When we decide to bring a pet into our family what makes use pick the animals that we finally choose? Is it a special connection or are conscious and subconscious factors at play?
Five to seven million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year. Unfortunately, three to four million are euthanized. Most of the millions of pets that don’t get adopted have something in common; they’re victims of various pet phobias.
Many cats and dogs are wrongly dismissed for the coloring, their breed and even simply because they’re in a shelter. However, the truth is that given a fair chance any of these animals would make a great pet. Here are just a few of many pet adoption phobias:
Black Animal Syndrome. Black dogs and cats are often “the last adopted and the first to be euthanized.” The reasons for this misfortune vary. There are widespread superstitions about black animals being bad luck or menacing.
Dr. Stanley Coren conducted a small study on people’s perception of black dogs. He used 18 pictures of dogs, including six pictures of Labs (two black, two brown, and two yellow). On a scale from one to seven the participants were asked if they liked the way the dog looked and if they thought it was friendly, a good pet or aggressive.
Yellow labs were thought to be better companions (6.1) compared to black labs (4.5) and less aggressive (2.6) than black labs (4.9) based on looks alone. So what’s the solution? Some believe that people are missing the joy in the animals. So they’re using colorful bandanas to highlight the animals’ face and better lighting for the shelter pictures.
Breed myths. Some cats and dogs are neglected because their breed is thought to be inherently bad. Pit bulls probably suffer the most. Finding homes for them is hard due to negative media and community bans. In fact, one out of every four shelters has pit bulls which make up over 20 percent of their dog population. The truth is experts believe that each dog should not evaluated by their breed, but their own merits.
Shelter animal misconceptions. Unfortunately, many believe that shelter animals don’t make good pets because their original owners appear not to have wanted them. This is simply not true. According to a pet study the top reasons that people relinquish their pets to shelters include: moving, landlord request, too many animals in the home, and the cost of pet maintenance.
So, if you’re thinking about bringing a four-legged friend into your home, don’t forget explore all the options. Shelter animals of all shapes and sizes would love to your companion.