Some people still won't consider adopting a pet from a shelter because of misinformation and prejudices against shelter animals. We're here to break those misconceptions and share the truth about shelter animals!
1. Preconceived idea: shelter animals are always old!
That's absolutely wrong! Shelters rescue puppies, kittens, adult cats and dogs, and elderly animals. In fact, they rescue any aged animal!
During the warmer months, shelters are often full of abandoned kittens and puppies. Additionally, people don't abandon their animals only because they are old. Some people adopt a puppy in the winter and in the summer time, abandon them because they want to go away on vacation, or because the animal gets too big, is too costly, or simply bothers them.
You will find all kinds of ages in shelters, and its important to remember that adopting an adult dog or cat can have benefits adopting a kitten or puppy won't have.
2. Preconceived idea: shelter animals are not in good health
The main mission of shelters is to rescue animals in order to offer up them for adoption in good health.
Most shelters have on-site vets who work with the animals to provide proper medical treatment where needed. Shelters also make sure the animals are vaccinated and neutered before they are adopted, and will only hand over an animal that is in good health. They will also ensure the new parent is able to look after their animal well.
3. Preconceived idea: shelter animals always have behavioural issues
Many shelter pets have had to be let go for personal reasons, which can include divorce, unemployment, moving, inability to provide adequate care, and financial issues. Sadly yes, it is sometimes due to human cowardice.
However, the animal's behaviour will not be a result of being handed over to a shelter, but rather be influenced by its upbringing. And many will have come from loving homes that are sadly not able to keep their pet anymore.
Those few animals with severe behavioural problems will be handled appropriately, and trained where necessary, and will not be given up for adoption until the shelter deems them ready. This also applies to the owner wishing to adopt the animal.
4. Preconceived idea: the dogs are all "mongrels"
Again, this is incorrect. The reality is that most dogs bought/adopted are cross breeds. While purebreds have risen in popularity over the years, it is not because a dog is purebred that they won't be abandoned! Shelters rescue a combination of both mixed and pure breed animals.
5. Preconceived idea: shelters animals are free
Technically this is incorrect. This might have been the case with some shelters years ago but these days, with the number of animals taken on by rescue shelters, the cost to care for the animals has increased dramatically.
The reality is you will likely have to pay to adopt an animal, although this won't be nearly as costly as purchasing from a breeder.
The shelter price will depend on a few factors, but these are typically costs to cover vaccinations, sterilisation, food, and care whilst in the shelter - not for the animal per se. And thanks to your money, other animals will also receive the right type of care when rescued.
Adopting from a shelter is offering an animal a second chance in life and you a lifelong friend. But make sure you've thought everything through before you take on this important commitment.
What other prejudices have you heard against shelter animals?