We love all dogs (obviously), but we've got a special soft spot for the rescues.
They're kind of our "pet cause" -- get it? (dog joke!)
If you're considering adopting a dog (yay!), you might have some concerns about the physical, behavioral, and mental health of these pups. After all, it's a huge deal — taking on a new family member — and you want to be sure you choose wisely. How can you be sure?
Shelter dogs are still battling some stereotypes – they’re difficult to train, they have behavioral issues, they may be sick, and there’s no information available about their history (other than what the shelter staff can tell you).
Like all stereotypes, there’s a nugget of truth there. A shelter dog is somewhat of a gamble. But given a chance, they also can be awesome!
If you have your heart set on a particular breed, keep reading — even you can find love in the animal shelter!
Reason #1: Bad Breeders
Watch out for “backyard breeders” or "puppy mills." Puppies bred in puppy mills (that find their way to pet stores or online puppy sites in many cases) can often come with serious undisclosed health issues and the conditions for all dogs involved can be downright abhorrent.
Reason #2: The Guilt Factor
Every year, over 10,000 dogs are euthanized because there are not enough spaces for them in shelters and rescues. It's an overpopulation problem — dogs who don't get adopted are often euthanized because there's simply not enough room for all the homeless dogs out there. In short, adoption saves lives.
Reason #3: The Myth of Behavioral Problems
Many people believe a bred puppy is a better alternative because he won’t have any of the emotional baggage of a shelter dog, and you can train him “your way.”
The reality is, many dogs end up in shelters because they were abandoned or given up by their owners. Someone got divorced and couldn’t keep the dog. Or suddenly developed an allergy to the dog. Or the new apartment building doesn’t allow pets.
Whatever the reason (and we’re not judging… okay maybe a little bit), plenty of shelter dogs are are complete sweetie-pies. They're not all there because they're "bad dogs."
Reason #4: Cost
Breeding dogs is expensive, when you do it responsibly. Breeders have to cover the expenses of medical testing, veterinary care, vaccinations and more, and those are built into the cost of a new puppy. That means pedigree dogs cost a lot of money. Like, a lot. Some of the new “designer” breeds” cost over $5,000!
Compared to that, rescue dogs are a straight-up bargain. Pet adoption fees vary, but they’re generally under $100. Most shelters spay and neuter their animals before readying them for adoption. And many veterinarians offer a free wellness checkup for adopted pets, that includes a full check-up, and vaccines.
Reason #5: Loyalty. Forever.
Rescue dogs are sweet and loyal in a way you have to experience to believe. It’s as if they know they’ve been given a second chance, and that you’re the one who gave it to them.
Reason #6: Making a Difference (A.K.A. More Guilt Factor)
When you adopt a pet, you save multiple lives. Not only does your new buddy get a loving home, but you’ve also freed up shelter space for other homeless dogs. Love!
Reason #7: You CAN Train a Rescue Dog
Despite the old saying, dogs can be house trained (and taught new tricks) at any age. You may need the help of a behaviorist or attend obedience school — but that could be the case with any new dog, not just a rescue with a scrappy past.
Reason #8: Finding the Breed You Want is Surprisingly Easy
If you have your heart set on a certain breed, you might still be able to adopt a rescue. Contact some shelters and foster organizations to see if you can find one that specializes in the breed you want. You might even find an organization that will work with you to find your ideal dog.
It might take some extra research, time, and travel, but if you really want to adopt a dog, and you really want a particular breed, it's totally possible to do both.
Reason #9: Puppies Are Kind Of A Pain in the Ass
Ummmm, when’s the last time you were around a puppy? ‘Cause they crazy.
They eat your shoes, and poop on the floor, and they don’t know not to bite you, and… well, training a puppy is a lot of work.
Adult and senior dogs usually come to you already trained — at the very least they’re housebroken, and they understand the value of just chilling out.
If you don’t have the time or energy to chase around a puppy for the next two years, you should seriously consider adopting an adult.
Okay… but what if you’re not ready to adopt, or you already own a sweet rescue dog?
No problem. There are tons of ways to help homeless doggies.
Time and/or money. Shelters and rescue groups can always use more of both. If you don’t have the money to donate, volunteer to help with adoption drives, walk the dogs, or simply send over some much needed items like blankets, pillows, and sheets.
Fostering. Bringing a homeless dog into your house until they can find a forever home does three important things:
- It helps free up shelter space.
- Your feedback about the dog’s personality will help him find the perfect family.
- It’s a great trial-run for finding the right dog for your family. (Warning — you’ll get attached.)
Alright. If you’re not convinced yet, it’s Adorable Photo Time! The Humane Society of Utah uses a professional pet photographer (because, yes, that’s a thing) to take photobooth-style shots of their rescues.
We’ll leave you with this one: