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"What did you do? Did you do that?"
February 15, 2014 3:50 PM   Subscribe

A collection of guilty dogs caught bang to rights. If you are a dog and are confronted for some misdeed, just follow these steps: avoid eye contact, roll over, or simply walk towards your owner veeeery sloooowly.
posted by billiebee (70 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Unfortunately, many of these tactics do not work for humans. Trust me, kids, walking as slowly as possible toward your parents after you've done something bad DOES NOT guarantee clemency!!
posted by Marco Polo's Lost Codpiece at 4:07 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


I've always thought it extraordinary how two completely different species with no shared language (technically speaking) could establish such an amazingly close and affectionate relationship.

These videos make me miss my li'l buddy Meeko, who passed away four months ago at the age of 14. He had a heart of solid gold and the sweetest smile.

Go hug your dogs, y'all.
posted by darkstar at 4:10 PM on February 15 [24 favorites]


I was raised around lots of cats at home and everywhere that was a relative's house, so I didn't know much about this peculiar hilariousness of dogkind. Too funny (though I sympathize with the shoe owner near the video's end, that black dog ruined it pretty good, wow).
posted by Iosephus at 4:12 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


It's amazing how easy it is to tell which dog has done wrong. When I had two dogs, you could always tell, because one was all, "I'm sorry and I love you and I'm sorry and I'm SO SORRY!" an the other would be, "Hi! How about a cookie?"
posted by xingcat at 4:13 PM on February 15 [11 favorites]


I have one extremely sensitive dog who will immediately start throwing these signals whenever anyone anywhere does anything bad.

Cat walking on the table? She will immediately look ashamed and show you her belly. Other dog barking? She'll crouch walk up to you to apologize. And that's before we even have time to react. She knows what's allowed and what isn't.

In fact, one of the big tells that someone else is doing something naughty is that she comes around looking guilty. That means someone has to get up and figure out who is doing something naughty.

Nobody else ever apologizes to us. The rest of them are unrepentant.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:23 PM on February 15 [51 favorites]


My dog is somewhat more argumentative when guilty.
posted by HuronBob at 4:27 PM on February 15 [16 favorites]


I can come home, look my dog in the eyes, and tell right away if she's gotten into the trash, before I'm even close to the kitchen. Molly looks guilty
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:27 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


Damn dog stole two sticks of chorizo right out of the frying pan last night. He had NO SHAME.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:29 PM on February 15 [7 favorites]


This is the BEST. I love the little sneaky glances at their owner. Like, maybe it's ok, maybe I'm forgiven, I'll just peek... nope they're still mad oh god look sad and whine a little oh no they're holding what's left of the shoe look contrite ok maybe I'm forgiven now...
posted by emmtee at 4:38 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


My dog is naughty by telepathic command. When I am out closing the barn I will look at something that is displayed "provocatively", and I will think to myself "man, the dog is going to chew that" and then the fucker does.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:38 PM on February 15 [12 favorites]


Usually I love dog videos, but this one made me so sad I couldn't finish watching it. So many dogs being scolded when they are no longer engaging in the naughty behavior. So many dogs trying to figure out how they can possibly be any more submissive to get their owner to stop being angry.
posted by vytae at 4:42 PM on February 15 [27 favorites]


Needs more air horn!
posted by sneebler at 4:54 PM on February 15


In fact, one of the big tells that someone else is doing something naughty is that she comes around looking guilty.

Does she ever apologize for being such a snitch?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:57 PM on February 15 [7 favorites]


Jesus Christ with tears in my eyes. These are so much not A-OK.

People, never, ever, ever do these things to your dogs. Don't. EVER.
posted by vers at 4:58 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


Oh, please.
posted by h00py at 5:05 PM on February 15 [20 favorites]


My cat just watched this video and laughed.
posted by srboisvert at 5:16 PM on February 15 [13 favorites]


Damn dog stole two sticks of chorizo right out of the frying pan last night. He had NO SHAME.

Because he has style.
posted by srboisvert at 5:17 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


"I'm Not Proud Of Some Of The Things I've Done." By Tuffy, excerpted from The Confessions of St. Tuffy.
posted by Iridic at 5:25 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Generally that look means there's poop somewhere in the house, or my wife's glasses have been eaten.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:26 PM on February 15


The cat looks at you with, at best, mild astonishment
posted by thelonius at 5:34 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


We knew something was us whenever the we came home and the dog didn't greet us at the door.

One year it was because the Christmas tree, somehow still upright, had been pushed three or four feet towards the middle of the room with the rug bunched up around it. The dog was curled up in her favorite corner where the tree had previously been, pretending she was still asleep.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:35 PM on February 15 [19 favorites]


Yes, not being at the door is a definite tell. They're off trying to figure out how to look innocent. The worst thing my Lab did was crawl under the car and chew the plastic fuel sensor, so when I went to start the car, gas poured out on the driveway and the car wouldn't start (the gas was no threat to her and she wasn't under the car when I started it). It cost me $500 for various repairs, tow, something involving the car's computer, etc.
posted by etaoin at 5:41 PM on February 15


Speaking as a %100 dog and animal lover, put me in the "these are totally okay" camp. Almost all of these are funny and benign. There's like one or two iffy ones. Most of these people understand their relationship with their dogs very well.
posted by neuromodulator at 5:51 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Humans learned about of pointing and contrition from dogs. Chimps don't have a clue.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:53 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


I had never seen a dog do the slow perp walk until this video. I am edified and amused.
posted by mistersquid at 5:57 PM on February 15 [11 favorites]


Yes, not being at the door is a definite tell.

At my house, it means, "I love you, but I'm a golden retriever, so sometimes I love sleeping on the couch more than you."
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:03 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


I knew it was Ruger. Always trying to pin it on Duke.
posted by Flunkie at 6:10 PM on February 15 [6 favorites]


My family and I watched this about an hour ago.

A couple minutes ago I was hassling the kids for not putting their dishes in the dishwasher. My nine year old daughter looked at me with big sad eyes, got down on the floor, and exposed her belly to me. Goddamn comedian.
posted by padraigin at 6:31 PM on February 15 [60 favorites]


These are adorable, but also super interesting. Are these truly expressions of shame? What other animals feel shame, and in virtue of what cognitive abilities? One popular theory of shame is that it is an emotion felt as a response to a loss of self-presentation. I wouldn't have thought that dogs have much of a sense of self-presentation. Do dogs care about privacy?
posted by painquale at 6:56 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


I couldn't watch it. Not saying there is any wrong doing on the owners part, they are just soo ashamed and scared looking.
posted by InkaLomax at 7:05 PM on February 15


Our last, and final dog, bellied up at just the right times and stuck just that tongue tip out for a second and always got away with it.

When Tikki died, we opted out on any more heartaches.
posted by chuckiebtoo at 7:08 PM on February 15


painquale, the common explanation (I'm not quite confident enough to think I can humansplain dogs) is that these are 'calming signals.' The lip licking, belly showing, gaze averting, slow approaching, and low quick tailwagging are all intended to convey that they pose no threat and don't want any drama right now. I don't think you can really equate it directly to human shame.

Dogs negotiate like that among themselves all the time when they've transgressed. It doesn't break my heart to see them negotiating with humans that way too.
posted by ernielundquist at 7:11 PM on February 15 [11 favorites]


Do dogs care about privacy?

Not for pooping, humping, or poop eating, at least.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:15 PM on February 15 [5 favorites]


I don't think you can really equate it directly to human shame.

Mmm, but in terms of "self-presentation", if I'm understanding it correctly, it is something that dogs are doing that humans do too, if not always in the same way (especially since kids who can verbalize come up with more creative ways of handling the situation, like "magical thinking"). My nine year old child is a little beyond doing it as a matter of course unless she's doing it to be funny, but certainly younger children perform actions when they're in trouble that aren't all that different from what dogs do.

I've never even had a dog, and all the things these dogs were doing looked pretty familiar to me. Especially the dogs who just wouldn't make eye contact--total toddler move.
posted by padraigin at 7:26 PM on February 15


I saw plenty of guilty dogs, but none that looked afraid.

A year ago when I got her, my young red heeler would cringe and piddle if she thought she'd done something wrong. Now she has NO SHAME.

Spice has three kinds of bad behavior--the first is doing something she's damn well not sorry about--like barking and egging on the neighbor's mule to run up and down the fence line. (It's a highly irritating game.) If you stop her and scold her, she's all F-you with a hard eyed glare. Turn your back and she's at it again.

The second kind is if she tries something new that I don't want her to do--like a couple months ago she stole a horse brush and started to chew it. When she was scolded, she didn't give me the finger paw like she does with the barking, she didn't cringe or look away, she just gazed very hard into my eyes trying to figure out what she did wrong. She hasn't stolen any horse equipment since, even the stuff the grand kids leave out on the step.

The other kind of bad behavior is the stuff your attention seeking toddler does--like shredding kleenex. She's started this obviously faked cringe, looking out of the corner of her eye and turning her head. It's accompanied by this kind of "guilty grin". She does the whole schmeal--perp walk, belly up, sad eyes. You'd think I beat her. The more I read her the riot act, the more she goes into utter spasms of guilt. But if I'm in a hurry and just grab up the kleenex with an irritated, "Don't do that!" she's hurt. You can bet she'll be bringing me another one, and then one more, and another, till we play the naughty doggy game.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:29 PM on February 15 [10 favorites]


Cat walking on the table? She will immediately look ashamed and show you her belly. Other dog barking? She'll crouch walk up to you to apologize. And that's before we even have time to react. She knows what's allowed and what isn't.

In fact, one of the big tells that someone else is doing something naughty is that she comes around looking guilty. That means someone has to get up and figure out who is doing something naughty.

Nobody else ever apologizes to us. The rest of them are unrepentant.


She's taking responsibility for all their sins? Is she dog Jesus?

(My understanding of Christian theology might be suspect.)
posted by kmz at 7:40 PM on February 15 [17 favorites]


The dog trainer we used with our Ridgeback/Lab/Whatever mix cautioned us about anthropomorphizing a dog's guilty look too much. He said they weren't feeling shame or remorse, but they had learned to adopt submissive body language to mitigate the anticipated anger. We're being played, folks. They know what they're doing is wrong, but all they have to do is look abashed for a while and show that they're definately not gunning for Alpha, and they can continue doing that thing at the next opportunity.
posted by bibliowench at 7:44 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I'm starting to think my mastiff might actually just be a cat/beaver. Last week when she chewed up about $150 worth of my son's wooden train tracks, not only did she show no remorse, but she walked right over to the bin, stood there, looked at me and whined, seemingly willing me to open its so she could chew more of that delicious overpriced wood.

Meanwhile, the ropes, balls, bones and treats we've bought her? Completely ignored.
posted by ThatSomething at 7:57 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


My dog is somewhat more argumentative when guilty.

Good god that dog is hardcore. I was ready to admit to eating the cat food by the end of the video. Anything! Just stop asking in that disappointed voice!

And the video does make me kind of sad even though I know it can be funny and no one is being cruel to the dogs. They have no idea why they're being scolded. They're just trying to make everything okay by appeasing their people.

It's not cruel, but it makes me feel bad for the puppies that they know something is wrong but don't know what. Then again, my dog and I used to get into horrific emotion spirals because she would get upset because I was upset and I would get upset because she was upset until we were both sitting snuggled in the closet wrapped in a blanket, so I know nothing of not getting sucked into the dog's feelings.
posted by winna at 8:03 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


Re: whether this is "real" guilt, ernielundquist has it, but I think it's also worth noting how the behavior's probably been selected for over eons of dogs living with people: it does look an awful lot like human guilt, and probably that's why we get this particular constellation in every video clip: human with a certain tone of voice, dog making physical signals which are easy to anthropomorphize, object which is in the dog's reach and yet forbidden because of domesticity -- and these days, a camera and a YouTube to put the video on. We picked the submissive dogs over the ones that would turn on their owners (and in earlier times, probably be cuffed and kicked for it), and nowadays the particular behavior we exhibit when the dog does this is to share it with everyone online.
posted by gusandrews at 8:31 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


While some of these make me laugh, knowing why they're doing this and what it means, and knowing that some of them are probably reacting from previous beat-downs, it made me sad too. I foster dogs with a rescue group and I see the appeasement behavior all the time -- so many of them have come from "well-meaning" homes like those clips that show people going "bad dog" all the time. The thing is, if you're yelling at them that they're bad dogs after the fact, they'll do anything to get human to stop. Sigh. It's funny but it's also really sad.
posted by emcat8 at 8:42 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


This has always been my favorite variant.
posted by speedo at 9:23 PM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Neither of my Hounds show any remorse when they've been busted. Rocky looks mildly confused, and Zoe puts on this ridiculous grin. "Hey, Mom is making that exasperated noise again!"

Dogses. They are silly.
posted by MissySedai at 9:26 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I came home to two of these last night. Still can't figure out what they did but it was bad, bad, bad.
posted by fshgrl at 9:53 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


Do you know how this happened, Tank?
posted by Evilspork at 10:02 PM on February 15 [19 favorites]


So many dogs being scolded when they are no longer engaging in the naughty behavior

So true. Obviously the dogs are feeling something like "Oh man, my human is REALLY pissed right now, and seems to hate me. WHY?!? This sucks so bad. I dare not make eye contact. Better just roll over and let the boss punish me however he sees fit. Wish I knew why he's so angry."

It's only human to want to punish a dog for misbehaving, the same way one would punish misbehavior in a child. But dogs' brains just don't work that way. The only message you're sending is "I'M PISSED!" and it's just going to cause your dog more stress/nervousness (which is usually the root cause of their misbehavior in the first place.)

If you really want your dogs to stop chewing things up, you have to train them not to, which can be a lot of work, but will be better for both of you.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:14 PM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Much dogs. So shame. Wow.
posted by josephtate at 10:47 PM on February 15 [7 favorites]


Dogs being submissive to avoid discipline.

Still amusing.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 11:27 PM on February 15


. . . and knowing that some of them are probably reacting from previous beat-downs, it made me sad too. I foster dogs. . . so you should be familiar with the fact that many dogs exhibit this behavior quite spontaneously without prior physical punishment.

Why do you assume there was "previous beatdowns" involved anywhere in this video? I'm having trouble asking this in a non-inflammatory way but I am struggling because I've seen far too many rescuers (some becoming hoarders) who seem convinced that they are the only ones that can do right by animals. They attribute normal behavior is a sign of some sort of abuse. When most of the time, it's part of their natural vocabulary. I may be unfairly harsh but most people I've known who assume behaviors like shyness, submissiveness, etc. . . are definitive signs of abuse are fairly ignorant of dog behavior (and want to feel a little more special for rescuing said dog.)

You're also discounting the dogs that show their hands before the owner even knows a "crime" has been committed. Yes, every owner knows they can make their dogs submissive when they talk in a certain tone and use the right body language. And while I'd argue that's different than the guilty dog thing, there is something entirely different when you know someone misbehaved before finding the deed because the dog is acting guilty as all hell.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:31 PM on February 15 [6 favorites]


You're also discounting the dogs that show their hands before the owner even knows a "crime" has been committed.

Not feeling guilt doesn't mean they don't know when they've done something that will get them in trouble.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 11:42 PM on February 15


I have read that dogs don't understand what they've done, but my experience with dogs indicates that the dog knows that pooping in the house not long after a walk is going to be a problem, etc. Not coming to the door as usual after chewing some shoes sounds like a dog who understands I chewed some shoes, and there's going to be a problem.

The dog at 3.00 who shows his teeth seems angry - am I missing something?

.
posted by theora55 at 11:43 PM on February 15


Some of the videos in the FPP and ensuing thread show more than one dog in the frame but only one dog clearly exhibiting submissive behavior.

It's possible that one of the members of any specific domestic pack will "take responsibility" when a human expresses displeasure.

I would love a study that put together covert video recording which pup did what followed by a bossy human coming in and making "Who did this?" sounds.

For science.
posted by mistersquid at 12:07 AM on February 16 [4 favorites]


Caught in the Act
posted by homunculus at 12:30 AM on February 16 [3 favorites]


The video was like 80% dogs wagging their tails because their human is making high pitched noises and giving them lots of attention, and 20% actual submissive signaling.

I'm not sure how anyone can see abuse when there's not even any actual disciplining happening. Like, most of the owners are laughing while "scolding" their pets. Those dogs know exactly what they can get away with. It's actually kind of amazing how dogs can read human behavior so much better than other humans can.
posted by danny the boy at 1:41 AM on February 16 [4 favorites]


I think there's a lot of received wisdom about "how dogs think" that doesn't match up to the 50,000 + years of humans living with dogs. We have a symbiotic relationship and have had for a very long time. It's not anthropomorphizing to remark on how dogs react to humans. They are really reacting to us. They want a relationship with us. I also think the whole concept that dogs only remember what they did for ten minutes is bullshit. I've had dogs my entire life, and I can tell you, they know when they got up to something and why they're in trouble. Puppies? Probably not, but human children also get confused about why they're being scolded.

This video is clearly not clips of people who abuse their pets. The damned dog who chewed up the dinning room table got a chuckle with the admonition, as all dog lovers would do. Who hasn't had a dog (for value of people who have dogs) do something totally unexpected and destructive? One of my current dogs chewed the shoes I needed to wear to a wedding two days beforehand so I had to have unmatchy shoes (like I give a crap, but the bride did), and was so proud of herself she trotted out of my room with a shoe in her mouth to toss it onto my lap.

So much sanctimonious. Wow.
posted by syncope at 2:48 AM on February 16 [9 favorites]


I am loving HuronBob's Husky.

HuronBob: "Did you eat the cat food? Who took the food away from the kitties?"
Husky: "Psh. What-ever. I did. It was good! They'll get more. *shrug*"
HuronBob: "D'you think you're gonna get any bacon after you ate the cat food?"
Husky: "shiiiiiiiiit..."
posted by fraula at 4:10 AM on February 16 [10 favorites]


that moment, the bacon moment, I too fully grasped the magnitude of what HuronBob's Husky had done
posted by angrycat at 5:00 AM on February 16 [5 favorites]


they are just soo ashamed and scared looking

I promise, it's acting.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:15 AM on February 16 [4 favorites]


Usually my three dogs greet me at the door, all excited bouncy and waggy. One day I came home from work and they didn't. Odd I thought. I actually had to call them and I swear it was like they reluctantly came to say hello and were acting all super casual. I immediately knew something was up.

I went into the living room and holy heck dog party! Things were strewn around everywhere. All the blankets and pillows were off the couch. Then I saw it. In the middle of the floor was my 3 week old laptop, lying at a weird angle. No one can tell me that dogs forget what they do minutes afterwards. The three of them knew damn well that what they did was wrong. When I went over to the laptop all three disappeared back into the kitchen where usually they'd be bouncing around excited for dinner. The laptop was smashed. The screen spider webbed and pushed in in places.

I was mad and extremely upset. I think they were rough housing and caught the power cord enough to pull it off the table. The three read my body language enough that they stayed away for a good long while. I imagine the three of them in the kitchen arguing over who was going to go check and see if I had calmed down. Finally the teddy bear one came in and looked at me with the most soulful eyes. I swear his lip was quivering.

Damn dogs, they know how to get back on our good side.
posted by Jalliah at 5:41 AM on February 16 [15 favorites]


*guardians*

thanKYEW!
posted by petebest at 7:29 AM on February 16


Sometimes I think we flatter ourselves a little bit when we accuse people of anthropomorphizing. I mean, dogs probably aren't feeling exactly the same thing as 'guilt' or 'shame' as we think of it, but neither do a lot of humans. So maybe they're just trying to mitigate some possible consequences or something. But it's not like humans always feel guilt in big lofty ways, either. I can't say exactly what all these behaviors mean, but I think it's probably wrong to assume that dog emotions are just more simplistic, manipulative versions of human ones.

My one dog who apologizes for everything (I am going to start calling her Snitch Jesus) acts a lot like the dogs in these videos when anyone does anything they're not supposed to. Since we've had her, she's never been beaten or even really yelled at in anger (maybe a couple of times in frustration, because we're human), and we don't flip out or yell when someone does something they're not supposed to, either. We just redirect the behaviors and remove whatever's causing the problem.

In her case, she's just very empathetic and very smart, and she does a lot of appeasing and comforting in all kinds of situations. She approaches babies, cats, and little nervous dogs in appeasement mode, too. She's not scared of them. She's just trying to make sure they're not scared of her. She never runs away from someone in distress. She goes right up to them and starts trying to make them feel better. She really just wants everyone to be happy and content, so she tries to make that happen. She's actually a very happy and confident dog, not some fearful abused wretch.

If one of my other dogs acted that way, then yeah, it might indicate that they were very afraid or something, but dogs are individuals just like people are, and I generally trust that people know their own dogs and know what's normal, healthy behavior for them. Especially people who make cute videos of their dogs being playfully admonished.

Those dogs are OK. Their people love them.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:44 AM on February 16 [5 favorites]


Dogs are not feeling guilty. Stick to science people! The dog rescuer was not being sanctimonious!
posted by RuvaBlue at 1:22 PM on February 16


The dog at 3.00 who shows his teeth seems angry - am I missing something?

No, he's not angry--that's the submissive or appeasement "smile."

It's funnier than heck to watch.

This is why they do it, and this is what happens when people don't recognize it.

If you know doges and their body language, then you can LOL and pet them. Otherwise, it doesn't hurt to be wary.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:24 PM on February 16


Huh, thanks for that explanation, BlueHorse. I always interpreted the appeasement 'smile' as a conflicted dog who was sorry and contrite yet worried that whatever they had done was so bad that a fight was imminent, and were getting ready to bite back if there was no clemency to be had.
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:04 PM on February 16


You know, insert clever name here, you can disagree with someone and have some personal issues with rescue groups (whatever), but why you gotta be such a dick about it? Not all rescue groups are as horrible as you seem to think they are, and I can't help but think that if I'd not mentioned being involved with one, you wouldn't have felt the need to be so nasty about it.

I see the worst of what people do to animals. And I don't even work the front lines. It influences how I see these videos, and there were a couple in here that I found really distressing, and some that I found funny. That's all.
posted by emcat8 at 8:08 PM on February 16


I didn't hear [insert clever name here's] comment as dickish at all. I think we all have to put our own personal experience of something into context, right? Seeing only through the abuse lens must be terribly dispiriting. Good for you for caring so much, but I think with all that you have seen, confirmation bias may understandably come in to play?
posted by thinkpiece at 7:02 AM on February 17


what happens when people don't recognize it.

I used to work with a student worker who had three beloved ferrets. One day I asked her "Why do all you stories end with and then they bit me?" I am learning that all dog stories end with and then there was urine.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:16 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


I work in shelter/rescue, too, including on the front lines. So I get it. But the creeping misanthropy is a real problem among people who do that sort of work. You get used to seeing the worst of abuse and neglect, and that starts to inform your opinions about people in general.

But that sort of attitude is horribly detrimental to the goals of animal rescue and sheltering. It creates a hostile environment for adopters, because they're treated like abusers by default. And accusing someone of animal abuse is very very serious. It is not the sort of thing to claim casually. Most people, even those who are ignorant or have different perspectives on living with domestic animals, are not abusers.

Some time ago, on a rescue forum, a cat rescuer was sharing a new technique she'd developed, where she had a list of questions on the adoption application, including a long list of "Will you" type questions. "Will you keep up to date with your cat's vaccinations?" "Will you have your cat microchipped?" But right in the middle of that list, she'd included "Will you have your cat declawed?" And she was proudly telling the story of the potential adopter, who would have been a first time cat owner, who answered Yes to the declawing question. She'd lectured the woman and rejected her application, and the potential adopter had apologized and said that she thought that, the way it was presented, she was supposed to get the cat declawed, and she promised that she wouldn't now that she knew. But the rescuer refused, and she sounded almost gleeful about it, as though this well-intentioned but inexperienced adopter was nothing but a future abuser.

And what was the payoff to this clever tactic? A difficult to adopt animal was denied a home, and a potential adopter was sent away in tears, likely with a lingering resentment over the hostility she encountered when she tried to do the right thing.

It can be really, really hard to keep your experiences from tainting your view of people in general, but those attitudes can be absolutely toxic to animal welfare organizations. To be successful, animal welfare needs to be about human welfare, too.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:04 AM on February 17 [4 favorites]


And what was the payoff to this clever tactic? A difficult to adopt animal was denied a home, and a potential adopter was sent away in tears, likely with a lingering resentment over the hostility she encountered when she tried to do the right thing.

I ran into this exact strategy from a private rescue shelter here in Nova Scotia. I forget the exact question that triggered my rejection, but I got a nicely patronizing rejection letter.

Fuck that guy, and sorry about that dog, but just as well for me and the dog that came from a normal person who assumed good intentions from me.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:04 AM on February 17 [2 favorites]


Picture of innocence
posted by homunculus at 2:04 PM on February 18 [2 favorites]


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