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Top Four Misconceptions about Shelter Dogs

happy pit bull rescue blogIf you’re the proud pet parent of an adopted dog, you already know how special your bond is with your rescued best friend. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about rescue dogs that discourage some people from opting for adoption. Below are four rescue dog myths that are just not true:

1.) There is something wrong with them.

False! The truth of the matter is, most dogs end up in shelters through no fault of their own. Oftentimes, their family fell on hard times or didn’t plan appropriately for bringing a new puppy home. Given a loving family and a stable home, even the most timid of shelter dogs can thrive.

2.) Not knowing their history is risky.

First of all, shelters and rescue organizations do have information about the history of many of their animals. Secondly, dogs are pretty resilient creatures. Even canines who have experienced some sort of known trauma in their past can make loving, loyal companions. Speak with an adoption counselor at your local shelter to find the best match for you.

3.) They’re diseased.

Most of the time, animals are fully vetted before being adopted out. Vaccinations have likely already been given and any health issues are clearly relayed to the adopter. Some shelters even provide a voucher for a free wellness exam at a local veterinary clinic.

4.) They’re too old.

There are so many benefits to adopting an adult dog. They’re likely out of the chewing stage, potty training goes a lot faster, and they’re a little more independent than young puppies. Even if your heart is absolutely set on a puppy, adoption is still an option. Although not as common, puppies still end up in shelters and rescues.

Choosing to adopt is such a rewarding experience, don’t let these myths hold you back!


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{ 18 comments… add one }
  • joyce england September 24, 2014, 3:08 pm

    our rescued girl has been the best thing for this family . She is my best friend right now. We go everywhere together

    • Margaret Scarcille September 30, 2014, 10:22 am

      I only get older rescues. They make wonderful companions.
      They seem to know that you want to make them as happy as
      as possible the rest of their lives and react with wanting to
      please and obey you.

      • Debi December 30, 2014, 10:47 am

        All dogs want to please you. Most people don’t take the time to learn how to communicate with their dogs. Most people who want to rescue a dog know this and are special parents. I have had rescue dogs and they are wonderful pets. I now have dogs from a breeder and they are just as wonderful. It is the good parent or dog owner that allows the dog to be all he can be. Dogs are amazing animals. One of Gods special gifts to us.

  • Phil September 30, 2014, 10:03 am

    Adopted my dog .
    1/2 English Setter and 1/2 German Short Hair.
    Weighed 48 lbs when I got him lots of physical issues.
    He had been on the run for 1 year and had NO social graces.

    I have had him for 8 years and a kinder, gentle dog I couldn’t ask for.
    He has put on weight. But still has some physical issues. Thanks to the breeder – who should be hunted down and shot.

    He is the BEST dog I have ever owned.

    I always try to be the person he thinks I am.

  • Jamie September 30, 2014, 10:15 am

    Our family adopted both of our dogs from the shelter and a local rescue group when they were middle aged- one was an owner surrender so we had a lot of info about behavior (most of the bad behavior noted was due to a mismatch between the dog and the owners) and the other had been found on the street and had lived in the shelter for almost a year (shelter behavior problems were clearly due to stress as she has exhibited none of them, except a bit of timidness, at home). They are both AWESOME, and any existing behavior problems are minimal with the firm and consistent attitude you’d need for any dog to behave well. Our delightful middle aged gal came with heartworms, but the rescue group paid for the treatment once she was adopted out. They didn’t want to put the money into it before she was going home. I don’t know if I’ll ever adopt (certainly will never buy) a puppy when there are so many cool dogs that people look down on just because they’re not babies and need a touch of extra care.

  • Mike Zweifel September 30, 2014, 10:37 am

    All of my dogs come from Shelters, I have never had second thoughts about a shelter dog. Even thought Scooby has allergies and will most likely be meds and special food for the rest of his life. I would never give him up.

  • Robert September 30, 2014, 10:53 am

    The best, most entertaining, loving and obedient dog I’ve ever known was a male Miniature Schnauzer I rescued from a kill shelter. “Max” was handsome, obedient, loving and so much fun to be with. He slept on the bed with my wife and me for almost thirteen years, and our hearts were broken when he passed away last November. We’ve rescued nine dogs over the past fourteen years – but Max was the greatest and best of them all.

  • Toby Chappel September 30, 2014, 11:40 am

    We love what we do!
    Rescue animals are extremely loyal, we have been rescuing for
    over 10 years now and the older dogs are awesome! The animals are amazing they know you are giving them a second chance and they are
    grateful .

  • laurie brady September 30, 2014, 1:11 pm

    we have 3 rescue dogs right now and have had many wonderful ones in the past. some have gone through a lot of trauma in their lives. once they’re secured into your home and hearts with loads of love and care they are loyal loving and fun. we had a scottie girl rescued from horrid conditions at a Pennsylvania puppy mill. she spent the first 3 and a half years of her life locked in a cage for breeding. she had never seen a flight of steps until she came home with us. she was shy at first but then blossomed into a delightful fun loving mischievious dog with ample scottietude ! we will never again ‘buy’ a dog. we are strictly a ‘ rescue ‘ family now and loving every moment with these great animals !

  • Pamala McBrayer September 30, 2014, 2:10 pm

    Our group, Fluffy Butts Rescue, tends to be a rescue of last resort. We take Chows and Siberian Huskies that other rescues cannot or sometimes, will not. We work with behavior issues due to shelter stress. Both of these breeds are totally different out of shelter. They cannot handle all that barking and confinement, and absence of human interaction for very long. They freak OUT! Who can blame them?! They are smart enough to know that that walk down the hall is a one way ticket to dead, too. Animals are often smarter than we give them credit for, and they know a rescuer is their helper…they smell other dogs…they know we are comfortable with dogs. We communicate so much to them just walking into their presence. Most dogs will give you a chance, even if they are still scared. They often become love bugs in the car, excited to be leaving the “bad place”, no matter how nice it is, it is never a HOME

  • Elise Von Borries September 30, 2014, 3:04 pm

    I am a professional petsitter and about 75% of my clients own rescue dogs. I personally have had only rescue dogs all my life. My experience has me fully in the, “no bad dogs, just bad owners” school of thought. Don’t shop…Adopt!

  • Chuck Kern September 30, 2014, 4:41 pm

    Our organization is young (18 months on October 11) but we are proud of our record of finding furever homes for dogs and cats in need of a loving family. By the time we celebrate our 18 month anniversary we will have placed over 600 dogs and cats in loving homes. These are animals that otherwise more than likely would have been euthanized.
    We are working out of a temporary facility while we raise money to build a new shelter, but we are confident that if we can place this many animals with only a temporary facility, we will be able to place hundreds more when we get our shelter built.
    Check us out and see the architect’s vision of the new facility by liking us at patriots for pets on facebook.

  • Julie September 30, 2014, 7:25 pm

    If you would sit in a shelter lobby for a couple of hours, you’d see some of the ignorant people who dump off dogs there. Trust me, the problem is far more often the owner than the dog. Take a chance on a shelter dog and save a life.

    • Pam Green October 1, 2014, 10:41 am

      Julie nailed it !
      Most shelter dogs will improve in behavior in a decent home just because they get enough exercise (for body and mind) and good human leadership & basic training. Some do need a more issue-focused program of behavior modification.
      I’ve been doing home fostering for my breed, not one of the easier breed, for nearly 30 years, fostering over a hundred dogs. 95% have no health issues that a well informed owner would find difficult. 95% have no behavior problems that a knowledgeable owner would find difficult. “difficult” = needing expert help.
      In the last few years I have been getting more dogs whose owners have suffered severe health failures making it impossible for them to remain in their own homes. that includes dogs whose owners have died. these are especially nice dogs.

  • Donna October 2, 2014, 12:12 pm

    I have 4 dogs, all of whom were adopted through rescue agencies. None of them were puppies. I don’t have the time or the patience for a puppy, they are a lot of work that people don’t realize. Holly was rescued at 10 months old, she is a husky mix. Sophie was rescued at 4 yrs old who was the victim of divorce and was heart broken, she is a retriever mix. She is now my best working watch dog. She protects the property and takes her job very seriously. Both girls are outside farm girls who love to run on our farm. We also have 2 inside girls who are very pampered. Madison is a min pin mix who was around 4 yrs old when I adopted her, she is a daddy’s girl, very we’ll behaved from the beginning. Kennedy is a chihuahua mix who was considered a “senior special” when adopted. She protects the inside and keeps the cats in line. She is mommy’s girl. But we quickly found out she had a seizure disorder and needs daily medication,but she is worth the expense! As with any new pet, give them a few weeks to adjust to their new home and family, they won’t let you down! A dog wants to please you and can be easily trained by routine.

    • Debi December 30, 2014, 10:58 am

      Unless a dog does not want to be in the house at night, I don’t understand why you would keep them outside. They love their family and want to be with them. I don’t live on a farm and never have. So am I missing something? Just curious and looking for answers.

  • Sandy December 30, 2014, 5:39 am

    We have a rescue shelter dog we got in 2007. He is the best dog even tho he was abused, he is so loving. He is 13 yrs. old with a heart mummer but you’d never know it.

  • Foley Family January 4, 2015, 5:45 pm

    I have a puppy mill rescue that has been in our house for 7 years now. He isn’t without his problems and quirks, but he is a very loving dog who “protects” his family. I always say it is his way of thanking us for saving him. Rescues do require special attention and patience, but they are worth it !!!

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