There are many misconceptions about the quality of animals found in rescue shelters. The stigma that shelter pets have been stuck with for many years is that they are "damaged goods".
Myth: Shelter pets are obviously not good pets, or else their original owners wouldn't have gotten rid of them
If the main reason why a pet gets brought to rescue shelters was because they were a *bad* pet, there would be thousands of empty shelters across the country. Animals are brought to shelters for a large variety of reasons, some of which are...
- Their owners have passed away
- An irresponsible owner didn't get their pets spayed or neutered so they found themselves with a litter of babies that they could not keep or did not want
- The animal's owners were abusive to the animal, so the authorities have removed the pet from the harmful environment
- An animal was purchased or adopted by someone who did not take into consideration all of the responsibility that caring for that pet would entail. A good example of this would be someone who adopts a pet in an apartment complex that does not allow animals and then is subsequently forced to get rid of the pet.
Myth: Animals from abusive homes will never be good pets because they have been mistreated for so long
Most animals coming from abusive homes will typically make a full emotional recovery - with proper care and attention. In fact, many of them are so grateful to be rescued from their previous situation, they end up being more devoted and loyal than animals coming from non-abusive homes.
Myth: You never know what you're getting with shelter pets
Although its true that the medical history and temperament of an animal adopted from a rescue shelter are not always able to be tracked down, its really no different than an animal you might get from a pet store, unless you are buying a pedigree.
Myth: All animals in rescue shelters are sickly or unhealthy
Once again, it certainly IS possible that a pet adopted from a rescue shelter may have medical problems, however the majority of the animals that are adopted from shelters are perfectly healthy, and just need a good home. If anything, you're more likely to get an honest answer about an animal's medical problems from a shelter volunteer - who is clearly there because they *care* about the animals - as opposed to a pet store owner or breeder that is only it in for the money. Additionally, animals in shelters are typically treated much better than animals in pet stores, which have often spent their short lives in cramped environments with little socializing and often, unsanitary conditions.
To illustrate the point a little more clearly, when you go to a pet store, the animals are kept on display in tiny cages, often with multiple animals in one cage. When you go to a shelter, you will usually find much bigger animal pens, where the animals have some room to move.