I have been rehoming rescue dogs for a very long time, and one thing is abundantly clear, the stigma that shelter pets have been stuck with for many years is that they are “damaged goods”. We in rescue know that while physical, as well as psychological damage may have been done, these dogs are not “damaged irreparably” as many people seem to believe. Today we thought we would try to dispel a few of the myths about rescue pets.
Myth: Shelter dogs obviously have issues, the original owners wouldn’t have gotten rid of them if they didn’t
Truth is animals are brought to shelters for a large variety of reasons, some of which are…
Their owners have passed away
An irresponsible owner didn’t get their pets spayed or neutered so they found themselves with a litter of babies that they could not keep or did not want
The animal’s owners were abusive to the animal, so the authorities have removed the pet from the harmful environment
An animal was purchased or adopted by someone who did not take into consideration all of the responsibility that caring for that pet would entail. A good example of this would be someone who adopts a pet in an apartment complex that does not allow animals and then is subsequently forced to get rid of the pet.
Fact is that there are far fewer owner surrenders to shelters than you think, and many of those owner surrenders have absolutely nothing to do with the behavior of the animal.
Myth: Animals from abusive homes will never be good pets because they have been mistreated for so long
Most animals coming from abusive homes will typically make a full emotional recovery – with proper care and attention. Don’t get me wrong you have to work with them patiently. As with humans emotional recovery takes time, but it is possible. I know, EVERY single one of my family pets has been a rescue.
Myth: You never know what you’re getting with shelter pets
Although its true that the medical history and temperament of an animal adopted from a rescue shelter are not always available, it is really no different than an animal you might get from a pet store, shelter animals actually tend to be healthier than pet shop pets.
Myth: All animals in rescue shelters are sickly or unhealthy
Once again, it certainly IS possible that a pet adopted from a rescue shelter may have medical problems, however the majority of the animals that are adopted from shelters are perfectly healthy, and just need a good home. If anything, you’re more likely to get an honest answer about an animal’s medical problems from a shelter volunteer – who is clearly there because they *care* about the animals – as opposed to a pet store owner or backyard breeder that is only it in for the money. Additionally, animals in shelters are typically treated much better than animals in pet stores, which have often spent their short lives in cramped environments with little socializing and often, unsanitary conditions.
When you go to a pet store, the animals are kept on display in tiny cages, often with multiple animals in one cage. Puppies are generally purchased from puppy mills, and are often sick before being shipped to the pet store. When they are placed together in cramped cages with other puppies the possibility for disease to spread is created.When you go to a shelter, you will usually find much bigger animal pens, where the animals have some room to move. They are usually kenneled one pet to a kennel, making the possibility for disease to spread less than in the pet shop.
Take it from someone who has NEVER had anything but rescue dogs. They are no different than a dog you would buy from a breeder or a pet shop, but they can be far more loyal in the end. They need you to understand that it is not their fault they ended up in a shelter, and you shouldn’t label them as “BAD” dogs because they did.
Adopt! Don’t shop! There really is no difference in the end, except maybe that you could be saving the life of an animal that through no fault of its own has ended up in a shelter.
Until Next Time Remember,