Are you considering adopting a dog? Fantastic! There are so many deserving dogs that are searching for their forever homes worldwide. Some dogs will have no problem in securing an adoptive family. They may be tiny and cute, perhaps they have been featured in a high profile adoption campaign, or maybe they are a breed that doesn’t come up for adoption often.
Other dogs are no less deserving but, through no fault of their own, are often left languishing in a shelter for months, or even years, at a time. Maybe they are older or poorly, perhaps they are a black dog that does not stand out so much, or they could have an unfair reputation like the Bully Breeds.
So, if you are thinking about visiting a rescue shelter with intentions to adopt, consider the dogs that are often more difficult to adopt out.
It has been a long-held belief that black dogs are the toughest to rehome. Their color means they do not photograph so easily, some people are superstitious about their color, and they don’t stand out so well alongside dogs with brighter coats.
While there is still a lot of anecdotal information from shelters of long-stay black dogs, the positive news is that some studies indicate that black dogs do not appear to be having as tough a time as first thought. They do not languish in shelters notably longer than any other dogs.
So, if you are considering adoption, don’t overlook the oldies, the disabled, the Bullies, and the pairs. You might just be passing up on the dog of your dreams!
Senior Dogs Make Wonderful Companions
Many senior dogs tragically end up in shelters. Perhaps the previous owners had to give up their family pet a newborn baby, allergies or they can't devote the time to their pet anymore, or maybe the dog has an ailment that an owner is unable to want to deal with. Whatever the reason, it's awful to think of a dog that has spent its whole life in a home environment suddenly having to cope with the stress of kennel life.
But the thing is—senior dogs make great pets. They are almost always house trained, tend to be calmer around the home, and are just happy to enjoy a snuggle on the sofa. And senior pets still have plenty of life left in them, too, enjoying their walks and benefitting from some TLC.
Don’t overlook a Golden Oldie; as long as you are prepared to manage more potential medical needs, the rewards of offering them a perfect retirement are huge.
Dogs With Behavior Problems
Adopting a troubled rescue dog, while requiring patience and commitment, is incredibly rewarding.
Some dogs may seem like they are aggressive or over-excitable when you see them behind bars in a stressful kennel environment, but once they are in a more relaxed atmosphere, they become a different dog. This can be difficult to assess in a kennel-environment where there are many stressors on the individual. Obtaining a history, if possible, from the shelter is critical for helping prepare for this type of rescue.
If the dog has had a traumatic past and has some fear and trust issues, with a dedicated and experienced home, they can flourish. Not only will the experience expand your dog behavior knowledge, but it will also help to create a deep bond between you both, seeing them transform from a fearful and reactive dog to one that can relax with those that they love. However, these dogs may also have specific needs to succeed and may not be suited to every situation or home environment.
Be prepared to seek out additional behavior training services or even a veterinary behaviorist in this situation, and make sure that your home environment will be right for this dog to flourish in. Sometimes a home with more activity, including from children and other pets or transitioning roommates, can be a source of additional stress for some of these individuals.
Dogs That Are a Bonded Pair
Sometimes the thought of getting just one dog can be overwhelming, so considering taking two at once is not as appealing to many people. This means that dogs that are incredibly bonded and looking for a home together can sometimes struggle.
Many people go on to adopt a second dog anyway and, at least in this situation, you already know that the dogs will get on well (Plus, there's nothing cuter than seeing two animals snuggle together!).
Dogs With Health Problems or Disabilities
Dogs that have been born with or develop a disability or illness that end up in rescue can be extremely difficult to home. Making matters worse, often the kennel environment can exacerbate their problems.
Some dogs with illnesses just need some TLC and the right medication, and they go on to live full and healthy lives. Those with lifelong medical conditions can still go on to have an excellent quality of life with the right treatment. Many charities will also provide financial support for these medically challenged dogs.
Often, disabled dogs are overlooked, as their needs may seem scary, but they are usually no more challenging to look after than an able-bodied pet. A Tripawd, for example, can manage wonderfully with three legs. And, even if they do need a little extra care, their positive outlook on life and ability to adapt can be hugely inspiring.
The Bully Breeds
Tragically, Pit Bulls and other Bully Breeds are one of the most frequently found types of dogs in rescue shelters across the United States. Their numbers are so high primarily as a result of backyard breeding, keeping for the wrong reason (as fighting or bait dog or status symbol), the frustrating laws around Breed Specific Legislation, ill-prepared owners for their high energy levels and needs, and an ingrained prejudice from some towards the breed type.
Truthfully, though, many of these dogs can make wonderful pets in the right home environment. Like all breeds, Bully breeds have unique characteristics and traits that they have been bred for historically and by having the correct expectations, you can avoid concerns that others may have.
For dogs that have been used for fighting, there may be behavior concerns that may need to be addressed, extensive training requirements, or an awareness of how they may react to other pets in the home. The shelter may be able to provide you with some history to manage expectations or help to prepare you for specific needs for the individual dog, no matter the breed.
By responsibly adopting a Bully Breed, not only will you be saving a dog that could spend a long time in the shelter environment, or even euthanized, but you will also become an advocate for the breed, helping to dispel misconceptions.