Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I just heard news about Ellen DeGeneres, and a dog adoption gone wrong. It seems that Ellen adopted a puppy from a shelter, but found that the puppy was not a good fit for her household that she shares with her partner and their two cats. She ended up giving the puppy to her hairdresser, against the rules set out by the shelter. The puppy was later apprehended by the shelter that does not consent to its animals being re-gifted. Apparently, the small print indicates that animals are supposed to be returned to the shelter if things do not work out. The hairdresser’s family wants the dog back, Ellen wants them to have the dog back, and she ended up in tears on her show on Tuesday. There are a few issues that the media are attacking here, such as respecting rules, and using celebrity status to break them, but that’s not what I want to get into. What I really want to do is just empathize with Ellen, for I am very familiar with the trials and tribulations of adopting dogs, and have shed more than my share of tears in my experiences, although thankfully not on national TV.

The first time hubby and I rescued a dog, we were not even in the market to do so. I was working with a woman who was discussing her neighbour’s marital problems, which involved the wife being hospitalized, and the husband having a restraining order against him. My colleague was complaining that she had to care for the neighbour’s animals since no one else was at the house to do so. Yes, I realize that there are bigger problems going on in this story, but the both police and Children’s Aid were already involved, so I shifted my focus to the animals. I figured that the animals in question were fish, or birds, maybe even a cat, but when she mentioned that there was a German Shepherd, I freaked out. Even with my colleague going over to let it out and feed it, it wasn’t enough. Dog’s are social animals and need companionship, exercise, and stimulation. The next day I went over to the “house of abandoned animals”, and came home with the dog. It took about two hours for us to fall in love with her. Based on what we knew, we figured that her owners were not going to get their shit together well enough to reclaim their dog, as a divorce seemed inevitable, and money was going to be an issue. I wasn’t wishing for the family to fall apart, but it seemed to be the only likely outcome, and I was really hoping to keep the dog. It turned out that I was wrong in my assumption about the family. Despite all that had gone on with them, the husband and wife decided to give it another try. After six weeks of my caring for their dog, they took her back from me. I was devastated. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t keep the dog, but also that the dog was going back to a potentially dangerous situation, where she wasn’t necessarily going to be cared for properly. I couldn’t keep it together at work the next day, and cried upon returning home from work, only to not be greeted by the dog. A year later, we got a call from the dog's owners, saying that the marriage had fallen apart, and that they could not keep the dog. They wanted us to take her. The problem was that upon losing the dog in the first place, we went on to adopt two other dogs, and could no longer take in the original dog. Once again, there were many tears, and an inability to keep it together at work the next day, which is why I don’t blame Ellen for not keeping it together on her show.

Ellen probably loves the puppy, so giving it up must have been extremely painful for her. Add that to the fact that the family she gave it to is not allowed to keep it, and that the dog is going back to the shelter, and I see cause for a bit of a break-down. I'd like to see anyone else attempt comedy under those circumstances. I hope I don’t sound like that fan who defended Britney on YouTube recently, but I do want to send Ellen a shoulder to cry on, ‘cause I do understand.

Edited to add: Just to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling, you should know that a good friend of mine took in the German Shepherd, and both owner and doggie are thrilled with the arrangement.


Nora Bee said...

It's so frustrating when the letter of a law overrides the spirit of it. An animal, a family that wants it, seriously.

kgirl said...

I feel really bad for Ellen, someone I don't usually think about very often. But it's probably a mistake to piss her off like that.

b*babbler said...

It's really too bad, and the funny thing is that if she hadn't been a celebrity the shelter would have probably never have checked in to see if she still had the dog or not.

We've adopted countless pets, and never once has the shelter checked in to ensure that we were following the policy.

What a crappy situation!

painted maypole said...

i haven't followed this story at all, but I can see the point on both sides here. I would THINK (and that gets me into trouble sometimes) that Ellen could say "look, sorry, i didn't mean to break any rules. The most important thing here is that this dog be in a happy and healthy home. How can I help make this happen?" and then use her show to help advertise shelters and such. It does not sound to me like a case of a celebrity abusing their position, it sounds like an honest mistake, one that was intended for good.