Shelters and rescue groups are full of all kinds of adoptable dogs and cats looking for a good home. If you’re looking to adopt a new pet soon, consider an animal who has a less likely chance of being brought home by someone else. Animals with special needs, imperfections, or of a particular breed, color, or age are often the last ones to be taken home, and the most likely to be euthanized or spend too much time in shelters. These animals have done nothing wrong and have no control over their situation. They are just as sweet and good as any other dog or cat at the shelter. Stand out from the crowd during Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week, September 21st-27th!
Some breeds get a bad reputation through no fault of their own. Here in the south, pit bulls are the main victims of our human bullying and ignorance. Pit bulls have a reputation for being vicious, aggressive fighting dogs. In my experience with pit bulls, they are sweet, playful cuddlers who are full of energy and expression. I can’t really leave my house without seeing someone out and about with their pit bull here in Memphis, I have dog-sitting clients who are pit bulls, and I have many friends who are pit bull owners. We have to remember that dogs are not inherently bad! Humans who train dogs for fighting are the ones of whom we should be scared. Give a pit bull a chance to steal your heart!
Animals with Black Fur
Black dogs and cats have difficulty getting adopted. One theory suggests that it is because it can be harder to read the animal’s facial expressions and mood. Some people think that it has to do with held-over superstitions-like black cats are ‘friends with witches’ and the like. Personally, I don’t understand…I have two fully black dogs and one fully black cat, and I can read their mood and expression just fine-and I’ve never been cursed, to my knowledge! Whatever the reason, black animals are left behind at shelters in large numbers. What a silly reason to not make a best friend!
Imperfections are Perfect
Many animals are left in shelters because they don’t meet our human standards of beauty. For example, there are cats and dogs with missing eyes, three legs or torn ears because they had a rough life on the streets, or were stuck in a bad home before being removed. This should not make these dogs and cats any less lovable! Animals adapt so easily to life’s circumstances. It’s we humans who have difficulty when we see a dog with one eye-the dog is usually perfectly happy and healthy otherwise and ready to play and cuddle. I have a dog-sitting client, Indie, who was rescued from The Memphis Human Society. When she was found, her leg had been broken and healed on its own at a very strange angle. She was getting around just fine, so the veterinarians decided it would be best to leave her leg as is. Indie does not let her strange leg stop her. She is sweet, full of energy, and loves to run and play with other dogs. Don’t discount an animal due to an imperfection. We all have them.
Special needs are another reason that many animals end up in shelters. These special needs may make them a little different to care for than other cats and dogs, but this doesn’t mean they don’t want a loving home! Animals who may be blind or deaf are a good example of this. Again, animals are so adaptable and will find a way to continue to enjoy life if they are supported by a loving owner or family. Some animals end up in a shelter after being hit by a car or with some type of injury. They just need some help being nursed back to health-and what a great bond you will form with your new friend! In cats, a big detractor in adoptions is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). This is similar to human HIV, and is contagious among cats, usually through bites or passed from mother to kittens. But if you are looking to be a single-cat home, then there is absolutely no risk in adopting a cat with FIV. You will want to make sure you take your cat to the vet regularly, and keep him indoors! This disease weakens the immune system, so you don’t want to add any extra stressors into his environment, or risk spreading it to other neighborhood cats. But a cat with FIV can live a long healthy life if you take these precautions.
Unfortunately, many senior animals end up in shelters when their owners move, pass away, or decide they would rather have a puppy. These dogs and cats want a loving family and a relaxing place to spend their time. Don’t overlook seniors when you are adopting a new pet. Senior dogs frequently have had experience with other pets and with children. They are lower in energy, and not as likely to jump or accidentally scratch out of excitement as is a puppy. Another benefit is that they are housebroken already! Senior cats are great cuddlers and really have a long life span-so don’t count them out too early. Many indoor cats live into their late teens and early twenties. Learn more about how senior pets make a great addition to your home.
I think animals with “behavioral issues” should really be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Many of these animals display negative behaviors due to lack of training or fear. A dog labeled as aggressive or problematic will not be for everyone, but should also not be discounted and automatically put to sleep. He may act entirely differently when taken out of a scary shelter environment and given some loving and consistent training for only a few weeks! If you can put in the time with training and exercise, almost any dog can be turned around. I would advise that you think about your lifestyle, your other pets, and if you have young children without dog experience before going this route, but a dog who is labeled as ‘bad’ can often be a great companion with a little help from us.
So, if you have been thinking about adopting a pet soon, please consider a pet who is considered ‘less adoptable’ and save a life! Tell us about your ‘less adotable’ pet in the comments below!