If you want a dog, then chances are that you’ve already settled on a handful of preferences for your dog, including their breed, gender, and age. Some dog owners have strong preferences for their future pups, and they will dismiss shelter dogs completely, due to misconceptions about the supposed nature of animal shelters and the pets they carry.
However, many stereotypes about rescue or shelter dogs are completely false. Myths about shelter dogs are not only harmful to the shelters themselves, who work hard every day to provide care and attention to homeless dogs, but similar anti-shelter arguments also spread dangerous misinformation about pets who are just looking for a loving home.
May 20th is National Rescue Dog Day. In honor of both rescue dogs and their incredible owners, here are 5 myths about shelter dogs that are all fiction, and no fact!
Myth 1: Rescue dogs have more “problems” than pet store animals.
There is a common misconception that shelter dogs have something “wrong” with them. Some people believe that rescue dogs are aggressive, violent strays who had to be seized by the police. Others believe that shelter dogs come from abusive environments, have challenging medical problems, or are somehow “unfit” for a loving home. However, this myth completely obscures the fact that many dogs wind in shelters due to issues with the owner, and not with the dogs themselves. Some families realize they can no longer afford the financial costs of owning a dog, or some owners move into new towns or buildings that do not permit dogs. Some owners find that the dog breed they selected doesn’t fit quite right with their schedule or lifestyle. At the end of the day, no dog is going to be “perfect,” and shelter dogs are just looking for a forever home—one that you could provide!
Myth 2: Rescue dogs are untrainable.
Many pet owners are hesitant to adopt an adult shelter dog because they fear that an old dog cannot learn new tricks. However, adoption specialists at rescue centers and shelters all agree that shelter dogs, regardless of age or background, can always be trained. In fact, many workers and volunteers actually teach dogs how to follow basic obedience commands, like “sit” and “stay.” Remember, any dog that is being brought into a new house-environment needs to be trained by you, the owner. All dogs, even ones that are technically house-trained, need to receive additional training in order to understand you, your personality, and your routine. And shelter dogs are just as willing to learn commands as any other type of dog!
Myth 3: Rescue dogs are dirty.
Rescue and adoption centers work diligently to keep their animals in good health. (After all, they want these pets to find a home!) Shelters always monitor cats and dogs for fleas, ticks, and other parasites; they will also provide appropriate vaccinations to prevent more devastating diseases. A proper shelter will always let you know if a dog has any preexisting health conditions. Many will also subsidize your first vet visit, and they may even provide complimentary spaying and neutering as part of the adoption process.
Myth 4: Rescue dogs are too old to care for.
Some owners believe that raising a dog, from infancy to adulthood, is the only proper way to experience dog ownership. However, while puppies can be glamorized in TV shows and movies, the reality of puppy parenting is far from being picturesque. Training a puppy requires you to be all-hands-on-deck, all the time, for the first 1-2 years of your dog’s life. Many families also love the experience of raising a puppy, only to realize that the adult version of their pet isn’t “cute” or “energetic” enough to continue caring for. These dogs, ironically, end up in shelters. So if you don’t have a lot of time to spend potty- or obedience-training a new dog, then adopting a shelter dog that is around 2 years old will be ideal for your lifestyle. If you’re looking for an even more low-stakes care routine, many shelters will also provide senior dogs who are around 6-7 years old. Remember: a dog’s personality matters much more than their age!
Myth 5: Shelters don’t know anything about a dog’s past.
Some dog owners believe that purchasing a dog from a breeder is “safer,” because breeders will know more about the animal’s bloodline, family history, and health conditions. However, because of the nature of dog breeding, purebred dogs often have genetic disorders and medical predispositions that make them no different from mixed-breed shelter dogs. Furthermore, some dog breeders could be keeping their dogs in unsanitary, dangerous conditions. Some breeders do not spay, neuter, or vaccinate their animals. While good breeders will take proper care of their dogs, shelters can also give a dog a second chance at life. Shelters will often provide medical information and additional care instructions for new owners, as well as any information they know about the dog’s previous home. Aside from medical conditions, a dog’s past will only be a problem if you constantly dwell on it. Whether a dog-faced abuse or trauma before entering a shelter, all they need is a little love and affection from their new owner in order to move on.
As shown throughout, one of the leading fears people have when rescuing a pup is the never-ending cycle of expensive medical visits and bills. To provide additional comfort and peace of mind, use Odie Pet Insurance to ensure that your rescue pup has the best medical care on the market, at the lowest prices. With mix & match plans that are built for you and your pup’s specific needs, you’re able to make sure that you’re skipping out on the unnecessary costs of typical, one-size-fits-all pet insurance plans. With the worries of high medical bills out of the way, now you can open up your heart to loving and caring for some of the sweetest pups there are – rescue pups.