Running my own rescue I hear a lot of things from other people about rescue dogs. Here's just a few:
"Rescue dogs always come with behavioral issues."
"You never know a rescue dogs history."
"Dogs end up in shelters because they didn't make good pets."
"The type of dog I want can't be found in a shelter."
"Dogs from shelters are always sickly"
All of these statements are common misconceptions of rescue or shelter dogs.
Misconception #1 and in my opinion the BIGGEST misconception: Dogs from abusive backgrounds never make good family pets.
Most animals coming from an abusive past will make a full recovery with just a little TLC. In fact, they are likely to be a bit more devoted and loving when compared to dogs who came from non-abusive backgrounds.
Dogs are extremely forgiving, we could learn a thing or two from them. Just take a look at the dogs below, they were all part of Micheal Vick's dog fighting ring and they all went on to have lives full of love and snuggles. Some are even registered therapy dogs, or have received good citizenship awards.
*Look for a future post on my feelings regarding the phrase, "it's all in how you raise them." It's not and these dogs are a prime example.
*Photos and bio's taken from www.barkpost.com/vicktory-dogs/
Misconception #2 : All rescue dogs come with behavioral issues.
While it's true that some dogs do have their share of behavioral problems, that's true of any dog regardless of whether they are a rescue or not. For example: our Lab, Milo, came from a breeder and has more medical and behavioral issues than any of our rescues. When he was just 8 weeks old he started displaying signs of extreme anxiety. He'd projectile poop all over his crate when left alone and would spend hours crying and whining himself into a tizzy. While its true that many behavioral issues can stem from lack of training or pack leadership, some dogs are wired wrong and will have issues regardless of their up bringing or training.
One of the many benefits of adopting a dog from a rescue is the use of foster homes. While waiting for their forever family to find them, dogs spend time in a foster home where the foster parents have a chance to assess and get to know the dogs personality and needs. The foster family will know if a dog is crate trained or has separation anxiety. They'll know and likely begin to work with the dog on any behavioral issues, prior to their adoption.
Misconception #3 : Dogs from shelters or rescues are always sickly
While it's true that some dogs do pick up Kennel cough or upper respiratory infections while being in a shelter, you are much more likely to get an honest report on a dogs health from a shelter or rescue than you are a breeder. A breeder is out to make money and once you walk away with your prized new family member, their hands are clean of any responsibility to that animals health (unless they guarantee health in their contract which normally is not the case). Plus, Kennel Cough or an upper respiratory infection is cured with simple antibiotics or even just a few days of rest and TLC, most times antibiotics are included in the adoption fee if a dog has the sniffles come adoption day.
It's always possible to get a dog from a shelter and find out down the line it has medical issues, but this is true of any dog. Take our lab, Milo, for instance. My husband was adamant that his first dog be from a breeder (sigh..he knows better now) so along came Milo...along with seizures, EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency), chronic ear infections and bad anxiety. He was purchased from a legitimate breeder. We met both his parents, he had all his vaccines, he was supposed to be a happy and healthy pure black lab. On Average his medical expenses exceed $200 a month and that does not include food or other basic care items.
Misconception #4 : Shelter or rescue dogs obviously are not good pets, or their original owner's wouldn't have gotten rid of them.
This couldn't be farther from the truth. There are a lot of reasons why dogs could end up in a shelter or rescue.
Misconception #5: The breed I want isn't in shelters or rescues.
This, I have to say, is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. Some people think shelters or rescues are full of only pitbulls (which I adore) or mutts, this isn't true. Twenty five percent of shelter intakes are purebreds. It might take a little elbow grease to find the perfect furry addition, but they're out there, waiting for their forever homes too!
As my husband has experienced through the adoption of his first rescue dog, Winnie, the love from a rescue dog is different from the love of a purchased puppy. There's just an appreciation they have that other dogs don't. Plus, when you chose to adopt you save two lives, the one you adopted and the one that will fill the kennel that's now empty.
With over 10 years of experience through ownership and rescue work, I hope to share my knowledge and insight to happier, healthier fur kids. Have a question, feel free to ask!