Yesterday marked the 1 year anniversary of when I signed a piece of paper and Lilo entered my home. It was a hectic day and there was more than one moment where I thought “what have I done, why did I pick THIS dog”. The thing is, I’m sitting here a year later and this is my dog, this is the dog for me and we are a match that is perfect. So today I’m going to write about things that people say about shelter dogs that just aren’t true, because she was just what I needed and having bought a puppy from a store(please never buy a dog from a store) or a breeder(this is the best choice of non-adoptions in my opinion) wouldn’t have quite done it for me at the time.
Myth #1: Dogs that are up for adoption are “broken”.
I’m not sure where this one has come from, I’m guessing it’s from the idea that if a person gave up their dog it must be because there was a behavioural problem. The trick is, this isn’t true all of the time. The other trick is – those “problems” can sometimes be really easy to fix and the “problems” a puppy brings are far more than what you get with an adoption dog that will probably have some training behind it. I was getting a very hyper dog that needed lessons on how to calm down and behave around people(she wanted to kiss everybody, still does but there is slightly less oomph in the jumps now). I DIDN’T get a dog that chews my belongings, that pees on the carpet or that had aggression issues. The trick with an adoption dog is that if you go to a good shelter/rescue they will tell you what the issues are(if there are any at all – many people end up giving up their pups because they ran into financial trouble and can’t afford to keep the dog with them). You get to choose what you want to work on, which is an amazing thing that you just can’t get from a puppy as they’ll a) have all the problems and b) develop their own personality as they mature and thus develop problems on their own.
Myth #2: They are all mutts and therefore are less desirable.
There are many rescues out there dedicated to purebred dogs. Lots of people want a purebred because of how it looks, then when the genetics come out behaviourally they give up the dog as they weren’t prepared to handle it.
Myth #3: They are old, untrainable and about to die.
Most dogs are dropped off before they hit two years of age. The puppy in the window is quite cute but once it grows its legs it can suddenly show a bunch of problems dogs have as teenagers. They like to peak their destructive tendencies around 10-11 months of age, though it can start around 6, and often people surrender their pups about halfway through this period – when they were just about to get some relief. I found Lilo at 8 months of age and that was quite the handful for me. Also I want to point out that learning does not stop once you hit a certain age, there are plenty of canine researchers who agree that continuing training into old age is a good way to keep your pup smart. Not to mention older dogs are generally more calm and have less “issues” for you to deal with – a gentle companion that is home ready.
Myth #4: They’ll be traumatized from whatever happened to them before, and you don’t know what their history is.
They don’t care what their history is once they’re in a good home that gives them love and a proper training regime – why should we? Yes you can get dogs that are traumatized from abuse and they generally are given to people who know how to handle them(much like how there are puppies that breeders only give to experienced owners because they have too much energy and willpower to go to a new owner), it’s clearly obvious when a dog is terrified of everything it sees. Those dogs will recover given time and be perfectly adoptable(if they went to a foster home). Dogs are amazingly capable of shrugging off past insults – it’s a trait to try to replicate in ourselves if you ask me. The one side note is that they do often come with separation anxiety – which is something that is easy to develop in puppies regardless and it’s a fairly simple behavioural problem to correct compared to what a puppy can bring.
Myth #5: They just aren’t cute.
Okay, so this one isn’t a myth(I should hope). I just wanted to show off my adorable pup.
This is from when we learned that Lilo LOVES to try to catch snow that we shovel off the deck/driveway/etc. She was waiting excitedly for the next shovel to send snow flying. I can’t imagine having a happier life than I one I have with her. Sure she isn’t a purebred and she has no papers – but happiness is not bought and I don’t see a purebred making me any happier than she has made me. I plan on adopting a puppy from a rescue that took on a pregnant female one day – but for now this is perfect.