Debunking Rescue Animal Myths

While adopting an animal from a rescue or shelter is becoming a common trend, especially for those transitioning from plants to pets, some age-old rumors prevent families from adding a rescue pet to their homes. Rescue animals come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities, completing families and bringing an abundance of joy to our lives. Pesky myths shouldn’t be the reason an animal lives or dies. Check out the following most common rescue myths we hear and why we’re debunking them.

Myth 1: Rescue dogs and cats are untrainable. Especially adults and seniors.

Here at Ruff Start Rescue, we strive to set up rescue animals and adopters for success in their new homes. This involves having conversations and setting the expectation that patience and routine are key when bringing a new animal into the home. No home or animal is the same, so there’s bound to be an adjustment period when adding a new addition to your family. With a little consistency, patience, and grace, any animal of any age can learn and be trained.

Consider the 3-3-3 rule for how a new pet will act in your home:

3 Days

Your pet may:

  • Feel overwhelmed
  • Be scared and unsure
  • Be uncomfortable and not “themself”
  • Not want to eat or drink
  • Be shutdown and want to hide
  • Test new boundaries

3 Weeks

Your pet may:

  • Start to settle in
  • Feel more comfortable
  • Realize this might be their “forever home”
  • Figure out their new environment
  • Let their guard down
  • Start showing their true personality, including behavioral quirks

3 Months

Your pet may:

  • Finally feel completely comfortable
  • Have built trust and a true bond with new family members
  • Have gained a complete sense of security in their forever home
  • Be set in a routine unique to your family

Myth 2. Rescues have health issues and are sick.

Reputable animal welfare organizations like Ruff Start Rescue ensure that each animal is fully vetted before being adopted. This includes spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccines, dewormer, preventatives, and anything else they may need to live healthy lives in their new homes. And that’s all included in their adoption fee! Some animals do come into the Rescue in rough shape, but they quickly receive the care they need.

Puppy playing with man outside

Myth 3. There are no purebreds or designer dogs in rescue and getting animals from breeders is safer because the breeders know the animal’s bloodline and family history.

There are lots of purebred animals in rescues. There are even breed-specific rescue organizations. The biggest thing to think about is WHY you want a purebred animal. Is it because you want a certain “look”? A certain deposition? We obviously don’t encourage humans to interbreed, so why would we want our companion animals to be restricted to a limited gene pool? Mixed breed animals are significantly less at-risk for genetic disorders and medical ailments that come from over-breeding. For example, around 60% of purebred Golden Retrievers die from cancer.

Ditch the need for papers and take a chance on a mixed-breed rescue animal. And if you’re still set on finding a specific breed, check out our website or and search for which breed you’re looking for. And don’t forget to browse all of the other available animals. You never know; you might find exactly what you’re looking for in a mixed-breed animal.

Myth 4. All rescues were abused and will have issues because of their past.

Companion animals often find themselves in the care of rescues and shelters to no fault of their own, and it is usually due to a change in their owner’s circumstances. These animals need a place to stay until they find a new home, and that’s what we’re here for. A small percentage of animals enter animal welfare organizations due to abuse or neglect.

Most rescue animals are just fine and need a little time to adjust to their new homes. While in foster care, fosters can observe for more problematic behaviors that rarely occur. If an adopted rescue animal does need training help, Ruff Start provides those necessary resources.

Rescue dogs, cats, and critters have SUCH appreciation for their new loving and caring home. And that appreciation really shows. Once they know they are safe and loved, you can just tell how much they appreciate you and their new family. It’s a very rewarding experience.

Puppies in a red wagon

No rescue animal is perfect, but they deserve a loving home just like any other animal.

We hope debunking these myths brought a little insight into why we’re so passionate about saving these animals that need us most. There’s nothing inherently wrong with rescue animals. They often just need a place to stay due to unforeseen circumstances. Take a chance on a rescue animal today! You can view all of Ruff Start’s available animals for adoption at

Watch Ruff Start executive director and founder, Azure Davis, talk about rescue myths on WCCO.

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