A hopeful dog owner was left gobsmacked after her application for a pooch was rejected with a blunt response.
Alice Gray, of Cardiff, Wales, was ‘speechless’ at the message she received from a dog shelter after she put in a request for a puppy named ‘Angel’.
The 29-year-old science communicator posted screenshots of the exchange on Twitter, where it quickly went viral and divided opinions.
While some dog-lovers backed Alice and branded the shelter’s approach too strict – others insisted pet rescue facilities knew the dogs they were rehoming best.
Puppies’ popularity have soared in the UK’s coronavirus lockdown as many people find a silver lining in the shift to working from home.
But when Alice wrote to the shelter to apply to re-home a puppy – explaining she was an active full time young professional working from home – she was surprised at their reaction to her desire to take the dog running.
In her message to the facility, she wrote: “I am looking for a young dog as a companion and to make a family.
“I would love a dog that is active and enjoys running and hiking with me, as well as lots of cuddles and affection.”
Alice then offered to provide any more information needed to get the adoption process started.
But the dog home’s response stunned her.
In the reply posted on Twitter, a staff-member wrote a short message rejecting her.
It reads: “If you read Angel’s description she is a calm puppy who loves cuddles.
“She is not at all suitable for active, running and hiking.”
A stunned Alice posted her response, in an attempt to reason with the staffer.
She wrote: “Thank you for your quick response. That’s a shame that I am not being considered.
“As she is so young I obviously wouldn’t have started her off with lots of activity until she’s older. But I’m hoping for a companion that can do that (and) can grow with me and do those things in the future.”
But the response to Alice’s plea cut straight to the chase.
“Hi,” it read. “It is nothing to do with her age. She would have hated it. We have a duty of care to our dogs to ensure they go to the right home for them.”
Alice did not name the facility or identify the breed of puppy except to say it was a medium sized mixed breed – potentially a collie cross – joking it was a type ‘renowned for preferring playing on PlayStation rather than getting outside.’
Following the huge response to her tweets, she clarified: “So this went a bit mad – just because this seems to be a reoccurring theme: 1) I read the description of the dog very well. No where did it say she doesn’t like exercise or needed limited walks.
“2) I wouldn’t apply for a dog that I wouldn’t be able to offer the right home to.”
The internet was gripped by the dog home’s insistence the puppy would have “hated” running.
Twitter user ‘Dai Lama’ wrote: “I am belly laughing at the absurdity of this response. SHE WOULD HAVE HATED IT Genuinely one of the most joyless and tactless things I’ve ever read.”
Another Twitter user suggested Alice saying she wanted to take the dog running might have been a “red flag.”
He suggested dogs weren’t “meant for running like people” and preferred short sprints around a field .
That in turn sparked a furious debate among pet-owners who posted pics of their pooches enjoying running (and snoozing).
Many weighed in to suggest dog shelters usually knew what was best for the animals.
One Twitter user wrote: “If they raised the litter from birth they know which puppies won’t be suitable for specific activities and lifestyles. Even at a young age. Matching you with an ideal dog decreases risk of return. They might seem snappy in replies.
“But if I were a breeder/rescue reading your initial email I would find it a bit demanding. It might be worth it to try going to breeders/rescues with your wish list and asking them who they have available that suits. They’re with those dogs 24/7, they know. “
Others wrote about their own troubles convincing dog shelters to approve them for a rescue pooch.
One person posted: “I tried to adopt a dog and was turned down because the form asked what I would do if my life circumstances changed, so I gave an example of a likely change and how I’d manage it. And (they) said that life change (moving) would be too stressful and traumatic for the dog.”
Many Twitter users were firmly on Alice’s side.
“Dogs,” wrote one. “Notorious for not enjoying running.”
Dogs Trust’s advice for hopeful puppy rescuers
The charity warns demand for dogs has been an all-time high during the pandemic – and not everyone will get the pooch their heart is set on.
Dogs Trust says some of the dogs it feature get hundreds of applications from potential adoptive owners.
While the dog in this case wasn’t one of their pups, the animal welfare charity has some advice for people looking to re-home a dog – and tips on why you might be rejected.
Maybe when you get there, make sharing a picture of your dog in our Top Dogs feed your very brilliant first job.
A spokesperson said: “Every dog is different and has specific requirements for their forever home, our job is to ensure they are matched with someone who can give them everything they need to thrive long term.
“We pride ourselves on our thorough behaviour and veterinary assessments that help us match each dog to the right person and our decisions are always informed by these.
“Making the choice to welcome a dog into your life can be emotional and people often have their hearts set on specific dogs. We understand how disappointing it can be when a specific dog might not be suitable for your lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be the perfect one for you in the future.
“We would ask people looking to rehome a dog to be patient, as the unprecedented demand for dogs may mean you have to wait a little longer to find the right dog for you.”