Whether you're looking to adopt a pet or interested to learn more about animal shelters and rescues, you've come to the right place. Read on because I'll walk you through the important bits and pieces that you should know.
Getting You In On the Right Pet Adoption Facts
You've got to take my word when I say pet adoption myths are often rooted in real life problems. However, these are often embellished to the point of ridiculousness. We’ve compiled a list of the 9 most common pet adoption myths (and the truth behind each of them) below:
Myth #1 - Animals in Shelters are Damaged Goods
This has got to be the most widely believed of all pet adoption myths. The truth is most pets like dogs and cats in shelters are pretty much healthy and sociable. They're often in the streets and become strays due to no fault of their own, too!
According to Jennifer Galloway, executive director of Gulf Coast Humane Society, most dogs or cats end up in an animal shelter because of "a death, divorce, birth, lifestyle change, moving or perhaps the family did not train."
It is true that in some cases, pets are surrendered or taken to shelters because of factors which are directly concerning the pet such as:
Growing too big: Like in the case of mini pot belly pigs or a Great Dane dog that can grow up more than their owners expected and end up as strays.
Being too energetic for the owner’s lifestyle: Common examples are cute and cuddly puppies or kittens who just used to sleep all day, but become bundles of energy as they grow older.
Being too noisy or too quiet for the owner’s liking: A specific breed can be known for frequent vocalization or silence, but the exact personality of a dog or cat can be unpredictable.
Not cute anymore: Sounds really unfair, but this is quite a run-of-the-mill excuse from people who previously purchased dogs and cats from unscrupulous breeders for the wrong reasons.
Myth #2: Adoptable Pets are Old and/or Sick
This is not true at all! One of the biggest reasons why the number of people choosing to adopt dogs and cats, among others, is constantly increasing is because it allows them to find the perfect pet in a smooth and convenient manner.
Moreover, adopters need not search far and wide because it's highly likely that there's an ASPCA rescue or shelter in their location or zip codes, wherever they may be in the country. Scheduling an appointment or an in-person visit is a breeze as well. They've even got a conspicuous sign or marker in some public places, too!
Chances are the shelter, rescue, sanctuary or pound in your location is teeming with adoptable animals of all ages, health conditions, sizes and breeds. All you have to do is make some inquiries. You can either call their number or check out their website for more details.
Myth #3 – You Don’t Know What You’re Getting If You Adopt from a Shelter or Rescue
A lot of people mistakenly think that animals in a rescue or shelter are dropped off with no information whatsoever. They also believe that matching with the right dog or cat is impossible because of this myth.
These people seem to forget that microchips can help save or log important details about dogs and cats nowadays! And a shelter or rescue will usually have a quick checklist for you to examine before you adopt a puppy or kitten as well as older pooches and felines.
The goal of a rescue or shelter is to get an animal adopted by a compatible pet parent or family. This is why adoption can be a long process because they have to know a dog or cat really well first before it can be adopted by a willing person.
On the other hand, a potential pet parent has to be meticulously interviewed and evaluated as well. A form is usually accomplished and all answers have to be provided for an application to be considered.
Myth #4: The Only Animals Up For Adoption are Cats and Dogs
Not true! You'll be surprised by how many pets can be adopted these days. Besides the usual dogs and cats, you'll also find a lot of exotic pets like iguanas, birds, and pythons when you do a quick Craigslist search.
It won’t hurt to call the shelter or rescue in your location. You will be amazed to find out that their pet statistics are very diverse! Who knows? You might even adopt a pet tarantula or a gerbil when you do so.
Myth #5: Pets for Adoption Are Dirty and Sickly
False! If you do a quick search on ASPCA and similar organizations, most dogs and cats taken in are generally healthy. They end up in shelters and rescues for various reasons other than their respective health conditions.
Sadly, dogs and cats that have serious health problems are euthanized when they show a sign or two that they won't be able to survive much longer. Being euthanized is only for the most extreme of cases.
Rescues often rehabilitate a cat or dog and make sure it's ready for a new home before allowing the new owner to take it home. As for shelters, they have in-house vets, staff and sometimes volunteers who can give you the rundown on the overall condition of dogs and cats.
Myth #6: No Pure-Breed Dogs and Cats are Available for Adoption
It's not uncommon to come across a pedigreed cat or dog when you adopt a pet! This is actually one of the benefits of adopted fur babies. Instead of buying one from a shady breeder, you can take in a previously owned pet.
Up to a fourth of the percentage of the whole dog and cat population that you can adopt is full-breed. That's quite a sizable number, don't you think?
Myth #7: Adopting a Pet Costs an Arm and a Leg
"Adopt" and "purchase" are completely different things. Whether you adopt a puppy, dog, cat or some other pet from shelters, you'll need to take care of some fees here and there. However, they're always going to be reasonable and you're actually saving yourself a lot.
Please take note that these fees (and at a discounted cost, too) are usually for neutering, spaying, check-ups, treating underlying conditions, if any, and a complete round of vaccinations. This is to protect a dog and cat even more when adopting a pet.
Myth #8: A Shelter Animal is Damaged for Life
While being surrendered to a shelter can hurt any dog, cat or some other animal, this isn't usually permanent (except maybe in the most extreme cases). A quick look online and you’ll see stories of animals who've been through abuse and yet they turned out to be the sweetest friend their new owner could ever hope for.
Animals have a remarkable ability to heal. What looks like a scared little ball of fur in a corner of a cage can turn out to be the sun-shiniest bundle of joy when given the opportunity.
Myth #9: Only Young Animals Make Good Pets
Contrary to popular belief, getting a cat, dog or some other animal as young as possible doesn't guarantee that it will grow up to be whatever its pet parent thought. This is also one of the reasons why millions of people end up giving their pets away—because their expectations didn’t meet reality.
Just like young pets, an older dog, cat, horse, or some other animal has its own charms. Adopting older animals can also mean that it has come to their full growth and has a settled personality. Additionally, this also means it's way past his or her destructive phase and can be a very good companion.
Some Quick Reminders
Are you ready to sign up for animal adoption? We hope that we've helped debunk some of the pet adoption myths you may have heard of and that you’re on your way to deciding about giving a homeless animal a second or maybe third lease in life.
Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.
Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.
Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.