Adopting a dog can be one of the best things that dog lovers can do. It’s a big decision to make as, for the most part, you can never be sure of a rescue dog’s background or what has happened to him or her. As a consequence, it is common for rescue dogs to be nervous and anxious, amongst many other distressing forms of behaviour.
However, while you take on this unknown, as well as inevitably missing out on the cute puppy stage, there is a whole raft of benefits that you can enjoy through adopting a mixed breed dog. Here, we look at five benefits in doing so as well as suggesting some adoption websites that are fantastic places to start looking for your new pet.
1. They Live Very Long Lives
Practically speaking, a mixed breed dog will outlive a pedigree puppy every day of the week. This is for several reasons, but the main is that after so many years of mass breeding, pedigrees have a much smaller gene pool and so weaknesses are not only carried on but also magnified within their bloodlines.
For instance, did you know that the world’s favourite breed, the labrador, is prone to arthritis? Labradors, as a consequence, therefore put on weight easily in their later lives as they cannot walk or run as quickly to burn off excess calories. This is dangerous and harmful to their health causing many labs to pass away at a relatively young age. This is just one issue in one breed that can occur.
However, mixed breed mongrels will often have many different dog breeds in them so they do not suffer from the perils of inbreeding like pedigrees do. This means that many hereditary issues that pedigrees suffer from are simply not an issue for mutts. This is great news if you are thinking of adopting a mixed breed pooch as they not only live a lot longer so you can enjoy their company for many more years, they are a great deal healthier too. It is far more common for pedigrees sadly to suffer from cancer, respiratory issues and heart disease than a mixed breed rescue.
Additionally, mixed breed dogs can often be a mix of a whole host of other breeds so you can be certain that your rescue will look unique in comparison to any other dog out there. This is a much-overlooked benefit to adopting a mixed breed as often dog breeds go in and out of fashion – causing even more inbreeding to keep up with demand. However, with a rescue, you have a unique and therefore stylish looking dog that is much healthier for its entire life.
2. Unswerving Devotion for Life
By taking in a stray who has likely seen some horrific things in his or her life, and maybe experienced some terrible physical trauma and neglect, you will have a forever devoted pet on your hands. By showing him or her the attention that a loving home can provide, your love will be returned 10 fold by a dog who will fast become a new best friend.
It’s not always the easiest road at first due to any behavioural problems that a rescue may have. Old and bad habits die hard -, especially in dogs. As previously mentioned it is not uncommon for them to be nervous and anxious which can manifest itself in barking, hiding in corners, quivering or sometimes chewing on furniture through nervous energy. But with time and patience, these negative behaviours will soon diminish until you have a pet that you can take anywhere, knowing they will be well behaved and happy.
This is because rescue dogs are never happier than when they are with the master that showed them that life with a loving home is not only a safe and secure place but can be fun too. The devotion that rescues show is almost heartbreaking as it makes you wonder what they had seen in their past to be so grateful for what you have provided them with.
The result is their unswerving devotion which is one of the best benefits of taking in a rescue or mixed breed dog.
3. A Huge Sense of Fulfillment
One of the nicest things about giving a rescue dog a home is the sense of fulfillment you get when you look at them and you know you have saved them from a lifetime of scrounging for food and living in doorways – or worse. Rescue dogs are so often victims of abuse and neglect.
What makes this feeling even better is seeing how they flourish when they are given the love and attention they deserve. You’ll see how they grow in confidence as well as happiness from what they started life with you as. Rescue dogs are often incredibly shy and anxious little things, often just wanting to please, but have not been given the best start in life. This has the impact of making them nervous around humans who will have so far not given them the attention they deserve.
Soon, with the help of a warm bed and a constant flow of food, they will become full of unconditional love for you as the person that saved them. No better feeling as a human can come from this sense of fulfillment, knowing that you made another living breathing creature so happy by giving them another chance in life.
Without you, there is no question that their lives would have been much more difficult – and sadly much shorter too.
4. It Diminishes the Business of Puppy Breeders
A fantastic side result to adopting a dog from a pound or rescue home is that no business is given to illegal puppy farms or puppy mills.
Illegal puppy farms are a huge problem the world over for so many reasons. Firstly, the conditions that these illegal breeders keep their puppies and mothers in is often nothing short of atrocious. This means they live in cramped conditions that are not cleaned regularly enough nor are they given regular access to exercise or the ability to leave their bed space for a toilet break. Dogs naturally want to relieve themselves elsewhere from where they sleep, but puppy farms more often than do not give them the choice.
Secondly, puppy farms often increase the amount of inbreeding that occurs which is bad for all dogs that are born from that mill – this weakens the species and means that people buy puppies that are likely to have an unhappy life due to the amount of veterinary help they will require from having been born out of an inadequate gene pool. Mothers are often forced to have litters far too frequently for their own health too which then has the knock-on effect of puppies being taken away from their mothers too early.
Lastly, puppy farms often do not provide dogs with the correct diet or even clean water. This means, that though people commonly believe they are buying a pedigree dog who will be far healthier than a stray, are actually buying a dog that is malnourished and dehydrated that will require attention from a healthcare professional to become better again.
5. Your own Quality of Life will Improve
Not only do you improve a rescue dog’s quality of life by 1000% when you adopt him or her, but you improve yours too by a dramatic amount. Not only do rescues require walking every day, like all dogs, which keeps your own fitness up, but they also force you to slow down by the amount of attention you give them. This focus is actually seen as a form of meditation that can help you cope with stress and other mental health issues due to the new focus in your life.
In fact, mental health professionals often advocate welcoming a dog into the home of someone dealing with depression. The benefits that they bring through their loving natures and need for daily routine are noted to be a massive help for those suffering from mental lows – and these benefits are magnified when adopting a rescue dog.
Due to a rescue’s needs and requirements being that much more intense, they require that much more focus, giving those with depression far more of a break from their darkest thoughts than they would have thought possible. Furthermore, stroking dogs has also been clinically proven to reduce blood pressure as well as stress levels. Additionally, playing with a dog for half an hour has been seen to increase levels of hormones in the body that make us feel calm and relaxed.
All in all, dogs are seen as one of the ultimate ways to reduce stress and anxiety, with rescue dogs being a wonderful place to start.
These are all fantastic reasons to adopt a dog before you take into account some of the practical benefits behind it. For starters, adopting a dog will save you a lot of money as opposed to buying a pedigree. Buying them from a pound or rescue charity often merely amounts to making a donation and perhaps paying for some vaccinations. With pedigree dogs or puppies from farms, the sky’s the limit when it comes to dogs and their costs. For fashionable breeds, it is not uncommon to have to pay a four-figure sum for a puppy.
That’s before you take into account that adopting a rescue often means you are taking in an older dog too. This commonly means that they tend to be calmer or at least less full of energy like puppies. They, therefore, are ideal for families with less time on their hands or perhaps an elderly person looking for company. Additionally, as they are that little bit older, many rescue dogs are also housetrained which means a big bit of training is already completed before your dog even steps foot in your home. Puppies, on the other hand, are anything but house broken and it can take months to do so. This is something to really take into consideration if you don’t have time to train a puppy or you simply don’t want the hassle of having to clear up after your puppy indoors.
Finally, a huge practical benefit to adopting a mixed breed dog is that it helps with spaying and neutering which in turn goes on to keep stray dog numbers down. There are countries in the world where stray dogs are a huge problem due to a lack of neutering and the problem, therefore, proliferates given that a pregnant bitch can give birth to a litter of 3 or more dogs at any one time.
In fact, a dog adoption website, www.wildatheartfoundation.org, actively works towards going to countries where strays are a problem and neutering as many as possible to help keep numbers down. For every stray that is born, there is another dog looking for a home – and often in vain. Strays carry disease, which is bad for both of them, but also the human population.
Additionally, other fantastic adoption websites include Bluecross and the RSPCA as well as the Dogs Trust. They are all highly reputable and they will be able to point you in the right direction of a pound or shelter near you if you cannot find a dog you bond with directly through them. It’s a good idea to look at charities and pounds in countries where dogs are not seen as loving animals as well. These would include places like Cyprus, Puerto Rico, Portugal or Romania – to name but a few out of many. While you may have to pay an airline fee to fly them to you, you still will be directly helping a dog who is in dire need of a good home.
With all these benefits in mind and the sheer number of strays around the globe, it would be silly to dismiss the idea of adopting a dog outright from the beginning without at least considering a rescue first.
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