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Thousands of people have proudly introduced their wonderful rescue dog to me during the last few years. Many share that the beautiful dog standing beside them was scheduled to be euthanized days, hours or even just minutes before they saved its life. It’s difficult to fully process that the gentle and loving dog before me was about to be put do death simply because there wasn’t enough money or space to accommodate him in the overcrowded rescue. Eventually the dog’s caretaker will lament that it was the dog that really saved them. I hear that a lot. There’s no question that a special bond develops between a dog that was at death’s door and the angel who saved its life. I can see it in the eyes of both the dog and its caretaker. It’s a real thing.
That special bond, the feeling of saving a life, the countless moments of joy and the sense of purpose that results from rescuing a pet is part of the shelter brand experience and one that we all need to do a better job of promoting.
Overcoming the shelter dog stigma
There remains an inexplicable and persistent myth that shelter dogs, mixed breeds or “mutts” are somehow inferior to purebreds. While many see adopting a rescue as a badge of honor, there are still those who perceive shelter pets as being less healthy, needy and difficult to train. As a result, they won’t consider adopting a pet from a shelter and instead acquire their new pets from a breeder or puppy mill.
Rover beautifully illustrates that there are healthy, smart, beautiful, unique and loving purebreds and mixed breeds available for adoption as most of the dogs featured in the book once lived in a shelter or rescue. Share the book or the pictures with friends and let's work on ending the shelter dog stigma.