Helping Find Homes for Less Adoptable Pets | Pets
Partnering with pet adoption site www.petfinder.com, shelters and rescue groups across the country have declared September 17 through 25 to be Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week. The goal of Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week is to try to shine some light on the stereotypes and stigmas certain kinds of shelter pets face, and highlight how important it is to see each pet as an individual who has a unique personality and a lot of love to offer a potential adopter, rather than as the wrong color, or size, or breed, or age, or any number of other factors.
So what makes a pet "less adoptable"? The answer varies widely, but certain traits have been shown across the board to influence peoples' decisions when choosing a new pet. Older pets are seen as less adoptable than younger, "cuter" ones. Larger dogs are less adoptable than smaller dogs, as smaller ones are seen as being easier to handle or train. An animal's coat color makes a difference, with black being the least desirable coat color--so much so that there is even a term for this problem in the shelter community:"big black dog syndrome." Pets with medical conditions or those who have disabilities are less adoptable than healthy pets, even if their health condition is easily managed. Breeds of dogs seen as "aggressive" are less adoptable than other breeds, regardless of the personality of the individual pet. And pets with perceived behavioral issues are, as expected, less adoptable than those without any. Even the type of animal makes a difference: studies have shown that cats are less adoptable than dogs, and adult cats even less so than kittens.
But as the saying goes, there's someone out there for everyone, and people in the animal sheltering field are of the firm opinion that there is a person or family out there for every pet, even the "less adoptable" ones. For instance, Tulip (pictured above) is both a "big black dog" and an older lady, meaning she falls into multiple "less adoptable" categories. But she also has a lot of spunk, loves to be with people and go on walks and hikes through the woods, and could potentially make someone a great pet, if they are willing to look past the qualities that make her fall into the "less adoptable" categories. Tulip has the luxury of being able to wait as long as she needs to until she finds a great family to spend her golden years with, but animals in county shelters are not quite so lucky, and many "less adoptable" pets, who, just like Tulip, might have a lot to offer a family willing to look beyond stereotypes, never find a home.
Visit the RAL shelter through the 25th and look for the special signs marking our "less adoptable" pets. Our staff and volunteers would love to let you know what makes each and every one of our pets special--and adoptable. Visit www.ral.org for more information about our currently available pets, or call 804-379-0046.