April is Active Dog Month
The month of April is Active Dog Month. This month-long…
September 21st through 26th is known as Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet Week6. This is a time that animal shelters and rescue groups raise awareness about the benefits of adopting pets that often get overlooked.
The next time you consider adding a dog or cat to your family, consider adopting one that falls into one of these categories. You just may discover that a less adoptable pet will bring more love and joy to your home than you can imagine.
In May of 2014, Suzi Langer7 of Youngstown, Ohio, received a call from a local cat shelter about a cat that had been surrendered for the third time. He was being bullied by the other cats, was depressed, reclusive and not eating. That was the day Bifford found his forever home!
As a responsible pet parent, Langer took Bifford to her veterinarian for a wellness exam. As Bifford wobbled around the room purring, a technician popped her head in and asked if she was there to euthanize the kitty. Langer told the technician that Bifford was not there to be put down. The technician continued and inquired as to whether the cat had suffered a head injury.
Langer said that this was a reminder that there are still so many unaware of these special pets.
Langer said, when describing this condition, that the pet may wobble, stagger, and fall but they have a cheery disposition.
The cerebellum is the part of the brain responsible for the usual cat-like stealth, but in felines like Bifford, it did not properly develop. This is often due to the momma cat being malnourished, abused, or having panleukopenia.
“Cerebellar Hypoplasia is not contagious, it is NOT painful, these babies are NOT suffering, and it does not get any worse or any better,” Langer said.
Bifford is one of the lucky ones, as Langer saw past his less-adoptableness, and loved him unconditionally. Over time, she has discovered his many unique qualities that separate him from his “non-speciallyabled” siblings. Bifford cannot jump onto tables and countertops and he cannot claw the furniture. However, Langer said he is a good mouser – he’s just not as quick as his siblings.
There are many pets waiting to be adopted at shelters. Some of these dogs and cats may have medical conditions, such as FIV+ kitties. However, with the right family who will offer some additional TLC, they can become great companions, and would be so grateful that you have accepted their vulnerabilities.
Other pets longing for homes may also have other unique qualities that make them more endearing. This can include:
These special animals have already grown into their paws and personalities, and often just want to sit adoringly at your side. None of us are guaranteed X number of years on this planet, and a puppy or kitten can suffer an early demise, so do not dismiss the chance to truly make an older best friend’s later years golden. Seniors still have so much love to give!
Pets with Behavioral Issues
Just like there is no perfect person, there is no such perfect dog or cat. A motivated and loving owner however, who seeks the advice of a training and/or behavioral expert, can open the world, as well as the heart, of a pet who needs someone to be consistent and patient .
Pets that Shed!
Some pets leave more hair around than others, and if you are a meticulous housekeeper, it could drive you nuts. Again though, do not rule out a loving animal for something he or she can’t help.
Check with your veterinarian to see if there is a better diet and/or other products for your furry friend (shampoos as well as house cleaning products) that can make your life more manageable. Remember to never shave your pet down as hair protects the skin (the largest organ of the body) and helps regulate the animal’s body temperature.
Black Furred Pets
As detailed in the children’s book, “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover,” it is important to look for the treasure that lies beneath the fur coat.
In the movies, the bad guy may wear the black hat, but the dog or cat with ebony fur is not a bad pet. They are just as loving as a white, spotted, stripped or other coated animal. However, these darker furred pets are often overlooked at shelters because people have preconceived perceptions. Make sure you look with your eyes wide-open and see the pet for his or her personality.
Again, please do not judge a book by its cover. Big strong dogs, and ones who have unjustly been given a bad rap, are also just looking for someone to give them a chance. Most are teddy bears longing to give and receive unconditional love.
Love & Patience Make it a Win-Win
Just like with any new animal a family would adopt, patience is a virtue, but that is amplified when it comes to adopting a special needs pet.
“The first few nights after I brought Bifford home I had no clue what I was getting myself into,” Langer said. “He terrified me because he staggered and wobbled, and I was petrified that he was going to hurt himself. I wanted to put him in a big plastic bubble just to protect him!”
Opening your heart to adopting a less adoptable pet may not only impact your furry friend’s life but yours as well.
Scott Black8, a professional pet-sitter, is a dog dad to a visually and hearing challenged Bull Terrier-Sharpei named Chattopotamus.
“It is a privilege living with a physically challenged pet,” Black said. “You get to experience things you normally would not and get to put yourself in the paws of a unique individual. Loving Chatto has made me a better person and has made me love him even more for his ability to persevere. A human in his position would carry around the baggage of being different, but not my dog!”
Just like with most dogs and cats, it can take time, patience, empathy and love, to get your pet comfortable in their new environment. With time you’ll learn that most pets will respond extremely well to a routine and truly just want to be a part of the family.
Denise Fleck is the Pet Safety Crusader™ having personally taught more than 20,000 humans to rescue Rover or help Fluffy feel better. Her mission is to help YOU make a difference in the life of an animal through Pet First-Aid, Senior Pet Care and Disaster Preparedness classes, her “The Pet Safety Bible,” and the dozen other books she has penned. Learn more at www.PetSafetyCrusader.com
1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC.
2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force.
6 “Celebrate a Less-Adoptable Pet Week,” Petfinder.com
7 Suzi Langer: Personal Interview, August 28, 2020.
8 Scott Black: Personal Interview, September 4, 2020.