By Kay Stout

black and white short coated dogs
Photo by Edgar Daniel Hernández Cervantes on

In today’s animal-rescue world, what a prospective dog adopter considers when they look at a potential dog may be far different from what’s experienced in real life. This is where the word “breed” comes in – a term that’s a lightning rod for many when considering how adoptee dogs are perceived.

When we look at dogs, many potential owners make their decisions based on their own perceptions of the dog’s established or potential breed. This is where mistakes are often made!

Why? To put the concept in a visual context, watch this video: You’ll discover that as the story unfolds, two vastly different people eventually discover they are related, despite their cultural differences.

This visual concept also rings true when people look at dogs. They often base their decisions on preconceived breed perceptions instead of getting to know the dog in question.

Our own beliefs of how we save shelter animals, who is saving shelter animals the right way and “It is my way or the highway” attitudes seem to dominate in too many decisions. The biggest losers are the dogs and cats who have no voice. They just want a home and find themselves waiting in a kennel, feeling abandoned, scared and hungry, but always desperate for a home.

I had my “aha” moment when I attended the 2018 Collective Impact Conference in Austin, Texas. I got it because it made sense and has led to solutions. The bottom line is you must be willing to meet in the middle. 

For animal rescue, it is out-of-state transport, spay/neuter programs and adoption. It takes all three working together without arguing, pointing fingers or wasting time disagreeing.

Please remember, if shelter dogs and cats could talk, I am sure they would tell us: “Please solve my homeless problem! I did not ask for it and I cannot solve it, but you can!”

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