This post is the final in the Adopt A Less-Adoptable Pet Week Blog Marathon. You can read the previous post at Sebastian's blog, seabasscat.com.
I told someone at work today about all the wonderful guest bloggers during this week's Blog Marathon, and what wonderful stories they all told. And that led to the following conversation:
Why do people shy away from embracing the love of a pet who may be less than perfect?
On the surface, 'less than perfect' seems obvious: there are animals missing an eye, three-legged animals, deaf or diabetic ones. I understand concerns about vet bills that add up, or a concern that one's environment might not be a safe one for such a pet (for instance, my home would be far too dangerous for a completely blind pet because of its open layout and the potential hazards that presents).
But I would argue those reasons aren't as clear-cut as you might think.
Consider this: the same people who would shy away from an FIV-positive cat are often the same ones who wouldn't think twice about adopting a seemingly hale and hearty - and currently the most popular - breed of cat: the Siamese. But did you know that the Siamese is known to have the highest number of genetically linked diseases? For example, Siamese cats are three times more likely to develop cancer of the intestine than any other breed.
The same goes for dogs. A current favorite, the English Bulldog, is fraught with health problems. And then there is hip dysplasia, common with both German Shepherds and Labrador retrievers, as well as the problem of cataracts in poodles. You get the picture.
So for those of you reading this who may volunteer at a shelter, or who may have a friend or relative considering the addition of a furry family member, I urge you to suggest a less-adoptable animal. If they're looking for perfection, there are no guarantees. And they'll be missing out on an opportunity not only to find a loving forever friend, but oftentimes the rewards that come from owning a 'less than perfect' animal are – with a nod to the MasterCard ads – priceless.