I recently came across some news about a survey by PetSmart Charities that uncovered misconceptions people have about adopting pets from a shelter. You can read about the whole survey here on Petside.com (since they do a great job of summarizing it) but I thought for this post, I'd address just one of the points.
A Common Misconception: Shelters are depressing and sad.
Does this girl look sad and depressed?
This is Princess, one of the pups available (at least she was available as of the time I was writing this...) at Helen Woodward Animal Center where I volunteer. Here's what Princess has to say for herself:
Hello! I am just a big sweetie pie with a huge loving heart! I am very mellow and just love to hangout with my favorite people. I am happy lounging on the couch with you but I also enjoy a long walk to check out the neighborhood.
She looks like a happy girl. She sounds like a happy girl too. (You can check out all the adoptable dogs here.)
I think the ASPCA isn't really doing shelters any favors by showing those completely depressing, grab-for-the-tissues commercials they show of dogs in horrifying conditions at shelters. (I admit - I have some issues with the ASPCA but it's a long story that I won't go into here.) Yes, it probably guilt-sucks some dollars out of some people, but really, it paints a picture in people's minds that shelter dogs are in appalling condition.
Yes, some shelters are sad. Some are truly depressing. Some of the dogs are there because they were found in very sad conditions. But... most of the pups there are happy, healthy and ready to find their furever homes. (At Helen Woodward, they don't adopt them out until they are healthy and ready to go home!)
I used to not want to volunteer at a shelter because I thought it would be too sad. (I admit, I'm a cryer.) I thought I'd be trying to bring every other dog home with me. But it's not like that. It's fun. I never cry at the shelter - I smile there. Every Monday I go play with dogs and sit with puppies and get a lot of kisses. Yes, there are sometimes sad stories - like dogs who get adopted and then get returned. But really, even those stories, I've decided, aren't sad. It's good that the people realized the dog was not a fit for their family. They did the right thing by bringing it to the shelter, so someone else can have the chance to take it home and be a perfect match.
I know probably most of the folks who read this blog already know that shelters aren't necessarily simply by definition sad places, but I wanted to address that misconception. Especially since it's one I used to have myself!
Here's another easy way to help homeless animals...
You can shop for your own pet via the Best Friends Animal Society site at Wag.com. And I've extended my commitment to send 10% of the proceeds on the print sales of my book, What the Dog Ate, to Best Friends through 2013. Makes a fun gift for the dog lover in your life. (Or for yourself!)
In Other Wee News...
Speaking of my book, What the Dog Ate, it's on sale at the moment - at least the ebook version is. If you have a Kindle or iPad (or even a laptop that you can download the free Kindle software on to) you can pick up the e-version of my book right now for a wee little 99 cents! Hours of entertainment for less than the price of a cup of coffee! I love a bargain, don't you?
Thanks for stopping by the blog! Hop on over to some of the other blogs participating in today's Blog the Change!