If you visit an animal shelter or rescue at least once every week, you will notice many of the same little faces staring back at you from behind kennel doors. So we ask ourselves, why is it that some dogs are adopted quickly, while others are left behind to wait for weeks, months, and sometimes even years to find a forever home?
Sometimes the answer is simple, potential adopters are usually looking for a specific type of dog, one with physical characteristics that are attractive to the eye. Small dogs are usually adopted out faster because they are ideal for families that live in apartments or smaller homes, they’re easy to travel with, and generally are more cost effective when it comes to fulfilling their physical and medical needs.
Then there’s breed bias, which is the main reason why many Pit Bulls, and breed mixes are disregarded by potential adopters. Sadly, a majority of the public still considers specific breeds to be “dangerous,” this gross discrepancy is further fueled by the media and state legislatures which uphold breed specific laws and bans.
Of course, then there’s age. Many adopters look for a young dog to add to their family, the most desirable ages being between the ages of 1 and 5. Senior dogs are usually not adopted or take longer to adopt out, a heartbreaking notion since they are worthy of spending their golden years in a warm loving home instead of a shelter kennel.
And then there are the dogs that have special needs, many times these dogs are overlooked because they don’t fit the “look” that adopters are searching for, or because they need extra tender love and care, which too many folks translate as being “too much work.”
So when you are thinking about adopting, what should you do? Some would say go with your heart, others would say do your research. Certainly it is important do both, however, if anything, challenge yourself to see past the “cover,” be it size, breed, age, or physical condition. Assess your potential new best friend for their individuality, their personality, and their good qualities. It doesn’t matter the size, breed, age of a dog, a dog is a dog.
So what is a dog, what can you expect from him or her, regardless of its kind? A dog is a true friend, they are loving, loyal, and impartial they are the protectors of our homes and while we are their masters, they are the masters of our hearts. We love them because they love us, no matter the circumstances, while others of the humankind may turn their back on us, our dogs never abandon us. Instead, they sit, unwavering, beside us.
So the next time you visit your local animal shelter, don’t turn your back on a kennel just because the dog sitting on the other side doesn’t fit the “look” you want, give him the chance to prove to you that he is the dog you are really searching for.
Please visit the following links to know more about the selected Lehigh Valley Animal Shelters: