Common myths about shelter & rescue dogs
1. They’re all mutts (a.k.a. mixed-breed)
Actually, shelters commonly report that about a quarter of their dogs are purebred. There are also many breed-specific rescue groups; if you have your heart set on a specific breed of dog, chances are there is a rescue group for that breed. A good place to find one is Petfinder.com, where you can search for adoptable pets by breed. Or you can look for the national breed club website where they should have information about rescue dogs available.
2. If they ended up in a shelter, they must have behaviour problems.
Dogs end up in shelters for many reasons: their owner died, or had to move overseas; they were lost or born as strays; they were seized from an owner who wasn’t taking good care of them… the reasons are endless. Most have nothing to do with the personality or behaviour of the dog itself. Some may have minor behavioural issues that can be addressed. All responsible humane societies, SPCAs and rescue groups temperament test dogs, and those with serious behaviour problems such as aggression are not put up for adoption.
3. They are all old & untrainable
Most dogs in shelters are less than 2 years old, and many are puppies. Dogs are incredibly adaptable creatures, so with guidance, patience, love and good leadership, most shelter dogs become well-adjusted and gentle companions.
4. Shelter animals are inferior to purebreds
Purebred dogs and cats are not smarter, healthier, or more even-tempered than canines and felines of mixed breeding. In fact, often the reverse is true.
5. Animals from abusive homes don’t make good pets because they’ve been mistreated for so long
In fact, most animals from abusive homes are able to make a full emotional recovery, with proper care, attention and leadership. They tend to be so grateful to be rescued from the abuse and anxiety that they become extremely devoted and loyal.
6. All shelter animals are sickly or unhealthy
Most shelter animals are healthy and have been vaccinated and checked by a veterinarian. Some may have medical problems, but the shelter will tell you about them.
7. Shelters only let you adopt if you’re the “perfect” owner
The dogs in shelters have already been abandoned at least once. Shelters want to prevent that from happening again. So they want to make sure you’re informed, prepared, and committed — and that it’s a good match for both of you. They ask many questions of potential adopters to ensure that you can make a long-term commitment to take care of the animal’s physical and behavioural needs.
8. Shelters are depressing
Most shelters are stretched to the limit financially and space-wise. It can be hard to see the animals in cages, but think of the shelter as a place of hope and of second chances. And of good-hearted people working to save animals’ lives.