Shake It Off! Undoing the Shelter Dog Stigma
Everyone knows shelter dogs get a bad rap – people assume they are dangerous, aggressive, sickly, or covered in fleas before even stopping in for a visit! Dogs from “the pound” are seen as damaged goods by far too many people. If you have been to your local shelter, you probably know – it’s simply not true! There are dogs of all shapes, sizes, breeds, and personalities at the pound. There are infinite great reasons to head to your local shelter if you’re thinking of looking for the perfect dog for you!
First of all, there is a huge overcrowding issue with most shelters in the United States. So many dogs that don’t have a loving home or family end up at the shelter, sometimes for months or years before being placed. The variety makes it easy for you to find your new companion. Every dog deserves a family!
Many people mistakenly believe that shelter dogs were abandoned for a reason and that there must be something wrong with them. These dogs come from all over the place – sometimes they’re dropped off by owners who are relocating, surrendered by families who can no longer support them, or brought in after being lost by their owners. On a given day, you could find any size or breed or age of the dog in your local shelter.
When companies such as the ASPCA take new dogs into their facilities, they make certain that they are totally healthy and clean before making them available for adoption. According to Gail Buchwald of the ASPCA, "All reputable shelters provide medical care to pets including basic wellness exams, routine vaccinations, and treatment for any medical conditions," It’s highly unlikely that you’ll end up with a dog who has medical issues unless it has been explicitly listed in their files.
There is a misconception that it is impossible to find purebred dogs in a shelter. Any kind of dog can be surrendered at any point. While there are certainly a large amount of friendly and sweet mutts, if you’re set on a specific breed, you might be able to find it.
Shelters strive to foster good matches between dogs and people. They determine whether each dog will get along well with children, other pets, and certain lifestyles before adopting them out. You can visit your local shelter and take any dog you’re interested in for a short walk or a visit to a designated space. That way, you’ll get to see his temperament and interact with him to see if it’s a good match! Shelters won’t ever make aggressive dogs available for adoption – not only would it be a huge liability for them, but it’s not what they’re there for! Shelters want to adopt out their dogs – it’s their entire mission. If a dog seems to be the wrong fit for you, you’ll know immediately.
Adopting a shelter dog is the best way to add a four-legged member to your family, not to mention, it’s much more cost-effective than buying from a breeder. Negative ideas about shelter dogs are based on unfounded prejudice – a shelter is a place for any and all types of dogs, so long as they are safely adoptable. If you’re looking to adopt, head to your local shelter and take a few different dogs out for a walk! You’re more than likely to find exactly what you’re looking for.