It's no secret that "rescued" is our favorite breed. From the senior dog whose owner can no longer care for him to an unwanted litter of kittens, we love and care for each and every animal that comes through our shelter doors. And although shelter pets often make the best family pets, there is a stigma attached to them, which results in 1.5 million shelter pets being euthanized each year nationwide. If you're thinking about adopting a pet, but are hesitant, we encourage you to keep reading as we #DismissTheMyth below!
Myth 1: You don't know what you're getting
While shelter pets usually don't come with registered "papers" legitimizing their geneology, we encourage all pet owners to look at each pet as an individual, no matter where your dog or cat came from originally. Put aside breed assumptions and look for the pet who will fit well within your lifestyle, whether you love to binge-watch Netflix or hike the North Georgia Mountains. In fact, we have volunteers and staff at each of our shelters, called matchmakers, that will help you do just that!
Myth 2: All shelter pets are old
The majority of animals in our care are young adults (1-3 years old), which we have found is the perfect age to adopt a pet! They're passed the rambunctious puppy stage, but still energetic and active enough to keep up with you. And even if you do have your heart set on a puppy or kitten, we have plenty at our county shelters due to unplanned litters and a lack of spaying and neutering in our communities.
Fulton and DeKalb County Animal Services are open-admission shelters, which means we do not turn away any companion animals. We have every type of temperament, demeanor, size and age to fit your unique lifestyle!
Myth 3: Pets end up at the shelter because there's something wrong with them
This couldn't be farther from the truth! Most animals end up in our shelter through no fault of their own. In fact, the number one reason pets ended up in our DeKalb County Animal Services location this year was due to housing restrictions.
Myth 4: You don't know how they will interact with your family
Adult, mixed breed shelter animals are about the safest bet you can make when choosing a family pet. With that being said, when small children and other pets are involved, it's always important to responsibly assimilate a new pet into your home! For bigger families, we recommend adopting one of the hundreds of animals currently in a foster home. Our foster parents are well-versed and very knowledgable about the foster dog or cat living in their home. They can tell you if the animal is kid-friendly, loves other pets or has any special needs. Animals in foster care have already gone through the decompression phase from the shelter and will assimiliate into your home much quicker.
If you have fallen in love with an animal at one of our shelters, our staff will assist you with the meet and greet at the shelter. We will ensure that all members of the family (including four legged ones) are happy with your new addition before you head home!
Myth 5: Shelter pets are more likely to have health issues
Shelter pets are actually more likely to live healthier, happier lives than pets purchased from a breeder. The majority of pets that come through shelters are young and mixed breed, which puts them at a lower risk for genetic disorders like cancer, hip dysplasia and epilepsy. And even if you do adopt a pure bred dog from one of our shelters, our staff will be happy to speak with you about the genetic predispositions of that particular breed and what you can do to mitigate any issues.
Myth 6: Shelter pets need extensive training
Shelter pets don't need any more training than others. We encourage ongoing training for any animal, as it creates a positive environment for that pet. However, if training is something you are worried about, either financially or time-wise, we would encourage you to adopt one of our adult pets. Adult pets usually come into the shelter with some sort of training already established. And if you ever need any additional support, our partners at Frogs to Dogs will give any pet adopted from one of our shelters a free consultation.
Myth 7: It's difficult to adopt from a shelter
We have heard this feedback pretty frequently from members of our community, which is why we have made our adoptions process as transparent and simple as possible. We practice an open adoptions policy, which aims to break down the barriers to adopt. Additionally, we keep our adoption fees as low as possible to ensure our adopters can spend more money on pet supplies, food, and toys for their new furry family member.