Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Petcurean.
Growing up, we all heard the idiom, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” These words are meant to encourage open-mindedness – even when things are seemingly unattractive, unfamiliar or in some cases, unexpected. However, these wise words are often forgotten when people think about bringing a pet into their homes. In fact, people tend to have a very specific picture in mind when imagining life with a dog or cat, and due to a number of common misconceptions, they sometimes overlook the option of bringing home one of the millions of deserving animals currently living in shelters.
Here are a few common myths about shelter pets, and the “doggone” truth about them:
Myth 1: Shelters only have mutts. There are no pure breeds available.
Fact 1: Shelters have their fair share of mutts – no doubt about that. But there are rescue dogs that are purebred. You might just need to have some patience and wait for one to be brought in. There are also rescue groups that are breed-specific, so if you really want a certain breed, you can look into adopting from one of those organizations.
Myth 2: Shelter animals have more health issues that will be costly for me to address.
Fact 2: Many shelters ensure pets that are adopted have seen a veterinarian and are given a clean bill of health before heading home with you. And if something is wrong, they will let you know ahead of time so there are no surprises – at least none that you could have potentially been aware of or predicted at the time of adoption. In addition, many health issues are easily treatable so don’t dismiss a potentially great pet whose condition may be temporary or easily resolved – simply switching their food to a premium recipe like Petcurean’s GO! Solutions could make a world of difference. And there are many affordable pet insurance options that can help offset costs over the life of your pet.
Myth 3: Shelters are full of old and/or ugly animals.
Fact 3: You can find dogs and cats of all ages at shelters! And there’s nothing wrong with taking home an adult dog or cat. Puppies and kittens are certainly cute, but they aren’t for everyone. They require lots of attention, training exercises and socialization to become well-behaved adults, and not everyone wants or is able to make that kind of commitment. Older pets on the other hand, are often better behaved, potty trained and less energetic. Whichever your preference, you should have no problem find a pet in your desired age-range.
As for looks, why not look beyond what’s “conventionally cute” and celebrate every animal’s individual uniqueness? Our friends at Petcurean just held an amazing contest called “Uplift the Underdog,” which shone a light on rescue dogs in Seattle, Portland, Toronto and Vancouver that are often overlooked due to age, looks, and/or dietary needs. The goal was to help find these deserving dogs their forever homes and help break down the stigma often associated with shelter animals. Contest prizes included Petcurean pet food for the finalists and their shelters, a makeover grooming service, and a Petcurean gift basket filled with supplies, toys and more. Talk about not judging a book by its cover – Petcurean just helped crack the book wide open for so many “underdogs”!
Myth 4: All shelter animals have experienced abuse or neglect, making them “damaged goods.”
Fact 4: Shelter animals have so very much love to give. Even with abuse or neglect in their past, these animals can make a full emotional recovery in due time – especially when they’re placed in a loving home and given the right care and attention. Many of these animals are just so happy to finally end up in safe, caring environments that they are even more loving and loyal to their adopted families. Others came from loving homes but were surrendered by their owners due to unexpected circumstances, like relocating for a job.
Myth 5: Shelter pets have behavioral problems and won’t adapt well to living in my home.
Fact 5: There are so many reasons, beyond behavioral issues, that pets are brought into shelters – owners could have moved to a place that doesn’t allow pets, they may have been overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to go into training their pet, the animal could have been a runaway, or it could have been born on the streets. Most of the animals that are dropped off at the shelter would make wonderful additions to a loving family. And those that wouldn’t, usually aren’t eligible for adoption!
If you, a family member, or a friend are thinking about welcoming a new pet into your family, I encourage you to do a little “digging” into your local shelters. If you are not sure if you are ready to adopt, or unsure which type of dog/cat you are looking for, many rescue groups and shelters have foster programs. Fostering allows you to learn more about the animal you are looking to adopt, and if your lifestyle/personalities are a match. It also helps you gauge if you are ready for the commitment and responsibility of caring for a companion. It also helps the animal by getting them into a temporary home, making space for a new animal at the rescue or shelter, and increases their chance for adoption. And if you fall in love with your foster, you can adopt – it’s a win win! You never know – the dog or cat you’re meant to bring home may just be the complete opposite of what you expected!