Why You Should Adopt a Less-Adoptable Pet

Each year, Petfinder celebrates a week in September as Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week. In a recent survey by Petfinder, 33 percent of adoption groups said they’ve had pets who were posted on Petfinder for one to two years without being adopted, and 27 percent have had pets who’ve waited more than two years for a forever home. According to their survey, 30 percent of these are senior pets, 15 percent are those with medical problems, 13 percent are victims of breed prejudice, 10 percent are shy, and 10 percent need to be the only pet.

I recently spoke with Ken White, the president of the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA in San Mateo, CA. Ken shared a beautiful success story of a dog that falls into the category of breed prejudice. Pictured above is Mr. Biggs, truly one of the larger pit bulls. Weighing in at 100 pounds, this intimidating-looking dog was obviously a total sweetheart but harder to adopt due to his breed and size. Close to 9 months after coming into their care, Mr. Biggs was adopted by a family with three young daughters. The photo speaks to how well that has worked out.

From the dad of the household: “Dear Ken, this is a photo of the wonderful pit bull that we adopted from your agency. The dog was ‘Big Blonde’ at PHS/SPCA but has been re-named ‘Mr. Biggs’ by my three daughters. The photo includes my youngest daughter, Claudia, who hugs Biggs every day, hangs on his neck, and generally does the sort of things kids are prone to do but many dogs might find annoying. Not Mr. Biggs! He only responds by licking her profusely!! Biggs has been a wonderful addition to our family.”

PHS/SPCA has a large number of senior pets and specializes in getting those pets adopted. Ken says, “Our older pets are like frogs, more than ready to turn into princes and princesses once they come to the right loving home.”

There is a link on the PHS/SPCA website called “Benefits of Adopting an Older Pet” with a wealth of information. It states that one of many benefits of adopting an older dog is that you know what you are getting in terms of size, physical appearance, temperament, and health. Also, older dogs have a longer attention span, and often give more recognition to their trainers than puppies and young dogs do. Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks didn’t take that into consideration (and also didn’t know about clicker training).

Thinking of adopting an older cat but you already have a dog? An adult cat will soon set boundaries and decide with the dog who belongs where, and when. Want a kitten for your kids? Think again. Young children can sometimes be very rough with a kitten. Adult cats, on the other hand, seem to tolerate a certain amount of handling from kids, yet they still leave when enough is enough.


"Hey, I survived 3 bullets, I'm allowed to rest."

Pets with medical problems are also harder to adopt. Not true for Princia, says Christy Wishon from Palo Alto Humane Society. She was a feral cat living in Mountain View, CA who was shot three times. One of the bullets was in a front leg that needed amputation. Two more bullets were lodged in her body. One was removed during surgery, thanks to the donated services of Adobe Animal Hospital. Rehab was lovingly donated by Scout’s House in Menlo Park, and Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital provided free boarding. Her third bullet, you ask? Well, it’s still in her. It’s lodged in her chest and is too dangerous to remove. Princia transformed during her recovery and her name was changed to Trilogy. Palo Alto Humane Society did a very selective adoption process, screening over 25 potential adopters. Trilogy is living a very happy life with a senior couple that dotes on her.

For a cat with such extreme health issues, why did dozens of people want to adopt her? Because her story got the attention of the press. It helped her in every way, but there are also thousands of cats with similar stories that don’t make the headlines that are needing forever homes. Let’s make every week “Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet-Week” and make every story about a homeless pet finding a forever home newsworthy.

Have you adopted a less adoptable pet? Please add a comment below and share your success story.

Have you seen the Adoptable Pets page on Care2? Check it out here! Please also share with your friends. We’d love your help in finding homes for these adorable animals!

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Related Links:
5 Tips for Adopting Adopting Shelter Animals
Happy Tails: Animal Adoption Successes
National Dog Day – Adopt a Dog

Image: Mr. Biggs: A BIG Sweetheart


Sonia M

Good article thanks for sharing

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

To save a life no one will save! Thank you, sharing this as well

Christine Jones
Christine J3 years ago

Too many to tell here. But with time, love and patience they've all fitted into the household beautifully and I don't regret a single one of them.

Dianna C Long
Dianna Long4 years ago

Nine years ago, a friend called me about a "puppy" that was being passed from house to house being treated mean in an attempt to make him mean, so he would be a dog fighter. I just said- send him over- I will find him a home. They brought him right over. I intended to find him a home. I tried for 4 months. I showed his photo and talked about his story, even introduced him to a family that showed interest but he has a problem with sharing.
I grew ro really like him, he fit in with my dogs, and I was worried, if someone else adopted him, it would eventually be the story of how he would end up back at shelter and he might end up- un-adoptable- and killed. I knew if I kept him, I would watch out for his potential 'bad behavior" and keep him out of trouble.
I sure do love Billy Bob, which is what I called this special dog.

Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl4 years ago

Susan T. : saving abandoned kittens is also a good thing, especially when you´re from the USA (I don´t know?) because of the death rows, they don´t even give kittens a fair chance!

Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl4 years ago

By the way, all 3 are shy as wild cats towards strangers, so their chances in shelters would´ve been as bad as only possible...

Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl4 years ago

All my 3 cats have been adult when I adopted them: Gizzy and Thori both at the age of 6, Gizzy´s 10 now, Thori almost 7, and Sisi from my mum 2 days ago (she has to move into an old people´s home sooner than expected) at the age of 12, they´ve all got their own special charme and character and I wouldn´t exchange them against kittens for all the riches of the world!!! Gizzy & Thori were also from private, but all 3 are so sensitive that they´d have resigned if they had landed in shelters! Even though we haven´t got kill shelters or death rows in Germany...

Kamia T.
Kamia T4 years ago

All the pooches I've adopted have either been seniors or animals with health problems -- It's what I decided to specialize in. There are days i wonder how much of my mind I've lost for all the extra work LOL, but I wouldn't trade the love they each give back for all the money and free time in the world.

Jan Hill
Dr. Jan H4 years ago

I have always only had rescues - old and young, some without a full set of legs or eyes, some requiring daily insulin or hydration drips. They have all been wonderful and have taught me so much. I have loved them all.