Today marks the start of “Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week” (September 16-22) - a week meant to raise awareness for the animals that have a harder time getting adopted.
It’s a sad but true fact that many adorable, loving, and loyal cats and dogs spend more time in shelters than others as families and individuals look for the “perfect” new addition to their home.
According to a Petfinder.com study, 95% of rescue organizations surveyed have pets they would call“hard to adopt,” 33% of shelters have had pets posted on their sites for a year or two, and 27% have had pets waiting for longer than two years to be adopted.
But here at DPFF, we know that (just like humans) all animals are deserving of our love and a safe and happy home to call their own.
So let’s take a look at some of the animals considered “less adoptable” and talk about why rescuing these guys and gals from life in the shelter might just be the most fulfilling adoption you’ll ever make.
Animals Considered To Be “Less Adoptable”
When someone decides they are ready to bring a cat or dog into their home, they often have a vision in mind of the “perfect” animal - an adorable, well-behaved, young and spunky puppy, or perhaps a sweet, cuddly kitten with angel eyes and velvety fur.
People may have a specific breed in mind, or perhaps a particular age range and demeanor. While it’s good to have some idea of what you’re looking for in a pet, it’s also important to realize that shelter animals come in all shapes, sizes, ages and breeds, and all of them are looking for a home.
Just because an animal doesn’t fit the bill of your dream pet to a T doesn’t mean it won’t be your best friend! Less adoptable pets are unique and offer us a chance to truly rescue an animal who may otherwise spend the rest of their life in a shelter.
Animals With Special Needs
These include animals with physical disabilities, illnesses, emotional issues (such as anxiety from past abuse), and those with behavioral issues.
Caring for some of these animals may just mean giving them medication or more frequent vet visits. For others, it may mean more constant care, training and vigilance. For others, like those missing a limb, there is no added care required.
It is important to be realistic about the level of care an animal will require and whether or not you can commit the time and resources needed to give them their best life. It’s also important to note if an animal may have issues with your existing pets or children.
But it’s not a lost cause! Most often, these cats and dogs just need a bit of extra love and attention in order to heal and thrive in their new life. And providing that can be quite rewarding and healing for humans, too.
Older cats and dogs have a harder time getting adopted than their younger counterparts. This can be due to concerns about the potential need for extra care and vet visits, special diet considerations, and of course how much time you may be able to spend together.
But older pets can be a blessing and in some cases are the best fit for a household. In general, older pets have a calmer temperament, are already trained, and are some of the most grateful for the love and care they receive from their new owners.
What a gift it is to give these elder cats and dogs a home to live out the rest of their lives!
It’s hard to believe, but it’s a documented fact that black cats and dogs have a harder time getting adopted, regardless of their age, breed, or demeanor.
Black cats have gotten a bad rap through stories depicting them as “cursed” or “bad luck.” While no stories exist (that we know of) depicting black dogs this way, for some reason they come across to some people as less desirable.
Many members of the DPFF team have been owners of black dogs and cats, and we can say from personal experience that any such opinions are unfounded! Some of our most beloved pets have been black, and we wouldn’t have traded them for the world!
(Shout out to Jupiter, our resident office cat, who has gained quite a reputation for being one of the cutest cats in the world! Check him out on Facebook!)
Large Breeds and Bully Dog Breeds
Large breed dogs in general have a harder time getting adopted. They can be more difficult to handle, especially for older owners, and they take up more space. Many times, a dog is adopted as a puppy and then relinquished once they grow full size.
Bully dog breeds in particular may have the hardest time getting adopted, due to misconceptions about the breed as a whole.
The term “bully dog” includes not only any dog with the word “bull” in it (Pit Bulls, Bulldogs, Bull Mastiffs, etc.) but also Boxers and Boston Terriers. They all descend from Molosser dogs, which were large, muscular dogs with pendant ears and short muscles that originated in Greece.
These breeds are generally not aggressive (and in fact are often some of the sweetest and most loyal breeds to families and children), but, like any animal, can be taught bad habits by humans.
Most bully breeds have at one time or another been bred for dog fighting, bear-baiting, or other bloodsport. Which means, in some cases, aggressive traits have been passed down.
However, studies like this one from the American Temperament Society have shown that bully dogs, and Pit Bulls in particular, are among the most tolerant dogs of any breed.
While bully breeds may be predisposed to aggressive or unpredictable demeanors, it’s important to realize that this is not always the case. In fact, it’s often not the case.
Be sure to do your research, not only on the breed of your potential adoptee dog, but on that particular dog’s history. Because with proper training and care, in the right home, these animals can be your best friends, protectors, and cuddle buddies.
How You Can Help These Animals in Need
If you are looking to adopt, go into the shelter with an open mind, rather than a preconceived notion of your perfect pet. Spend time with the animals there and find the cat or dog you have the best connection with.
Be realistic about the care you will be able to afford, but don’t shy away from the pets that need a little extra loving if you have a little extra loving to give. You will be highly rewarded with love and gratitude in return.
Want to help a less adoptable animal but can’t commit to a lifetime? Become a foster and love them short term. Their time spent in your loving home may just help them heal and glow so another family can see their full potential.
Do you already have a “less adoptable” pet that is your best friend? Share your story on social media. Help to break stereotypes about breeds, ages, shapes and sizes, and show how happy and fulfilling your relationship is.
Lastly, you can support local shelters caring for these animals by donating money or supplies, sharing their adoption events and posts, or volunteering your time to help care for these animals in the shelter.
Thanks For Your Support!
On behalf of all the animals awaiting their homes in the shelter system and the rescue workers who spend their days caring for them and searching for the perfect forever homes, THANK YOU for caring about these special guys and gals!
Thank you for spreading the word, for sharing your photos, for educating yourself, and for being a source of love and PAWS-itive energy!