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A Rant About Shelter Adoption

techpuppy
January 25th, 2006, 08:16 PM
You know, after the last couple of weeks I can see why so many dogs are still in shelters. I can also see why so many people just take in a stray or a “free” puppy when someone is giving them away.

This is what happened while dealing with a Humane Society Shelter: I am about 180 miles away from the shelter so I requested an application to be completed in advance. It was emailed to me. I emailed it back the same day. They said I would have a response in just two days.

Five days later I had not heard back. So I called. It took almost half an hour to get through to the proper person. They checked their email and found mine. So they decided just to ask questions on the phone. The original application had only about 10 questions on it. They asked a lot more. They approved of crate training for housebreaking only...no newspapers or pads. At the end of the interview they asked for a credit card number. As it turns out they wanted not only the adoption fee, but boarding for each day until I could get there (4 days).

I mentioned that we wanted to see the dog and, as their website promoted, spend some time with the dog in a special room to see how we would interact. We would still have to do that, but if we decided on the spot that the dog wasn’t for us the fees and boarding are non-refundable. They weren’t even transferable to any other dog at the facility. After discussing the dog further we are told that he is noted for nuisance barking (no problem), hates cats (no problem in our case), and easily jumps over 4 foot fences. That’s a lot different from the online description of cute, well behaved and obedient.

A couple of weekends ago we drove to another shelter which both online and in a recorded message said open daily 10 to 4, except Tuesdays. After driving 2 hours we pull up to a locked gate with a hand painted sign saying open Wednesday to Saturday 10-4.

Another shock to me has been the adoption fees. They range from around $100 to $300. Granted, you are getting some services and not just a dog, but some of them seem a little high. In the case of the shelter mentioned above I would be out over $100 just to see the dog whether I adopted him or not. I know this is not an issue to a lot of you. But we’re still paying for the hospital bills from our last companion.

So last Saturday we made the drive, paid the fee, and got to visit with Bart. There was no special room for visiting. We had to get in his kennel. He is a Husky/Shepherd mix so we called him a Shepusky. We interacted well and adopted him. We took the advice on pets.ca and tried the crate training right away. It worked great. We even made him some of the home-made dog biscuits which we read about here. They were a hit.

Bart did fine Sunday. Early Monday he vomited after eating a few bites and drinking some water. We took him to the vet at 3 p.m. where we were given some antibiotic pills and wormer pills. He had a temperature of 103.3. By Tuesday morning he was not keeping anything down so we took him back to the vet. They gave him a dosage of pills and said he’d need to go potty really badly in about an hour. Instead he got sick and threw up his pills. So it was back to the vet again. This time the vet said they’d have to keep him overnight and use injectable medication. This was all sounding way too familiar as that is what we went through with Hank, our previous companion, due to kidney disease in December.

Today we went back to the vet to visit Bart and were told that he has distemper. We took him his blanket as he’s in a kennel by himself. Our vet talked to their vet and although Bart had vaccinations when he arrived at the shelter, he had not had a distemper booster since. (Bart is somewhere around 4 months old).

I am hoping that treatment will work for Bart, but from what I’ve read I’m not encouraged. I am very angry and sad. After losing Hank I was looking forward to a continuing adventure with a canine friend. We only had two good days with Bart after over a week waiting to get approved.

I am very angry with the shelter. What’s the point of running everyone through the wringer to get approved for a pet when I feel they aren’t doing what they should to keep the animals healthy. Further insult? If an adopted pet dies within 5 days you can adopt another without another adoption fee. Otherwise you get nothing. What a strange warranty. I wasn’t adopting a toaster. Why couldn’t they simply make sure the animals they have are being cared for properly. I won’t name the shelter here because that’s not the purpose of this site and because maybe everything will work out okay. If there is a “next time”, I’ll be the one sending out an application to the shelters before I adopt.

I’m upset that we adopted a dog that has only known shelter life consisting of concrete kennels with chain link doors for practically all of its life. He only got three days of a caring loving fun-filled home and now he’s back in a sterile kennel. We took in his blanket today so he had something to sleep on and it was one of the few things he considered “his”. Late Monday night we saw how much he cared for his crate and blanket as we awoke to him digging at his blanket to pull it away from the back of his crate. Before we could get to him he got sick, but he kept his blanket clean.

By the way, Bart never barked once, seemed indifferent to cats , and is an escape artist.

Sorry for the long rant, but I had to vent.

wdawson
January 25th, 2006, 08:32 PM
what a gorgeous pup , hope it all works out for the little guy and you also.

jesse's mommy
January 25th, 2006, 08:33 PM
I can understand your frustration. We had a hard time with the humane society when we adopted Jesse, but fortunately for us it worked out for the better.

Bart is absolutely gorgeous. I really hope things work out for the best. :fingerscr I'll say a prayer the treatment works and you can have a new addition to your family. :angel:

papillonmama
January 25th, 2006, 08:39 PM
Poor Bart, poor you too. I reeeeaaally hope he gets better quickly.:fingerscr

BMDLuver
January 25th, 2006, 08:48 PM
Good thoughts for Bart. Very sorry to hear that you've had such a bad experience.

Frenchy
January 25th, 2006, 08:50 PM
I can understand your frustration and I hope Bart recovers,he is so cute.Thanks for everything you did for him.X paws for Bart.

Lucky Rescue
January 25th, 2006, 09:05 PM
OMG - what a horrible experience, both for you and your adorable little puppy.:(

Depending on how long he was at the shelter, it seems he was vaccinated before showing signs of disease? If so, that should help. The incubation period is about a week.

I’m upset that we adopted a dog that has only known shelter life consisting of concrete kennels with chain link doors for practically all of its life. He only got three days of a caring loving fun-filled home and now he’s back in a sterile kennel.

I know just what you mean, and it's extremely upsetting! I hope he makes it!!

I can also see why so many people just take in a stray or a “free” puppy when someone is giving them away.

I just have to comment. Nothing is "free". Someone dumping puppies for free (or at a shelter, as yours was) to anyone who wants one is hardly likely to have given the mother or puppies proper care, and they are just as apt to have disease, worms and all manner of parasite as any shelter puppy. Plus they aren't spayed or neutered, so by the time you finish the exams, shots, deworming, spay/neuter, you'll easily be up to 300$ or more depending on the size of the dog.

Okami
January 25th, 2006, 09:35 PM
I wouldn't mind the price of the adoption fee if and only if the dog I plan on adopting is 100% healthy, and spayed/neutured. Paying a fee just to see a dog is rediculous, I can't think of a better way to discourage people from adopting pets. Shelters are already overflowing with pets, there are already enough people are reluctant to adopt.

The experience of walking through a shelter and seeing all the abandoned animals would make most people want to adopt an animal. Putting a fee on such an experience is nonsense but putting a fee at such a price is just idiotic.

BMDLuver
January 25th, 2006, 09:39 PM
Depending on how long he was at the shelter, it seems he was vaccinated before showing signs of disease? If so, that should help. The incubation period is about a week.

I'll comment on the vaccinations of a young pup as I've had a pretty good education on that subject recently. A pup receives it's first vaccination between 6-8 weeks of age. It then should have a second vaccination 3-4 weeks following that. The reasoning behind this is that the pup gets some antibodies from the mom's colostrum at the beginning of it's life. The first vaccine the puppy receives is like a primer to it's antibodies. The second vaccine actually builds the antibodies. If a pup doesn't get that second vaccine then he/she has no defence against the disease when coming in contact with it. Therefore, the frequency to see pups between the ages of 9-12 weeks contracting diseases.

jesse's mommy
January 25th, 2006, 09:50 PM
Techpuppy -- will you please keep us updated to the condition of Bart? We are all praying for the little guy!

Lucky Rescue
January 25th, 2006, 10:15 PM
If a pup doesn't get that second vaccine then he/she has no defence against the disease when coming in contact with it.

Thanks for the info!

Lissa
January 25th, 2006, 10:28 PM
I am so sorry that this is happening to you and poor Bart. It must be so upsetting. He is gorgeous though!

Please keep us updated. Have you tried contacting the shelter about Bart's distemper!? Perhaps if you tell them about it now and hvae your vet speak with them, it might change their attitude...

I can't say that I am entirely surprised by the treatment you recieved from the shelter...I have yet to have a good experience with my local shelter either:sad: ...

Good luck to your little "Shepusky":fingerscr!

babyrocky1
January 25th, 2006, 11:00 PM
This is so horrifying, especially after the loss of your first fur baby, I feel so bad for Bart!!! I hope everything works out for the poor wee guy!!! He is soo cute!:fingerscr

Prin
January 26th, 2006, 12:16 AM
What a nuisance! I know people here are in rescue, but can you seriously imagine anybody "regular" going through all that trouble and actually managing to get a dog in the end? You know what I mean? It's far less hassle getting a dog from a BYB and in this case, probably healthier. That shelter should have warnings all over, IMO. Sorry for the rant but really. How can any shelter expect so much and give so little?

I hope this doggy makes it through this happy and healthy. :)

jessi76
January 26th, 2006, 10:22 AM
wow, what a handsome boy! Bart is in my thoughts - I hope he makes a full recovery and has a long happy life w/ you. PLEASE keep us posted on his progress.

I'm sorry it was so difficult, but I can totally relate... my bf & I had a heck of a time adopting a dog... found numerous dogs that I thought were perfect for us - I filled out shelter applications, I emailed, I called, and never got a response on ANY of them. We were pretty much in disbelief... how could so many shelters list so many dogs, and never respond to a potential adopter?

I kept searching, found pups availalbe at a shelter (2 hrs away from us) and figured I'd give it another go - I filled out the shelter's application, and in the last line of it, the COMMENT section, I wrote:

At this point, I think it would be easier to adopt a child from China, than it is to adopt a dog.

They called me an hour later. By that afternoon the shelter had spoken to my friends, my family and our vet to verify everything. We were able to adopt Tucker the next day for a fee of $165. We had no problem paying the fee (donation) but when we got Tucker (8wks old), he was not neutered (too young), only had one deworming, no vacc's (!!!), and had demodetric mange. Our first weeks consisted of vomitting, diahrea (worms), and mange issues. We didn't regret getting him for 1 second, but it took many vet visits, a bit of $$, and diligence w/ meds to get him healthy.

again, Bart is just darling! (more pics please!)

doggy lover
January 26th, 2006, 10:36 AM
That all seems so crazy, but I hope Bart makes it he has such a sweet face.

I went to adopt a kitten at a shelter years ago and they had distemper in the cat section and were going to be putting down all the cats to stop the spread. While I was there people were walking in and stroking the cats then going into the dogs, I pointed this out to them, they didn't seem bothered. I called the Toronto Humane when I got home and they said that they would look into it, if they did? I never went back to that shelter again.

Jazzmanian
January 26th, 2006, 11:12 AM
Yup - had similar experiences with all the shelters and societies I talked to before our recent adoption.

Was promised by the shelter a number of things that never happened. Our dog was not really described acurately. (I get the feeling that the shelter knew a lot more than they let on about her health etc.) This is all bad enough, but am I the only one that got the feeling they were being talked to like a five year old. I know I did many times.

Next time, just going to scan the papers.

Shelters are working in such a fashion as to undermine their own stated goals at this point.

Beaglemom
January 26th, 2006, 01:04 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about Bart. Hope he pulls through alright. I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers. Keep positive, hopefully soon he will be home and be a typical, happy, healthy pup!
I'll comment on the vaccinations of a young pup as I've had a pretty good education on that subject recently. A pup receives it's first vaccination between 6-8 weeks of age. It then should have a second vaccination 3-4 weeks following that. The reasoning behind this is that the pup gets some antibodies from the mom's colostrum at the beginning of it's life. The first vaccine the puppy receives is like a primer to it's antibodies. The second vaccine actually builds the antibodies. If a pup doesn't get that second vaccine then he/she has no defence against the disease when coming in contact with it. Therefore, the frequency to see pups between the ages of 9-12 weeks contracting diseases.
I just thought that I would make a quick comment on this. This is absolutely true, but this is assuming the mother has been vaccinated prior to getting pregnant and has the antibodies herself. Otherwise, she cannot offer any protection for her puppies. Also, the reasoning why puppies/kittens need 3 sets of vaccinations is because nobody is 100% sure as to when the antibodies in their system given to them by their mother wears off. The vaccines protect them once they do.

joeysmama
January 26th, 2006, 03:11 PM
Oh he's a beautiful boy. I'm praying that he gets great care and makes a full recovery. He deserves to go home with you and have a loving wonderful life !!

techpuppy
January 26th, 2006, 06:22 PM
Hi everyone!

Thank you all for your care, prayers, and thoughts. Words can’t fully express our appreciation.

We got to visit Bart again today. I got in his kennel with him and sat down to pet him for a while. He is drinking water on his own and keeping much of it down but has no interest whatsoever in food. The vet said we might want to bring in something to entice him to eat but since we only had him for a few days I have no idea what to try. I’m going back through the posts on this site for some ideas.

I emailed the shelter and their vet called ours and they spent quite a bit of time discussing Bart and his treatment. It is largely supportive treatment. Then their vet called us today and apologized to us. He said that they would never have allowed Bart to be adopted if they had any indication that he was not well. Bart was neutered last Friday and they had put him in foster care on Thursday to reduce his exposure to other dogs prior to the surgery.

Anyway their vet said that our vet was doing the right thing by keeping Bart for treatment. We felt better as it was kind of a second opinion on the treatment. He also said that they'd only had 3 cases of distemper in the last 5 years.

We took in some of the home made dog biscuits he loved a few days ago but he didn’t care for them today. So it’s one of those waiting games to see how he responds to treatment. At least today he got up and came over to us. Yesterday all he did was get up and walk over to his blanket. He is getting good care. The folks at the vet’s office tried heating up some canned dog food to tempt him today. They were washing his blanket when we got there. They do keep the place spotless. We’ll know more tomorrow.

I agree that many shelters seem to have lost their focus of getting animals in the hands of caring people. Some of them seem positively suspicious if you inquire about the availability of an animal. A standardized application would help or maybe shelters could share applications with other shelters in an area.

Frenchy
January 26th, 2006, 08:00 PM
So Bart is doing better,even if it just a little bit,that is good news.Keep us posted and good luck.I can't wait for you to tell us he's fine and back home with his new family.X paws.

doggy lover
January 26th, 2006, 09:20 PM
It sounds like he is in good hands, I'll get Tucker to keep his :pawprint: crossed too. How about trying little bits of meat or hotdogs, or even pieces of cheese if he is allowed?

t.pettet
January 26th, 2006, 11:01 PM
What a horrendous ordeal and all you've ended up with is a sick pup and more expense. Get in touch with the Fed. of Humane Societies and let them know in detail your experiences dealing with the shelters. Someone in charge should be informed of your situation and rectify this mess.

CyberKitten
January 26th, 2006, 11:25 PM
So sorryto hear if your experience but am glad that Bart is doing well. I think sometimes SPCA's and Humane Societies - which are all very different - and differet yet again from privately operated rescues - do not have the resources they need and run ehings on a shoestring (esp in small towns, obviously an SPCA in a large city with a contract from city hall is another matter altogether but that's another issue). Give Bart a hug for me - he is really cute!!!!

Shamrock
January 26th, 2006, 11:38 PM
I'm so sorry for this terrible ordeal you're all going through, and I too send my prayers and best wishes to little Bart for a complete recovery.

He is just adorable! I'm glad to learn there are some encouraging signs for you with his progress, and hope he soon will be well again.:fingerscr

Daisy_Mae
January 27th, 2006, 09:53 AM
Poor boy, what a nightmare for you and him. I can honestly say I have not heard one good thing about SPCA's and Humane Society's.

I used to volunteer for one and I was always disgusted by their lack of concern for the animals. Even the ones who worked there and seem to have a heart were completely uneducated when it came to animal health and behaviour. I had an incident with the manager that resulted in the death of cat that I offered to take in. He was healthy and young and had proved that his aggression was shelter related. The aggression wasn't even that bad, he was just scared. She said I could take him home and then euthenized him. I still cry when I think about it. I called the head office and they said she was in full rights to euthenize the cat. I got together with several volunteers who had witnessed similiar incidents and we all wrote complaint letters. Was anything ever done about it? Absolutely not. Do they make people jump through hoops to adopt? Of course they do.

And it's not just one shelter, most in my area are like that. I do dog rescue now and we end up with so many great dogs that were "rejected" by the SPCA\Humane Society's. It's great that they want to be picky, but turning people off from adopting only results in low adoption rates and less dogs being saved. I have had several foster dogs that I have found homes for myself. Yes I make them fill out the standard form and provide references but I also go by gut feeling about the people and I never been wrong. I still keep in touch with the families and the dogs are doing great.

As far as I am concerned there is too many politics in SPCA/Humane society's that get in the way of finding these animals a home.

You are a really good person to help this puppy, some would just return the dog. He'll pull through and be your best companion for many years! :)

techpuppy
January 28th, 2006, 06:18 PM
Hi everyone,

The shelter we adopted Bart from now says they would be glad to replace him at no charge. (Don't these people have any feelings toward the animals?) Bart has been in the hospital longer than the time he spent with us at home.

Meanwhile Bart is still in the hospital. IVs were started yesterday to combat dehydration. He still hasn't eaten anything, but is being monitored carefully. They put him an isolation area to prevent any possible spread of whatever he's got. Now they think he is suffering from Parvo and not distemper, but they're not absolutely sure. The shelter said that they "have lots more cases of Parvo than distemper." Just to take out my frustrations I'm coming up with an application to the shelter asking what they've done to make sure their animals are healthy. I'm beginning to wonder if they did anything other than provide food and water. They still haven't come through with any treatment records.

It seems to me that the folks at this particular shelter ought to spend a bit more time learning how to take care of their animals. I know they are busy and have a lot of animals, but either you care for your pets or you don't. A shelter should make the same committment they expect from those adopting pets.

There I go again. Thanks everyone.

shannonRN
January 29th, 2006, 01:47 AM
A shelter should make the same committment they expect from those adopting pets.

That is a very well-made point. I couldn't agree with you more.

I can't believe they don't send any treatment and vaccination records with you at the time of adoption.

I don't know how I missed this thread, but what a crappy turn of events. He is such a cutie, I hope he will be okay.

Have you decided whether you will keep him or trade him in? Will the shelter pay for any of the treatment if you keep him?

techpuppy
January 29th, 2006, 01:45 PM
We've contacted the shelter about helping with the hospital bills, but I would be surprised if they did since they apparently wouldn't spend a few dollars on preventative care.

Have you decided whether you will keep him or trade him in?

Bart has a home here with us. We wouldn't trade him. He's already a family member as far as we're concerned.

Frenchy
January 29th, 2006, 02:28 PM
techpuppy;you really did save a life by adopting him and continue to do so.That dog is so lucky to have found you.Many people would have return him to the shelter where they would have put down the poor dog.Thank you!

Mommy-Of-Three
January 29th, 2006, 02:47 PM
techpuppy, I am very sorry to hear of all the troubles you have had with the new addition to your family. Having taken a college program in veterinary medicine and worked in a veterinary hospital (the only 24 hour emergency hospital in my city) I know that distemper is rarely fatal. I hope Bart continues to improve, but I have a very good feeling that he will and you'll be bringing him back home soon. :fingerscr

I have also worked in our local Humane Society, both in the development department (a year and a half) and in the adoptions department (about seven months). I completely understand any negative feelings you may have towards some of the procedures and adoption policies. Through a friend (who also briefly worked at the shelter) I heard of a case where someone had adopted a puppy which came down with Parvovirus. The owners chose to euthanize because they could not afford the costs involved with treatment, especially when there was only a 50% chance of the puppy surviving. Our adoption department gave the owners the choice of taking home a new puppy free of charge or losing what they had paid for the first puppy. Now, the problem is that when you have a puppy come down with Parvovirus in your home it is recommended that you wait at least two years before bringing another puppy in...unless of course you can dowse your entire home and yard with enough bleach to kill off any residual virus left in the environment. So how much sense does that shelter policy make? I thought it was the stupidest and cruelest thing I'd ever heard. In fact, the supervisor who gave the owners their options was angry with them for having had the first puppy euthanized...I could have smacked her when I heard that! Treatment for Parvo can range anywhere from $500 to $1500, depending on the length of the treatment. Not everyone has that kind of money to put on a pet regardless of how much they love that pet!

Anyway, I have three cats, two of which were adopted from the shelter, and they've all had their medical issues (the middle one has cost me the least amount of money in vet bills). I love them all very much...I don't know what I would ever do with out my babies!

doggy lover
January 29th, 2006, 09:30 PM
I think most shelters would have him pts, due to cost and the spread of the desease.

aude_sapere
January 31st, 2006, 02:05 AM
We've contacted the shelter about helping with the hospital bills, but I would be surprised if they did since they apparently wouldn't spend a few dollars on preventative care.



Bart has a home here with us. We wouldn't trade him. He's already a family member as far as we're concerned.

Oh, I do hope it turns out well for you and Bart. I have my fingers crossed.

Mommy-Of-Three
February 1st, 2006, 12:38 AM
I think most shelters would have him pts, due to cost and the spread of the disease.
Not necessarily. You'd be VERY surprised :eek: at how completely illogical animal shelters can be when it comes to diseases and costs. My boyfriend was an animal care attendant (that's how we met) and one day I stopped to have a chat with him in the area he was working and he was so angry about the condition one cat was being left in. She was paralyzed, urinating and defecating on herself and my boyfriend had to hold her head up for her so she could eat a little bit of food. Want to know why the shelter vet wouldn't euthanize? Because it was a stray cat and the owner hadn't been found or contacted us yet. Does that really make any sense?

techpuppy
February 1st, 2006, 11:51 PM
Hi Everyone!

GREAT NEWS! Bart gets to come home tomorrow (Thursday). It appears that he is going to make it fine other than lost weight. Last Saturday was his worst day and it was rough. Thanks to the folks at the veterinary hospital who patiently tried everything Bart started to eat a little yesterday and was eating on his own most of today. Bart made it quite clear that he was ready to go today! We’re both taking tomorrow off from work so we can get Bart reacquainted with his new home and family.

A special thank you goes to all of you who said a prayer, left a comment, or just kept us in your thoughts over the last week. It is so nice to have a place like this forum where there are so many sincere animal lovers. Thank you.

It’s fairly certain that Bart had Parvo and seems to have pulled through it. We’re trying to disinfect everything so we can have visits from other dog owners eventually. From what I’ve read it is tough stuff to get rid of. The shelter sent us an email saying that they were careful to keep their dogs isolated from other dogs to prevent the spread of disease. Hmmmm...but all of the Kong toys at the shelter are communal as well as the run. Do they just not understand how this works?

Mommy-Of-Three
February 2nd, 2006, 12:33 PM
That's wonderful news, techpuppy! It surprises me that the vets didn't do a Parvo test to confirm the diagnosis, but at least Bart has pulled through! They say that even with treatment there is only a 50% chance of survival; Bart must be one really tough little guy, and he already knows how much you love him.

As for the shelter not understanding how it works....yeah, they do, but that doesn't make them any smarter on the subject. When I was working in the adoption department we had an outbreak of Parvo, but we were still allowing people to remove puppies from their kennels. There was always a staff member or volunteer present in the puppy room to "properly" disinfect the rubber aprons and make sure people didn't put their hands from one kennel into the next without cleaning first, but that isn't necessarily going to stop the spread of the virus. As for the visiting room, we mopped it out with bleach and water after every puppy and dog came out of it and we changed the mop water after every cleaning (and that was about the smartest thing we did). It IS very difficult to get rid of. It can live in the environment for up to two years and it is resistant to freezing AND boiling. The only thing that definitely kills it is bleach (bleach will kill anything, including humans if used at the right concentration for the right length of time;) ).

Anyway, I'm really glad to hear that Bart is going home!

jesse's mommy
February 2nd, 2006, 09:16 PM
[QUOTE=Mommy-Of-Three](bleach will kill anything, including humans if used at the right concentration for the right length of time;) QUOTE]

That made me laugh out loud!!!

Anyway, I'm so glad to hear Bart is coming home to his forever family! Please post pictures! I'm truly happy he pulled through. I honestly think it's because he felt the love from you! Woo-Hoo!!! :)

joeysmama
February 2nd, 2006, 10:58 PM
Techpuppy that's great news !!:D

Give Bart lots of hugs from us !! I'm so happy he's coming home !!

doggy lover
February 3rd, 2006, 05:31 PM
Wow thats great news, give Bart lots of hugs from us too. Now you can send lots of pics.;)

Mommy-Of-Three
February 3rd, 2006, 06:04 PM
[QUOTE=Mommy-Of-Three](bleach will kill anything, including humans if used at the right concentration for the right length of time;) QUOTE]

That made me laugh out loud!!!
That's good to know! It makes me laugh, too, because it's true; even though I would never consider such a thing, some people are just so mean it can be a tempting thought.:D