It is our policy to make certain that each household who adopts* an animal* is aware of the responsibilities of pet* guardianship, and is both capable of and willing to accept those moral, physical, financial, and spiritual responsibilities. Not everyone who is willing and capable and able and ready to adopt a dog should do so. Becoming a pet guardian should not make you happy. If you are interested in becoming a pet guardian in order to experience the human emotion of “love” or “fulfillment,” you are not fit to be one. Please do not become a pet guardian because you see yourself as some sort of human savior who will “rescue” an animal from an “abusive or neglectful environment.” This attitude is condescending, elitist, and damaging to animal self-esteem and autonomy. Please educate yourself.
By completing this questionnaire, you help us in determining whether you and your family are indeed ready for pet guardianship, and if the animal (fur human) you are interested in would suit your (almost certainly unsatisfactory) lifestyle. Should you agree that adopting a pet is a commitment throughout this lifetime (and any afterlives, depending on your pet’s personal spiritual beliefs which are entirely valid and not to be criticized) of your companion animal, please fill out this questionnaire.
ANIMAL(S) OF INTEREST: This is a trick question. If you choose more than one animal, we will know you are not serious about any of them. If you choose only one animal, we will know you are almost certainly an emotional sadist bent on dominating that pet in particular, and there is something deeply wrong with you. Zero points.
YOUR NAME: (All answers are wrong)
NAME OF SPOUSE: (If married, deduct one point; they are already emotionally committed to another human being and will likely mistreat any animals that come into their home. If unmarried, deduct one point; they are incapable of forming long-lasting relationships and will probably move away and leave the dog chained up in the yard during a rainstorm)
NAME OF ADDITIONAL LOVE-RECIPIENTS/SWEETIES/CO-SLEEPERS/BEDMATES: (Deduct a point for each additional polyamorous partner that lives in the house with them; add half a point for each parter who lives out-of-state)
STREET ADDRESS: (Wrong)
HOME PHONE: (Deduct ten points for any phone numbers beginning with an area code)
WORK PHONE: (They should not have a work phone)
OCCUPATION: (They should quit their job in order to care for their forever animal companion but still make enough money from it to maintain an appropriate animal lifestyle. At the minimum, they should make enough money to keep the animal on dialysis for at least fourteen years if necessary)
SPOUSE’S OCCUPATION: (Wrong)
WORK HOURS: (Any amount is too much)
TYPE OF DWELLING: (Bungalows are acceptable; cottages are not. It goes without saying that apartments are unacceptable)
OWN OR RENT: (Owners have clearly bought into capitalistic notions of ‘owning’ and ‘being in control of’ their circumstances and will almost certainly beat any cats brought into ‘their’ home; renters are untrustworthy drifters)
SIZE OF YARD:
DO YOU HAVE A POOL? (“Drowning container”)
Would you be willing to allow one of our rescue volunteers to move in with you and engage in a romantic relationship with you for at least in six months in order to gauge your emotional stability/willingness to unload the dishwasher even if it’s not your turn?
Do you currently have a pet? (If yes, who is to say their first pet will not take precedence over the new one? If no, who is to say the new animal will not wither and die from loneliness?)
Have you ever owned a pet before? (Why did you let it die? How could any loving pet guardian allow the passage of time to wreak havoc on a beloved companion? What is the matter with you?)
What is your primary reason for adopting a pet? (Jealousy, spite, revenge, emotional sadism)
Where would your pet sleep? Would you be willing to sleep on the floor if your pet indicated it wanted to sleep on your bed undisturbed? Would you be willing to sleep outside, in the rain, if your pet indicated it?
How many hours a day would your pet be left alone? (All answers are wrong)
Draw a map of all the places in the house your pet could go.
Have you ever gone on vacation? Why would you still need a vacation if you had one of our rescue animals as a companion? Who would feed it antidepressants from an eyedropper if you went away even for a weekend?
What would you feed your pet?
A. Only pre-chewed food out of my mouth as we stare into one another’s eyes
B. Flesh from my own body
C. Trick question; feeding animals is an act of cruelty and human oppression
D. Crisp $50 bills
Isn’t it inherently coercive for the two of us — both humans — to determine the fate of another living creature via questionnaire instead of letting it choose for itself where to live?
Would you be willing to donate a kidney to a pet that needed it? Would you be willing to go on a round of experimental medication designed to turn your human kidney into a dog kidney before donating your kidney? If not, why?
Have you been trained in recognizing the signs in animal depression?
What if your companion animal was ever sad or bored ever for even a single second?
If you became ill and died before your pet, how would you explain this selfish, self-indulgent behavior to Animal God?
*We find the term “adopts” problematic as it reinforces an owner/owned, parent/pet, human/animal, master/subaltern dynamic and reject it in favor of less loaded terms like “co-reside,” “engage on this journey of life together,” or “mutual existence”
*The word “animal” is an act of violence and corporate fascism
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.