16 January 2014

Blog Challenge Day 4: Pet Peeves

I had planned to write a long and snarky list of the many things that irritate me about people.  Incompetence, ignorance, bigotry, etc.

Instead I choose to take this topic literally.  Pet peeves.

This evening I read an article detailing the results of a survey conducted by the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah.  Shockingly the study indicates that younger people (between 18 and 34) do not view pets in a shelter or rescue as acceptable companions.  As some experts have interpreted, I agree that advertisements and marking showing shelter pets as sad, cowering, and sick does not help them find loving, adoptive homes.  Shelters pets have a lot to offer and honestly some of them have a lot more to offer than a puppy or kitten.  Many adult dogs and cats are housebroken/litterbox trained.  So many animals are given up or lost and never reclaimed by owners through no fault of their own.

I am absolutely NOT anti-breeder and know many responsible, conscientious breeders.  Whom all support rescue in one way or another.

The most disturbing part of this survey is that one would expect (certainly I would expect) that younger people would be more progressive.  I find this hard to stomach, but I suppose I am not wholly surprised.  I think the idea of dogs and cats from shelters give many people the idea that they are difficult and require a lot of rehabilitation to be "normal."  While this is true of some shelter animals, in my experience fostering over two dozen dogs in the past three years (nearly all of them from shelters, a small amount directly surrendered from owners) most of them have been easy peasy.  I'd take an adult dog over a puppy any day.  They are easier to train because they have a longer attention span and therefore are more focused.

One of the most common misconceptions I have encountered as the director and founder of a mostly purebred dog rescue is that an older dog (basically older than one year old) will not bond to you as strongly as a puppy will.  This is absolutely false.  I grew up having dogs and cats my entire life, most of which were acquired as puppies and kittens.  I have never  had a dog more devoted and bonded to me than Gatsby, my 8 & a half year old German shorthaired pointer, whom I adopted at the age of 6.  I met three dogs the day I chose to foster him.  He was the oldest and the least interested in me & Lola.  But I had a feeling about him and he seemed nice.  Boy was I ever right!  He is my dog soulmate.

If you find the right dog (or cat) they will bond to you strongly, whatever their age.  All of my dogs were shelters dogs; some rescued by me directly (Lemons and Foxtrot) and some rescued by other rescue groups (Lola and Gatsby).  True, some were easier than others.  Honestly the only dog I got as a puppy (Lola) was the most challenging of the four.  The older boys, even Fox who was basically semi-feral when I got him, were by far easier from day one.

The bottom line, for me, is that there are an enormous amount of dogs and cats out there looking for homes.  They are not damaged.  They are worthy to be your companion and will enrich your life if you just give them the chance.

If you would like to read the article I mentioned above, you can read it here.

Me with Gatsby.
For more Day 4 Blog Challenge posts read:

1 comment:

  1. I've only ever had rescue dogs, and my life would be so much less without them. I joke sometimes that I'm a walking Rescue ad, but I do sometimes feel like it's my mission. When people compliment me on my dog, or say how much they like him, I can't resist turning it into an infomercial for rescues and older dogs (Mr. Prince is also 8, and was also adopted at 6). Three of my best friends ever have been rescue dogs, and I've been grateful for every day I've had with them. Great thoughts on this, Garnet!