As I mentioned last week, today is the first (?) annual Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day! Petfinder created the holiday in order to raise awareness about animals who have an extra difficult time finding their forever homes, for a whole host of reasons.
Among cats and dogs, animals who face added obstacles to being rehomed include:
- Seniors and adults;
- Animals with medical issues, including disability and disease;
- Animals with emotional or behavioral issues, such as shyness or a nervous temperament;
- Animals who must be the only nonhuman in the home;
- Bonded animals who must be adopted as a pair – or, worse still, a trio, quartet, etc.;
- Cats with feline leukemia (a transmissible disease);
- Black dogs (for additional information, please see my post at Change.org on Black Dog Syndrome); and
- Dogs who belong to a so-called “dangerous” breed (pit bulls being the “dangerous” breed de jour).
If you plan on adopting an animal companion (or have adopted in the past), congratulations! With this one simple act, you become a hero to two animals – the one you rescued from a pound, shelter, rescue group or sanctuary, and also to the animal for whom you’re freed up a space in said pound, shelter, rescue group or sanctuary. According to the HSUS, between 3 and 4 million cats and dogs are killed in U.S. shelters every year. While adopting one or two or even ten animals might seem a drop in the bucket, it makes a world of difference to the animals whose lives you’ve saved by adopting instead on buying.
But, as always, there’s more you can do! In regards to animal adoption, go out of your way to choose a cat or dog who meets the above criteria. Naturally, you may not be able to deal with all of these issues; for example, if you already live with one healthy cat, a FIV+ feline is out of the question. Instead of focusing on what you cannot do, however, concentrate on how you can help animals in need. For example, adopting a black dog doesn’t take any more effort than adopting a multi-colored one.
If your home is already filled to capacity, you can urge friends and family members to adopt – and to consider adopting a “less adoptable” animal, to boot. Or make a donation to any one of the hundreds+ animal rescue organizations across the country (and the globe) – many of which specifically focus on a population of “less adoptable” animals, be they companion, farmed, or “exotic”/wild animals.
Of course, you can also help by spreading the word. Make this Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day a success by linking to Petfinder on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc., and by telling the world about your “special” kids!
[Pictured above is a very young me, circa 1997, with two of my family's own "less adoptable" girls:
Shannon the black mutt, one half of a 6-year-old pair of sisters we adopted from the local humane society (her sister, Shana, had already passed when this photo was taken); and
Shadow the pit bull mix, who had been hit by a car and had a crushed leg when we found her.
As with all our kids, they were both pure awesomeness, and I miss them more than words can say.]