Adopting a pet is one of the greatest ways to add warmth and joy to your household, and selecting a pet from a shelter enables you to save a life at the same time.

Unfortunately, quite a few misconceptions exist regarding shelter animals, and these only serve as needless barriers to shelter animals finding the loving homes they so rightfully deserve.

Novocastrian Photography

Myth #1: Shelters Don’t Offer Purebreds

According to Dr. Jules Benson, the VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan Pet Insurance, 25% of all dogs in shelters are actually purebreds – a statistic that greatly discredits the common claim that all shelter animals are “mutts.” Purebred animals are surrendered for the same reasons mixed breeds are, so their presence within animal shelters across the nation is not surprising.

Myth #2: Purebreds Make Better Pets

Purebred animals and mixed breeds both offer excellent companionship. And when it comes to general health concerns, mixed breeds typically have a lower chance of being born with inherited congenital diseases, and that makes for lower veterinary costs in the long-run.

Myth #3: Shelter Animals Are Sickly

Some people automatically assume animals in shelters are sick, and these people are misinformed. Many shelter pets are very healthy. In fact, animals from shelters and rescue groups are 5% less likely to need unexpected veterinary care than animals purchased from pet stores.

Martha Smith-Blackmore, former president of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, reiterates shelter animals’ health: “In well-run shelters, animals receive vaccinations upon intake and are fed a high-quality diet.”

Myth #4: Shelter Animals Aren’t Well-Behaved

Shelter pets often receive training and socialization prior to adoption in order to help make their transition into new homes easier. Also, most shelters will allow you to spend time with your potential pet to experience its temperament first-hand.

Sadly, some people mistakenly assume feral cats in particular are not able to easily and comfortably transition, but that’s simply not true. Although shyness and fear are typical characteristics of a feral cat, these traits can quickly lessen with patient and consistent human interaction.

Myth #5: Shelter Animals Are Older

All age ranges of animals can be found in shelter settings, so you can easily find puppies and kittens alongside senior animals. Keep in mind that while babies are certainly adorable, older pets are usually already well-trained and may require less work initially (as anyone who has endured puppy training knows all too well).

Myth #6: It’s Better to Get a Free Pet

This is one case where “free” isn’t exactly a bargain. Adopting an animal from a shelter or through a rescue group typically involves a nominal adoption fee, but in the long-run, you’re actually saving money on veterinary expenses. If you simply adopt an animal for free, you’re responsible for an extensive list of medical services:

  • Spaying/neutering ($150-300)
  • Distemper vaccination ($20-30, 2x)
  • Rabies vaccination ($15-25)
  • Heartworm test ($15-35)
  • Flea/tick treatment ($50-200)
  • Microchip ($50)

Myth #7: Something Must Be Wrong With a Surrendered Animal

Pet owners have numerous reasons for surrendering their animals. In fact, the main reasons pets are given up include:

  • Owners are moving (7% dogs, 8% cats)
  • Allergies (8% cats)
  • Owners having personal problems (4% dogs and cats)
  • Too many, or no room for litter mates (7% dogs, 17% cats)
  • Owners can no longer afford the pet (5% dogs, 6% cats)
  • Owners no longer have time for the pet (4% dogs)

Most of the time, these reasons have nothing to do with the animals themselves.

Benefits of Adopting a Shelter Animal

There are plenty of excellent reasons to adopt a pet instead of shopping for one.

1. Saving Lives: Shelters have tragically high euthanasia rates, so adopting a shelter animal literally means you’re saving a life. In addition, for every animal adopted, rescue groups can focus on saving another animal that needs help, so the whole process is truly a win-win.

2. Ending Puppy Mills: Purebred animals are often bred in deplorable conditions, and the animals suffer as a result of overcrowding, poor hygiene, little socialization and extreme physical demands. By adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue, you send the message that backyard breeders won’t be supported.

3. Making Dreams Come True: Each shelter animal is waiting for his or her forever home, and many of these animals have experienced distress from owner surrenders and lives lived on the mean streets. You have the opportunity to give an animal a life it has only ever dreamed of, and what could be more rewarding than that?

 

Kayla MatthewsKayla Matthews is a pet-loving productivity blogger with a passion for animals and especially big dogs! To read more articles by Kayla you can follow her on Google+ and Twitter, or at ProductivityTheory.com

 

Image by Novocastrian Photography

By Natalie Hennessy 8 days ago at 1:25 pm 0 Comments

While bringing home a rescue dog can be exciting for you, it can be terrifying to your new dog, especially if he is a more timid sort. Oftentimes, rescue dogs have gone through some sort of trauma, whether it's the trauma of abandonment, abuse, or having been a stray for an extended period of time. Before you bring your new family member home, put a plan in place for helping him adjust quickly to his new forever home. 

Rover Rescue
Give Three Days of No Demands
If your dog is particularly nervous, let him have space. Don't force attention he may not want; if he wants to be left alone, respect that. Give him his own space with a comfortable bed, food and water, toys/treats, and a kennel. Dogs are den creatures and feel more secure in their environment when they have their own "den" to escape to when they're feeling overwhelmed. Take him outside when he needs to, go for walks for exercise, and monitor him closely. Potty accidents, hole digging, or other destructive behavior can't occur if he's closely supervised. Make sure he feels safe, but also knows the rules. Be firm.

Provide Structure
Be consistent with your dog and use positive reinforcement. Simply put, bad behaviors get ignored or redirected and good behaviors get endless amounts of praise. When your new dog goes potty outside, make it a happy time. Lots of happy praise and treats will make your dog realize that going outside is what makes his new family happy. If he has an accident in the house, immediately take him outside and praise him heavily when he does his business where he's supposed to. However, don't be overly permissive. Yes, your dog has had a hard time, but that doesn't excuse poor behavior like growling, jumping, or destroying household items. 

Don't Bombard Him
You'll want to show your new furry friend off to everyone you know, but it's best to keep the environment quiet for a few weeks. One or two people coming in and out probably won't stress your pet out, but a birthday party or barbecue absolutely will. Avoid places like pet stores, dog parks, or other heavily populated social places, too. He needs to focus on adjusting to his new home and dropping new people or places in on him during this adjustment period can cause setbacks in getting adjusted. Make sure your dog won’t attack strangers. Often rescues have adapted to become more aggressive to deal with their environments. According to Taylor and Blair, personal injury lawyers in Surry BC, they say it is great to praise soft play. Be sure before they meet new people and animals they are well trained enough to avoid an accident like this.

The basic rule of having a new rescue dog is to keep things quiet. Allow him time to learn about his new people, his new bed, and his new rules. He's gone from a noisy shelter environment to a home and that can be intimidating, no matter how good of a change it is. If you ever have any dog behavior questions, contact a professional dog trainer to help you stay on the right track for a long lasting relationship with your dog.

 

Brooke ChaplanBrooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She has lived and worked in her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico after her graduation from the University of New Mexico. Contact her via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

 

By Natalie Gomez on Jun 04, 2014 at 2:30 pm 0 Comments