As I mentioned in an earlier entry, I have encountered the weirdest prejudices regarding rescue pets and thought I dispel a few myths. I am no pet professional and I do not want to convert you or make you feel bad about not adopting but I hope I can enlighten you a bit and make you reconsider some of your reservations about adopting a pet.
1. They are all damaged goods
First of all, we are talking about animals here – a life – and not a thrift store pair of jeans! Although, you will find traumatised animals at a rescue, it doesn’t mean they cannot heal and become the best companions on earth. It is amazing how many pets that went through some of the most horrific experiences want nothing more than to be near a human. They are still so full of love and trust. Just give them time and be patient. In addition, if you get them from a very good and dedicated rescue home they will have undergone assessment and/or lived in foster to check them and reintroduce them into a normal family life environment. Some of the issues that they showed when they entered the rescue might already be history when they are up for adoption. Last but not least, there are all kinds of pets that come to a rescue and not all of them come from the street or have been taken away from an abusive owner. Sadly, a lot of animals (esp cats and dogs) end up at a rescue because of life changes within the family like death, divorce, unemployment and eventual house move, and my favourite reason kids. These animals had good lives before and never experienced any trauma, so why should they be damaged goods? They still need a new home though.
2. I want a specific breed which is why I cannot get my pet from a rescue
Even as someone who grew up with a mongrel and only wants to have mixed breed dogs and horses (although my gelding officially isn’t), I get it that people are attracted to certain breeds. I, for example, love love love me a Dobermann. And if I had to choose a colour I would go for black. Never been a big fan of Terriers and couldn’t picture having a Collie as I had more than one bad experience with Collies when riding. Here I am, at my desk with my dogs next to me (we finally got our new pup – well 3 years – on Good Friday) and neither one is a Dobermann. One is definitely Collie and the other one definitely Terrier – who knows what else is in them (my guess is actually a little Staffie in both). Had I been the person to let my highly superficial attraction to certain breeds and colours guide me, I could have easily gotten a rescue dog that fits my list. There a rescues that specialise in certain breeds like Staffies, Collies, Labrador etc etc And you will certainly find a dog of whatever colour you like at a rescue as well. Just make sure that once you checked that the dog has the right colour or is the right breed that you also check that s/he has the right character. A good rescue will make sure to find the right dog for you and they will also admit that there might be things that they do not know about the dog (e.g. you live with Llamas and they’re quite simply not common in your region so the rescue cannot tell you if that’s gonna be an issue or not – my gelding, for example, gets scared shitless if he encounters a Llama or an Ostrich which makes sense as he is not only from Europe but from Scandinavia and these animals are quite simply not part of the landscape there).
If you still decide to get an animal from a breeder, please do your homework. Depending on the breed and the breeder’s morals and virtues, you might unknowingly support what is commonly known as torture breeding. Certain “desired” features of certain breeds lead to a lot of suffering, like flat noses or deformed skulls. Also decades of inbreeding leads to an increase of various organ defects or joint problems. In addition, some breeders treat the mothers like breeding machines and they are pregnant seconds after they gave birth and never see the light of day. By not caring where you get you pooch or kittie you financially support torture and cause you and your pet so much suffering.
3. You only get old pets at a rescue
Short answer: Utter nonsense!
You can get a lot of kitties and pups as well as other baby pets from a rescue – at certain times of the year more than the rescues can handle. I chose not to as the thought of having a pup overwhelmed me but I also didn’t get an old dog. The latter not because I generally only want young dogs. I chose reasonably young dogs as I had a shitty year 2014 with lots of losses and I just couldn’t cope with the idea of maybe just having 2-3 years before my next heartbreak. Of course, an animal’s young age is no guarantee as it might develop health issues (btw a lot more common in pedigrees and thoroughbreds) or have an accident but statistically a young pet means more years together. My hubby and I said that we will rescue older dogs and horses when we are older ourselves. I think while we are young and fit we should use our mobility to give pets the chance to exercise with us. When we are old and less mobile it wouldn’t be fair to get a pup that we cannot keep up with.
4. Getting and animal from a rescue is expensive
Well, it is soooo worth the money!
Let’s be honest here, again we are talking about a life! A family member – you wouldn’t sell your grandma for a dime, would you? Jokes aside: Almost all rescues are charities and run by volunteers. The amount you pay is actually a donation and none of it goes into the staff’s pockets but right back into their efforts of rescuing and treating animals in need. A part of what we paid goes directly into neutering another dog. When you adopt, you are actually saving 2 animals at the same time. Isn’t this worth the amount of a few hundreds? BTW getting a pedigree from a breeder can be so much more expensive. Getting your dog via a classified means you are buying your proverbial pig in a poke. You might save a dime on the purchase but who knows how much money you have to spend on health care, various standard treatments, training etc etc (Obviously, this can happen with any pet but your chances are higher if you get a pet online – let’s face it why do you think they put the pet on sale?).
5. Rescue animals are no family pets
Although more and more rescues opt against giving dogs to families with small children, this is not because the dogs are all kid-eating-monsters. It is a precaution after too many incidents with fighting dogs and small children have occurred. In most cases, these dogs did not come from a rescue. Not all rescues exercise this precautionary measure and you will find dogs that have been tested with small children. As I said before, they might know the history of the dog or have tested the dog at a foster home with children. If you have no children but might want some in a few years’ time, a rescue is as good a family pet as any. Most dogs, for example, will see the baby instantly as a new pup in the pack and they are actually wired to protect and care. My grandma’s dog once attacked my mum when she came home and took baby me in her arms. I simply woke up and started crying and my granny’s dog thought my mum caused me harm, so she ended up in her arm. Let me tell you, this is not the norm and it never happened again but it shows you that they usually protect the babies not attack them. Dogs and cats can also overcome their baby anxiety with training. Again, we are talking about a family member, try counselling before you opt for divorce.
So, this is it. Keep your fingers crossed that my dogs become BFFs soon. So far they get along. No love at first sight but who really believes in it? We only had a little grrr here and there if the new very bouncy dog got an my other rather shy dog’s nerves. My baby is suffering from a bout of jealousy but she started coming back to me for a cuddle, so I hope this won’t last.