These days, shelter dogs come with their own fairy godmothers. These are the women and men who have invested in your shelter dog. Trust me, they are just as invested in ensuring a fairytale ending for their fairy-dog-children. This means that your shelter dog comes with a community of support to help you make adoption work for the long haul.
There is a lot of data about pet retention; i.e. what causes pets to stay in homes or end up in shelters. Some of the top reasons dogs end up in shelters or are returned to shelters include housing and cost of care. Another reason typically sprinkled in there is a perceived behavior issue. The problem with behavior challenges is that owners wait an average of three months before attempting to resolve the issue. By then, they are pretty set on giving up the dog.
If you’re like me, you read the above and thought, “that would never be me.” Let me unpack that a little bit. Yes, that has never been and never will be me. But that is not because I am have better moral compass than owners who relinquish their pets. “That will never be me,” in large part because I have a community of support that would risk a lot to help me keep my dogs.
Truth is that a time or two in the past, I have been broke off my a**. I have had incredible vet bills that I had no way of paying off. I have even lost two of my dogs before (one for eight days)! And the only reason I was able to find affordable pet-friendly housing, pet-centered financial assistance, and eventually find my dogs alive was because of the people around me that offered their support.
My point is, we need the support of other dog-loving human beings in order to make it in this dog eat dog world. Whether they help us in our day to day or in emergency situations, we are better off with them than without them. Luckily, shelter dogs have a way of generating a web of support that sticks with them in the real world. Many shelter dogs I have had the privilege of knowing had their own fairy godmother (or two or three!).
These fairy dog-mothers earn their title. I have seen them raise funds to help a shelter dog with on-going or acute medical expenses. I have seen them take the mangiest, scrappiest mutt and love him into a regular Prince Charming. Giving him baths, teaching him manners, and helping him stay sane until his new family finds him. Those relationships are worth gold. These are the humans that can teach you about your dog’s quirks, helping you make the right adoption choice for you and your family. They are also willing to help should you run into any issues transitioning your dog into home life.
Who benefits from that kind of support? Exactly. Every-pawdy.
Adopting a shelter dog with a fairy godmother gives you access to support and resources. Making you more likely to live happily ever after with your new best furriend. If that’s not a good reason to adopt (not shop!), then I don’t know what is.