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Giving a Forever Home: Overlooking Shelter Animal Myths

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

Looking to expand your family with a four legged family member? Think about becoming an animal’s hero and adopting your new friend from a local shelter. The number of animals placed in animal shelters each year is staggering; the ASPCA estimates that between 5 and 7 million animals end up in shelters each year. The numbers of good animals needing a forever home are alarming. With young families looking for a pet, however, there are many stigmas that make them apprehensive of shelter animals. Here are a couple adoptive pet myths that need to be dispelled to aid the animals that they keep from finding their forever home.

A strong uncertainty of that a new owner is getting themselves into: a family doesn't know how a dog or a cat is going to react once they’re gotten it home. In reality, finding an adult dog or cat that you would like to adopt has MORE certainty than the puppy you may be looking to purchase. Adult animals have already developed their personality, and what you see during interaction at a shelter is mainly what you get. If a cat that you’re looking at is always purring and vying for attention, the cat will most likely be the same way once you've brought it home. If a dog is skittish and stand-offish in the shelter, he will likely be the same way for the rest of his life. Spend time with any animals you may be looking to adopt and see how they interact with you. All shelter animals also come with compatibility preferences, whether they get along with other pets or children: pet shops do not.

There aren't any purebreds in the shelter and that’s a family is looking for. This myth is exactly that, a myth. Not only mutts are surrendered because their families couldn't care for them; purebreds fall victim too. You may need to spend a little more time looking and you will still need to find a dog that suits your personality once you've found the breed, but it is more than doable. Search long range when saving your pet: there are websites, like, that will help you search larger areas for shelter pets that you are looking for in particular.

But animals are surrendered for a reason; they must be bad/hyper/misbehaved. The majority of animals being surrendered to shelters, in reality, have nothing to do with the animal but rather the issues of the owner. The number one reason for animals being surrendered is because the owner is moving and unable to bring their pet. Another reason in this economy, unfortunately, is that animals are being surrendered because they owners are unable to afford their care or are being foreclosed upon. These loved animals are then forced to sit and bide their time, hoping to find a new home.

Lastly, it is assumed that all shelter animals are in bad health/will get other pets in the home sick. Although this can be true, shelters do provide the necessary care to keep all of their animals in the top health possible. Unfortunately, all animals that come from a group environment run this risk. The same goes for pet shops, and quite often is actually worse. Being in a shelter or shop position is like you child in a classroom; the more individual in the same area, the more germs they bring with them. A reputable shelter takes constant preventative measures to ensure the health of their animals. Nothing is set in stone though; if you adoptive pet does happen to fall ill shortly after adopt, more reputable shelters (unlike pet shops) will help you take the measures necessary to return your pet to good health.

Long Island Pets Articles > Giving a Forever Home: Overlooking Shelter Animal Myths

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