One positive takeaway from the tragic pandemic is gratitude. When we experience times of great loss, it gives up the chance to realize what we have and what is truly important. Material possessions and shallow aspirations lose their sparkle. The people and creatures in our lives are what make our hearts whole.
Our society has taught us to value things that are shiny and new. Working as an adoption specialist, I often hear how families want to get a puppy so they can mold it into what they want. There is nothing wrong with this, though it is worth it to point out that puppies’ personalities are still developing, and there is a genetic component that holds onto nature versus nurture. Adult dogs have already developed their personalities so we generally know what we are getting, remembering that a high stress environment such as a shelter can temporarily exacerbate certain issues.
This pandemic has taught us not to give up on our most vulnerable population and do everything in our power to protect them. In dogs, this may be the older faces with the gray muzzles and eyes that speak stories. Or the dog that is huddled at the back of the run, begging to be anywhere else but here. Or the dog that is lunging at the gate desperate for an outlet for its abundant energy. Or the dog that cannot stop barking, needing its voice to be heard. This is the population that is at risk everyday in our shelters, trying to prove their importance.
If you need a dog that is good with children, dogs, and cats, that is completely valid. But if you don’t, it may be worth it to consider what special needs dog could easily slide into your life. Maybe you have extra money every month and can splurge on medications. If you live in the middle of nowhere, it might be no sweat
to have an incredibly reactive dog. Perhaps you work from home and can accommodate a dog with separation anxiety. Knowing you don’t need
to be around other dogs; your home may
have space for a dog that prefers to live solo. Or if you don’t have kids or a lot of visitors, there could be room for the dog that requires a little bit of relationship building before trusting people.
Bottom line is all dogs are individuals, and all dogs are important. This is not meant to pressure someone into biting off more than they can chew and taking on a dog that will cause extra stress and tension; that isn’t beneficial for human
or dog. However, it can be interesting to acknowledge what your home has that
another may not, or in some cases
what it doesn’t have. It is amazing
watch a dog that was a
challenge and a struggle for
one owner may be another
owner’s soul dog. Every
dog has its person and
its place, and that is the
beauty of animal rescue.