Friday, September 16, 2011

Less-Adoptable-Pet week

Tomorrow kicks off the beginning of less-adoptable-pet week which is a week dedicated to those less desirable pets that are looking for a second chance.
When I first saw my dog, Romeo, he was lying in his kennel at the Corona Animal shelter.  He was a 2 year old black mutt with no known history and on his last chance.  He was lying there, like he had given up on life.  I reached in to stroke his paw and he gently licked my hand.  When they let him out to meet me he peed on everything in sight.  I was worried that peeing would be a problem and it might be the reason he was still waiting for adoption, but I took a chance on him anyway.  That was almost 12 years ago. 
Older dogs, dogs with deformities, and bigger dogs are all at the top of the undesirable dog list.  There is nothing wrong with these dogs, in fact, many of them are much more extraordinary and inspirational and any adorable puppy could be.   So why do we let our unconscious prejudice get in the way when adopting a pet?
The top reasons for a pet not to get adopted are…
Age- Age can be a deterrent for many people, but before you write off an older dog completely consider your lifestyle.  Puppies are a lot of work and you have no way of knowing what their temperament will be as an adult.  Older dogs are usually more mature with a calmer temperament and better trained. 
Stereotypes- Many stereotypes surround bully breed dogs like Pit bulls and Rottweilers.  While some bully breed dogs do not have a mean bone in their body others may just need a strong owner (a true pack leader).  Either way, these working breeds are eager to please their owner and are capable of being very well trained.    
Color- Surprisingly, dark-colored coats on pets are less preferable to light-colored coats.  Light coats may mean your dog requires sunscreen (especially when living in California), they get dirty faster, and they may indicate blindness or hearing loss in the pet.  There are no good arguments on either side which is you should pick a dog based on his personality and how he will fit your lifestyle.    
Disabled- Dogs with disabilities may require a little extra attention but you would be amazed at how quickly they adapt to new situations.  Dogs do not take the time to throw themselves a pity party and they don’t have the luxury of giving up on themselves.  They take the hand they are dealt and they make the best of it, accomplishing truly extraordinary feats.  They will enrich your life and inspire you every day.  
Preexisting Illness- A preexisting illness may go hand-in-hand with a disability, but regardless, they will take a little (or a lot of) extra care and education.  They aren’t always easy or fun to deal with but the experience is truly rewarding when that dog wags her cute little butt at you and licks your face to say ‘I love you’.
Shy- Shy dogs can take a lot of patience, but consider what they have gone through.  If you look past the timidity you may find a hidden gem and the perfect fit to your family.  
Big- A big dog means a big heart and lots of love to give.  A big dog can give you comfort and security without all the annoying yapping (and inferiority complex).   These often gentle giants are more than willing to let you pamper, pull, push, and play on them any time of day.  Even if you are petite, with the proper training you can handle any sized dog (without a leash) just by using commands.      
Solitary- Not all dogs get along with other pets or children.  Lucky for them, not all people do either.  A dog that needs to be the only dog in a household can make an excellent companion, inside and outside of the house.  If you don’t have any other pets or children, why not open your home to a great dog that happens to do better as an only dog?
Not Potty Trained-A dog that is not potty trained is a big problem for most people, especially when the dog is older.  But just because a dog is older and not potty trained doesn’t mean she can’t learn.  It only takes patience and persistence.   In the meantime, crate training will help save your carpet while the dog is unattended.    
Not all dogs are perfect but they become perfect though loving eyes.  Open your heart and your home to a less adoptable pet this week and see what joy they bring into your life.  

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