From senior dogs to brindles, we’ve compiled a list of dogs that you should consider making one of the family.
With so many breeds and sizes to choose from, new dog owners are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a new furry friend. As the third week in September each year is Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week, we’ve decided to shine a light on the dogs that are often overlooked when it comes to welcoming a new dog into the family, and why you should consider a Less Adoptable Pet this month.
1. Dogs with behavioural problems
Dogs that have experienced trauma often exhibit behavioural problems, which can understandably be a red flag for potential adopters.
However, rescues work extremely hard with foster families to ensure behavioural problems are worked on as much as possible before they are considered ready for rehoming - so much so that rescues often hang on to dogs for several months while they are rehabilitated.
Giselle, a Malinoise mix, was plucked from a Southern California kill shelter by Big and Small, a rescue organisation based in Vancouver that rescues dogs from high-kill shelters in California and remote Canadian communities.
Alisha, her care coordinator, says Giselle - who is missing part of her tail and lived on the streets - is extremely anxious and has dubbed her a “survivalist” who “doesn’t know how to ‘dog’” - but adds she’s very loyal, sweet and doesn’t chew anything. Heartbreakingly, she is one of their hardest cases to rehome.
Alisha says a lot of people interpret anxiety or fear-based aggression as a dog being “evil and scary” when simply, a dog is just terrified.
“She needs someone that has a lot of love and consistency. Someone that's going to put time and effort for her. [Rescuing Giselle] would be like giving a gift.”
2. Dogs with deformities
Tragically, pups who have suffered from trauma resulting in deformities or birth defects are often overlooked as rescues and usually take a long time to find their forever home, purely based on their physical appearance. Sometimes this can stop them finding homes - but this isn’t always the case.
Take Agatha - Aggy for short - for example. The bully breed dog is currently in a forever foster situation with Jurassik Bark Rescue, an organisation in Vernon that is entirely built around taking in “less adoptable” dogs.
Missing one eye and born with a split nose, Aggy was a street dog in Mexico and is a distemper survivor. The disease - an incurable viral infection that attacks multiple body systems and can be fatal - caused Aggy to have some neurological tics, like fast eye movement and a head bobble, along with teeth problems. But rescue owner Kourtnei quickly fell in love with her.
“She came in very timid and reserved but also craved affection - she's only just now started to play,” Kourtnei says. “It's taken her over 6 months to really start to show her personality. It's heartbreaking that she had been overlooked for so long. I can't even explain the sweet-natured soul this dog has.
“She really deserved so much more than what she was given. The world really missed out on a special soul for a lot of years because no one took the time to give her a chance. She is a perfect example of beauty on the inside - although contrary to most others opinions I think she is the most beautiful pup in the world!”
3. Dogs with medical conditions
When it comes to adopting a new furry friend, their health is always at the top of your priorities. However it can be a big commitment to take on a pup who may have an expensive health condition - and rescuers know this.
Rescues spend a lot of time and money on working hard to make sure poorly pups are rehabilitated and cared for, often fronting vast sums of money in veterinarian bills in order to bring a dog back to health, ready for adoption. Not everyone will have the same financial abilities as others to take on a dog with medical needs, and that’s ok.
But rescuers do ask that potential adopters who are willing to take on bigger financial commitments should consider a pup who needs ongoing care to become their new best friend.
Echo, a German Shepherd in the care of Jurassik Bark, has an immune disorder that, if left untreated, will result in major infections that require extensive medical intervention to get him back to full health. This means he needs daily medication and a specialised diet which would cost around $500 a month to care for.
However his medical history doesn’t stop him being an extremely loving, affectionate and obedient boy - and according to Jurassic Bark, loves hiking, running and water, making him the perfect outdoor buddy!
Seniors often get overlooked when compared to younger dogs as families, couples and individuals look to expand their family with a puppy who will be around for much longer.
However, a senior dog can make a wonderful companion to a caring home, requiring less intensive exercise and simply requiring love and safety for the remainder of their golden years. But don’t worry - just because they are a senior pooch, it doesn’t mean they aren’t still a pup at heart!
5. Black or brindle dogs
You might not think the colour of a dog would put off potential adopters - but black and brindle breeds can often get overlooked for more colourful dogs.
Black dogs have often been synonymous with the supernatural and an omen of death, whereas brindles have been speculated to be similar to brindle-coloured predators like tigers and wasps.
Jodi Dunlop, Manager of the BCSPCA’s Vancouver branch, knows all too much about overlooking black dogs - having originally chosen a colourful puppy to rescue, but coming away with a black pup instead after falling in love with it.
“A lot of people aren't seeing past the fact that they're black, and they're not looking at their personality,” Jodi says. “We'll have people that will come in and say, ‘I want a colourful animal because I just like the look of this one this better’, but it may not have as nice of a personality [for the potential adopter] as a black animal.”
Although a lot of their pets do get snapped up quickly, Jodi explains that the charity has to alter their rescue approach when it comes to black dogs. Rescuers style the pups with colourful bandanas or take them for a walk among the fall leaves for photos to really “pull people’s attention” to their profile.
Jodi says: “I mean, it's so easy to fall in love with an animal, but you see a picture, and then you come in and it's like okay here's the reality.”