Coming Soon: Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Animal Companion Day!

July 30th, 2009 11:34 am by Kelly Garbato

2006-09-30 - PM-Kaylee&JayneMake5-0299

I’m usually one to roll my eyes at pseudo-holidays – National Hot Dog Day, anyone?; and, hell, even some of the “real” holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving – but I’m pleasantly surprised to see that Petfinder has designated August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day:

To help senior, special-needs and other often-overlooked pets find homes, We’ve named August 12 Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable- Pet Day. Visit our special section to:

* Get widgets to help pets find homes
* Find out which pets have it hardest
* Read touching adoption stories
* Learn why “less adoptable” pets rule!

And help us spread the word: Some pets are “less adoptable,” but they’re just as lovable!

Which animals have it hardest, you wonder?

Big black dogs. FIV+ cats. Senior pets. Special-needs pets. To help these and other often-overlooked pets find homes, Petfinder has named August 12 “Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day.”

We asked our shelter and rescue group members: Which pets are the hardest to place?

Here’s what they said:

* 30% senior/older pets
* 15% pets with medical problems
* 13% victims of breed prejudice
* 10% shy pets
* 10% those who need to be the only pet

“Pit Bulls are the No. 1 dog put down in our local shelters. There are too many of them, and there is never enough time to get them all adopted.”

“There’s also a ‘big black cat syndrome’! Hard to believe, but many people are still biased against black cats, especially if they’re big.”

“Once a dog is past 1-2 years old, people flat-out expect it to be housetrained. They consider the dog too old to be trained if they’re not housetrained by 2.”

(Links mine.)

Speciesist language aside (HIM! People expect HIM to be housetrained!), I love the idea of promoting not just adoption, but the adoption of “special needs” animals, who usually fare worse in shelters and rescues alike. (Though, happily, some rescues do specialize in hard-to-place animals, while others provide them permanent sanctuary; Old Dog Haven is a personal favorite!)

My own family is a mix of “normal” and “special needs” animals.

2001-Summer - Ralphie'MightyDog'

Shane and I adopted our first dog-kid, Ralphie, a little over eight years ago. (His eight-year anniversary was July 14, and I missed it! Instead of a cake, I gave him a bath! I’m an awful mother. But I digress.) He was three at the time, and rather healthy and well-trained for a dachshund (who are known for their stubbornness and back problems). Lela, the DRNA rep who transported him from Ohio to Pennsylvania (Ralphie’s originally from Indiana), even commented wistfully on his pleasant temperament, which seemed all the sweeter next her own dog-kids’ rambunctiousness. (The day we picked Ralphie up, one of their charges had bit Lela’s husband on the lip a few hours previous! At first glance, I thought he had a cleft palate. Bad, it was.)

2003-03-18 - PDiddy-0002

Our next two dog-kids, Peedee and O-Ren, were both pups at the time of their adoption (at 7 months and 1 year old, respectively). Peedee was kind of a “mistake”: we went to an adoption event to meet a middle-aged shih tzu, but the folks at LL Dog Rescue thrust Peedee onto my lap, and it was love at first lick. I couldn’t resist the lil’ bugger, even though I wanted nothing to do with house training a baby. It was all for the best, though; Peedee was meant as a playmate and friend for the then-fat and lazy Ralphie, and what better exercise than a puppy?

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Rennie came a few years later; again, we set out with every intention of adopting an adult dog, but ended up with a pup in need of house training. In our defense, we thought O-Ren was four – that was the estimate Animal Haven gave, at least. Our vet placed her at a year old, tops. Another youngster, but I wouldn’t trade Rennie for the world. (If she looks a little scrappy and snotty in the above photo, it’s because she had caught kennel cough by the time we adopted her – all the more reason I fell for her!)

What’s all this got to do with Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day, you ask? Well, having adopted the “cream of the crop” – young, healthy, well-behaved, (mostly) purebred, small dogs – Shane and I felt rather guilty. Yes, we were doing a good thing by adopting homeless dogs, rather than buying from breeders or “pet” stores (truth be told, purchasing an animal as if she were a television has never so much as crossed my mind, not even in my younger omni days), but we felt like we should be doing more: opening our hearts and our home to dogs in even greater need, dogs who might – through no fault of their own – face extra obstacles, such as health or behavioral issues, advanced age, etc.

And so it was that we adopted dogs number four and five, i.e., Miss Kaylee and Jayne (formerly known as Gracie and Penelope). Between the two of them, they possess three of the five disadvantages listed by respondents to Petfinder’s poll (and several not mentioned at all); actually, they each fit in multiple categories. We were well aware of their “special needs” going in, and it’s precisely for these reasons that we decided to adopt the pair.

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The three-year anniversary of their adoption is coming up in September. It’s weird; it feels at once like we’ve had them forever, and like it couldn’t possibly be three years since their adoption. I guess I feel that way about all our kids, though.

Anyhow, I’ll share their story on August 12, to celebrate the occasion – an occasion I hope will take off, so spread the word! Check out Petfinder’s website, grab a widget, blog about your “special needs” friends, and encourage others to do the same. If you can, please consider making a donation to a rescue group that specializes in hard-to-place dogs or cats (or, heck, farmed or “exotic” – read: wild – animals, who are by default “special needs”).

All animals deserve a loving family and a safe home. Every one.

(The top photo was taken on the day we brought Kaylee and Jayne home. They both stunk to high heaven and seriously needed a bath; both were terrified of water. So I climbed into the tub with ’em, jeans and all – which explains the soaked clothing and frizzy ‘do. They still hate baths and fear the rain, but at least they’ll suffer a ten-minute scrub down in silence.)

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3 Responses to “Coming Soon: Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Animal Companion Day!”

  1. Molly Says:

    What a great post! I agree- definitely a “holiday” worth celebrating!

  2. In celebration of my “special” fireflies. » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] When last we talked of my furkids, I told you how my husband and I came to adopt Ralphie, Peedee and O-Ren – none […]

  3. Be a Fairy Dog-Mother: Adopt a “less adoptable” animal companion! » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] As I mentioned a few weeks ago, 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. […]

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