A new challenge has just emerged on TikTok and let's hope it continues for as long as the platform is online. It started when user Alexa posted a video, saying "Show me what your dog looked like in their shelter picture versus now." She even went first herself and introduced everyone to her goofy pet!
People immediately answered Alexa's call to action. Everyone who got their dogs from shelters started posting heartwarming pics of their animals, liking each other's content, and just having a good time. I bet it's stuff like this the Internet was created for.
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According to Best Friends Animal Society, pets are relinquished to shelters for reasons related to the owner's circumstances at roughly a ratio of 2 to 1 as compared to reasons specific to the animal. Unlike what many may believe, the animal's behavior is not a leading reason for surrender.
Luckily, more and more of us are willing to adopt shelter animals. The organization estimates that 79% of the 5.4 million cats and dogs that entered US shelters were saved in 2019, compared to only 50% in 2014.
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As you can see, a lot of dogs featured in this list arrived at shelters in very poor health. Malnourishment, skin diseases, bacterial infections—these are just a few common problems pups face while they live in the streets.
However, even with all the love, care, attention, and enrichment from volunteers and staff at a rescue or shelter, the kennel environment is extremely stressful for most dogs, Marissa Sunny, CPDT-KA and senior dog lifesaving specialist at Best Friends Animal Society, told Bored Panda.
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"They are likely suffering from anxiety and frustration from seeing and hearing other dogs all day without being able to interact," Sunny explained.
"Dogs in the shelter have very little autonomy to make choices, as well as not being able to relax and sleep soundly with all the noise and commotion. While we all do our best to take wonderful care of all the dogs, a shelter environment will never be ideal for any animal."
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Understanding this is crucial for people who are looking to adopt a dog, as the animal might need some time to adapt once they join their new family. "The best thing to do when bringing a dog home is to give them time to decompress," Sunny said. "Their whole world just shifted to a much better, but completely different environment. Creating a routine and structure for them while also slowly introducing new things—like people and animal friends—is extremely beneficial for them."
Sunny said their personality will begin to come out little by little over the coming weeks as they decompress, bond, and become comfortable.
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But once they do, you have a new friend for life! Pet adoption makes sense for many reasons. First are foremost, you are saving a life. Even if you adopt from an organization that has a no-kill policy, you will be helping to rescue another animal by making space available at the shelter.
You will also save yourself money because adoption costs less than buying an animal from a pet shop or a breeder.
Shelter vs. Now
Plus, by adopting rather than buying a new companion animal, you will reduce the demand that drives the commercial breeding of puppies and kittens. Each year, millions of healthy animal lives are destroyed in shelters simply because there are not enough homes for all of them.
To learn more about animal adoption, visit Best Friends Animal Society. They have informative, easy-to-understand articles on all aspects of the process!