Lots of stigmas surround shelter pets, and a lot of the time, they cause many to turn away from pet adoption. However, before you GPS your way to the nearest pet store, let’s see if we can change your mind.
Here’s the real truth behind some popular “facts” about these misunderstood pooches:
Myth: All the dogs there have been abandoned because they have issues.
Most of the time, the dogs that have been brought to the shelters have no behavioural problems whatsoever. In fact, majority of them were found abandoned by their owners simply because these pets have grown up, and are no longer deemed as “cute”.
President of the Action for Singapore Dogs (ASD), Ricky Yeo says, "It's very common to see dogs just left out in the streets. If you go to outlying areas with low human traffic, such as Lim Chu Kang, you'll find many domesticated dogs.”
ASD frequently receives calls from pet owners who intend to give up their pets, and most cite reasons such as lack of time and resources or a change in lifestyle for wanting to do so.
Ricky added, "We do tend to come across dogs, especially pedigrees, which are past their prime, and had owners who were not willing to spend money on their medical treatment.”
Myth: There are only old dogs at animal shelters.
There are dogs of all ages at animal shelters! While elderly dogs are more commonly given up for adoption, there are quite a handful of young adult canines too. Puppies are rarer, but not impossible to find.
For more information on the specific dogs up for adoption, you can either call the shelter, or head on over to their respective Facebook pages. There should be information on any upcoming adoption drives too.
Myth: They are all mongrels, and none are purebred.
Although the majority of them are Singapore Specials, there are purebred furkids at the pound too. Some rescue groups like ASD and Save Our Street Dogs (SOSD) focus on mongrels, but others like SPCA take in all breeds.
Some, like Voices for Animals (VFA), even “specialise” in saving ex-breeding dogs, which means almost all their pooches are purebred.
Myth: Shelter dogs are sickly.
While it’s true that some shelter dogs come with preexisting medical conditions, many animal shelters in Singapore do take the necessary steps to ensure that all their pets are in reasonably good health before putting them up for adoption.
Measures such as basic wellness exams, routine vaccinations and treatment for any medical conditions are administered to sickly pets so as to ensure that they are able to recover quickly – so rest easy!
*This article was updated on 20 Sept 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com.sg on 2 Aug 2016.