Did you know that most animals who end up in rescue shelters are there due to no fault of their own? It’s not due to there being something wrong with the animal such as behavior problems. It is usually due to a change in circumstances in the family; such as divorce, moving to a place that doesn’t allow pets or perhaps a death in the family.
This results in approximately 6.5 million companion animals entering animal shelters nationwide each year.
Even more overwhelming is the number of animals euthanized each year.
Now, enough with all the numbers.
When it is time to add a pet to your family, does it really matter if it’s a purebred?
Of course not! Unless you are going to show an animal most people don’t even take the time or pay the money to register their purebred animal.
That said, why not go rescue some former family pet that has ended up in a shelter due to some bad luck?
It’s important to research the breed before you adopt to make sure that the activity level, grooming needs and possible medical issues will fit within your family time and budget.
Also, keep an open mind. Remember, this pet has had a drastic change in circumstance. He/she’s lost her family and been thrust into new surroundings. And meeting you or your family is going to be another change.
I actually learned this first hand.
My Rescue Story:
A few years back, I bought a house and thought it was time to add a dog to my family. I didn’t know anything about dogs. Or shelters. Or rescue.
But my friend had a Bichon Frise and I really liked her, so that’s what I’d get.
I contacted a breeder and bought a puppy. I named him Max.
I fell in love.
Well, everything went fine (or as “fine” as it can with a puppy) but I was worried that my dog was lonely when I was at work for long hours. I started thinking that my dog (now almost 2 yrs old) should have a “brother” around the same age and size.
I started contacting local breeders and Bichon rescues trying to find a companion. But no luck. So I searched the internet and found Small Paws Rescue based in Oklahoma that specialized in Bichon and small breed rescue.
The awesome thing about working with a rescue is that they know a little more about the pet you are looking at. Small Paws Rescue also vets each animal, makes sure it is spayed/neutered and has it’s vaccinations updated. They are placed in foster homes and they are observed so you know, for example, if they are good with cats. It’s nice to have a little bit of information.
So, I filled out the application online and applied for a dog I thought would work for us. Sadly, that dog was already adopted. I tried two more times before getting Napoleon.
I called him Po.
He was the sweetest animal I’ve ever known. So loving and gentle; so thankful. And Max hated him.
I learned so much from Max and Po and their dynamic.
Max eventually came to tolerate Po but he was jealous since he was the first and only dog for so long. If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have realized Max should really be the only dog.
But you know what? We made it work.
I made sure to give Max (and Po) lots of exercise. I made sure to give Max attention away from Po (and vice versa) so he still felt special.
I loved them both.
Through Small Paws Rescue I learned a lot about rescue dogs and why they end up there. So, when Max was gone and Po was quite old and Small Paws sent out an email desperately needing foster homes… I answered the call. I took whatever they sent me.
They sent me Bradley.
I fell in love. That face!
Yes, people would say that I’m a foster fail. But Bradley came into my home and was just so happy to be part of the family that I couldn’t let him go through another change in circumstance.
To date, I’ve had one puppy and two rescues; and they have all been delightful pets.
And I know from experience that if you open your heart and have patience you can have success with adding a rescue pet to your family. Just remember that they come to you with their own story that they cannot tell you with words.
They have baggage.
So do you.
So do I.
But I encourage you to look into rescue. Adopt, don’t Shop. And with a little research and a lot of patience you will become a family.