Dispelling The Myths About Rescue Dogs

There are many misconceptions about the quality of animals found in rescue

MythRescue pets are obviously not good pets, or else their original owners wouldn't have gotten rid of them.
 Animals are brought to shelters/pounds for a large variety of reasons, some of which are...
  • Their owners have passed away
  • An irresponsible owner didn't get their pets spayed or neutered so they found themselves with a litter of babies that they could not keep or did not want
  • The animal's owners were abusive to the animal, so the authorities have removed the pet from the harmful environment
  • An animal was purchased or adopted by someone who did not take into consideration all of the responsibility that caring for that pet would entail. A good example of this would be someone who adopts a pet in an apartment complex that does not allow animals and then is subsequently forced to get rid of the pet.
  • Family issues; divorce, allergies, loss of job/house, etc.

Myth: Animals from abusive homes will never be good pets because they have been mistreated.
Most animals coming from abusive homes will typically make a full emotional recovery - with proper care, attention and love. In fact, many of them are so grateful to be rescued from their previous situation, they end up being more devoted and loyal than animals coming from non-abusive homes.

Myth: All animals in rescue are sickly or unhealthy.

Once again, it certainly IS possible that a pet in rescue came from a shelter with medical problems, however the majority of the animals that are from shelters are perfectly healthy, and just need a good home. Those that do come into rescue with known health issues are treated before being adopted out.  If anything, you're more likely to get an honest answer about an animal's medical problems from a rescue volunteer - who is clearly there because they *care* about the animals - as opposed to a pet store owner or breeder that are only in it for the money

MythIt's better to get a puppy  because with an older dog you never know what you're getting.
Seems to make sense, except the exact opposite is often true. All puppies are cute; all puppies love everyone. It’s not until a dog hits sexual maturity that some innate behavioral problems can start to surface. Many times people who paid thousands of dollars for a purebred puppy, end up with a two year old dog that is biting people, attacking other dogs, or engaging in some oddball neurotic behavior.  Purebred is not the same as well bred, and sometimes it feels like the disreputable breeders grossly outnumber the responsible ones.The truth is this: when we list a 4-month-old puppy, we can only guess what kind of adult she’ll make. When we list a 2-year-old dog, we can predict pretty accurately what kind of dog you’ll have forever.

Myth: You never know what you're getting with a rescue dog.

Its true that the past medical history of an animal adopted from a rescue is not always able to be tracked down, but our pets have the advantage of being housed in foster homes, where their temperament and health can be observed and issues identified and addressed prior to going to a forever home.

Myth Rescue dogs won't bond with you.
Say this to a rescue person or foster parent and they will likely fall over laughing. Because the exact opposite is nearly always true--your rescue dog will CLING to you. Rescue animals often bond more strongly to a new family because of their experience of losing their previous one.  Age does not affect a pet's ability to bond with a new family. Social animals, such as dogs and cats form new relationships throughout their lives with other animals and people. A very elderly animal may take longer to adjust to physical aspects of a new home (such as stairs) than a younger dog, however emotional attachment will not  be hampered by a pet's age

Myth:  All rescue dogs have behavior problems.
There is a difference between a dog who needs some training and a dog who has serious behavioral problems and most dogs just need training. Again, dogs are usually surrendered to shelters for a myriad of reasons; lack of money or a major lifestyle change are the top reasons. Sometimes previous owners have not invested a lot of time into their dogs... especially if they are between puppy-hood and 1.5 years old. The most common issues you will find in a rescue dog are simple things that some training and patience will overcome. Things like walking properly on a leash, house manners and basic obedience are easily solved with positive reinforcement training. With rescue dogs in foster homes these problems are identified and training started before the adoption.

Myth:  It's so hard to adopt a rescue dog.
OK, so this isn't a myth, but more of a complaint. It should be hard to adopt a dog or any animal for that matter. Pets are a lifetime commitment.  10-15 years, not the lifespan of a purse. Rescues should have the animal as their number one priority. These animals have been let down and abandoned once already, it doesn't need to happen a second or third time.