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Shelter Worker Called Out For Refusing To Let Obese Woman Adopt An Extremely Energetic Dog

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Everyone loves dogs!

Don’t they?

During the pandemic, many shelters had so many adoptions they didn’t have enough animals to keep up with demand.

Apparently, those people were lucky though, because shelter workers seem to have some very high standards.

Case in point…

Redditor stinkyStuart wanted to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for not letting an obese woman adopt a dog?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I work at an animal shelter, so I basically get paid to play with dogs.”

“My favorite days are the ones where I spend my eight-hour shift throwing frisbees and playing chase with dogs in the yard.”

“So naturally, I fell in love with Rocky.”

“Rocky was surrendered to us several months ago by a couple that didn’t have the time/energy to care for him.”

“He is a breed that will destroy furniture if not adequately exercised, but when he IS exercised, he is a very good boy.”

“When I let him out of his kennel he showers me with kisses, and I’m always reluctant to put him back.”

“In the several months I’ve known him I’ve hardly seen him tired.”

“Because of his activity level, he’s gotten no adoption applicants.”

“That changed at an adoption event a few weeks ago.”

“Rocky jumped on a woman and attacked her with kisses.”

“Instead of pushing him away, she embraced him.’

“It was love at first sight.”

“But she was morbidly obese and drenched in sweat when it wasn’t warm.”

“I know you can’t judge fitness by looks, but I’ve never met someone her size fit enough to run 2+ hours a day with a hyperactive dog or chase him when he jumps the fence.”

“The woman asked about adopting Rocky, so I ‘interrogated’ her (as we do with ALL adopters).”

“She gave me mostly yellow-green flags.”

“She worked full-time, but had flexible hours and could work from home.”

“She lived in an apartment, but next to a dog park etc.”

“But I couldn’t shake the uneasiness.”

“I asked about her activity level and she said she had an ‘active lifestyle’ but didn’t elaborate.”

“’Active lifestyle’ has many meanings nowadays.”

“I learned from having this job for a while that you have to go with your gut and prioritize animals over people’s feelings.”

“As excited as this woman was about Rocky, I saw him going home with her, getting little to no exercise, trashing a couch or two, and then being taken back here or worse, to a kill shelter.”

“I’d rather he spend a few more months here, with staff who can meet his needs, and wait for a better home.”

“I told her she couldn’t have him and suggested she look at smaller animals like cats.”

“She got mad.”

“I didn’t mention weight, but I think she knew that was the reason I turned her away.”

“I briefly doubted my decision.”

“What if she WAS a good fit for Rocky?”

“What if Rocky spends years in the shelter because I turned her away?”

“But as I saw her struggle to walk to her car, I knew I was right.”

“My boss said he would have done the same thing.”

“Now apparently the woman I turned away has a large social media following.”

“And she’s been talking crap about the shelter, calling us fatphobic, and urging followers to post bad reviews of us and not to donate to us.”

“Now people are leaving nasty reviews and someone is harassing the owner via email.”

“The owner also says I did the right thing, but I’m unsure.”

“The emails have been getting worse and worse.”

“I fear we will lose funds and adopters, all because I was too judgmental.”

“The animals are my #1 priority, but should I have just let Rocky go?”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Most Redditors declared our OP WAS the A**hole for assuming the woman wouldn’t be a good fit. 

“YTA. ‘I know you can’t judge fitness by looks’ and then you immediately did just that.”

“The best thing to do would have been a home check and two-week foster trial.” ~ Lumpy-Caterpillar769

“This was my first thought as someone with lots of friends who work in rescue.”

“Why not do foster-to-adopt?”

“Let Rocky go home with her on a trial basis and see whether his needs are being met before making it official?”

“There are so many options.”

“Also, she can literally hire a dog walker, or perhaps there’s an off-leash dog park near her where he can tire himself out without her actually having to chase him.”

“Not all modes of exercise would REQUIRE her to chase after him.”

“This whole thing is so gross and not even logical.”

“That poor doggie loved her and she wanted to give him a good home.”

“And OP chose to ruin that based on absolute nonsense. YTA, OP.”  ~ FoolMe1nceShameOnU

“As someone who has been working in rescue for years, unless Rocky is a field line gun dog, he doesn’t need to ‘run’ 2 hours a day.”

“Enrichment activities/mental stimulation/regulation and decompression are just as important as physical exercise.”

“I see this so often with shelters who are limited in their husbandry so dogs experiencing a high cortisol load from the kennel environment just get yard time or leashed walks as their daily relief.”

“The longer they spend in the shelter this can lead to Super Dog Syndrome as dogs get more physical exercise they build up a tolerance and need more physical exercise.”

“You end up with a really difficult dog to adopt out and a skewed concept of what their needs are going to be like when settled into a domestic home environment.”

“OP has no idea what Rocky’s lifestyle would have looked like with this prospective adopter because all they saw was their weight.”

“I know obese people with working breeds in apartments who religiously go to agility classes with their dogs.”

“Who takes them hiking, sends their pups to doggy daycare, takes them swimming, will spend an hour doing trick training or scent games every day.”

“And I know thin people who have surrendered working breeds because they considered themselves ‘active’ because they walked an hour each day.”

“And otherwise put the dog in the backyard while they were out of home 10+ hours.”

“A verdict… huge YTA vibes OP.”  ~ Kitchu22

“And perhaps in a stable loving home rocky simply wouldn’t need the same amount of heavy-duty exercise and might calm down more.”

“Maybe part of his hyperactivity is simply the fact that he’s locked in a cage much of the day.”

“And OP saw how the dog and potential owner reacted to each other… so YTA.” ~ rainyhawk

“Also, I have had friends adopt a higher energy dog and lose weight keeping up with them.”

“So, not only did OP deny Rocky a good home, but also could be harming the potential adopter who might have improved her health, physically and mentally.”

“The OP honestly had no clue what this person could actually do, definitely had other options like temporary fostering, and is not impartial enough for this job.”

“Not gonna lie, the way they talk about the job, it sounds like they just wanted to keep their work pet at work, instead of potentially getting him a good home.”

“And, now, the shelter is hurting because of this, which will hurt their ability to help other animals.”

“This isn’t a small screw-up. Definitely YTA, OP.” ~ TerraelSylva

“I gained weight between 2020 and an aging pet with health issues.”

“After they passed, I was just not in the mood to go anywhere or do anything.”

“We got a puppy last fall and let me tell you, she’s got me moving!”

“We do a lot of indoor stuff due to weather or my work-from-home schedule, but when the weather is decent, we are outside/in the yard multiple times a day.”

“My fave jeans that were tight when we got her fall off of me now. OP, YTA.” ~ TripsOverCarpet

“OP YTA. Not only fatphobic but ableist to boot.”

“There are multitudes of ways to exercise and stimulate a dog and offer a dog a good home where they aren’t kennelled so much as they are in a shelter beyond the ability to run after them.” ~ real_ladysilvereyes

“I volunteer at a shelter and I’ve seen several dogs that exhibit certain behaviors at the shelter that don’t exist at a home.”

“Plus, you are right.”

“Mental stimulation and enrichment activities are just as important as physical.”

“Which means she could have found other ways to get his energy out.”

“The dog obviously felt a connection with the person and that’s so important in an adoption.”

“Just to clarify, the OP is YTA.” ~ Pinstripesdumbo

Well OP…it may be time to do some soul-searching.

Reddit does not seem to be with you on this one.

It may be time to look at the evaluation system for adoption.