. After not hearing back from anyone at the shelter (Second Chance Rescue) for three weeks and submitting two applications, I was notified they would not adopt Sadie to our family because Aaron smokes cigarettes (never indoors, mind you).

We have been turned away from multiple shelters. Most times it is because we have a 2 year old, but this denial has me feeling rejected and unfairly judged. Although we will keep trying to adopt a pet from a shelter, we are getting pushed toward buying a puppy from a breeder. It seems that with the horrific “puppy mill” stories and the many dogs needing to be adopted, the strict requirements for adopters may be defeating the very purpose of these shelters.

Jackie Burkett