According to the ASPCA, “6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year.” This means that there are plenty of precious pups to adopt. Unfortunately, some furry friends are more sought after than others. For instance, people tend to have a preference for younger dogs, who do not have health conditions. Breeds like Pit Bulls are also often overlooked due to negative stereotypes.
Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week was founded by Petfinder.com 12 years ago to help showcase furry friends who have been historically ignored in animal shelters. This year, the week is observed from September 12 to 18. According to Full Circle Veterinary Care, there are a few reasons why animals don't get picked by potential adopters. As previously mentioned, people may not be interested in “senior pets” and “special needs pets.” Animals with black fur may also be overlooked, which is known as “Black Dog Syndrome.”
Petfinder.com founder, Betsy Banks-Saul, and the company’s Associate Producer, Jane Harrell, discussed Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week in 2011. Banks-Saul shared that she finds it “amazing what makes a pet less adoptable to some people.” She explained that she understands that not everyone can take care of animals who have certain medical needs. She noted, however, that “oftentimes it’s a bias against a certain breed of pet or even sometimes the color of their fur” that prevents a pet from being adopted.
"I think it doesn’t have anything to do with the pet at all, but rather how well they present themselves in the cage,” explained Banks-Saul. “So a dark dog in a dark photograph in a dark cage in a dark shelter, you just might not be able to see his face and that pet is not going to get as many clicks on Petfinder as a pet who has a white face who looks like he’s wearing eyeliner. So a photogenic pet is always going to have an edge. So this week we’ve set aside to try to spotlight those guys who may not be so photogenic for whatever reason.”
Banks-Saul also encouraged people to consider adopting, stating, “there is no better feeling than saving a life.”
“Anyone who has ever adopted a pet knows that I mean gosh even the pride you get just from being a great pet parent obviously is a real charge, but when you’ve saved a life and adopted from a shelter, you know it’s a real boost to your ego,” asserted the Heal House Call Veterinarian founder.